- Packed with technology and new touchscreen displays
- Luxurious interior
- Really quiet and refined cabin
- Extras are costly
- 50 TDI engine has a slight delay in power from the off
When you’re looking for luxury packaged into a saloon there are various on the market from the likes of the German big hitters, Jaguar and Lexus.
One of those on the list is the Audi A8, the impressive four-door model having been around since 1994 but now a fourth generation has now been launched.
But is this Audi A8 paving the way in the premium luxury saloon market with the technology they’ve added to it? We decided to take it for a drive to find out.
On The Road
We drove the 3.0 TDI, which with the new badging system Audi have added to their line up, it becomes the 50 TDI. Confused? So are we.
The V6 delivers 286PS with a whopping 600Nm of torque, gets the big car from 0-62mph in a very impressive 5.9 seconds.
The diesel engine is paired with an 8-speed tiptronic transmission but despite its impressive power figures it still felt like the power wasn’t there from the off...as if was almost a delayed response when putting your foot down.
All models now come with 48v hybrid technology to improve efficiency and the 50 TDI should achieve a combined 50.4mpg and emit 145g/km of CO2.
There’s also a 3.0 TFSI petrol engine which delivers 340PS, while a 4.0 TDI will be available soon with 435PS.
The Audi A8 is over five metres long so it does suit drives where you’re wafting down the motorway as it showcases why it’s often seen as a car to be chauffeured in.
The ride is really comfortable and smooth, the adaptive air suspension dealing with whatever road surfaces are thrown at it and with quattro all-wheel drive added into the mix it should be able to tackle most driving situations .
Audi drive select comes as standard which lets you choose car setups based on how you want to drive it including comfort, efficiency, auto and dynamic.
When it comes to refinement Audi hardly ever seem to put a foot wrong. There’s no noise from the engine, just some wind noise buffetting against the mirrors which you hear more of if you’re sat up front but otherwise it’s an obviously quiet place to be.
It’s design is still very distinctly A8 with it’s large grille flanked by the LED headlights on a car that has statuesque proportions but it’s the rear end that has been taken in a new direction with a stunning LED light strip across the back.
If you’re looking for comfort then Audi have you sorted with the plush Valcona leather seats which come with 4-way electric lumbar support, are heated and have a memory function.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
When you get behind the wheel of the A8 what draws your eye straight away are the new centre displays. Seamlessly integrated into the centre stack is a 10.1-inch touchscreen with an 8.6-inch screen just underneath so you can have navigation on one and climate control on the other but just be aware that the gloss finish shows up all the fingerprints. It’s these visual additions which really make this model stand out from the crowd.
As is now the norm on Audi models the virtual cockpit comes as standard - the 12.3-inch TFT high resolution screen adding even more technology to the model, along with a head up display.
Standard equipment on the A8 includes 2-zone air-conditioning, the Audi phonebox wireless charging device, LED interior lighting, DAB radio and a DVD player.
If you really want to amp up the entertainment factor in the A8 then tablet screens can be added to keep rear passengers occupied costing an eye-watering £3,050. Pay TV is another £1,500.
Space & Practicality
The Audi A8 is available in two sizes, the standard is 5.1m long while the long wheelbase length is 5.3m. We tested the latter and as you can imagine there’s acres of room in the rear. Passengers can recline in comfort with plenty of leg room, there’s a drop down armrest in the centre which features a removable remote screen to control climate and seat adjustments and if you splash out £3,300 then you can add front and rear seat ventilation with a massage function too. Yes, really.
The boot holds 505-litres which is ideal for packing in bags and suitcases, it’s larger than the Jaguar XJ but is just slightly smaller than the BMW 7 series and it comes with an electrically operated boot lid.
The Audi A8 starts at £69,100 with the A8L costing from £73,095, so how does it compare to its rivals? The BMW 7 series is priced from £61,300 while the Jaguar XJ is even cheaper at £59,995 but it’s the BMW which definitely rivals it for the amount of onboard technology on the car.
There is a downside though and that’s that the options can soon increase the costs, our test car was a staggering £108,630!
If you’re looking for a well-designed, luxury saloon then the German manufacturer has really upped the game in the premium segment with this model.
The Audi A8 has better residual values than the BMW, it’s most likely to retain 32% of its original price after 36 months/60,000 miles.
Quality & Reliability
Expect any Audi model to be high on quality, the A8 features a plethora of premium materials, the leather is super soft, the plastics feel solid and the black gloss inlays add a sophistication you expect from the brand.
Reliability is not Audi’s strong point when you compare it to their sister VW Group brands, Skoda are really on a roll at the moment at taking the fight to the Japanese manufacturers.
The Audi A8 has never had any major reliability issues but it’s the cost of parts and labour that really don’t rate very highly with owners.
Safety & Security
Audi made quite a big song and dance about the A8 which it was revealed to the world last year and we can see why, it’s the first series-production car which features autonomous driving technology on board, so in the not too distant future the A8 will be driving you in traffic hands-free and also parking up the car in the garage without you even having to be in the car.
Standard driver assistance systems include Audi pre-sense basic and pre-sense front, adaptive cruise control, a rear camera, front and rear parking sensors and safety equipment includes side, front and rear airbags, a first aid kit with warning triangle, seat belt reminder and there are Isofix child seat mountings in the rear.