Audi A8 History The Audi A8 was born after the automaker spun off the special model of the A6 sedan with an 8-cylinder engine that was dubbed the V8. It then created its signature aluminum space-frame construction in addition to said V8 and voilá! The Audi A8 was created. The first-generation of A8s sold from the 1998 model year through 2003. It acclaimed two firsts for the company: The first mass-produced vehicle with an aluminum space frame and its first vehicle to offer six airbags. The Audi A8 came to the U.S. with a V-8 and standard quattro AWD for most of that time. Meanwhile, other markets also saw six-cylinder versions as well as a W-12 engine (a 12-cylinder layout that is basically a pair of V-6s joined side by side). Later on in the first generation, Audi made available a high-performance S8 in the U.S market. For its second generation, which was sold from 2004 to 2010, the Audi A8 returned with a 4.2-liter V-8 and a six-speed automatic transmission transmitting power to all four wheels. This Audi A8 was made available in both short- and long-wheelbase models. The W-12 engine was also brought back by Audi, But now it was displacing 6.0 liters and putting out 450 horsepower. The second A8 was clearly distinguished by its extra-large grille, which was part of the brand's signature at that time. Once the second-generation of Audis A8's run came to a halt in 2010, it had gone back to a V-8-only engine menu.