RE: Audi?S8: PH Buying Guide

RE: Audi?S8: PH Buying Guide

Friday 9th February

Audi S8: PH Used Buying Guide

Thinking of buying one of the ultimate bargain barges? Make sure you read this first! 



On a value for money basis, the 2006 Audi S8 could be one of the biggest bargains out there. For around £10,000, you get a 5.2-litre V10-powered sports saloon with all-wheel drive and enough space for a quartet of you to travel in complete luxury. It will also crack 0-62mph in 5.1 seconds before running into the electronic limiter at 155mph when the engine still has plenty to give.

Of course, you could look at it another way, and wonder why so much car is on offer for so little money... You don't need a doctorate in Shedology to know expensive, fast saloons retain their appetite for large bills even when their age-adjusted price tumbles into the temptingly affordable bracket. So it is with the D3 generation of S8.

Much of this car's appeal lies in its V10 engine, which is related to rather than borrowed wholesale from the Lamborghini Gallardo. In this guise, the V10 makes 450hp and 398lb ft, with the latter developed at 3500rpm to peak at half the revs of its distant Italian cousin. Rather than lament that, though, celebrate that it makes the S8 a superbly adept high speed cruiser. Average fuel economy of 20.3mpg might reign in the range to some degree, but there's a 90-litre tank so you can still easily cover 350 miles before the warning light blinks at you.


You can also use the S8 year-round thanks to its Quattro four-wheel drive, supple ride - even though it sits 20mm lower than other A8s - and smooth six-speed auto. On top of that, every S8 is laden with leather upholstery, electrically adjusted seat with position memory, double glazing and pop-up infotainment screen. Popular options included a Bang and Olufsen stereo upgrade and you should look for S8s with parking sensors as it's a big old bird.

Audi also offers carbon ceramic brakes as an expensive option, but few owners bothered ticking this box. The steel discs work fine and CCBs are now a wallet-melting liability if they need replacing.

During its four-year run, little changed with the S8 and it didn't catch the imagination of many buyers. Now, it's a fast, understated way to travel if you can stomach the occasional big bill. Reckon on spending from £10,000 for one with full history and 100,000 miles. A 60,000 miler will start at £16,000 and you should factor in the cost of an aftermarket warranty.

Inspired? Buy an Audi S8 here.



Bodywork and interior

Aluminium bodywork resists corrosion, but look for signs of previous repairs. Any damage to the panels is expensive to put right.

Engine and transmission

Access to the rear-most spark plugs is limited and requires the engine to be partially lowered to remove them. This makes replacing all 10 with the correct plugs a pricey service item and explains why a major service from an independent garage can come to £750. Minor services are around £600.

Cam cover gaskets leak and let oil drip onto the exhaust manifolds, so look and smell for signs of this. Replacing this gasket is made trickier by the rear bolt being hidden under the bulkhead due to the length of the engine.


Another awkward job is replacing a faulty starter motor, which demands the engine be removed from the car. That will come to £4000 in labour charges.

The oil pump seal can fail, generally at around 100,000 miles, but with this generation of S8 getting older now it can strike on lower mileage examples. The seal is pennies to buy but requires the engine to be removed, though some specialists can do the job with the engine in situ to bring the labour cost down to around £1,500.

Coil packs can fail, so watch out for any rough running.

Transmission fluid changes at 20,000-mile intervals are recommended as the Tiptronic 'box has to cope with a lot of torque and all-wheel drive traction. Listen for any noises from the gearbox and walk away if it there are, or if the shifts are not perfectly smooth.


Suspension and steering

The S8 weighs in at 1940kg, so the suspension gets a hard time. The front uses twin upper and lower wishbones, so there are double the number of bushes. Replacement suspension arms from Audi are £250, but good used replacements can be had for £125 from Prestige Motor Services.

Wheels, tyres and brakes

The standard brakes work well, but check their condition. New front discs and pads will set you back £850. Rear pads are around £100 per set.
Make sure the electronic handbrake is working efficiently. If not, it could be just worn pads, but if it's an electrical fault it can cost up to £1000 to put right.


SPECFICATION - AUDI S8 D3

Engine: 5,204cc V10
Transmission: 6-speed auto, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 450@7,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 398@3,500rpm
MPG: 20.3
CO2: 321g/km
Price new: £73,715
Price now: £10,000 upwards

Author
Discussion

BFleming

Original Poster:

751 posts

79 months

Thursday 8th February
quotequote all
It's almost as if Alisdair Suttie read the S8: Spotted article from 3 weeks ago (different author) & corrected all the points that readers jumped up & down about - the Gallardo engine reference being the big one. This one reads a lot better, but if those maintenance costs are to be believed, it'll surely put these S8's up there with Maserati Quattroporte running costs (not the Duo Select though)! It's an educational kind of week.

Equus

4,779 posts

37 months

Thursday 8th February
quotequote all
£750 for an oil-and-plugs change, and £4,000 for a new starter motor?

I'm oot...

andy43

5,931 posts

190 months

Thursday 8th February
quotequote all
Some big numbers there... and I’m not talking about the engine specs! Run!

Faz50

546 posts

15 months

Thursday 8th February
quotequote all
Not an S8 but I had the 4.2 v8 A8 and loved it. Hit 60 in under 6 so happy enough in a big motor. Absolutely loved it.

Would like an s8 but those bills are scary!

An A8 3.0tdi with a remap to 290bhp and close to 450 lb/ft would make us a great family bus I think.

chris4652009

937 posts

20 months

Thursday 8th February
quotequote all
Walked in hoping for D2 content.

Walked out
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Krikkit

13,521 posts

117 months

Thursday 8th February
quotequote all
Love these cars, those figures make it sound perfect for a drop of home-spannering where time for fiddly (but known) jobs is in plentiful supply.

One thing I would say, and it's a gripe of all A8s, is that the switchgear doesn't seem to be any better than that in the base models - once they're a few years old they always seem to have the writing rubbing off the buttons on the console etc. Strikes me as a very cheap detail on what was a very expensive car. Classic VAG perceived quality.

AC43

6,440 posts

144 months

Thursday 8th February
quotequote all
Terrifying number of routine jobs involve dropping the engine.....

Shame as I've always had a soft spot for these and V10 S6's.

justa1972

115 posts

73 months

Thursday 8th February
quotequote all
£4000 for a starter motor ?!?!?!?!?!?


rassi

1,907 posts

187 months

Thursday 8th February
quotequote all
As lovely as that V10 is, the 4.2 TDI in standard form, let alone mapped, would be a faster and much less expensive option.

PorkRind

2,540 posts

141 months

Thursday 8th February
quotequote all
andy43 said:
Some big numbers there... and I’m not talking about the engine specs! Run!
Yeah, not particularly impressive numbers given the number of cylinders & their capacity !

popeyewhite

7,616 posts

56 months

Thursday 8th February
quotequote all
rassi said:
As lovely as that V10 is, the 4.2 TDI in standard form, let alone mapped, would be a faster and much less expensive option.
Really? Years ago I drove both and found the the V10 faster. More torque for the diesel but above 50 the V10 convincingly left it. As for cost I owned the V10 for 3 years and the biggest expense was tyres. Lots of computers on board and forum owners at the time were telling of gremlins with the dash/satnav electronics.

Michael77

37 posts

90 months

Thursday 8th February
quotequote all
Engine out for what should be routine service or part replacements? Yeah I'm out. Fantastic barge if you've got deep pockets though.

stevie777777

20 posts

111 months

Thursday 8th February
quotequote all
These costs are not a surprise - My E60 M5 (with only 60K on the clock when sold) had some interesting bills - and from other threads I have seen I got off lightly in 2 years of ownership - Front discs and pads £750, new actuator (right cylinder bank) £800 fitted....but worth it for the V10 experience...ticked that box now but would never go back biggrin

culpz

3,893 posts

48 months

Thursday 8th February
quotequote all
Huge performance Audi barge with eye-watering running costs shocker. For a car that was as expensive as these were from new, it should't be much of a surprise really.

Yes, they can be bought cheap but that's only the beginning and only tells one side of the story. It does pay to have these buying guides though. Go in eyes-open indeed!

Esceptico

1,519 posts

45 months

Thursday 8th February
quotequote all
popeyewhite said:
rassi said:
As lovely as that V10 is, the 4.2 TDI in standard form, let alone mapped, would be a faster and much less expensive option.
Really? Years ago I drove both and found the the V10 faster. More torque for the diesel but above 50 the V10 convincingly left it. As for cost I owned the V10 for 3 years and the biggest expense was tyres. Lots of computers on board and forum owners at the time were telling of gremlins with the dash/satnav electronics.
I think what should have been written was "in the real world the 4.2 TDI would be faster 95% of the time". Yes the V10 would be quicker on a drag strip or on the Autobahn but on UK roads where most time is spent below 80 mph you don't get the benefits of the V10. Not to mention that on long journeys the TDI would be faster because you would be stopping for fuel less frequently.

With respect to cost of ownership over three years then unless something miraculous happened, the depreciation you suffered was several times the cost of tyres, fuel and any other consumables put together.

This is the odd thing with bangernomics. It is somehow okay to lose £50k on a £100k car in depreciation over 3 years and yet if you buy a secondhand luxury barge at £15,000 and possibly loss £10,000 because of bug bills you are seen as profligate and mad.

JimbobVFR

1,862 posts

80 months

Thursday 8th February
quotequote all
culpz said:
Huge performance Audi barge with eye-watering running costs shocker. For a car that was as expensive as these were from new, it should't be much of a surprise really.

Yes, they can be bought cheap but that's only the beginning and only tells one side of the story. It does pay to have these buying guides though. Go in eyes-open indeed!
To an extent I kind of agree but some of the points (for example needing to drop the engine to replace spark plugs or remove it completely for a starter motor) just smack of poor design to me.

I appreciate cramming in 10 cylinders and 4 wheel drive isn't easy but still...

JuniorD

5,997 posts

159 months

Thursday 8th February
quotequote all
Summary: Do Not Go There

sdiggle

54 posts

26 months

Thursday 8th February
quotequote all
4k for a starter motor is just poor design! Surely all consumables should be designed to be at hand as mush as they can be.....

j90gta

452 posts

70 months

Thursday 8th February
quotequote all
sdiggle said:
4k for a starter motor is just poor design! Surely all consumables should be designed to be at hand as mush as they can be.....
Not just cars like this. Wife had a Citroen C3; it was recommended that the front wing was removed to change a headlamp bulb! Manufacturers of all types of vehicles design them to make basic home maintenance as difficult as possible. Audi A2 anyone; weren't they designed so that you could only open the front flap to check levels?

culpz

3,893 posts

48 months

Thursday 8th February
quotequote all
JimbobVFR said:
culpz said:
Huge performance Audi barge with eye-watering running costs shocker. For a car that was as expensive as these were from new, it should't be much of a surprise really.

Yes, they can be bought cheap but that's only the beginning and only tells one side of the story. It does pay to have these buying guides though. Go in eyes-open indeed!
To an extent I kind of agree but some of the points (for example needing to drop the engine to replace spark plugs or remove it completely for a starter motor) just smack of poor design to me.

I appreciate cramming in 10 cylinders and 4 wheel drive isn't easy but still...
It could very well be down to poor design but it's just something you'd need to consider when buying one. I'd say that it's par for the course when it comes to cars having huge engines. Sometimes, there's no other way it can be done or else such performance versions would cease to exist.

I can only assume that there's no cheap way of fixing it, so a very much like it or lump it scenario. There will be a goof few cars out there that struggle with similar issues. Unfortunately, this just happens to be a premium branded car with premium parts prices to match and alot of labour.