Which Audi A8 Saloon should I buy?
Audi A8 50 TDI 286PS Quattro Tiptronic auto (Tested: February 2018 by Tim Pollard)
This is the mainstay Audi A8 model in the UK and is bristling with the latest technology, once you get beyond the remarkably conservative exterior styling. For while the A8 limousine looks very cautious from outside, it’s anything but once you step inside.
Twin digital high-resolution screens dominate the dashboard and boast wonderfully crisp graphics; but do we really need digital virtual sliders to control each air vent? Some of the tech on-board feels like overkill, reminding us of those over-the-top modern hotel rooms where you can’t work out how to draw the curtains or switch off the mood lighting.
How does the entry-level Audi A8 drive?
The 50 TDI model feels at home on UK roads: this is a large, heavy four-door saloon with a correspondingly comfortable ride, flattening all road scars lending a soft, plump gait to proceedings. Yet it doesn’t all fall apart on a winding British back road, either. This duality of purpose to the new Audi A8 is impressive.
Performance is more than ample on this popular 3.0-litre V6 TDI, whose diesel roots are well masked - it’s a very civilised, refined place to be. This impression is reinforced by first-rate build quality throughout. Audi really has nailed this premium construction lark.
Just watch out if you pick the shorter-wheelbase bodystyle, tested here. There’s a substantial transmission tunnel robbing space for a fifth passenger and room for rear passengers’ feet is surprisingly meagre in the SWB Audi A8. There’s less of an accommodation problem with the A8 L…
Audi A8 L 50 TDI 286PS Quattro Tiptronic auto (Tested: February 2018 by Tim Pollard)
We also tested the same model in long-wheelbase form – with much the same findings. Mechanically, the two Audi A8s are identical, save for the 130mm stretch to the wheelbase, which liberates an impressive extra amount of space for rear-seat passengers.
How comfortable is the long-wheelbase Audi A8?
The long-wheelbase Audi A8 doesn’t feel too much bigger to drive, but for its ultimate purpose – transporting up to four adults around in exceptional comfort – the LWB is the model to have. The space back there has to be experienced to be believed.
Our car came with twin rear seats with reclining function (they automatically rise up when you open the door, easing grace of exit). It’s a true business-class experience, and the extra inches make all the difference to rear legroom. We’d predict that many buyers should pick the LWB model if they want a limo with space.
We also tested the Rear Seat Entertainment Pack, which bundles in a pair of tablet screens built into the front seatbacks. It’s expensive at more than £3,000 when ordered new, but comprises of web access, digital TV, mapping and more for back-seat VIPs to be entertained.
Glitches? Hardly any. But the Rear Comfort Pack, with twin individual seats and a huge armrest, comes with the world’s flimsiest rear cupholders. They feel 20 years old and are not worthy of the imperious Audi build quality elsewhere in this luxury limousine.