I have to admit to being a bit of a skim reader. It’s a trait or skill that I picked up as a child and (most of the time) helps me get through the screeds of information required to do this type of job – However it does have its downside. Take the movie Trainspotter, when I first read the title I thought that Tinsel town had lost its mind, don’t get me wrong I have no issue with our anorak wearing friends but the thought of sitting through an hour and a half of someone ‘copping’ a train that passes by on a track had me less than enamored. My feelings turned to confusion when I read who the lead star was – action star Jason Statham! A quick read of the plot Ex Special forces operator hires himself (and his Audi) out as a no questions asked – Transporter! Not a train in sight; Phew all is well with the world.
Obviously it’s the Audi I’m here to talk about and although in the movie it is a top of the line W12 A8, my ride for the week was (in my opinion) a more top of the line S8 Plus. Maybe it’s the carbon fibre trim or sports pedigree, wide feet or mere ribbons of rubber but despite it being a large sedan (5.1m+) Audi have somehow made it look smaller. It still has the elegance of a luxury sedan but (as can be seen when Statham is behind the wheel) it has the agility of a powerful feline. Strong shoulder and bonnet lines add to the cars athleticism and its carbon fibre spoiler and 4 tailpipes underline the road commanding effect from the rear.
The interior is full of valcona leather, brushed aluminium, carbon and alcantara, it smells wonderful and looks even better. The Arras red contrast stitched seats absorb you and keep you in place when you’re getting enthusiastic on the road and there is enough legroom in the rear for a couple of basketball players. The console is shiny piano black and has a high tech appearance – especially when the 8” full colour screen comes out of the dashboard. There are SD memory card slots and connectors in a ‘Secret’ compartment below the screen and you can charge your phone wirelessly – however, I searched high and low and could not find a USB slot – am I outdated already? Infotainment is easy to navigate around (B&O supply the sound) and at night the centre of the instrument panel (on this demonstrator) turns night into day with a night vision camera – it is a great option. Open the boot and it’s plain to see why it was Jason’s choice, there is more room back there (almost 400L) than a closet space in my house – plenty enough to store your anorak and probably everyone else’s.
Under the bonnet; it has a 4L Biturbo TFSI V8 that kicks out 445kW of power and a ridiculous 700Nm of torque (and a rediculouser – yes I know it’s not a real word – 750Nm in overboost)! It will move its big frame from 0-100 in 3.8 seconds but (possibly thankfully) is limited to 250kph. But the big thing to emphasize here is that you get these numbers unknowingly. If it wasn’t for the speedo (and the rate the oncoming traffic comes up to greet you) you would have no concept how quickly you really were travelling. Due to some very fancy noise control; the V8 is virtually silent (unless you are at its warp speed) and the way the S8Plus delivers the power is astonishing. It’s not a gut wrenching drag fest, it’s presented to you almost stealthily – with a mere dab of the accelerator you are in Police ‘eyebrow raising’ territory.
The S8’s Drive Select gives you a range of driving options but Dynamic was my preference. The highlight (aside from the speed) being the steering – I talk about precision a lot in my write ups but I have to say; in the S8 you really are in full control – it’s very noticeable.
All over the world; there are thousands of people that have ‘Trainspotting’ as their hobby of choice. Every week they spend hour after hour trackside; in all weather conditions; noting down train engine numbers, my advice to them is to head into the warmth of a city café and wait for the Audi S8 Plus to drive past. After all, the engine number is easy to remember 4LTFSIV8, it has the speed of a bullet train and you may even be lucky enough to spot me or Jason Statham in the driver’s seat.
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