The D2 Audi S8 is one of the very rare models from the company that not only excites fans within the marque, but indeed automotive enthusiasts in general. That’s pretty strange for a sedan that most non-enthusiasts would probably not give a second thought to; it’s not a rakish coupe, it doesn’t have a million horsepower, and it doesn’t even have very modern tech. But thanks to a very notable movie appearance and its understated good looks as well as solid performance, the S8 is still a car that draws universal praise.
Some 20 years old now, these models are on the verge of being considered “antique” in many states. Yet they still look pretty modern, the clean design hiding its age well – especially considering that at in eight months it will be 30 years since the ASF hit the show circuit. Let’s take a look at this Brilliant Black ’02 up for sale in Florida.
It’s Christmas, so I had to put one on my list up here. We’re already past the point of the first Euro S8s being legal to import; production began in 1996, amazingly, and though they’re rare to find they’re out there. Today’s car comes from a few years later, but still is a pre-facelift model. That means slightly less splashy looks and slightly less power; but as I said in a recent post I really like the extra understated nature of the early D2s. Couple that with some fantastic 18″ Speedline Avus wheels, which were chunkier than the Ronal version the US market saw, plus a wild interior and this one is a looker. But it’s more than that, as it is one of the rare European-only manual versions. Let’s take a look!
2021 can’t close without me taking a look at an Audi S8. The last one I took a look at was just over a year ago, and it was a doozy:
2002 Audi S8 Final Edition
Since then I’ve looked at both LWB and SWB A8s recently, but no S8s. Well, as luck would have it, a 2002 popped up for sale. It’s fairly common Light Silver Metallic outside, but inside we’ve got the optional partial Alcantara seats. It looks to be in good and mostly original condition, so let’s take a peek:
While they’re no longer the largest, fastest or most luxurious executive sport sedans on the market, the D2 Audi A8/S8 does still offer enthusiasts a substantial package for a very unsubstantial amount of money. While I’ve spent a lot of time previously covering my favorite S8 models, the normal A8 and stretched A8L tone down the sport but also come to the market at an even more budget-friendly price. To maximize your value, look towards the A8L models. These were expensive sedans back in the early 2000s, though today’s prices really dwarf the MSRP of $67,200 for the lang model. Still, corrected for inflation that is about $100k in buying power today – far from a pittance.
This all brings us to today’s A8L. Let’s say you really wanted one, but you didn’t want anything wrong with it. Well, that’s apparently what happened with this particular example; 2Bennett Audimotive gave it a more-or-less ‘open checkbook’ mechanical overhaul to the tune of $40k, replete with a few S8 modifications. Impressive? Not as impressive as the asking price today, so put the coffee down.
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:
Time for another Honorable Mention Roundup of the cars we just didn’t have a chance to get to this week. In addition to a few reader submissions in this edition, I found a few affordable performance options that caught my eye. Which is the one we should have spent more time on?