Audi S8 Roundup

In last week’s 10K Practical Performance Edition, a question arose of what was the best ‘Bahn burner for under $15,000. My immediate answer was the Audi S8. It might not be as powerful as the E39 M5 or a slew of Mercs that are available for around the same amount, but the combination of the all-aluminum engine and space frame gives the large executive a smaller feel on the road – and with 360 horsepower, it’s no slouch. It’s also got a great all-wheel drive system; quattro purists don’t love the electronic differentials, but truth told on the fly they work reasonably well and you don’t have to muss and fuss. This isn’t a rally car, anyway. But it is a great looker – the interior and exterior are a beautiful combination of style and presence that few others match. There just aren’t any awkward angles on the D2 in my mind. So, today I’ve rounded up a few examples with the help of our reader, John. Ranging from a first run 6-speed through a last of the D2 2003 model, which would be your color?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S8 on quattroworld

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Rare Tres: Audi S8 Roundup

I’ve made no excuses about my personal favoritism towards the Audi S8, but I think it’s reasonably justified. The E55 v 500E post from the other day reminded me why; sure, the E55 is a pretty cool car, but as one of the comments noted it looks a bit like a Kia. Park it next to a S8 and that’s brought into even starker contrast. Audi just got it right; the right amount of sport, a great engine and soundtrack, all-wheel drive and a gorgeous and luxurious interior. Today I’ve got three more rare-to-see colors; Avus Pearl, Andorra Red and Pearlesant White. Let’s look at my favorite first:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Audi S8 on Hemmings

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2003 Audi S8 with 14,000 Miles

The Audi S8 is a very special car; a combination of sport and luxury that some of its rivals have managed to exceed in performance, but not necessarily execution. Certainly, newer BMW, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz super-luxury sedans are much faster. Even Audi’s own new S8 and S6 are significantly quicker than the D2, with the best part of twice the power the 4.2 40 valve V8 originally offered. But the package of the S8 is what is so compelling. It’s a great looking car, with hardly an angle where it looks out of proportion. The presence it exudes is massive; it’s no Rolls Royce, but it’s a far cry from any Lexus. By 2003, the last year of the D2 S8 for the United States, there were only a few options on the S8; generally, you just had to choose what shade you’d want. And for the U.S. market, it’s hard for me to feel there is any better color combination for the S8 than the understated Avus Silver Pearl Effect with the not understated at all Oxblood interior. When you see one it what is effectively new condition, it’s amazingly stunning:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Audi S8 on eBay

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2003 Audi RS6

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While Paul Walker’s RS6 Avant surfacing online this week was pretty cool, and all I ever want is an longroof RS, the tragedy is still a little close for me to spend much time perusing that listing, let alone contemplate owning that car. For now, the more-accessible sedan will suffice just fine, as even in these insane days of horsepower wars threatening 700hp sedans on the horizon, these 450hp AWD executive saloons are still a force to be reckoned with 10 years on. This example comes in the absolutely-perfect Avus Silver Pearl, which makes all silver and grey cars wonder why they don’t shimmer that way. With just over 50k miles it’s quite a fresh example, and the price shows it.

Click for more details: 2003 Audi RS6 on eBay

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2006 Audi S4 25th Anniversary Quattro

During our recent “4WD Week” I wrote up a 2007 S4 DTM edition, a car that while attractive I felt was pretty overpriced. In fact, I said that even though it was a limited edition I didn’t think it was nearly as desirable as the 2006 run of 250 25th Anniversary of Quattro S4s. These S4s were really like a diet RS4, gaining suspension upgrades, revised exterior pieces and some special interior treatments, and importantly a revised rear sport differential that really transformed the car’s handling. Additionally, the limited S4s got the best looking wheels of the bunch, special Ronals that appeared on both the Ultrasport Titanium package for the A4 and on this car in normal silver. More than just a limited edition sticker and special color (I’m looking at you, Lime Rock Park edition M3), this car was a culmination of lots of little changes that made for a bridge model between the normal S4 and the RS4:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Audi S4 25th Anniversary Quattro on eBay

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2003 Audi S8

I’ll be honest – this car haunts my dreams. Well, not this particular car, but any Avus Silver Pearl 2003 S8. I first saw one a few years ago at Coventry Motor Car – well, when I say I saw one, they actually had two there that day. I sat and contemplated how I could get myself into one and cursing the existence of such a tempting combination. Prior to that, I still was in love with the S8, but I was pretty sure I’d be happy with a Ming Blue one. Or a silver one, or green, or pearlesant…but then I saw this color combination and like a Rick Astley song, I just can’t get it out of my head. This car has “Rick rolled” me! So as I sit here watching another one slip through my hands, perhaps you can enjoy looking at it too:

Year: 2003
Model: S8
Engine: 4.2 liter V8
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 93,700 mi
Price: $13,800 Buy It Now

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Audi S8 on eBay

Classic 2003 Audi S8 for sale. Low mileage & exclusively serviced by the same Audi dealership using an Audi Pure Protection (bumper to bumper) warranty. 93,700 miles (average of 9,300 miles driven each year). Avus silver with Oxblood Red interior, a color combination unique to the last year of production. Automatic transmission recently rebuilt by the reputable Chicago Transcraft ($4,200) with a 1-year warranty on parts & labor. Quattro AWD. Summer tires with RS rims recently refinished and very clean. Electronic rear sunshade. Manual rear side sun shades. GPS navigation w/ OEM discs. Winter (rubber) & summer (cloth) floor mats also included.

Full maintenance receipts during my time of ownership and large folder of service records from the previous IL owner (also serviced via an Audi warranty). All routine & scheduled service current. Most recently, 90K mile service completed. It has been thoughtfully maintained and is in excellent mechanical & cosmetic condition. Minor scratches & rock chips on the front bumper, consistent for a 10-year old car driven primarily on the expressway to commute to/from work. Through consistent maintenance over the years, this car is offered in much better condition than lesser cared for S8’s of this model range.

This car is a beast and handles beautifully. It is the most powerful and rewarding car to drive that I have ever owned, including the newer A8 I recently purchased. It’s time to find this S8 a new home. Subsequently, this S8 will no longer be a daily driver and the low mileage will be preserved.

$13,800 FIRM (serious inquiries only/no low ball offers please)
630-207-4512

I could gush about the S8 performance and package all day long, and this example looks well cared for with typical miles. The rebuilt transmission is one less thing to worry about, though S8 transmission failure is less common than A8. With everything up to date and all records, I think the car is pretty appropriately priced – while you can get into a higher mileage S8 under $10,000, they’re often not the ones to buy and a trip or two to the mechanic to sort them will quickly put you into this car’s price point. As with many of the Volkswagen products that are complicated, you’re best bet is to find the nicest one you can. Here it is. Never gonna give you up, S8!

-Carter