2002 Audi S8

A few weeks ago I wrote up three rare-to-see colored S8s. If the S8 wasn’t already a bit of a special item to spot, seeing them in shades outside of the normal black or bright silver is a real treat. While I know that not all enthusiasts feel that the Audis of this generation are the most reliable or fastest cars (they’re not, I agree), the combination of the 360 horsepower V8 and that silky-smooth exterior create a really desirable package. The D2 is just right; well proportioned, a perfect stance, some great and unique properties like the Aluminum Space Frame design to keep weight down, and a luxurious and well appointed interior. The result? One heck of a well rounded packaged that is very affordable. Missing from the last roundup was one color that our reader John and I had been exchanging – the 2002-only color “Espresso Brown” – while we found two examples, both advertisements had disappeared by the time of writing. Well, today one is back with some new photos:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi S8 on craigslist

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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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2001 Audi S8

I’ll admit that I probably have rose-colored glasses on when I look back at my V8 quattro ownership. I had enough issues with it that my wife refers to most catastrophic failures in life as “like your Audi V8” incidents. Sure, it tried to kill me a few times; but then, look at it. It’s a great looking car. And that was what kept me going as I dumped money into an example that I paid far too little for initially. Today, I find myself looking back and saying “Next time, spend a little more and get the right one”. This is something that really should extend to the rest of my car purchases, frankly – and when the opportunity to purchase a replacement Passat, I didn’t cheap out. I found a 1 owner, lower mile and fully maintained model, and I paid a premium for it. Could I have gotten one for less money with a more dubious history? Absolutely, but learn from my experiences – buying a budget Audi/Volkswagen product with the intentions of fixing it along the way as things break will certainly cost you as much as buying the nice model would have cost you. I continue to longingly look at D2 S8s with the same balance; pay for a lower mile, nice example with maintenance history versus the many that pop up for budget prices. One Ming Blue example just surfaced near me for $4,000 with the check engine light on; another for $2,500 with 200,000 miles with a blown transmission. I could get one of those, but it’s probably smarter to spend more than double that for an example with less question marks:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S8 on eBay

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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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10K Friday: Ronin v. The Transporter

On the surface, the themes were very similar; two movies staring action superstars playing above-the-law criminals with an amazing ability to extricate themselves from seemingly impossible conditions against improbable odds driving large, fast executive cars. Despite this, the movies Ronin and The Transporter couldn’t be more different. I watched the former on the edge of my seat, captivated by the mystery, floored by the incredibly filmed stunt scenes, the attention to reality and detail, and the staggeringly awesome lineup of cars. The latter I struggled to get through at all; I managed to make it about half way through before giving up. To this day, I still haven’t seen the ending of the first movie, and nothing more than trailers of the second. Is there a third? I’m sorry, I’m sure it made a gazillion dollars in the box office but frankly when I watched the clip of the Audi A8L W12 corkscrewing through the air to miraculously remove a bomb from the bottom of the car on a perfectly placed scrap-metal magnet hanging in mid-air I lost all interest. I can suspend my belief for a movie like Ronin because there was an air of reality to it; the characters were flawed and mortal. Sure, there were problems with the plot and even some of the stunts – I mean, they don’t show Jean Reno standing in line at the DMV to register the 450SEL 6.9, for example. But in terms of reality, it was on this planet at least, while The Transporter seemed to be set in some alternate Japanese-live-action-anime reality I’m not sure I want to understand. Nevertheless, the central plot to both is about cars and driving (at least a bit), and today you can purchase just about all of the cars featured in these films for around $10,000 – so which would you have? I had to use a bit of creative with some of the versions, so you’ll bear with me I hope – here we go!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL on eBay

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2002 Audi S8

I’m torn. I’ve made no excuses that I absolutely have an unnatural love and attraction to the D2 S8, and while part of that was framed by Ronin it can’t all be to blame. I want one of these cars. I’ve owned a 1993 V8 4.2 quattro, and that was both good and bad, but really only heightened my desire for a S8. So what am I torn over? Well, which color I want, of course. I originally fell in love with silver S8s when they launched in the U.S.; it was to me closest to the awesome ASF polished aluminum show car from 1993. But then I saw a Irish Green one with tan leather, and that was awesome. And then I saw a Ming Blue on, like the 2002 S8 I recently wrote up. To top it off, then there’s the really rare Avus Silver Pearl from 2003 only, replete with burgundy leather. Yeah, I want that one, too. But then I’m torn; should I hold out for the color I want or just take the plunge on a much more common silver example?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi S8 on Craigslist

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2002 Audi S8

Last week, I wrote up a lovely Ming Blue 2001 Audi S8, and while it wasn’t the most perfect example out there, it was an honest, well maintained example. It seems that there are a plethora of 2001 models in the United States; more rare are the 2002 and 2003 models of this short-lived sports executive sedan. Today’s example looks like a carbon copy of last week’s example; again in Ming Blue and with the tan Recaro sports interior, this one is one year newer with less miles and the correct 18″ original Avus wheels:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi S8 on eBay

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1998 Audi A8 4.2 Quattro

I’ll make no excuses for my love of the Audi D2. Sure, it helps that I owned a D11 V8 Quattro, but the reality is that the D2 was, at least in my opinion, a better looking car than its competition from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. It was clear when the original “Aluminum Space Frame” (ASF) concept launched in 1993 that Audi had jumped the game up. No longer would they rely on a restyled mid-size car for their top of the range executive sedan; the A8 represented an entirely new direction for the company, with revised design language that would last two generations as well as substantially altered technology. That technology made the A8 much lighter than it looked; through use of aluminum, the curb weight of the large A8 was about the same – despite increased levels of luxury, legroom and soundproofing – as the outgoing V8 quattro. Sure, at around 4,000 lbs, it’s no featherlight; but it wore its weight well and elegantly, making it seem like a much sportier and livelier car than the numbers alone would suggest. Then there was the presence that the A8 just oozes; much like the beloved BMW E38, the D2 manages to look long, low and aggressive while still seeming elegant and refined. It’s a combination few large sedans are able to pull off, and from a looks perspective, it’s hard to argue that either of the successive generations of large Audi have surpassed the good looks of the D2.

From a buyers perspective, these cars are also the bargain of the “Big Three” German executives. Generally it’s hard to find a late 1990s A8 in very good condition, but when you do it’s a bit of a treat because they’re generally on offer for about the same money that gets you into a decent A4. If you’re looking for refinement, there’s simply no contest between the two; the A8 wins hands down any day. Coupled with all wheel drive and the quite capable 310 horsepower 40V V8, they’re no slouch on back roads or highways, either. Today, we’re excited to feature this lovely, great condition Canadian-spec 1998 A8 4.2 Quattro from Enthusiast Auto Sales:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Audi A8 4.2 Quattro at Enthusiast Auto Sales

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10K Friday: 2001 – An Executive Odyssey – S8 v. 740i Sport

A few weeks ago, Paul wrote up a low mile 1995 740i, always a favorite of ours here at GCFSB. Also a favorite is the D2 S8. Together, they represent in our minds the pinnacle of large executive designs – fast, comfortable, quiet, and with enough presence to draw respectful looks without being overstated, showy or brash. We also think that these two executive sedans are better looking than the multiple generations that have replaced them. While performance and luxury have increased in both BMW and Audi, in our opinion both of these cars are the high-water marks for their respective brands. So, which would you rather have? Let’s start with the S8:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S8 on eBay

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2001 Audi S8

I’ve recently been engaged in an email exchange with one of our readers comparing the V8 quattro that I love with the later D2 A8/S8. As much as it pains me to admit it and I love that early D11 V8, the reality is in nearly every measurable way the A8 and S8 are probably just a better choice. First, they’re the best part of a decade newer, and while the styling isn’t DTM worthy the D2 is certainly a great looking car in pretty much everyone’s book. The dimensions are right, the stance is great, and the presence is enormous. The D2 also benefited from the developments of the D11 chassis, and while it’s missing the virtually unstoppable Torsen setup of the V8 quattro, the D2 gained in pretty much every other department; refinement, quality, ride comfort, performance, fuel economy and safety. The top of the heap is one of our favorite cars, the S8 – touting 360 horsepower and a stiffer suspension, this is the one to have:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S8 on eBay

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