Find of the Day: 2003 Audi S8

words: Bill, photos: Tom Mullane

Ok…I can already hear people saying Why are you featuring a 19 year old S8 with 256,000 miles?!? It’s not even a manual transmission swap! I will counter that by saying yes, this is an older Audi with over a quarter million miles but I have two reasons. First, look at that interior- that burgundy interior is one of the best Audi has done. The second? The owner, Tom. Tom is, what you could say, meticulous. Also, he’s forgotten more about Audi and Volkswagens than I could ever know. I’ll let the ad tell the story:

I swore this day would never come, but loss of storage space has forced me to make some tough decisions, including the choice to combine my tow vehicle (currently a 2003 Yukon Denali XL) and my daily driver (beloved S8) into a Q7 TDI. Granted, this is a lousy alternative to daily driving the S8, but less painful than selling a Scirocco or something like that.
I bought the S8 at Coventry Motorcar in Connecticut six or seven years ago when it had “only” 189k miles on it. I’ve been friends with the CMC guys since before there was a CMC, and this car is the only car they’ve ever really pushed me to buy…in retrospect, something I am grateful for. After driving the car for a year to make sure it was going to be a good long-term fit, I did the full timing belt service, cam chain tensioners (the actual tensioning units, not just the gaskets), valve cover gaskets, and Bufkin pipe (Google this if you are shopping D2 and don’t know what it is) at 200k miles. At around 225k miles, the S8 demanded a fuel pump, announcing this need by unceremoniously shutting down as we were headed to the airport to catch a flight; we managed to get a later flight, and the pump was replaced upon our return. This was the one and only time this car ever left me walking.
At about 243k miles, I had Ericson Transmission, one of the best ZF certified transmission shops in the USA, rebuild the transmission (typically these transmissions are good for about 80k miles before they grenade). I also put new Hankook Ventus V12 evo2 tires on about 5k miles ago – 245/45/R18, the stock size. You can still see the mold release on some of the tires in the pictures. Oil and filter get changed every 5k miles, and I’ve added about a quart between changes ever since I got the car. There are no warning lights on the dash, no immobilizer issues, and the car passes emissions every time. I have garaged this car since I bought it. I am a non-smoker with no kids or pets. It has a few dents and scratches, as one might expect on a daily driver of this vintage. I am a retired ASE Master Tech with a good shop, and all the work is done exclusively by me.
I’m tempted to say that this is an amazing car, but I won’t for two reasons; first, the phrase is overused to the point where it is almost meaningless, and second because there is nothing particularly amazing about this car. It’s exactly what one would expect from Audi’s flagship at the time. It starts right up with no noises or smoke, and shifts smoothly through all the gears. The car is still powerful, tight and strong, with no squeaks, rattles or other distractions. The suspension was one of Audi’s best, and the car handles like a dream without any harshness, even on New England roads. The leather is in great shape, with no stains, smells, and even excessive wear. All the heated seats work, as does the heated steering wheel (best idea ever). The only issues with the car are that the rear electric sunshade works sticks down, and the backup sensing system seems to have a mind of its own. I added GROM bluetooth and MP3 module that takes the place of the factory CD changer.
I’d really like to see this car go to someone who can appreciate it and will continue to maintain it and care for it. It’s a fantastic car.

For those who don’t know Tom, he’s a longtime Audi Club NEQ (Northeast Quattro) member, one of their driving instructors, national Audi Club North America board member, and a genuine good guy. If you read the comments on the ad, there are a lot of people who vouch for Tom and his quality of work. So if you want a D2 S8 to bring your Ronin dreams to life, there’s probably no better mechanical example out there than Tom’s…plus that burgundy interior. You can find this 2003 Audi S8 on our Audi Club North America – Classifieds Facebook page HERE. Oh and here’s Tom on a news segment explaining High Performance Driving Education with Audi Club NEQ.