Polarize: To cause to divide into two conflicting groups. Used in a sentence: “The Audi S8 is a polarizing Luxury Sedan.”
The goal of my “Value Plays of the Month” are to give you, the reader a glimpse into my mind and find out what I think is a “Great Value” at the current time. Perhaps you agree, perhaps you disagree or maybe you could care less, either way, I aim at delivering a perspective that makes you think and possibly even take action. Success, for my Value Play of the Month is that my ideas inspire a flicker of desire in a few like-minded automotive enthusiasts. Possibly that flicker starts to smolder and eventually becomes a burning desire and you actually go out and purchase the car that I reminded you was cool. Simple as that!
The past few month’s Value Plays have centered around Sports Cars that you can buy, drive and either not lose money on, or potentially make a few bucks as the car appreciates in value while you own it. The particular car I have chosen for this month’s article will not appreciate in value, it is more of a daily-driver type car. In fact, you will lose money if you buy one and drive it, but considering your options for what else you can get for the money, its rarity and cool factor, I think the depreciation curve has mostly flattened and it will hold value better than many other cars in its class. This is a car that I have loved for many years, but it takes a certain “acquired taste” to admire it as I do, so I am expecting many to disagree with me. That is OK, your feedback is welcome as I feel this car is simply too cool to ignore, so let’s get right into it!
The 2013-2015 Audi S8 is my favorite Sports/Luxury Sedan right now and I believe it is the best value in a large Sports Sedan under $100,000. (The new S8 Plus, which is around $135,000 new, is currently my favorite sedan of all time…and surprisingly, Audi is not paying me to write this!) Using the same all aluminum body and frame from the successful third generation A8, the S8 is powered by a 4.0-litre TFSI biturbo V8 engine with 520 horsepower. When doing research for this article I saw automotive journalists quote 0-60 times for the S8 from 3.7 seconds all the way up to 4.2 seconds. Having owned and driven a 2013 model extensively, I can promise you the HP figures are massively under rated and that the true horsepower is probably a lot closer to 600 (Which is what the 2016 S8 Plus is rated at) and the 0-60 time is probably 3.7-3.8 seconds. Whichever it actually is, this car is extremely fast for an all-wheel drive luxury sedan that weights 4,685 lbs.
Performance figures aside, the S8’s incredible road presence is what truly captivates me. I loved the look of this car from the moment I first saw it. It has a low ride height with high belt line, bold yet-traditional proportions, large egg-crate style front grill, dual tip exhaust, satin-finished aluminum trim and massive 21’ wheels (21s are optional, 20s are standard). The S8 is not a flashy car, it does not try hard to impress, but somehow it is uniquely important. It’s like a navy seal cloaked in a well-tailored Tuxedo, its ready for battle, but appropriately dressed to transport you to the most sophisticated social affair. The S8 is one of those cars that non-car guys don’t understand as if expressing the idea that “if you know, you know”. I love its subtle flair. Once inside, all bets of being under-the-radar are off. No matter who you are, you will have to appreciate the beautifully diamond-stitched interior, generous usage of aluminum trim and purposefully engineered and placed instruments. There is a carefully chosen array of optional features and trim such as a Bang and Olufsen stereo system with tweeters that magically rise out of the dash when the stereo is switched on and choices of wood trim, or even carbon fiber if you desire. It is worth noting that the Audi S8 comes standard with an all-wheel drive system making it truly useable year round.
Now Values: I have seen 2013 S8s priced in the low $50,000 range up to the low $70,000s. 2014s and 2014s are in the $70,000s and $80,000s. There are a lot of choices in those price ranges for late-model, pre-owned Luxury and Sports sedans, but I believe the S8 is the best choice if the styling suits you as much as it does me. The performance will never disappoint, but rather shock you on routine occasion. The S8’s build quality is fantastic and it comes standard with a 4 year 50,000 mile warranty. If you buy one pre-owned you can always opt to have it certified through an Audi dealer which includes an extension of the factory warranty. I think these cars look great in Black and Grey or even Silver. Stay away from the light grey interior as resale value for that color is soft. No matter what colors you decide on, you won’t regret your choice of car and I image that it will grow on you over time just as it has for me.