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2007-08 S8 Buying Advice


Old 03-10-2014, 01:56 PM
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Default 2007-08 S8 Buying Advice


Long time lurker, first time poster. Been eyeing and researching 2007 and 2008 D3 S8's, and now the fun part has arrived: finding and buying my S8.
  • Is there a D3 S8 Buyer's Guide resource that you know of? Looking for something similar to this D2 Buyer's Guide, but for D3s.
  • It is likely that I will have to travel several hundred miles to check out an eligible S8 (I'm in Cleveland, OH). What's the best approach to getting a car tested thoroughly when I am not familiar with the seller's area and service providers?
  • I've been looking at the 60K - 90K miles on the odometer range, and have been shying away from the 100K+ miles S8s, simply because I equate higher miles with more wear and tear and higher likelihood of needing service sooner. For you long term S8 owners, what mileage range would you suggest staying in while searching?
  • As I understand, the main differences between 2007 and 2008 is the round to rectangular fog lamps, minor cosmetic changes to the grill, and Nav upgraded from DVD to HDD? What other changes should I be aware of between 2007 and 2008? Is the lag on the Nav noticeable between 07 and 08?
  • For you S8 buyers who bought used, what is one thing you wished you had checked before buying?
  • Are rear heated seats standard on both 07 and 08 S8s?
  • Does remote start come standard on both 07 and 08 S8s?

Any help is much obliged!
Looking forward to joining and adding value to the Audi community.


Edit: 04/25/2014 to update original post with helpful information for the next D3 buyer.

I spent 5 months actively searching for my S8. I would classify my search for the car as "absurdly ****-retentive". I started off looking for a high mileage 2007 S8 and ended up with an ultra-low mileage 2009 S8. I placed hundreds of phone calls, wrote dozens of emails, and inspected 4 cars.

Here is my experience and what I have learned.

The Hunt
  • Make a list of deal-breaker features and stick to it. For me, my deal-breaker list was: two-tone interior white on black, B&O, carbon fiber, leather upgrade, less than 50K miles. I was flexible on exterior color. Glad I didn't get black.
  • Utilize Autotrader, Cars.com, CarGurus, Yahoo Cars, Audi CPO page and use the email alerts features. Use KBB.com to better understand used car prices.
  • My experiences proved dealing with a dealer is easier than private seller. Audi dealer is much better than private dealer.
  • If it's too good to be true, it is. Example: $29,000 for a 2009 S8 with only 31,000 miles! MUST SELL NOW! Yeah, no thanks.
  • Realistic expectations. Its a used car. It won't be flawless, but it can still be "perfect", for you.
  • Research, know, and "own" the marketplace. Know where cars should be priced by reading through similar listings, understanding the value of different features and options, and all the nuance like variables that go into used car pricing.
  • Watch YouTube reviews and owner videos to get acquainted with various options, especially if you've never owned an S8 before.

Over the phone questions
Once I found a car I was interested in, I called the owner. Not email, call. I wanted to hear the seller talk about the car and have the opportunity for immediate followups to their responses.
  • "I'm interested in this car. Tell me about it's history."
  • Email me the Carfax report
  • Email me all inspection reports, work orders, warranty work, etc. I strongly recommend reading through every line of these and inquiring about anything that sticks out
  • Ask for # of previous owners, even if its on the Carfax. You'd be surprised what the salesperson might say...
  • Who were the previous owners? Did you know them personally? How did they treat their car? Again, you might be surprised by what they say.
  • Where did previous owner(s) service the vehicle?
  • Email me pics of all tires
  • Go and look at odometer and tell me the value it currently reads as of right now
  • Was the previous owner a smoker? Is the interior of the car completely odorless?
  • When was the last time oil was changed? Fluids topped off?
  • Go out to the car and thoroughly look it over inside and out. For every chip/ding/scuff/scratch/whatever, no matter how small, take a picture and email it to me. "Not necessarily a dealbreaker, but I want to know in advance."
  • "I need to get the car inspected by a nearby Audi dealer. Are you willing to drop it off for me?" If the seller says "No", run the other way.
  • Often the seller will first ask for a refundable deposit before taking it to inspection. This part can be tricky. If it's a 100% match and looks perfect to you, I'd put down the deposit. I "lost" a car this way. 2 hours before the inspection, someone came and bought it. The Audi dealer didn't even call me beforehand to ask me if I wanted to place a deposit, even though the inspection service had already been scheduled and I was seriously interested in the car. So if you really, really like it, put the deposit down before the inspection so that doesn't happen to you.
  • Stress to the seller that the Audi inspection will find any issues with the car, and if there is anything they haven't yet disclosed to you, to please do so now so as not to waste your time and their time. Not to mention your money. I had 4 vehicles inspected at Audi dealerships across the country, and the prices for inspections varied from $108 to $202 a pop. Every single seller lied to me about the car's condition except for the last one. The first 3 came back from inspection with anywhere from $6,000 to $15,000 dollars of major mechanical/electrical/cosmetic issues that the seller lied about over the phone. The fourth car came back clean, clean, clean!

Road Test
  • Ask to have vehicle cold upon arrival to see it Cold Start
  • Engine turns over and starts without hesitation
  • No service engine lamps
  • Shift out of Park into R, N, D, S and then back. Each shift should be smooth without jerking.
  • Wheel lock to wheel lock. Any belt squeeks or irregular steering rack behavior?
  • Start road test out in D (not S). Look for smooth, seemless, and soft acceleration.
  • Does transmission upshift smoothly?
  • Is steering centered?
  • Does steering pull to one side or another when at residential/boulevard/highway speeds? May not pull at 25mph but might at 65mph.
  • Any shudder or vibrations when mildly, moderately, or aggressively braking?
  • Any feedback or vibrations coming back through the steering wheel? Other than intentional vibration from Audi Lane Assist, of course.
  • Cruise control functional?

Post Road Test Questions
  • Check heat and AC works
  • Check that each and every speaker works
  • Check nav works
  • AMI cables present?
  • Spare tire present? Properly inflated?
  • Toolkit present in trunk?
  • Wheel lug locks? Key present?
  • Check all power seat controls
  • Check heated seat controls for front and rear
  • Check that air suspension works on all 4 settings
  • All interior cabin lights turn on and off?
  • Mirrors adjust and fold without a problem?
  • Sunroof operates smoothly? Opens and closes smoothly?
  • When was sunroof plenum last cleaned?
  • Each door, trunk, and hood opens and operates smoothly?
  • All keys are present and each one individually can start the car? (You'll have to isolate each key 1 at a time to test this)
  • All owners manuals, documentation, and original window sticker present?
  • Reverse lamps and backup camera operational?
  • Rear sunshades operational?
  • Auto lights turn off?
  • Cigarette outlet provides 12V?

Post Purchase Reflections
  • As an audiophile and former sound engineer, the B & O premium sound system is overrated. It simply does not push the quality or quantity of sound I'd expect for that kind of money, in fact, not even close. But it looks cool. Really cool.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control is more annoying than helpful, especially when the "ACC Sensor is Blocked!" warnings come on. It comes with the Technology Package, which also includes the Lane Assist and Blindspot Alert features which are both nice.
  • Quartz Gray in person is actually quite nice. With blue undertones and a subtle sparkle, it is conservative but elegant. Daytona Gray still has a special place in my heart, though.
  • The rear power sunshade is utterly useless.
  • Having to tell every passenger "Don't slam the doors" gets old, quickly.
  • The suspension and drivetrain is an absolute pleasure. The car handles curves at speed like it weighs half of what it weighs. Tight corners are still sloppy, comparatively, but it's a huge car. The suspension is actually stiffer and more aggressive than I anticipated it being. I can feel the dime on the road with my tire, but it doesn't bother me nor invoke a harsh ride quality. Very, very nice engineering.
  • The engine. It's great. The sound, the never-ending torque, the ability to be quiet when you want it to. Nothing quite like it.
  • The steering is heavily boosted. Didn't like it at first, now it's growing on me.

Last edited by cre8value; 04-25-2014 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 03-10-2014, 02:25 PM
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Hey great questions. I as well are looking to upgrade my '02 -S8 with a '07-'09 - S8. I have few questions as well for you knowledgeable guys.

1. do all D3-S8's come with the heated steering wheel?
2. it looks like in '08 you could get the 4-zone climate control? is it worth it?
3. when do you get the rear side powered sunshades?
4. I see drivers Massaging seats as an option. What years, package is it worth it?
5. Pwr trunk open and close (not just release)is this standard or?
6. Audi Ceramic brake option!? good, bad?
7. Pwr doors close assist. what years, package?

What things to look for in these years for serviced or not? Timing belts service is one expensive thing to look for!? When are they due for service? Are they a typical $3,000k repair bill at a dealer?

Any info is much appreciated. Thanks guys!
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Old 03-10-2014, 04:43 PM
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I am fairly new to the Audi world (long time VW owner), bought an 09' S8 last June with 61K on it.
Your purchase price will depend really on miles at this stage of the d3's life. My S8 was a one owner vehicle, but because it had over 60K on it, it could not be sold as "certified". I am happy with my purchase with the mileage on it. I was told to make sure the 55K service was performed, every service was performed at the Audi dealership.
There are small changes between to 07-09' years. I believe the transmission f/r ratio was changed in the 09' models, the lower foglamps were also changed over. Rear heated seats I believe are standard unless it is a winter package option. Remote start is not an option.

Audi S8 Rules:
1:I do not believe so, optioned to come with winter package?
2:I opted to look for a S8 that had the 4-zone. It is nice for the passengers, as long as they know how to use it as well.
3:I am not sure the S8 comes with that option, A8L does, Mishar will know better than I on this question.
4:again, A8/A8L option. I have not seen a S8 with this direct option.
6: Expensive option, no personal experience with it.
7: all.

I hope some of my answers help, I am still learning and have learned a tremendous amount in this forum in the past year almost.

As far as I know timing chains are the norm now. If I am wrong, someone please correct me.
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Old 03-10-2014, 08:51 PM
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Here are my thoughts after owning two.

Heated steering wheel not standard. I believe if it has a four spoke wheel it is heated.

4 zone not standard but nice to have. I believe it has an additional AC / Heat unit but not sure.

No power rear side shades or massaging seats.

I believe power trunk was standard in 09 but option prior. Most will have it.

I have had both an 08 and 09 S8, both purchased used. First one was CPO with 22k miles, second one not CPO with 39k miles. I had 45k miles on the 08 when it was rear ended and totaled. Didn't look that bad but frame was bent. I currently have about 42k miles on the 09.

Problems with both cars prior to 40k miles: Rear side shades would bind and not go up easily or not at all, replaced on both cars. Power trunk latch release did not work right, latch mechanism replaced on both cars. The steering rack makes a high pitched sound when turning. Replaced on the 08 under CPO, LIVING WITH IT ON THE 09. It only does it after about 20 to 30 minutes after starting cold. As such I did not hear it when test driving the car. I just keep the B&O turned up so I don't hear it. On the 08 had to replace the suspension compressor at about 35k miles, covered under CPO. The 09 does seem to run smoother especially when cold and gets better mileage, not sure why.

What to look for (this is pretty much personal preference). I had the full / extended leather on both cars with carbon fiber. This really sets off the interior, For me this is a deal breaker and I would not buy one without those options. I had the B&O on both cars, love the sound! For me this was another deal breaker. I had 4 zone climate on both, not a deal breaker but something I was looking for. Adaptive cruise, the 09 has it the 08 didn't. I could definitely live without it and often wish I didn't have it. Occasionally I get a sensor block warning and the cruise control quits working. It is nice on the freeway when it works. Solar sunroof, 09 has it, 08 did not. Don't care for this, I preferred being able to let light in without the solar and don't notice a big difference parking in the sun with the solar. Side assist. Both have it, nice but not a deal breaker. Heated steering wheel / cold weather package, both had it and really like it but I also like the look of the 3 spoke wheel, so not a deal breaker. Premium package for 07 and 08 which gives you backup camera, keyless entry and start, deal breaker would not buy without it. Power door close, both had may be standard. Nice but not a deal breaker. Rear seat electric lumbar, 08 had it 09 doesn't, don't miss it. Both 08 and 09 are black. 08 had the lighter colored headliner and I had wanted the black headliner. 09 has the black headliner and I think I like the light color better (black leather on both). The 09 seems smaller inside because it is darker, maybe the non solar sunroof would help. At the end of the day I could go either way.

When buying / test driving make sure every button works. Drive it for at least a half hour and then turn off the radio and turn the steering wheel a bit , make sure no strange sounds (again both of my cars had a problem by 40k miles). Test the rear side shades make sure they are smooth. On the 09 the center B&O speaker was blown. Didn't realize until after the purchase, it was really notable on the Bluetooth phone and AM radio. Luckily was only about $150 for the new speaker and really easy to replace myself. Test the trunk release, make sure it doesn't hesitate or struggle when you push the button. Try to get ahold of a VAG-COM cable (or just buy one) and run a scan before purchasing. My 09 had a faultiy lock button on the exterior passenger door, living with that, not a big deal, would be a bigger issue if it was the unlock sensor.

I thought long and hard before buying the second S8 but am happy I did even after considering the issues with the first one.

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Old 03-11-2014, 04:47 AM
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The reason why your power steering makes noise when it is cold is because the fluid level is low. There are many old posts on this, plus my car did the same when I purchased it. Added about 6-8 oz of power steering fluid, and it never made the same noise again.

Must of been a low fill from the factory. Once the fluid warms up, it expands and the level approaches an acceptable level in the reservoir to prevent cavitation.

It's a PITA to get to, tucked in just to the inboard side of the left headlight. Just remove the airbox as I recall and you can then see it.

In regard to the issues with a S8....there are not many, but they do include the MMI screen gear breaking sooner or later, the trunk motor failing (wow, that was a $550 part as I recall) and few other little things. I am replacing my summer rubber with all seasons so I can get away from a 15K mile tire. I'm not going to track the beast, I don't need summer rubber, I want a smooth ride instead that lasts a long time.

My car has all the options as mentioned above, my take on them:

Adaptive cruise control: cool, but you would never miss it, and the sensor can get blocked, and then it turns off. PITA. Almost wish I didn't have it.

Solar sunroof: very dark in the car, plus I have the black alcantara headliner, therefore, it makes it darker. I would rather have a moonroof.

Auto close doors: One of my FAVORITE options!

Extended leather: If you are buying a S8, I would search until you found this option....oh so luxurious.

B&O: Same as extended leather.

Rear Climate Control: I don't think anybody in the back seat is ever going to be there long enough to figure it out.

Carbon Fiber: See extended leather.

Good luck with your search!

I've just chased an O2 sensor issue that I believe is fixed, replaced my MMI gear, replaced the trunk motor, did a few other little things, plus oil changes and brake pads. My car had 39K on it when I got it, now it has 59K.
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Old 03-11-2014, 08:53 AM
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Don't want to hijack the thread to turn into steering issue.

First thing I did on both cars when the noise started was check the power steering fluid. Both cars were full. On the current car I did put some more fluid in to just over the full mark but it was already about 3/4 of the way between the full and add marks. On the 08 the dealer replaced the steering rack under the CPO warranty and the noise went away. The noise sounds like you are tuning a high frequency radio whenever you turn the wheel.

I am definitely open for ideas on how to fix it. I did check the fluid when it was cold but I can't imagine if it is full when cold it would go below the add mark when warm.

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Old 03-11-2014, 09:21 AM
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Awesome thanks guys for your thorough feedback. One stupid question! Cause I have only sat in a couple and at different times. How can I tell if it has the extended leather option? Also, I see the '08/09 has the different upgraded multi-function head rests for the front seats. '07 did not. deal breaker or?

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Old 03-11-2014, 09:33 AM
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Could the issue be the oil is too thick or heavy for certain cold temps? Would a lighter oil be better?

Again, I don't want to change the subject here, but I have been warned about a knock noise coming from the timing chains upon startup, where some premature wear has occured and the guides worn out!? Any knowledge to whatout for here?

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Old 03-11-2014, 10:30 AM
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Extended leather has the leather dashboard....double stitching on the edge of the dash and stitching around the passenger airbag. Just look on ebay at pictures, you'll see it. Plus it has leather on top of the doors above the trim.

Kris: maybe yours has a different issue with PS. Mine was the classic PS fluid low sound, only when cold for a few minutes until the fluid expands.

My panel van has a leak in the PS, and once the level gets low enough, it makes the same noise, but once it warms up a little it goes away. That's the alarm to add more fluid!

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Old 03-11-2014, 12:58 PM
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Ok thanks I will look for that. Any good safe pwr adders? I think Revo or ?? makes a tune. 500Hp? Any nice little turbo package?

Never too much HP! If I could afford the new one with 0-60 in the mid 3's id be in! Possible to get the D3's in the low 4's?

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