Audi A8 Review: 2007 Model | A8 | Car Buyers Guide

2007 Audi A8 Review

From a distance, it looked like a ratty 7-Series but as we got close we realised that the matt black monster was actually a BMW development mule, making its way along the autobahn outside of Munich. We’re in the new Audi A8 4.2 TDi and they’re in what looks like the next 7-Series and to compound matters I’m pointing a rather large camera at them. It had showdown written all over it. Naturally, they took off like they were late for an appointment with God and we gave chase for no other reason than we felt like a little mischief. It must have been some sight, a BMW test mule all covered in black camouflage with a camera-wielding Audi A8 up his chuff, both screaming along at 270km/h, but once traffic on the autobahn began to impede the Bimmer’s progress it ducked down an ausfahrt in a rather weak attempt to give us the slip. To be honest, we could have followed him but we’d had our fun and I got a few photos so there was no point giving the poor test driver a stroke.

a8

Still, it would have been interesting to see how well the new A8 would have managed against the next generation 7Series, wouldn’t it? If we lined up the A8 against the current 7-Series it would be no contest, really. The 7-Series is an astonishingly good car to drive, given how big it is, but the A8 isn’t far behind it now, thanks to it revised adaptive suspension and sharper steering. I’d avoid the front-wheel-drive CVT models, of course, because they don’t feel anything as sure footed and are rather gutless on the move, but once you’ve got yourself a nice torque-filled diesel with quattro all-wheel drive you can really enjoy flinging the big girl around. There’s a surprising amount of weight (though still not a whole lot of feel) through the steering wheel and it’s easier to place on the road than before as well, and while it’s not quite a match for the BMW it terms of fluidity its worlds ahead of the model it replaces. It also rides considerably better, on German roads at least, and is staggeringly well planted at speed.

Only when braking hard or responding to a tightening corner does the A8 really feel its weight. Aluminium space frame or not, two tonnes is two tonnes. In every other respect, though, the A8 has its rivals licked. For one, it’s gorgeous – elegantly proportioned, tastefully detailed and gloriously understated. It has none of the bluster of the 7-Series or S-Class and yet it looks half the size of both of them without even trying. The Lexus LS runs it close in the good taste department but is completely devoid of aggression or character. Swing open a door and it’s the exact same story. The BMW is still a bit wacky for conservative big-saloon buyers while the S-Class also puts form before function. The LS, again, is the closest to the A8 in terms of execution but it’s all a bit generic and bland in there. The A8, on the other hand, is warm and inviting, with a tall centre console putting major controls in easy reach and big, comfortable seats to ease away the kilometres. Like all luxury saloons these days, the on-screen menu needs some work but at least there are enough buttons to perform most basic functions without having to study the screen for an hour. I could live with an A8.

I’d end up sticking a screwdriver in the dashboard of most of its rivals. In terms of engines and transmissions, there’s actually a fairly large choice but as I already mentioned, I wouldn’t bother with the overwhelmed 2.8- or 3.2-litre V6s. The 3.0 TDI V6 quattro is the best entry-level model to go for in Ireland (what’s €4,000 when you’re spending a ton?) although lashing down an extra 20 grand will net you one of the finest diesels on the planet, the 4.2 V8 TDI, which is as fast, frugal and refined as a diesel can reasonably be. Oh, and before I forget, the styling changes amount to new rear lights and that beaver-tooth grille so it’s not going to cause too many heads to turn as it rolls by. BMW, on the other hand, seems to be planning something radical and top secret for the next 7-Series. I just hope its designers are ballsier than its test drivers, though. Otherwise the A8’s going to have the measure of it again.

INFO

Engine 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6, 233hp, 450Nm torque

Transmission 6-speed auto, quattro AWD  

Acceleration 0-100km/h 7.8 seconds

Top speed 243 km/h   

Economy 8.5 litres/100km

CO2 Emissions 227 g/km            

Weight 1,830 kg       

Boot Capacity 500 litres

Base Price €101,700

 

Engine 4.1-litre turbo diesel V8, 326hp, 650Nm torque

Transmission 6-speed auto, quattro AWD  

Acceleration 0-100km/h 5.9 seconds

Top speed 250 km/h (limited)   

Economy 9.4 litres/100km

CO2 Emissions 249 g/km            

Weight 1,945 kg       

Boot Capacity 500 litres

Base Price €122,900


0 comments

Login to leave a comment

Login with Facebook Login with Twitter