- Supremely luxurious
- Impeccable refinement
- Roomy cabin
- Superb engines
- Understated looks
- Artificial steering feel
- Slightly lumpy ride
There are few better luxury cars on the road than the Audi A8. The flagship of the Audi range showcases cutting edge yet user-friendly technology, along with impressively efficient engines.
Like the previous model, the Audi A8 uses a lightweight aluminium body that boosts economy and aids handling. Quattro four-wheel drive is fitted to all models except the hybrid and some of the early 3.0-litre diesels, which makes it stand out in the sector.
While the design may not break many boundaries, the Audi A8’s understated looks appeal to those who don’t want to shout too loudly about their wealth.
Then there's the superb cabin which oozes class with its top quality materials and elegant, yet modern design. Whether you're behind the wheel or relaxing in the sumptuous rear seats, the A8 is simply a wonderful car to travel in. Crucially, it's now also a true match for alternatives such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series.
Choice of models
The Audi A8 is available with a wide choice of models. The first decision is between standard and long wheelbase (badged A8 L) – the latter increasing rear legroom by 130mm.
Specification-wise, the Audi A8 is offered in SE, SE Executive and Sport Executive trim levels while the Hybrid and long wheelbase-only W12 sit on their own. All are sumptuously equipped, as you’d expect of a car costing upwards of £50,000.
An intriguing addition to the Audi A8 range is that Hybrid model which uses a downsized 2.0-litre petrol engine allied to an electric motor. This delivers 245bhp, CO2 emissions of 147g/km and claimed combined fuel economy of nearly 45mpg. Primarily designed for Audi’s big markets in the US and China, the Hybrid offers little benefit in the UK over one of the excellent diesel models. In fact, accommodating the battery pack in the Hybrid takes up a decent chunk of boot space.
The Audi A8 is offered with two petrol and two diesel engines, plus the standalone hybrid and W12 models. As you’d expect the 3.0 TFSI petrol model barely registers in the sales charts as it is thirsty and lacks the low down pulling power of the diesel models, though the 4.0 TFSI does redress the balance on that last point.
As an all-rounder the 3.0-litre V6 TDI engine is hard to beat, offering impressive performance and equally good economy and efficiency. Those craving more urge would do well to look at the 380bhp 4.2-litre V8 TDI with sounds good, goes well and can return up to 38.2mpg.
All models also come with Audi Drive Select - a system that allows the driver to change the steering, suspension and automatic gearbox settings. While the A8 is no drivers’ car, it does at least offer the chance to cater driving performance to the mood of the driver or the conditions on the road.
Along with the increased engine range and improvements to economy, efficiency and power the facelifted car gained extra equipment and the option of MatrixBeam LED headlights which bend their light output around other users.
Forging ahead with its lightweight direction the firm also began offering its ‘Technology Wheel’ which mixes plastic and alloy in its construction to reduce the weight of each rim by up to 4.4kg.
Read the full Audi A8 review here