GIR Erster Beitrag: 23. Oktober 2003 Letzter Beitrag: 25. Oktober 2003 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. 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. 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. 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.