VIDEO: D2 Audi S8 vs Audi S3 vs Audi A8

As a car enthusiast, I’m a lover of old cars. What enthusiast isn’t? My favorite era/type of cars are probably ’80s/90s German cars, with some early ’00s sprinkled in. One car I have a soft spot for in particular is the D2-generation Audi A8, which ran from 1997-2002. That generation A8 also spawned one of the coolest performance sedans of all time — the D2 Audi S8, a car so icy-cool it was even in a car chase in the movie Ronin. In this new video from Carwow, we see that D2 Audi S8 take on some newer competition.

While old cars are great too look at and drive, they’re objectively worse than modern cars in every possible way. This comparison video is proof of that. When the D2 Audi S8 debuted in the early ’00s, it was one of the most impressive sedans the world had ever seen. Yet, in this video, a brand-new Audi S3 Sportback and even an Audi A8 diesel take its lunch.

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Powering the Audi S8 is a 4.2 liter naturally-aspirated V8, by far the biggest engine in the test. That free-breathing V8 made a healthy 335 hp when new, which makes it the most powerful car in the test on paper (it may have lost a few ponies over the years). The Audi S3 only uses a 2.0 liter turbocharged engine but it makes 310 hp, almost matching the S8’s V8 with twice the cylinders and more than twice the displacement. Which goes to show how far modern performance cars have come. While the Audi A8 TDI in this test is an even better showcase of how far things have come. Its 3.0 liter turbocharged V6 diesel makes 257 hp, which is well under the other two. However, its diesely torque helps it hang on.

In a standing drag race, all three cars launch off the line pretty well but the Audi S3 quickly pulls ahead and dominates the other two with ease. While the old Audi S8 hangs on to the diesel A8 for a bit, the big oil-burner takes second place in the end. That leaves the Audi S8, which was considered a monster in its time, in dead last to a hot hatchback and a diesel luxury cruiser. We won’t spoil the rest of the video, as you should watch it below, but the rest of the test basically goes the same way. See? New cars crush old cars in every objective way.

CategoriesA8 S3 S8
Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.