The Audi A8 is the German manufacturer’s flagship model and goes up against the mighty Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the brand new BMW 7-Series. It may be the oldest of the three but the A8 punches some serious weight.
Last receiving a refreshment in early 2014, the Audi A8 now comes with Quattro four-wheel-drive power and an 8-speed DSG automatic gearbox as standard. It comes with a choice of two engines, one diesel and one petrol, 3.0 TDI V6 with 262bhp and a 3.0 TFSI V6 with 310bhp. The Audi A8 also offers some considerable fire power in the shape of the 6.0 litre W12 or the top of the range S8 performance model. All engine options offer strong performance levels with the entry level 3.0 TDI delivering it in an elegant wafting manner.
Like all executive Audi’s in the range, the A8 also starts with the entry level SE trim. Fitted with 19 inch alloy wheel and air suspension, it offers the most supple of rides. The A8 is probably the sharpest to drive when compared to its S-Class and 7 Series competitors. Its quattro four-wheel-drive system and dynamics give it an edge making it slightly more engaging to drive. Audi Drive Select comes as standard offering different levels of comfort to choose from. Despite this adding high levels of comfort (particularly for passengers) the S-Class ride cannot be beaten.
Flagship luxury is the name of the game with the SE Executive level of trim bringing just the right amount of toys to make the A8 feel like a special executive limousine. These include, four-way climate control, soft close doors, a sunroof, rear blinds and more adjustable seats along with a hands free boot lid. The A8L also comes in both the SE and SE Executive specification. The A8L adds an additional 130mm of legroom for rear passengers. Sport specifications are not offered on the A8L, but come with 19 inch wheels, sports seats and a Bose surround sound system.
There is no question of quality when it comes to the Audi A8. It is designed to be the ultimate in luxury from the premium German giant and it does not disappoint on a single level. When it comes to spending this kind of money, it comes down to personal taste and what particular toys take your fancy on the options list. And that options list is vast. Whether in the driving seat or enjoying the view from the massively spacious rear, you can see and enjoy the level of detail, thought and quality that goes into cars of this level.
Going by the safety levels of its siblings continuously throughout the Audi range, there is no reason to doubt the safety levels of this flagship A8 model. It gets six airbags as standard, an incredibly strong structure and Audi pre-sense safety technology which senses danger ahead before the driver. As with the A6 and A7 executive model, there is an extensive safety feature options list featuring items such as lane assist, night vision camera, lane assist and LED Matrix headlights to name a few. Be prepared to pay for the privilege however.
The A8 is a luxury model and the largest car that the premium marque offers, so space is obviously not an issue. Head and legroom is more than generous while the A8L models add further to its comfort. Boot space range from 480 to 520 litres depending on your engine choice with the diesels offering the latter. As to be expected in a car like this, the rear seats are not foldable. Practicality is good but do Audi A8 customers buy a car like this for practicality? Not likely. Some are even likely to be chauffeur driven.