Audi A8 Quattro AT6
rapidly surpassing BMW and Mercedes as Europe's finest carmaker. While
Mercedes has lagged significantly in quality, and BMW suffers with Bangle
styling, Audi offers a sleek, muscular, luxurious sedan with few quality
issues. The flagship of the Audi brand, the A8 is offered in three
versions, a standard wheelbase model starting at $67,310, a L long wheelbase
version starting at $70,620, and the top of the line L W12 with its
12-cylinder engine offered at $118,120. The standard wheelbase is a
favorite among Europeans who demand the better handling capability offered
in a shorter length sedan and it is the model we review here.
A8 Quattro offers a powerful 4.2 liter V8 with 5-valves per cylinder,
variable valve timing and intake manifold. It produces 335 horsepower at
6500 rpm and 317 lb-ft of torque at 3500 rpm. This power along with an
aluminum space frame pushes you to sixty in only 6.3 seconds. Top speed is
limited to 130 miles per hour for US market vehicles. The fuel economy
estimates for this car are 18 miles per gallon in the city and 24 miles per
gallon on the highway, with our real world tests bringing 21 miles per
gallon average. The all aluminum-alloy space frame does not lower the total
curb weight of this sedan, which is still a hefty 4,288 pounds.
Handling and driving feel is excellent, as
you would expect from one of the top vehicles in the world. The A8 feels
very light and quick for the large car it is, even in its standard wheelbase
adaptation. The shorter wheelbase still leaves a good amount of legroom in
back for passengers and makes it more amusing to zip around in everyday
driving. The A8's transmission starts off in first gear, which causes neck
snaps easily each time you start off from a stoplight. We could not find an
easy way to have it start off in second gear unless we did gear changing
using the manual side of the shift gate. The 335 horsepower found in this
A8 is plenty to take the car quickly up to triple digits. This car is made
for the Autobahn, and made us call our state governor to remove speed limits
on highways. You feel confident driving with all four wheels firmly planted
and providing power. We loved the quickness of the car from 45 to higher
speeds for passing. The feeling of speed is conveyed to the driver
substantially more than in a S500 or in a BMW 740. This is an exciting and
fun vehicle that is truly made for active driving. Our tester's large
18-inch wheels made for a good amount of road feel, while still being on the
sporty, yet comfortable side. If you are considering a AMG S55, then this
car is a great alternative for much less money. The Quattro four-wheel
drive system is quiet and wonderful for daily driving. The feeling of
confidence behind the wheel is enhanced in wintry conditions substantially
by the four-wheel drive and the low riding position. The A8 is stable,
firm, and nimble.
transmission is smooth and quiet with gear-shifts hardly noticeable. In
manual mode, shifts take their time when you push up or down on the shift
lever, unlike the DSG system found in the TT model. We would love to see
that expanded to all Audi models. Road noise is very low, engine noise is
quite low unless you drive above 5,000 rpms, and wind noise is very low as
well even at high speeds. This is a true world-class vehicle which is
difficult to beat.
features and amenities are plentiful in this luxo cruiser. Lets first begin
by opening the doors. Audi lets you keep your ignition key in your pocket
and all you do is walk up to the door and touch the door handle and the
vehicle unlocks. There is no need to have a special two piece key, or a
flat wallet-like key separate from the real key. It is all built into the
one single key. Locking the car is just as easy, just touch any of the four
black tabs on every door handle and it's done. Get in and starting the car
is as easy as putting a button on the center console. When you want to park
and leave, a electronic parking brake engaged at the touch of a button and a
‘stop' turns off the mighty V8. A exit feature enables the automatic power
steering column to move up as you exit. These electronic features are just
great to have and use in every day conditions.
move onto the sumptuous interior done in a combination of black trim and
light brown leather seats. Door panels are covered in matching suede. The
headliner is of a textured fabric which feels very good to the touch, much
nicer than the traditional fuzz. Dark burl wood surrounds you and a flip
open screen in the center of the upper dash reveals the navigation computer
screen. Every part of this car feels solid and strong. Door handles in
aluminum, large grab handles on every door, a thick leather wrapped steering
wheel, and a solid feeling shift lever all signals your brain to its
The driver's seat is adjustable in many
many ways, with a movable shoulder support and extendable thigh support,
however side bolsters are not adjustable. Front seats both feature four
memory positions and the switches for this are hidden in a pull out door
storage area. We would prefer to have everything visible for easier daily
use. The last seat position is also stored into the key so as you return to
your A8 the seats are set back to where you left them. Soft suede-like
plastic is used where leather is not and this feels much better than the
hard plastic we have seen on many US competitors. Ergonomics are truly
German with things in easy reach and perfect for active driving.
Surrounding the steering wheel are control stalks for the headlights, wipers
and cruise control. The wheel itself offers two dials for volume and stereo
station selection. A mode button changes the information display in the
instrument cluster. We loved the dials used here instead of regular up and
down buttons, they are much easier to use while driving. A voice command
button also controls the Onstar functions in our vehicle. We would like
simple interior controls to be voice controlled also in the future.
Headlights are automatic and turn on or off
as you enter darkness and then full sunlight all by themselves. The low
beam is a very bright xenon system and the high beam is particularly nice
because it creates a circular beam pattern which spreads out nicely around
the field of view ahead. While more intensity in the center would be good,
we were surprised at its large coverage area at night.
also featured an adaptive cruise control system which keeps a set distance
from vehicles in front of your A8. The controls for this are all in the
familiar position as seen on other Audi vehicles. The single control stalk
also adjusts the distance that you follow other cars. The system functions
from 20 mph to 95 mph. It is quite smart at deciding how fast to accelerate
based on the speed setting that you want to achieve. The systems lets you
adjust how far behind you want to follow another vehicle, based on time,
which it then equates into larger and larger distances based on your speed.
The system brakes very late however and is more suited for German roads
where drivers pull up very close behind you urging you to move over the
second you get a chance. We were always braking manually before the system
automatically braked for us, much like playing a game of chicken with the
A8. The adaptive cruise control feature is great to have, especially in
commutes or when driving into the sun during sunset.
A nicely sized information screen in the
center of the instrument cluster shows all vital information, from CD, to
trip computer, to navigation, to outside temperature. Everything is
animated and displayed in a very cool fashion. We have tried to show as
many pictures as possible of the many different screen selections. Nothing
compares to the beauty of the system used in this A8. It is absolutely the
to the center console in the A8 you will notice that things are clean but
buttons are not taken away and replaced by one dial as in BMW vehicles. The
temperature controls are slanted to face you, and while each button brings
up a different colorful display in the main LCD screen, most drivers will
just set a temperature and use the auto setting, which can easily be done
using the two zone dials right in front of you. Changing fan speeds, or air
vent location as well as the heated seat settings all require you to use the
LCD screen which gives beautiful visual graphics for each function. The
system compensates for sun direction as well just as in other luxury makes
from Germany. A cabin filtration system helps keep out unwanted pollutants
automatically. The A8 also features an automatic sun shade in the rear
window which pulls up when sun is entering the cabin from the rear. On the
roof console are controls for lighting and the OnStar system. We especially
liked the way the sunroof closes, with a movement that slows as the sunroof
is about to fully close to keep air from being sucked out of the cabin.
space is mostly hidden under the armrests, in the doors, and in the glove
box. This helps keeps items from interfering with your driving experience
and we thought it was a great idea. Some people did complain that storage
areas were a bit small and not great for large or long items. The large
rear trunk is cavernously deep, and also features a power operated open and
A8 Multi Media Interface is one of the best systems available today. Its
menu screens are very beautiful and its navigation system is one of the
fastest and most colorful we have seen. Menus come up quickly at the touch
of a button and overall it is something that every driver should first
experience before buying another car. Radio, CD/TV, Navigation, Telephone,
and vehicle settings are all linked to the MMI dial and screen. The system
is quick and easy to use; it is the IPOD of the car world. The central
control dial is textured aluminum and feels excellent to the touch. Each
selection around this button is indicated by a red light bar which looked
very futuristic. Even the door lock buttons use red lighted bars to
indicated that they are in-fact locked. The A8 also features an adaptive
air suspension which can be adjusted in three different ways through the MMI
system and you can raise the car a bit for driving on rough roads. There
are so many vehicle settings which all worked perfectly in our tests, all
controlled through the MMI interface.
stereo system features numerous speakers and offers great sound. Although
it is not as good as the recently released digital surround sound system, it
is very very good. The Audiopilot system also compensates for ambient
noise, increasing the volume as more outside noise is heard.
the interior glows wonderfully with red, white and blue colors spread
throughout the interior. It is an amazing display of lighting genius.
Doors have a particularly cool white light which we have attempted to show
in pictures to you. The level of lighting can also be individually adjusted
though the MMI system. Audi has gone beyond expectations in the development
of this interior.
especially loved the few touches that make this car unique. From the tire
pressure display which also shows temperature at each wheel and shows colors
such as green, yellow or red to warn you of serious or OK levels of
pressure, to the arm rests up front which individually adjust in height for
each passenger. We loved how the MMI system menus flip to the next menu.
The instrument cluster even offers an animated low washer fluid warning.
The dials on the steering wheel are much easier to use than buttons. All
windows and the sunroof can be closed after turning off the car by holding
the driver's window button. Small LED lights in each door handle provide a
white UFO like glow around the A8. An automatic wind deflector is built
into the sunroof to minimize wind noise and it increases in size as you open
the sunroof more and more. We could go on and on.
items that we found fault with were the lids for the cup holders up front
and ash tray in the rear center console, both of which would open too easily
and felt cheap when compared to the materials used throughout the rest of
seats are lower to the ground and so you have a lack of thigh support in
your legs. The low ceiling also makes for a sporty feeling rather than a
large luxury car feeling. Lighting is quite nice with soft glowing lamps
above each seat, as well as door lighting. The pull down center armrest is
large and heavy, giving it a bulky feeling. Both rear seats have individual
heat controls as well. The rear seat passenger can also control the rear
window shade by way of a switch on the ceiling console. We liked the small
third window for an airplane like feeling. Both side windows also have pull
up window shades to block out unwanted sunlight.
The A8 does have its own niche
in the luxury car segment. The car is not as luxurious as the S class which
offers a softer ride, it is more comparable to a S55 than a S500. The BMW 7
has that magical connection with the road which only Porsche can match.
Both the S and the 7 also are taller inside for a better overall feeling.
The A8 is a sportier luxury cruiser, it offers sleek exterior looks, in a
more discreet nameplate. A wider interior with a taller cabin would put
this car in true competition with its rivals but may detract from the sporty
feeling you have here. It is much more oriented to sporty driving pleasure
than supreme luxury, perhaps the Phaeton is made for those seeking luxury
without gizmo trouble from the VW family of brands.
Watch these movies and short videos on the
A8 (Quicktime format)
History of Audi Movie 5mb
MMI interface video.
Adaptive radar cruise control.
Climate control video.