I have just bought a 2002 Audi A8 W12 6.0L (a limited production version sold in Continental Europe only - 750 cars produced and 420 bhp). The car has only 51,000 kms (30,000 miles) on it and has had the brake rotors turned once, and I had the Audi used car dealer selling it replace the rear rotors before I bought it. So low rotor/pad life seems to be a problem. In doing my research I read that the brakes, which although in my car are larger RS4 version brakes (standard on the W12), they are very susceptible to warping and uneven wear if they are not torqued correctly upon installation. This is something that you might be able to check immediately with Audi to prevent a recurrence of your problem - hope it helps.
I am the author of the review above, and I wanted to add a comment regarding an on-board diagnostic tool interface that I recently purchased for my S8. I live in Central Illinois, and the nearest Audi dealer is in another city an hour away. My goal is never to have to visit the dealership for service. There is a non-dealer Audi specialist repair shop in my community, but I discovered that their on-board computer interface equipment would not reset the service indicator on my car.
For a while, I feared that I would have to drive an hour to the dealership and pay $100 just to reset a simple mileage-triggered service indicator. I scoured the Internet, looking for information on how to reset the indicator. Several vendors sell a $400 self-contained piece of hardware that will interact with the car's on-board computer, but I eventually found OBDTool.com, which sells a simple cable adapter that connects the S8's (and most other Audis and VWs) on-board computer interface port to a standard computer serial port. The cable adapter is available for less than $80. Ross-Tech (www.Ross-Tech.com) offers both a freeware and a paid computer program, VAG-COM, which will allow interaction with the car's on-board computer system from a PC.
The freeware software will only read and display information from the car. I had to purchase a license to the full version of the software to be able to actually make changes, such as resetting the service indicator, but the software cost only $99. So my total investment in the cable adapter and the software is still under $200. In my first use of the software and adapter, I paid for the purchase price by resetting the service indicator and correcting another problem.
A chunk of road debris smashed the front of my S8 several weeks ago, completely obliterating one of the headlight enclosures and all the lights within it. After I got the car back from the body shop, the dynamic headlight leveling system was not working, as indicated by a large warning indicator in the instrument cluster. Once I had my OBD Tool and my VAG-COM software, I discovered that the headlight system apparently apparently requires re-calibration whenever one of the light assemblies is replaced or reconnected. The car has a special "learning mode" wherein the headlights must be re-aimed and set to their default level position. After five minutes of adjusting the headlights and accessing the appropriate learning mode in the car's on-board computer, the auto-leveling system was back in business and another $100 had been saved.
I am adding this comment in the hopes that it will prove helpful to others with these cars. I spent literally hours scouring the Internet to track down the tools that I ultimately purchased. Now that most of these cars are out of warranty, this information can save owners a considerable amount of money and frustration.
In response to the comment above regarding perpetually warped brake rotors, I have had no recurring brake issues after I had the rotors turned when I first purchased the car. That non-dealer Audi mechanic indicated that if the rotors are not installed and torqued properly that such warping can easily occur. I have put about 15,000 on the car since that repair, and I have had no further problems with the brakes. And I do a great deal of in-town driving and other spirited driving that would subject the brakes to some load.
The information on this site is useful and I will be reviewing it's contents regularly. I hope my comments add to the value of the site.
I have owned my 2002 S8 for 3 years. It is a fabulous car in almost every regard. My only concern is about the suspension. It seems to take the bumps very hard. I'm not sure if this is just the way the supension performs, of if there is a way to soften it. Or, possibly, there is something that needs repair.
I solved the front rotors warping problem on my 2001 A8L by replacing the wheels. I sold the stock 18" ones, which were almost sealed to the air flow due to their tiny openings, and bought Italian alloy wheels with five rather thin spikes. In addition to providing ample air openings, the spikes have airplane-wing-like profile, so that they create significant airflow towards the rotor when they spin. I live in a valley in California and drive in the mountains quite often. The problem completely went away after the wheels swap.
Hello all - thanks for all of your comments about the S8. I am currently looking for an 01 or 02. A new addition to my family will force out the 911 for a more "practical" car.
Anyway, I am doing research and am wondering what else I should be on the look out for when making my purchase? I have heard of some instrument cluster issues, but have no evidence of that.
My mechanic said it's very expensive to maintain... By the comments I have read that does not seem so... I'm an ex 928 driver, so I know what heavy maintenance can be.
What kind of gas mileage can I expect from her? Ever since the movie Ronin in 03, I have been dying to get my hands on one.
Oh, one last question. has a manual transmission been offered in the US prior to this year?
Thanks for your all your comments, and best of luck with your S8.
I too would be curious what kind of gas mileage people are getting out of thier S8's.
I am an american living and working in Germany, and as you're aware, the driving speeds here are a lot higher.
I bought an 2001 Audi S8 and I replaced the stock crap rotors right away. I did my research beforehand, and I knew that Audi had cut cost by using a solid, not slotted or cross drilled rotor. Although the original's were huge, they just added a lot of weight, and did not perform as well as the Brembo cross drilled rotors that I put on my Audi. The cross drilled rotors stop a lot better, and I have had to use them often and and hard in many driving situations.
One last thing that really confuses me, is why did Audi use a Brembo caliper (front) but not the Brembo rotors to begin with!
Kaiserslautern, Germany (an ex Ruf Porsche 911 driver)