4.2 TDI quattro SE Executive
new high-tech A8 luxury saloon
it could be your guardian angel.
Unfortunately, even before it goes on
sale in the UK, this years
is already sold out...
THE TECHNOLOGY SHOWCASE that is the new Audi A8 saloon, with prices
starting from £54,835, is available with standard and long wheelbase options
and a host of engine choices when the range is complete. It has two trim levels:
SE; and SE Executive, which adds a further £2,250 to the price.
But with other added-cost options it will not be unusual to find some A8 customers
spending up to £95,000 on their model of choice. Around 60 per cent of UK customers
will choose SE versions and this year the standard length car will be the main
seller. Next year (2011) the LWB will become the highest selling versions with
60 per cent of sales once the full range of engines and transmissions become
The A8 launches with enhanced 4.2-litre FSI petrol (366bhp/328lb ft) and 4.2-litre
TDI diesel (345bhp/590lb ft) engines combining power and torque increases with
economy improvements of up to 19 per cent. The main-selling (85%) 3.0-litre
TDI (246bhp/405lb ft) unit to follow for September deliveries offers a 22 per
cent mpg boost to a class-leading 42.8mpg and 174g/km CO2. This engine has the
automatic Start/Stop function as standard. Audi says there is approximately
a 20 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions across the engine range compared to
the current A8 this reduction lowers road tax costs, Benefit-in-Kind
and P11D tax implications for business and user-chooser customers.
A new, supercharged 3.0 TFSI petrol engine with 286bhp and 213g/km CO2 and an
additional 3.0 TDI engine with 201bhp and lowest-in-class CO2 output of 159g/km
A new eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission, the latest generation quattro
all-wheel-drive and adaptive air suspension are all standard across the new
range. All models feature energy recuperation technology plus the all-new A8's
space-frame construction aluminium bodyshell is 24 per cent stiffer than the
previous version and 6.5kg lighter.
The A8 is full of new technology, both standard and optional. Standard specification
includes 18-inch alloy wheels, Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights,
leather upholstery, electrically-operated memory seats, double glazing, adaptive
air suspension, DAB digital radio, cruise control, Bluetooth, keyless start
button and an interior LED lighting package with changeable colours.
latest satellite navigation system now includes the MMI Touch in-car infotainment
system. As an option, there is a touch-pad linked to this system where the driver
can write a start-letter of the destination and the SatNav then works it out
The A8 is already sold
out for this year in the UK
and only around 1,000
units will be available
next year, so it will
remain very exclusive...
As the transmission now 'talks' to this system, the navigation element influences
what gear the car should be in as the driver makes his or her way along any
road in the UK or Europe.
vision, pedestrian recognition, MMI touch-pad, massage seats, four-stage pre-sense
safety applications and radar-monitored cruise control are all available as
standard or as an option.
Whether you are a wealthy retail customer, a business person who drives the
car sometimes (but at other times lets the chauffeur take the wheel), or if
you are a company specialising in VIP chauffeuring, the Audi A8 has to be high
on the list of choices. The BMW 7 Series, Mercedes S-Class, new Jaguar XJ or
even the Lexus LS are competitors but the technology tour-de-force A8 is already
sold out for this year in the UK and only around 1,000 units will be available
next year, so it will remain very exclusive.
After a couple of days driving Audi's new super-saloon on the winding and hilly
roads of the South of France, I could not fail to be impressed by the technical
sophistication this car offers or by its build quality or indeed by its performance.
Cars like this do not often get driven very hard over narrow, twisty mountainous
roads, more often wafting along motorways or from business to business meetings
or to work and back in towns and cities. The fact that such a large car coped
so well and safely with conditions outside its normal environment
is testimony to Audi's supreme skill of developing new models for all conditions.
It could be claimed that for the working theatre the A8 doesn't need to be so
technically advanced or so capable. The truth is that most owners want, and
expect, the latest in technology whether they use it or not. If they
are buying the Audi A8 saloon flagship then it has to have the ultimate specification.
under its aluminium skin and space-frame skeleton construction the A8 is state-of-the-art,
visually it is styled in a conservative manner. It is expensive, but it doesn't
shout the fact and many owners will like that not showing off their wealth
to others, especially given the current economic climate.
The 4.2 diesel units
huge torque of 590lb ft
and it doesnt sound
at all like a diesel;
very little noise inside
the test driving the main-selling 3.0-litre TDI 246bhp turbodiesel engine was
not available as it arrives in September but the 4.2-litre FSI 366bhp/328lb
ft petrol and 4.2-litre TDI diesel 345bhp/590lb ft units were.
have power and torque increases over the previous units used in the past A8
and both units show improvements of up to 19 per cent in economy with lower
CO2 emissions. The petrol unit will be a minority seller, accounting for just
2 per cent of sales, while the 4.2-litre TDI will account for 13 per cent of
impressive was this 4.2 diesel unit. Its huge torque of 590lb ft (from 1,750rpm)
gives it immense response and it doesn't sound at all like a diesel; very little
noise inside or out. Coupled with the silky-smooth, new eight-speed automatic
transmission, this is a match made in heaven and the all-wheel drive quattro
grip was typically sure-footed and didn't sap the power in the slightest.
The driver can select the automatic air suspension mode in fact, the
auto setting did its job really well. Although the electronic power steering
gives little feel, it is nicely weighted and adjusts to the travelling speed
Given that the new A8 is a luxury cruiser, it handles the rough as well as the
smooth with relative ease. Inside, the A8 has impeccable style and luxurious
build quality. There is a classy ambience with expensive materials and high-tech
The standard wheelbase version is not that roomy in the rear for legroom so
if you are the type to be chauffeured then go for the longer version. Otherwise
the new A8 is a technology masterpiece packed with safety support systems that
also represents refined, luxury motoring at its best with supreme build quality.
Not only will Audi exceed one million sales this year, but it is the number
one premium brand in Western Europe ahead of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar.
Audi A8 4.2 TDI quattro SE Executive | £66,450
Maximum speed: 155mph | 0-62mph: 5.5 seconds | Overall test MPG: 25.2mpg
Power: 345bhp | Torque: 590lb ft
| CO2 199g/km