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GIR

[REVIEW] Audi A8L Quatro

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GIR
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Today I had the pleasure of taking one of these beauties for a test drive and the only thing I can say is amazing so I decided to write this review.

So you have a royal salary and you're looking for a new car. You look at the S-Class and think it's too snobby, you look at the BMW 7 series and don't like the design, you look at Lexus and Infinti and think they're nothing but Mercedes wannabees, you look at Jaguar and think they're too old fashioned and snobby. You really don't wnna buy either of them but what else is there?

Out a suprising corner comes the A8L.

My first impression from a distance was: "Is that an Audi?!". You really wouldn't expect Audi to produce a car this big. The car has totaly been produced out aluminum. Pressed aluminum sheets around aluminum space frame. Seems Audi finally got the tricks of the trade because this car is lighter and stronger then any A8 or any car in it's class. The panels fit together so thight that from a distance it looks like it's one whole, something I missed on my S500. The car looks very sleak and smooth.

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So I open the door and get in. What immidiatly caught my eye was there was no LCD display, no CD player and no phone holder but the buttons are there. I have to hand it to them they had me fooled for a while. When you power her up everything light up beatifully and a LCD display pops out where you wouldn't even expect it. In the dash, between the airvents, there is a spot which looks like it's a whole with the rest of the dash, Audi nicely worked away the display there. The CD changer is nicely worked away in the boot and the phone holder is in the armrest. If the display could tilt back just a little bit more it would be perfect. The display stands upright and thus the glare fromt he sun sometimes makes it impossible to read.

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The interiour is very nice. It all fits together seemlesly and no plastic in sight. The seats are very comfortable and not so complex to control like the BMW seats. The Mercedes seats have more position settings and are more relaxing but I think nobody will notice unless you jump out one and sit into the other. The buttons of the seats are on an akward place, on the side of the seats. Hard to reach and you have to search for the correct button.

The Audi Multimedia Interface (AMI) systemis a pleasure to work, it has 1 turning knob surrounded by 8 buttons. Kinda like iDrive but much simpler and doesn't have 2 million buttons like Mercedes Command system. The best incar control system I have ever seen. The buttons on the steerinwheel can be a pain in the arse. They're in such an akward place that you can't reach all of them with your thumb, so you have to take your hand off the wheel and push the buttons.

However I did miss a few things that where on my S500. For instance there is no TV tuner and the tuner / CD player settings weren't as advanced. The stock speakers sound weak to say the least and the car I drove only had speakers in the front, none in the rear which gives a flat frontal sound instead of a much fuller surround sound. The dealer said that this was just a showroom model and that if you order an A8L you get 12 speakers nicely worked away in the doors and dash.

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So I ignite the 4.2L V8 Dual Cam 40V monster. Yes you heard it right, it has 5 valves per cylinder making sure she can catch her breath. This all is good for 430Nm torque @ 3500rpm and 335bhp @ 6500. The sound coming out that V8 is so sweet, I would say one of the best sounding V8's ever, although you don't hear much of it inside the car. To hear her pur you have to open up the hood.

When I got behind the wheel I was a little sceptical. Having driven a RS6 before, which is all understeer, I though the A8L would be the same. To my suprise this car handles very well. It comes very close to the level of the Mercedes S, the Mercedes system offers little more options and thus providing more control. In some cases the ride wasn't as smooth but again nobody will notice it unless they jump out a S directly into a A8.

The car is very competent. I actually preffer the 6 speed tiptronic over the Mercedes auto tranny becuase the Audi tranny gives you more control if you want to. The car launches from 0-60 in 6,4 secs. Performance wise I would preffer the S or 7 series over the A8 because the A8 sometimes feels very powerless. Performance wise if compared directly to the S and 7 the A8 comes out on bottom. Handeling wise, well we all know Audi's Qautro system, combined with the adaptive air suspension makes this car a very stable and a dream to handle.

Conclusion: The A8L is very beatifull and Audi did a very good job. You can really see that Audi is constantly playing the catching up game with BMW and MB. Soem of the options that are on a BMW or MB are now being introduced on the A8 but a little less advanced and a little less options. But because of this they can also learn fromt he mistakes made by BMW and MB, like the multimedia control interface.

Performance and handeling wise it has to bow down to it's superiours the S and 7 but for that price MB and BMW couldn't make a car like that. If you have a smaller budget but still want a topnoch car and don't mind the small details (just want a car to drive in) then the A8L is an excellent choice.

Audi A8L 4,2L V8 Dual Cam 40v numbers:

Acceleration 0-100 km/h: 6,4 secs

Curbweigth: 1830 kg

Max torque: 430Nm @ 3500 rpm

Max power: 246kW (335bhp) @ 6500 rpm

Topspeed: 250 km/h

Standard:

Audi Space Frame (ASF)

Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP)

Anti-lock Brake System (ABS)

Anti Slip Regulation (ASR) traction control

Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD)

Hydraulic brake assist

Adaptive air suspension

Audi Multimedia Interface

Price: 80k euro and up excluding taxes.

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LateNightCable
Geschrieben

Good review GIR. Personally, I think the A8 looks like a bar of soap with BMW like headlights, but Audi does make some of the nicest interiors in the business. Thats' a very wise area to focus their attentions on.

There are so many buttons, toggles and things these days, ( along with screens, hate that ) I wish others would make as great an effort to cover that stuff up, or have it fold away. I think it will catch on though. Just like at home, I don't want to see electronics when not in use, I want them concealed behind handsome cabinets. For having so much aluminum construction, the A8L still has a hefty curb weight of 4,400 lbs. Which is surprising, I wonder where all that weight is coming from.

Overall, I think the best feature the Audi A8 has to offer is the very attractive interior, you really feel like you're in something special and traveling in style :) .

kleinefisch
Geschrieben

You are in something special, and you are riding in style :D:D

I really like the styling, inside and out, very classy. I think that an S8 would be the car I would buy, but thats just me, I am willing to pay for the added performance.

rage1128
Geschrieben

I've had the new A8 L for a few months now, and I must say that it is the best car I have ever had. I have never had so much fun driving any sedan. As you have mentioned before, the concealing of the computers is one of the greatest things about the car. One thing that I noticed was that you talked about how on your particular car, the sound system wasn't good. Well, your friend was right, the produced car has an amazing surround sound system. It seems perfectly clear, even had a terribly high volume.

GIR
Geschrieben
Overall, I think the best feature the Audi A8 has to offer is the very attractive interior, you really feel like you're in something special and traveling in style :) .

I agree. I've said many times over and over again that the MB interiour is ugly. But I never realized how ugly untill I saw this myself. The MB interiour has got nothing on Audi. Compared to this MB looks cheap.

One thing that I noticed was that you talked about how on your particular car, the sound system wasn't good. Well, your friend was right, the produced car has an amazing surround sound system. It seems perfectly clear, even had a terribly high volume.

I don't know why but this model only had the front speakers. I test drove it at a dealer and the car I drove was a showroom model. I guess they thought having the extended audio system onboard was a little too much. 4 speakers in the front vs. 12 speakers all around is just a way too much of a difference :)

On the other hand, I'm somewhat of a audiophile. You're talking to a person who's crazy enough to pay 300 euro for a set of etymotic ER-4S headsets which are way superiour compared to anything else. I sometimes have to remind myself that I'm listening to something of lower quality and that it could never sound as good as the etymotics.

thepolarfoxqx
Geschrieben

Jaguar XJ is both lighter and stiffer, as it uses a riveted aircraft style aluminum process. It's curb weight is 600lbs lighter, and it is the same size. Audi in general has issues with understeer. Handling would be the one thing that would get me into a 745, 745 is just a nice performer.

imported_Corey
Geschrieben

I have to agree with GIR. I checked out an A8L pretty closely when the wife was having the keys fitted to our VW. I was damn impressed. If I were looking for a sedan and willing to shell out 75-80K... This would definitely be on the top of my list! All I can say is, sweeeeet!

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