2001 Audi S8

The word “melange” comes from the French word for a ‘group of diverse elements’. That’s not a sexy description, nor does it evoke images of some exotic race track or picturesque mountain range. However, I think it does sum up the S8 really well. It is a car which combines all-weather practicality, a healthy dose of sport, one of the best looking large sedan shapes ever penned, and of course it doesn’t hurt that it has 360 horsepower on tap to help motivate it. But you could also interpret the diverse elements as the building blocks of the S8 and its heavy incorporation of aluminum to keep weight down. Visually, the S8 looked like a massive car. But as just a tick over 4,000 lbs, it was no heavier in reality than the V8 quattro had been over a decade earlier despite the increased luxury, options, power and size. Diverse elements could also describe the colors of the U.S. bound S8 range, as nearly every color was unique to the specific model years the D2 was available. Some did carry over, but part of my joy in clicking on S8 links is to see just what shade the example appears in. Today’s is one of the more infrequently chosen 2001-only colors. Arguably, while the S8 is anything but beige, the color’s name – Melange Metallic – suits the multi-roll S8 well.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S8 on eBay

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2003 Audi S8

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

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2001 Audi S8 6-speed

My somewhat dour post regarding yesterday’s S8 had me feeling a bit downtrodden, and this listing was just what I needed to feel a little better. Not every current S8 owner is less than careful, and there are many who have grabbed one of these spectacular super-sedans because of the same enthusiasm I have for them. In the case of today’s example, it’s a first-year run S8 from 2001. However, the owner has upgraded the often-maligned 5-speed Tiptronic to an 01E 6-speed manual. The dream of many though few have been completed, the 6-speed swap is often mentioned as an alternative to add a little sport and long-term reliability to the mix. But it’s no small undertaking, and finding one that’s done correctly offers the potential buyer a turn-key package without the headaches of heavy lifting:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S8 on Craigslist

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2003 Audi S8

It is with a tinge of regret that I post nearly every S8, but especially the 2003 models. That’s because they’re one of my favorite cars, and with only 1,200 total examples imported to the U.S., they’re not exactly common. This is especially true when it came to the last year of the D2 S8; you had to select a no-cost “Limited Edition” package three special color combinations. The Brilliant Black is nice and Ming Blue is always pretty, but for my money no S8 matches the color combination of the third; the Avus Silver Pearl with Oxblood interior. Only 100 of these cars were made up and it feels as though I’ve let half of those slip through my hands:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Audi S8 on Craigslist

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1999 Audi A8 with 50,000 Miles

While low mileage, pristine condition Porsches almost seem cliche, finding an Audi with not much distance covered just doesn’t happen very often. When it does, it seems to inevitably be a model that no one is particularly excited about. That’s unfortunate, because often those models are quite competent performers, indeed. Growing off of the Audi Space Frame Concept from 1993, the A8 was the replacement for the short lived V8 quattro. Although the V8 had only been in production for a few years when the ASF was built, the Type 44 chassis was already quite old so a replacement was fitting. And Audi really outdid itself, with a modern, clean design based around lightweight aluminum technology. Underneath, the initial A8 didn’t offer revolution but instead built on the technology incorporated into the advanced for the time V8 quattro. Over its life, though, the A8 became a world-class leading sedan with steadily increasing technology and power output. For the most part, though, what most people remember are the post 2001 changes; introduction for the U.S. market of the long-wheel base A8L and sporty S8. That’s unfair to the often unloved and seldom seen early models which were very similar and quite competent in their own right. Running across a 1999 A8 with only 50,000 miles is rare enough that you might not see it again in the U.S. and offers you the opportunity to get into a nearly new top flight executive sedan:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 Audi A8 on eBay

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How “Loaded” Is “Fully”? 2001 Audi S8 Options Breakdown

The term “Fully Loaded” is often overused by dealers, and sometimes – as our reader Brad is fond of pointing out – poorly used. He is correct that, when talking about a top of the range luxury executive car, saying that it has power windows, locks or steering seems really quite superfluous since you couldn’t opt out of those options. Earlier this week, another reader sent me a 2001 S8 and I started to tick off the options that were selected as I looked through the photos and over the description. Unfortunately, the pricing on that particular S8 John sent was so aggressively low that someone got a great deal and it disappeared almost immediately. What was really amazing was that the selected options were more costly than the second-hand asking price! But I found another heavily equipped 2001 S8 for sale – unsurprisingly, though, the dealer doesn’t list those rare options, rather relying on the tried and true “Fully Loaded” moniker. Let’s see if we can decode what the car was selected with – and what that would have cost:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S8 on Geebo

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2002 Audi S8

The D2 S8 is without a doubt one of my favorite cars, but even I’ll admit that the color pallet that the car was offered in was rather sedate. In fact, by 2003 you could only select from three colors. The typical silvers, dark blues, and blacks are all too common to see on the uncommon sporty large executive, but if you look at the specification sheets for the car you find that there were actually several colors that were very rare to see. Strangely, that’s not necessarily because they were ugly or very unusual colors – in fact, the example of today’s color was quite popular on other models like the Allroad. Yet, here is an Alpaka Beige S8 quattro – a color only available in 2002:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi S8 on craigslist

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Reader Ride Success Story: D2 Desires

Over the years, we’ve gained a lot of fans here at GCFSB, some of whom are specialty dealerships focuses on the cars we know and love. One such dealer is Sun Valley Auto Club in Idaho, whose inventory is always chock full of interesting finds. Our reader, Max, over at Sun Valley Auto Club recently purchased a 2002 Audi S8 that we featured last year. He was kind enough to check in with us and share his enthusiasm for this Audi and his buying experience.

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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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Feature Listing: 2001 Audi A8L

This car has been sold – we hope to see the seller back again soon!

Update 11/7/2014 – the seller of this pristine A8L contacted us to let us know one of the three issues – the backordered O2 sensor from Audi – arrived and has been installed, correcting one of the very few flaws on this stunning car. Despite the $500 bill, the seller price has remained the same. Don’t you wish all sellers were like this one?

Earlier today I wrote up a brace of Audi S4s – undoubtedly, one of the best performance values going in classic German motoring today. However, if you move forward a generation, there’s a similar stunning value in the S4’s big brother – the Audi A8. Available in three configurations, the D2 chassis pioneered some new technology for Audi – the Aluminum Space Frame which stiffened the structure and kept weight down. The A8 was also completely new outside; while it’s easy to point towards it as looking like a big A4, the reality is the opposite – the Audi space frame concept car actually predated the B5 A4 chassis and the first iterations of the D2 were near exact copies of the show car. First available in front drive 3.7 V8 configuration and 4.2 quattro, the D2 A8 was initially offered only in short wheel base before 2000. Styling was revised in 2000, which also saw the U.S. introduction of both the sport-oriented S8 model (2001) and ultra-luxury oriented A8L. Equipped with special wheels and fully optioned out, these cars were anything but subtle – commanding serious presence on the road. But that weighty look didn’t necessarily translate to physical weight; despite the long wheel base and luxury bias, the A8L hit the scales only around a hundred pounds heavier than the C4 S4/S6. There were a few other minor details that separated the L from the regular A8 outside of the longer wheel base, too – a larger gas tank and upgraded brakes kept the performance in line with the normal A8. Coupled with the 40 valve V8 4.2 engine pumping 310 horsepower, this meant that the A8L was no slouch even though only equipped with the ZF-made 5-speed tiptronic. In a straight drag race, the A8L would actually give a stock C4 S4/S6 a run for its money. But a drag car the A8L was not; it’s about luxury motoring, and the A8L excels there in droves as well. Despite the impressive package, these cars are available for very little money today – and when they’re presented like this example, it’s a compelling opportunity to get into one of the prettiest German luxury cars ever made for only a fraction of the original purchase price:

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