Two super sedans fall in the hands of MotorTrend that aims to tell us which 500+ horsepower vehicle is worth a buy.
The 2013 ALPINA B7 produces 540 horsepower, 40 more than the outgoing model. On top of this, the B7 gets 22 lb-ft more torque (up to 538 from 516 lb-ft) thanks to the addition of BMW’s Valvetronic throttle-less intake technology and a new ALPINA 8-speed high performance transmission. Top speed is extended to 194 mph (drag-limited, 193 mph with xDrive), up from the previous 175 mph. Acceleration drops into the low-mid-4-second range for all variants (4.3-4.4 seconds).
Audi’s S8 comes equipped with a 4.0 liter V-8 force-fed by two IHI turbochargers. This powerplant produces 520 horsepower and 479 lb-ft, available from 1700 to 5500 rpm.
Alas, in this test, the B7 couldn’t surge forward quite enough. Yes, we adored its heavenly ride, quiet cabin, organic steering, and stealthy facade — those signature Alpina wheels are especially badass — but the other car was simply too fast and, well, too fabulous. OK, let’s just get the absurdity out of the way first. This third-gen S8 is one of the quickest sedans we’ve ever tested. And by “one of the quickest,” I don’t mean it was actually the third or fourth quickest; I mean that it tied with the other quickest, the Porsche Panamera Turbo S. Just like the stupid-fast Porsche, the S8 devoured 60 in 3.5 seconds and the quarter mile in 11.8 at 118.3 mph. (The Panamera’s trap speed was actually 0.3 mph slower.)
How does a 4619-pound sedan with all-wheel drive and only 520 hp go that damn fast, especially when the 4388-pound Panamera also has all-wheel drive and 30 more hp? For one, the dyno tells a different story, and for another, the S8’s eight-speed and Quattro drivetrain are just plain dialed in. Lieberman: “I can’t believe this is an automatic transmission. Since it is, I can easily declare it to be the very best automatic transmission, period. Why bother with the cost and complexity and weight of a dual clutch when you could have this?” Evans: “AWD has so much grip you can roll hard into the throttle coming out of any corner, and it just goes.” Lago: “To the S8’s credit, its acceleration is absurd. The torque delivery feels like you’ve just driven the car off a cliff; it induces the same sensation in your stomach.”