Good on Audi and the 2022 Audi S8 to keep sticking with high-power, high-style supersedans in this year of our Lord, 2023. We're losing more and more good people to the SUV fight by the day, so the humble sedans need every feature to stay appealing. The S8, in particular, does this through a predictive active suspension system, which pops the car up a couple of inches, thus making ingress and egress easier. Is it enough to stay a would-be SUV buyer? You tell me.
I had the new S8 over New Year's weekend, and everyone's favorite feature by far was that predictive active suspension system. It's most visible when you enter or exit the car: As soon as a door—any door—opens, the car pops up by two inches on its springs like a soldier springing to attention. It happens fast, too. Look:
After the car senses that all the doors are closed, it slowly lowers itself back to its standard position. And, yes, to answer your question, it does feel a little funny from the inside when the car does it. I didn't mind, though. This feature was baller.
Of course, making itself easier to climb into and out of isn't the sole purpose of the predictive active suspension. It's also meant to absorb the road's pitches and dips by prepping the chassis where appropriate. The system works via an electric motor at each wheel, and its responses are determined by the car's drive mode. In sport mode, for example, nosedive and roll angles are decreased.
In comfort mode, the front camera pairs up with the steering, which allows the car to feel any unevenness and signal the system to respond accordingly. Audi also claims that a "curve-tilting function" cuts down on lateral acceleration felt by occupants.
"Upon entering a curve, it elevates the side of the body on the outside of the curve and lowers the other side, thereby tilting it into the curve up to three degrees," an Audi spokesperson told me. Think of it like counterbalancing, with the ultimate goal being passenger comfort. Indeed, while I was driving it, the car rode very, very comfortably.
This isn't a new feature on the 2022 S8, by the way. It debuted on the current Audi A8 about four years ago, but because of supply chain problems, it's only now being more widely offered. Here's an Audi video that demonstrates how it all works and gives you a look at what's happening underneath the body.
On the S8 I tested the predictive active suspension system was a $6,000 option. I am aware that is a lot of money for what essentially amounted to an extra-comfy ride and a cool party trick.
But here's the thing: I'm goofy as hell, and so was getting to watch and experience this feature. I haven't really seen it anywhere else before. The spectacle of it alone is worth it to me. How much would it cost to repair if it ever goes bad? As my mother always says, don't ask questions you don't want to know the answers to.
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