4.8 out of 5 4.8
Parkers overall rating: 4.8 out of 5 4.8

Brilliant, tech-laden luxury car

Audi A8 Saloon (18 on) - rated 4.8 out of 5
Enlarge 15 photos

At a glance

New price £72,885 - £116,430
Lease from new From £686 p/m View lease deals
Used price £25,140 - £66,630
Fuel Economy 24.1 - 113.0 mpg
Road tax cost £465 - £475
Insurance group 44 - 50 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Audi A8 is lighter and more efficient
  • Mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid drivetrains
  • Autonomous driving technology
  • Super clean interior design

CONS

  • Not as roomy as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class
  • Smaller boot than the S-Class and 7 Series
  • Not a particularly showy exterior
  • S8 has less power than previous S8 Plus

Audi A8 Saloon rivals

Mercedes-Benz
S-Class
4.8 out of 5 4.8

Written by Adam Binnie on

The fourth-generation Audi A8 luxury saloon is packed with the latest driver assistance and infotainment technology, but there’s more to it than these headline-grabbing innovations.

It’s also an evolution of the company’s well-established design direction - the body features a raft of sharp styling touches and a more angular version of the signature grille. It's nowhere near as large or divisive as the BMW 7 Series, though. It's flanked by laser headlamps, with a full-width OLED set-up for the rear lights.

Inside, the dashboard has been tidied up, with a dual-screen infotainment set-up that’s highly integrated, and both responsive and fully-featured. Some will denounce the decision to move all of the climate control systems into one of the screens – but it is a logical layout, and easily mastered, especially given the haptic feedback system that makes the onscreen buttons feel like physical ones. It's less glitzy than the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, opting for a more subtle design.

Electrified engine range

The A8 was initially powered by a pair of V6 engines – a 3.0-litre TFSI turbo petrol with 286hp and a 3.0-litre TDI turbodiesel with 340hp. But the range will expanded to include a plug-in hybrid version powered by an electric motor and the V6 petrol, plus the performance-focussed S8 with its 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8.

Both V6 options are mild hybrids, meaning they can coast with the engine off and have extended stop-start intervals, while the plug-in TFSI e version features a much larger battery and can be driven for 30-odd miles without using fossil fuels at all.

What’s the Audi A8 like inside?

It looks very different to the generations that came before. The dashboard makes extensive use of multiple large displays – with the majority of functions and information being handled by a pair of centrally-mounted touchscreens.

The upper screen looks after the navigation and infotainment, while the lower one is dedicated to the climate control settings. In addition, Audi’s Virtual Cockpit system grows to its largest-yet iteration – and you’re also able to specify a head-up display.

Whether you're in the front or back, the seats are large and comfortable, with plenty of storage space in and around the front of the cockpit. Rear-seat passengers get the option of being able to recline, as well as get their own screens to control various functions as well as watch TV or another video source. There’s even an optional foot massager.

What about the driver assistance tech?

This A8 is as close to Level 3 autonomy as current legislation allows - that means it can use a number of sensors including cameras, lidar and laser to assist the driver with things like steering, acceleration and braking.

Traffic jam assist takes over the tedious task of stopping and starting in queues, and unlike the current adaptive cruise fitted to the top-of-the-range Volkswagen Group products, you won’t need to intervene to set off from a standing start after coming to a halt.

To ensure the driver doesn’t fall asleep at the wheel, there’s an interior camera that monitors the driver’s behaviour, and will jolt the seatbelts to ensure they’re paying attention.

What other technology do you get in the Audi A8?

The car’s navigation and infotainment systems are in constant touch with other cars via an information cloud, and can instantly provide warning of upcoming issues, such as crashes and bad weather on the road ahead. This so-called car-to-car or car-to-x capability is in addition to the usual connected tech that provides traffic info via mobile networks and wifi.

Other available technology includes:

  • Active pedestrian protection
  • Blindspot monitoring
  • 360-degree cameras
  • Anti-kerbing warning
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Active suspension

Air suspension is standard on all models, but Audi AI control will be offered, adding active ride into the A8 package. The system scans the road ahead and compensates for rough conditions and sudden surface changes.

In fact, there’s so much tech that traditional 12-volt electrics won’t hack it anymore, and the new A8 comes with a far beefier 48-volt system across the board. 

Read on to find out whether the Audi A8 is the ultimate luxury limo

Audi A8 Saloon rivals

Mercedes-Benz
S-Class
4.8 out of 5 4.8

Other Audi A8 models: