Like so many of us, my interest in Audi’s super sedan started with the film Ronin, in which the car takes center stage during one of the greatest chase scenes of all time. Prior to seeing the film I had zero interest in Euro luxo barges with big motors. I thought the bulletproof 750iL from Tomorrow Never Dies was pretty badass, but it wasn’t a car that lusted after because I knew real ones didn’t come with rocket launchers. Following that first viewing of Ronin however, I was obsessed and to this day the D2 S8 is still my favorite Audi to carry the badge. I appreciate the refined D3 and its Lamborghini sourced V10, as well as the current D4 models with their insanely high tech features and the biturbo V8 power plant shared with Bentley. However, sometimes a brand just does it right the first go round and I think that’s the case with the S8. The svelte styling would have you think the car comes in at less than the 4,000 lb curb weight, a number which is achieved with the much ballyhooed Audi Space Frame. Much has been made of the aluminum frame of these A8/S8 cars over the years and while I think it’s certainly cool, I don’t think it’s what makes these cars so special. For me it is the overall design language and appearance that puts the S8 above the competition.
Click for details: 2003 Audi S8 on Cars.com
Engine: 4.2 liter V8
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 119,731 mi
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This final year example sports the 18″ nine spoke RS wheels that are among my favorite ever to be offered by Audi. For some people wheels aren’t a big deal but I find them to be of great importance when choosing a vehicle, especially these older Q-Ships. They fill out the wheel well perfectly and only the 20″ “S-Design” alloys offered on the D3 fall into the same league of sexy in my opinion. The wheels and the exterior on this example appear to be in wonderful overall condition, always impressive given that many of these cars lived in harsh climates, piloted by drivers of an advanced age. The results of such a life are often no so pleasant.
If I’m completely honest, the Silver exterior is boring and I’d much rather the car be Dark Blue, Green or even a Metallic Brown, but I’d be willing to deal with it because this car has the perfect interior. I’m a sucker for Burgundy leather and I remember just how classy it felt the first time I rode in an Audi that was fitted with it. The lighter wood trim may not be for everyone but you have to admit, it looks damn good in this particular application. I would have probably passed right by this listing were it not for the color of the interior, I’m so glad it caught my eye. The inclusion of the original safety triangle in the trunk is also a little detail that I love, I don’t know why but that just completes the package for me. You can pick up many different cars for around $13k but few of them will match the value offered by an S8 like this one. I like to think of it as a high performance, lo-fi luxury car, because even though center stack houses a tape deck (still a great way to enjoy music), the engine bay houses a 4.2 liter V8. A motor that is happy to cruise along at triple digit speeds all day long and perhaps evade some bad guys in Peugeots.