Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Despite being aimed at buyers who want to drive rather than be driven, the S8 is still, in essence, a very fast A8 – a luxury saloon often spotted outside celebrity events and luxury locations, with a suited driver doing the crossword inside.
So, if you’re expecting the sort of lively handling you get from some smaller performance saloons, including the BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, then you’ll be mildly disappointed. After all, as we’ve already mentioned, this is a very big, very heavy car.
There’s also very little tyre or wind noise at motorway cruising speeds; by any standard, this is a stress-free long distance cruiser. That’s helped enormously by the S8’s wonderfully comfortable ride in all situations. The car can actually read the road ahead to prime the suspension for upcoming obstacles, and this helps the S8 deal with speed bumps particularly well. Lumps and bumps are soaked up smoothly at faster speeds, too – even if you go for the Vorsprung version with its standard 21in alloy wheels.