Audi A8: Goodbye

  • One of the best ways to travel especially in the back
  • Ideal for VIPs and children for long trips
  • Mega performance and impressive level of kit

When the Audi A8 first swished into the Parkers car park, I was impressed by the levels of passenger comfort but feared the cost of running it.

Several months down the line and that impression still remains – this is one impressive way to travel if you can afford it. Here are the highs and lows of our time with the black limo.

Audi A8 V8 diesel

Rapid performance

Underneath the long black bonnet is a huge engine that gives the four-door saloon a performance straight out of the Usain Bolt book of speed.

It can accelerate more quickly than a standard Porsche 911 (Audi manages 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds, the 911 in 4.6 seconds) and still carry four adults in supreme comfort.

It also packs more pulling power than a John Deere show room thanks to the V8 diesel engine churning out 850Nm of torque. There are very few cars that can trump that including Audi’s own high-performance version of the A8 saloon, dubbed the S8.

Audi A8 rear seats

Great place to ride

Even the standard A8 feels a quality place to spend time thanks to wall-to-wall leather, sumptuous seats and a quietness that makes you feel you are levitating through the world on a magic carpet.

Rear passengers get an even better deal thanks to a full on entertainment system that includes DVD player with disc and SD Card inputs, digital TV and Bluetooth wireless headphones.

Throw in electrically adjustable seats that are also heated and cooled, plus walnut veneer desk tops that fold out, it seems you have it all in the back. But Audi has gone one better than that by adding a fridge. Yep, ideal to ensure the bottle of Taittinger and tin of Beluga caviar is kept in perfect condition.

Or, as I found out, a great way to keep Haribo and Coca-Cola on tap for hungry mouths to consume while watching Grown Ups 2. The contented silence is worth the car’s weight in gold; as any frazzled parent will tell you.

Audi A8 matrix headlight

Surrounded by the light

The most significant announcement about the ‘new’ 2014 model year A8 centred around its new headlights. The auto main beam now recognises closing on either on-coming traffic or slow moving vehicles ahead, and adjusts the beam to prevent blinding other drivers.

It still leaves other areas highlighted around the other car to provide a clearer view of the road ahead. It’s ideal for helping spot overtaking opportunities and safer driving in the dark and, more importantly, it works - even if it leaves other drivers thinking they are having a close encounter of the third kind.  

Audi A8 running costs

Ownership costs

Anyone contemplating buying a large luxury saloon needs deep pockets, not just for the purchase price but to run it as well.

The Audi A8 range starts at just under £60k, but that leaps to £72,790 to put a standard A8 4.2-litre diesel SE Executive on the road. But - and deep breath here -add all the extras such as fridge, rear blinds, heated rear seats and so on, and that price climbs to just north of six figures. While that seems like a lot, when you look at the amount of kit you're getting and the sort of car this is, it's not unusually expensive. 

The one option that proves its worth that wasn’t on the black limo was extra space in the back. Many of the A8s sold end up plying their trade as VIP limos wafting their way between five star venues and exclusive airport departure lounges. Hence the long wheelbase versions (LWB) tend to be a popular choice - as does the more frugal 3-litre diesel.

Its claimed average of 47mpg stands in marked contrast to the 4.2-litre version and its 38mpg. With very careful driving over a long motorway route I did see just over 35mpg, but use that performance and it's low 30s all the way.  

Audi A8 driving position

Overall

There’s no two ways about it. It’s a privilege conducting a long-term test on such a luxury car that not only impresses with its performance but also its levels of passenger comfort. For rear passengers especially it is a very luxurious place to be.

We were sorry to see the black limo go - not least the kids that had travelled in the back who had fondly dubbed it ‘The TV car’.

Miles: 8,109

MPG: 32.7