SEE ALSO: Audi Buyer's Guide
SPECIFICATIONS Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price $ 67,900 Price As Tested $ 72,525 Engine Type DOHC 30-valve 4.2 Liter V8 w/SMFI* Engine Size 255 cid/4172 cc Horsepower 310 @ 6200 RPM Torque (lb-ft) 302 @ 4000 RPM Wheelbase/Width/Length 118.5"/79.0"/198.2" Transmission Five-speed automatic Curb Weight 4193 pounds Fuel Capacity 23.7 gallons Tires (F/R) 245/45R18 performance tires Brakes (F/R) Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS) Drive Train Front-engine/all-wheel-drive Vehicle Type Five-passenger/four-door Domestic Content N/A Coefficient of Drag (Cd.) 0.29 PERFORMANCE EPA Economy, miles per gallon city/highway/average 17/24/21 0-60 MPH 7.0 seconds 1/4 (E.T.) 14.5 seconds @ 94.0 mph Top speed 130 mph * Sequential multi-point fuel injection
(If "big" means luxury, Matt Hagin says the new extra-long Audi A8 L must be the best since it's the biggest on the market. Bob Hagin says it goes and handles so good it's in the luxury-performance car segment.)
MATT - This is the third Audi we've evaluated this year, Dad, and it's the biggest and most luxurious of the line. Actually the A8 L is new this year and in effect, it's a standard A8 with an extra five inches spliced into the car behind the front seats, kind of like a small stretch limo. Both the standard A8 and this longer L version are in the luxury car class by virtue of price and last year only a couple of thousand standard models were sold. I'm told that the reason Audi developed this longer version was because of the pressure put on it by its competition. The other luxo makers have brought out extra-long versions of their flagship models, so Audi was obliged to follow suit to stay in the game.
BOB - Last year, Audi also had a lower-priced A8 in the lineup. It had a smaller V8 engine and it was available only in front-wheel drive. But now there's only the two big-engined A8s, the standard-sized model and this L model. It's got all the luxury bells-and-whistles known to the auto world and a couple that are unique. The upholstery is leather, of course, and all the seats are heated. Each of the front seats are adjustable 14 ways and there's room in back for three average-sized adults. A neat feature is the fact that the headrest for the center passenger is concealable so as not to obstruct the driver's line of sight through the rearview mirror. Both the inside and outside mirrors are auto-dimming and the outside ones are heated.
MATT - I enjoyed playing with some of the gadgets and although we didn't have much sun while I was driving, the electrically-operated sun shade on the back window certainly darkened the rear seat area. And when you close the shades on the rear door windows, someone riding back there would feel like a rock star trying to avoid fans. Besides the normal front airbags, there are side window air curtains that drop down during a crash. The glass is all double-paneled, which is part of the reason the car is so silent even at high speeds. As another safety factor, all A8s are pre-wired for a hands-free wireless phone.
BOB - Technically the car is a wonder. The entire superstructure is actually an extruded-aluminum space frame and almost everything else on the car is also made of aluminum - including the suspension parts. I understand that about the only things that are steel in the body are the screws, nuts, bolts and some of the small hardware items. The V8 engine is all-aluminum too, and it's very sophisticated. It only displaces 4.7 liters but it puts out 310 horsepower and almost the same number of pound/feet of torque so it scoots along pretty well. It has twin overhead cams on each head and there's five valves per cylinder. The only transmission available is a five-speed automatic, but it has a system wherein the driver can use it almost like a stick-shift. The "quattro" denotes that it's full-time all-wheel-drive with a fancy Torsen power-splitting center differential as well as locking differentials in front and back. Add in the electronic stability program system and the Audi A8 L is almost a goof-proof luxury vehicle.
MATT - For a 4200-pound luxury car, the A8 has the performance characteristics of a hot-rod sports sedan. It goes from 0 to 60 mph in seven seconds and its top speed is listed at 130. Thanks to the quattro system and all the fancy suspension parts, the car almost begs the driver to toss it over backcountry roads. Audi has been in this country since 1969 and it has had a performance image since day one. The factory has a racing program and Audi specially-constructed sports-racers recently took the top three places at the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race in France.
BOB - I just saw two of the cars mop up the opposition in an endurance race over here and it was a lucky thing that I didn't take a sucker-bet offered to me by your brother Brendan's father-in-law. He's still smarting over the bet he lost to me over that Le Mans deal.