And so we took to the track in the shimmering silver bullet, and it did not disappoint. Weighing 4611 pounds, virtually the same as the last S8 we tested, the S8 Plus rocketed to 60 mph in an astonishing 3.3 seconds, reaching 100 mph in an equally spectacular 7.8 seconds, besting the S8 by 0.3 and 0.7 second. The rear-biased all-wheel-drive system prevents any of the ample torque from being lost to wheelspin, so neck-snapping launches are as simple as mashing the gas pedal and holding on. And make sure you’re looking far, far ahead.
Not only is the S8 Plus quicker than before, its zero-to-60-mph time makes it one of the quickest four-door sedans we’ve ever tested. The 577-hp Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4MATIC takes 3.8 seconds to hit 60 mph, the 560-hp BMW M5 (3.7 seconds) and the 640-hp Cadillac CTS-V (3.6) cut a fraction or two, the 552-hp BMW M6 Gran Coupe and the 570-hp Porsche Panamera Turbo S both require 3.5, while the 707-hp Dodge Charger Hellcat does it in 3.4. One particularly strong Mercedes-Benz CLS63 S-model did the deed in 3.2 seconds during a comparison test back in 2013, and Audi’s sexy RS7 posted a 3.4-second time during that same test, which also included the aforementioned M6 Gran Coupe. We would be remiss not to mention the Tesla Model S P90D, a big hatchback that trounces them all with its incredible 2.8-second time—as long as its battery charge is 95 percent or more. Even so, the elevated position of the S8 Plus in the ultra-high-performance luxury-sedan pantheon is more than secure.
As quickly as the S8 Plus gains speed, so too can it stop, halting from 70 mph in a short 156 feet. That said, it didn’t improve upon the previous S8’s braking performance despite being fitted with carbon-ceramic brake rotors. Is it too much to expect at least slightly shorter stops when shelling out $11, 000 for the aforementioned Dynamic package? And we’d appreciate the brakes being a bit less grabby around town, too. We also were underwhelmed with the S8 Plus’s skidpad performance; its 0.89 g of lateral grip is virtually indistinguishable from the outgoing car’s 0.90 g. What that skidpad figure doesn’t fully convey, however, is the precision with which the big Audi sliced a line across the twisty mountain roads of Southern California’s Angeles National Forest. Place the chassis-adjusting Drive Select system in Dynamic mode, and the quick and linear steering, torque-vectoring rear differential, and air-spring suspension work together to impart as much verve to the handling as the steroidal engine does to the acceleration.