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2003 Audi S8

I still have this dream of getting a S8. This seems like a strange thing to dream about, I admit. And, it also seems like a quite attainable dream. My father-in-law often tells me about some day procuring his ‘dream truck’ – a manual mid-90s six-cylinder F150. I’ve found several for him that seem like good prospects, and none are ever more than a few thousand dollars. As I’ve said to him several times, ‘If you’re $4,000 away from your dream, what’s holding you back?’

Well, that comment coming from me is riddled with hypocrisy. I certainly could sell my very reliable Passat, save a bit of coin, and buy a S8. The problem increasingly inherent in that plan is that the S8 I can afford will probably not be the S8 I want. See, in the early 2000s I fell in love with the design. In the mid-2000s I lusted over lightly used examples that were out of my price range. S8s are now in a range I can afford, but it’s no longer the early 2000s and most are, to be frank, pretty used up. And though they’re far from the most technologically advanced vehicle, they aren’t exactly an F150 either in terms of complexity and parts availability (not to mention pricing). So looking at a S8 means you automatically need to budget in probably double the asking price or more in potential repairs between the transmission, timing belt service, and other deferred maintenance. Or, you can find one where that’s been done for you:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Audi S8 on eBay

Year: 2003
Model: S8
VIN: WAUGU44D63N002654
Engine: 4.2 liter V8
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 219,304 mi
Location: Arcadia, Oklahoma
Price: $8,000 Buy It Now

See video link.

The Audi S8 was ahead of its time with its “space frame aluminum” (SFA) chassis. In my opinion, Audi’s AWD system is second to none. In addition to being loaded with all power options such as memory heated seats and steering wheel, sunroof, cruise, windows, and locks, it also has such amenities as steering wheel thumb shifters, manual/sport mode transmission, audio navigation, parking sensors and more. A naturally aspirated 360 HP 4.2L V8 coupled with AWD makes for a sensational driver’s car. This vehicle is still enjoyed, so mileage will increase. This S8 looks great and sounds fantastic; its the perfect executive cruise missile. We purchased this vehicle in 1/2010 with @ 86K miles from TX.

This is a well maintained vehicle. Local race car builder has serviced for last few years using BG products. See engine pics. It uses sport shocks – NOT air ride. New tires were put on within last 5k miles and front brakes were replaced at 203k while on a trip to Alabama last year. It still returns @ 23mpg on the highway. All four widow regulators have been replaced within last 5 years and it has a new OEM audio multi cd unit.

Two important items addressed in last 30k miles:
07/14 190,252 reman trans ($5200) by Blumenthal (ZF transmission distributor)
11/14 191,119 timing belt, water pump, air pump, 2 egr valves, 2 window regulators ($5000) – European Motorsports

Though the Audi is a sheer pleasure to drive, at our ages, we now simply find it easier to use the minivan or suv.
These are awesome vehicles, but as with any performance car, it will need an attentive owner. Feel free to shoot us an offer – fly in drive home.

Sold “AS IS”. No warranties expressed or implied.

One of the 100 Brilliant Black S8s brought to the US in 2003, the big news here is the 2014 timing belt service, 2014 reman transmission, recent tires, and front brakes. Condition? Well, pretty good overall for over 200K miles; the exterior looks good with expected front-end wear, and there’s a lot less wear on the interior than I’d expect outside of the collapsed thigh bolster on the driver’s seat. Mods seem limited to a modified exhaust and a set of Peelers that I personally find an ill-matched fit for the exterior personally, but they’re changed easily enough.

$8,000. See, that’s what’s still holding me back. That seems like a lot of money to spend on a 17-year-old S8 with over 200,000 miles. Can you justify the price by saying ‘Yeah, but a lesser example could cost you that just in service in the first year‘? Absolutely, that’s a resounding truth. But I’m also just not in love with this particular S8. Perhaps it’s the color combination; the interior is great, but I’m not the biggest fan of Brilliant Black outside. Perhaps it’s the wheels. But I look back on the Ming Blue example with 126k I saw in 2018 or any Avus Silver example out there, and those are the ones I dream of. Does it make sense? No, and I’m still arms-length away from my dream. Perhaps I have a better understanding of my father-in-law after writing this.



  1. Christian
    Christian April 5, 2020

    Bonus points for having a V8Q in the background. That means this guy is serious about his Audi D chassis cars.

  2. David
    David April 5, 2020

    These are excellent cars. As a former owner of a 2001 D2 S8, for 6.5 years, the cost of ownership is what will break all but true fans of these cars. I ended up spending around $15k, in parts and maintenance, to keep my D2 S8 on the road in tip-top shape.

    The biggest issue facing D2s is parts availability. These cars were produced in limited numbers, and there is not a profitable market for aftermarket suppliers to support the D2.

    The D2s were great cars, and their body style will always look great. But, their time is coming to an end as daily drivers, which is unfortunate, as the S8s were a bast to drive.

  3. John
    John April 5, 2020

    I have a solution. Well, sort of. Import an A8 V6 5spd manual. May be slow but at least it’s a manual.

  4. MR K
    MR K April 5, 2020

    More bonus points for having a W140 sedan under the carport. The man is apparently a fan of 90s German moneypits. Who can blame him?

  5. michael blechman
    michael blechman April 5, 2020

    a B5 S4 with serious upgrades is a much better driver… 034 and 2Bennett have the necessary goodies… lighter with a vast aftermarket seems the answer… any audi with over 200,000 miles is a black hole gobbling money like godzilla… a ur S4 quattro is another lively driver with amazing potential and 2Bennett have made parts for it that will certainly blow your mind… i had a 1992 A8 with 26,000 miles and it started to get costly, suspension gremlins and transmission faults… i was lucky to sell it but it still looked new… audis are a trap… i’ve had more than 10 and the original UR coupe was the only one i still regret selling…

  6. Greg
    Greg April 7, 2020

    MR K said it best; 90s German moneypits. It just doesn’t make sense to own one of these large German sedans whether it be a 740/750il, S500/600 or A8/S8. They will all bleed you dry. If I were looking to spend upwards of $10k on a used car it would probably be on one that is considered somewhat reliable by German standards; Ur S4, w210 e55 or e34 535i. A 200k miles D2 S8 is just a giant hole to dump money into.

  7. Carter
    Carter April 7, 2020

    Thanks for the offer @chris – Light Silver Metallic is like my fourth least-favorite S8 color. First world problems, right?

  8. Heksi
    Heksi April 8, 2020

    You must buy a car with a good service records, it is essential. Otherwise it will be a money pit. I have a daily driven a 143k mile 1997 D2 S8 for two winters now. It has Audi service book from new. I still service it in Audi Center and I have Audi Roadside assistance active. Some things I do myself. Really good and reliable car. Biggest repairs have been injectors (replaced myself and sold the old ones, didn’t really cost a thing) and front subframe (bought used and refurbished). Electrical steering wheel control unit failed, which I replaced from a wrecked car. Consumption is 20 MPG on a 6-speed manual.

    Servicing can be expensive, but I doesn’t come as a surprise. Actually I was surpriced that Audi Center gave me the best deal on recent cambelt service, 1310$.

  9. Christian
    Christian April 8, 2020

    Oh how I dislike Heksi right now. Soon as I read that he has a “6 speed manual” S8, my heart sunk with jealousy.

  10. Heksi
    Heksi April 8, 2020

    Haha, I’d like to try out a S8 Tiptronic for comparison. Haven’t driven one. Somehow I think automatic would suit the car better and make life easier in urban traffic. Anyhow, I am happy that I don’t need to worry about the transmission failing. Also these first cars (mine is manufactured 11/96) are pretty spartan, not much extras that could fail.

  11. Tom
    Tom April 13, 2020

    I have an 03 with 243k on it. It’s hard to explain what’s right about the car. I thought I would hate the autotragic trans, but I don’t. The car is a luxo-barge for sure, but more nimble that you might imagine. I think the lighter aluminum boy is the key, and the sport suspension is soft on. Audi just got it right. Great design, great quality.

    I’ve had a couple of urS cars, B5’s, etc. This car stands alone. I’d take it over my RS6 in a second.

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