This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Audi A8 Saloon review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

It hasn't been crash tested by Euro NCAP - and neither was the previous version - but Audi A8 safety is bolstered by a good track record with the rest of the firm’s models, the A4, A6 and Q5 all receiving the maximum five-star rating.

All, save for the front wheel drive Hybrid model, benefit from quattro four-wheel drive as standard so grip, even in the worst conditions, is generally outstanding. Using the firm’s Audi Space Frame (ASF) all aluminium body means it has a best in class safety performance as well as low weight.

As you’d expect from a car of this class, and list price, the A8 comes with a multitude of airbags, Isofix child seat mounts and the normal ESP stability control. All models also come with Audi pre sense which uses the ESP to detect the inevitability of an impact or accident and primes the front seat belts, flashes the hazard warning lights and closes the gap on any open windows to ensure occupants are best protected.

All models come with a system called Pre Sense which uses the ESP sensors and in the event of an imminent collision will activate the hazard warning lights, close any open windows (or the sunroof) and also tension the front seat belts. It can be upgraded (as an optional extra) to include adaptive cruise control with a stop-and-go function plus Audi braking guard.

The latter triggers various warning levels if it detects the risk of a collision, starting with a visual and acoustic alarm followed by a warning jolt, then partial braking of the car. If the driver still doesn't intervene it'll apply maximum braking.

Another option is night vision assist. This employs a thermal imaging camera mounted in the grille with a display on the central screen between the main instrument dials. It can look as far as 300 metres ahead and is designed to concentrate on essentials such as animals and people but is cleverly not blinded by headlights of oncoming vehicles.

Talking of which, after 2013 the A8 became available with the firm’s Matrix LED headlights which use multiple cameras to mask off sections of their light beams so as not to dazzle other road users but maintain full illumination for drivers.

On first inspection compared to a big estate Audi A8 practicality may not be that favourable – the 510-litre boot is well shaped and with a sizable opening but the A6 Avant trumps it with a 565-litre space, and you can’t expand the A8’s luggage space by folding the rear seats down.

However, it’s not all about boot space and the A8, especially with long wheelbase models, can boast of a simply gargantuan interior perfect for carrying passengers. There’s acres of leg, shoulder and headroom no matter what seat you sit in and there’s lots of little storage cubbies around the cabin – there’s even a shallow lidded section of the front door armrests. They might only be suitable for pens or cigars, but it’s a clever use of an otherwise dead space.

It was the A8 that showcased the firm’s excellent MMI (Multi Media Interface) controller and the large colour screen that slides out of the dash top. A touchpad allows you to actually hand write letters and numbers with your index finger which the sat-nav will recognise. And the sat-nav 'talks' to the gearbox to factor corners into its gearshifts (using its built-in mapping), avoiding unnecessary cog-swapping.

Basic equipment

The basic equipment list includes equipment that is standard across all versions of the Audi A8 Saloon (10-18).

  • 3x3 point rear seat belts
  • ABS
  • Alarm
  • Alloy wheels
  • Audio remote
  • Cruise control
  • Driver`s airbag
  • DVD
  • Electric driver`s seat
  • Electric mirrors
  • Electric passenger`s seat
  • Front electric windows
  • Headlight washers
  • Heated mirrors
  • Heated seats
  • Height adjustable drivers seat
  • Isofix child seat anchor points
  • Leather seat trim
  • Lumbar support
  • Metallic Paint
  • Parking sensors
  • PAS
  • Passenger`s airbag
  • Rear electric windows
  • Sat Nav
  • Service indicator
  • Side airbags
  • Steering wheel rake adjustment
  • Steering wheel reach adjustment
  • Traction control

Equipment by trim level

To view equipment options for a specific trim level, please select from the following list:

Equipment included on some trim levels
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • CD
  • CD Multichanger
  • Climate control
  • Electric sunroof
  • Folding rear seats
  • Front fog lights
  • Partial leather seat trim
  • Remote locking
  • Space saver spare wheel
  • Sports seats
  • Telephone

Standard Trim equipment

Standard Trim standard equipment
  • Body coloured bumpers
Standard Trim optional equipment
  • CD
  • CD Multichanger
  • Climate control
  • Electric sunroof
  • Folding rear seats
  • Front fog lights
  • Partial leather seat trim
  • Remote locking
  • Space saver spare wheel
  • Sports seats
  • Telephone

Black Edition equipment

Black Edition standard equipment
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • CD
  • Remote locking
  • Space saver spare wheel
  • Sports seats
Black Edition optional equipment
None available

Edition 21 equipment

Edition 21 standard equipment
  • CD
  • Remote locking
  • Space saver spare wheel
Edition 21 optional equipment
  • Electric sunroof

Executive equipment

Executive standard equipment
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • Front fog lights
  • Space saver spare wheel
Executive optional equipment
  • Electric sunroof

Executive SE equipment

Executive SE standard equipment
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • Front fog lights
  • Space saver spare wheel
Executive SE optional equipment
  • Electric sunroof

SE equipment

SE standard equipment
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • Space saver spare wheel
SE optional equipment
  • CD
  • Electric sunroof
  • Front fog lights
  • Remote locking

SE Executive equipment

SE Executive standard equipment
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • CD
  • Remote locking
  • Space saver spare wheel
SE Executive optional equipment
  • Electric sunroof

Sport equipment

Sport standard equipment
  • CD
  • Remote locking
  • Space saver spare wheel
  • Sports seats
Sport optional equipment
None available

Sport Executive equipment

Sport Executive standard equipment
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • Space saver spare wheel
  • Sports seats
Sport Executive optional equipment
  • CD
  • Electric sunroof
  • Front fog lights
  • Partial leather seat trim
  • Remote locking