Audi A8 Saloon
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Review Of The Audi A8 Saloon
The new Audi A8 Saloon is back and it’s absolutely stuffed with advanced tech. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit comes as standard on all models, while the likes of online route mapping will also make your trips easier than ever to plan.
As well as that, Audi has made the A8 easier to drive. It’s also smoother than ever and, despite its size, the car is remarkably fuel efficient.
OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2018 Audi A8 Saloon review.JTNDY2VudGVyJTNFJTNDaWZyYW1lJTIwd2lkdGglM0QlMjI1NjAlMjIlMjBoZWlnaHQlM0QlMjIzMTUlMjIlMjBzcmMlM0QlMjJodHRwcyUzQSUyRiUyRnd3dy55b3V0dWJlLmNvbSUyRmVtYmVkJTJGRnBOQWEyOXZlWjQlMjIlMjBmcmFtZWJvcmRlciUzRCUyMjAlMjIlMjBhbGxvdyUzRCUyMmF1dG9wbGF5JTNCJTIwZW5jcnlwdGVkLW1lZGlhJTIyJTIwYWxsb3dmdWxsc2NyZWVuJTNFJTNDJTJGaWZyYW1lJTNFJTNDJTJGY2VudGVyJTNF
On The Road
Make no mistake, the A8 won’t excite you the same way that a rear-wheel-drive BMW can, but Audi has nailed the two things buyers expect the most from a luxury saloon: Quietness and comfort. Moreover, it’s pleasantly enjoyable to drive.
There’s no getting away from the fact that this is a heavy car but the four-wheel steering system is impressive enough to make the car feel relatively agile by reducing its turning circle. On the motorway at higher speeds, however, you will notice the cars width and weight.[vc_single_image image=”67583″ img_size=”article-image”]
The suspension setup is a bit on the firmer side, but body lean is good and, along with powerful brakes and precise steering, it encourages enthusiastic cornering.
There’s only one petrol engine available at the moment, a 3.0-litre V6 engine that powers a model called the 55 TFSI. Push it hard and it remains super quiet, but when you push it really hard it will bark.
It’s a lively and strong engine that covers the 0-62 dash in 5.7 seconds and it comes paired up with a smooth 8-speed automatic ‘box that changes gears without you even realising what’s going on. It’s seamless stuff.
If you want more power and are prepared to wait, Audi will be adding a 6.0-litre W12 unit to the ranks later this year. They’ll also be adding a full plug-in hybrid e-Tron model that will combine an electric motor and lithium-ion battery with a 3.0-litre petrol engine. Audi reckon it will have an electric-only range of 31 miles, while wireless charging will be included.
Audi A8 Saloon Interior, Design & Build
[vc_single_image image=”67582″ img_size=”article-image”]It’s nigh-on impossible to find fault with an Audi interior these days, especially at this price point. The first thing you’ll all notice is how quiet the car is – you’ll be sat in absolute silence unless someone talks or coughs!
Even once you start the car up and get moving, it remains hushed. On the motorway, the wide tyres will make a fuss, however, and the Audi can’t beat, say, a Mercedes for insulation.Moreover, potholes will be an issue if you hit them, and the A8 doesn’t do the best job of dealing with them. However, the car is very stable and composed, and comfort shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
The dashboard is visually superior to all previous Audi dashboards. Black gloss covers its main body, while a classy 10.1” central touchscreen controls most of the cars features, as well as the infotainment. It sits above an 8.6” screen that you use to control the likes of climate control.
Both systems are a tad complex and will take some time getting used to, but the big virtual buttons will help. Pinch-and-swipe is also available and anyone who has a smartphone will appreciate that.
The brand’s impressive Virtual Cockpit is standard across the range and it’s never looked better than it does here. The map is clear and large enough to understand without you taking your eyes off the road.
Is the Audi A8 Saloon practical? It depends what you value the most. There’s a longer wheelbase version available, but the A8 is far from versatile and there’s a lack of clever practical touches. But it’s huge, which means interior space is very good.
Rear seat room has been extended, but while there are five seats available, four adults will be much more comfortable. Moreover, the transmission tunnel won’t exactly make life easy for anyone sitting in the middle.
The boot, meanwhile, measures a competitive 505-litres.
Equipment & Safety Of The Audi A8 Saloon
Where the Audi really distinguishes itself from its rivals is with the sheer amount of advanced tech onboard. All models get the Virtual Cockpit as standard, as well as online route mapping. Audi connect, Audi AI remote garage pilot, detailed 3D city models and a high-definition head-up display.
All models also get power-adjustable heated front seats, adaptive cruise control and LED lights front and rear.
In terms of how safe the A8 is, Euro NCAP hasn’t yet crash tested it but its standard safety kit includes the likes of a 360-degree camera, anti-kerb warning, active pedestrian protection, autonomous emergency braking and blind spot monitoring.
Costs Of The Audi A8 Saloon
Prices for the new car start out from £71,000 and rise to £74,995. For more information on our leasing deals, check out our page here.
In terms of its running costs, the A8 struggles with its weight and, despite weight-saving measures, Audi have somehow contrived to make the new A8 even heavier than the last one. The petrol engine is naturally more expensive to run than the diesel, and you’ll struggle to return more than 37mpg economy on a regular basis. It also emits 171g/km of CO2.
Pros and Cons Of The Audi A8 Saloon
Audi’s Virtual Cockpit Is Standard
It’s unusual for all the models in the range to get Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit but that’s what you have here.
Stuffed With Tech
Audi is still awaiting for the green light to approve some of the autonomous tech, but the amount of gadgets on offer here is bewildering.
Great Petrol Engine
There’s only one petrol engine available at the moment, but it’s an excellent, powerful unit.
It’s not a head turner.
Expensive To Run
If you’re looking at a car with this starting price, we hardly think returns of 37mpg will bother you. If they do, the diesel model is a better shout.
Audi A8 Saloon vs Lexus LS Saloon vs BMW M6 Gran Coupe
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2018 Audi A8 Saloon review.
Audi A8 Saloon vs Lexus LS Saloon
The new Lexus LS Saloon is a bit like the Audi in that it’s huge and laden with technology. But is it just the great pretender?
On the road, the Lexus shares most of its underpinnings with the dynamic LC500 sports coupe. As such, you’d be forgiven for expecting it to be exciting.
Unfortunately, it isn’t. At first, it feels a lot like the Audi, but its deficiencies soon become apparent if you try to take a corner with enthusiasm. There’s just too much body lean. It’s a massive, heavy car, and it’s impossible to hide that weight.[vc_single_image image=”67581″ img_size=”article-image”]
In terms of how it drives? Cumbersome would be the most suitable word. Worse still, if you’re on the lookout for good ride quality, you’ll need to go for the range-topping model, as it comes with air suspension that just about matches the Audi for smoothness.
In terms of the engines, the hybrid model is the only one available. It combines an electric motor with a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine which is fairly quiet and which covers the 0-62 dash in just 5.4 seconds if you specify four-wheel-drive.
However, despite developing a meaty 354bhp, it doesn’t have as much pulling power as anyone would like. And when you do unleash its full power, it unleashes a rather uncultured growl.
Running costs? If you go for the full-fat, four-wheel-drive version (and Lexus reckons most of us will), you’ll be looking at returns of just under 40mpg. That doesn’t compare too well with its rivals, while emissions stand at 161g/km of CO2.
Inside is where a lot of the Lexus’ strengths lie. It’s quiet, active-noise-cancelling tech is standard, and the seats help with comfort.
It’s gorgeously put together too, with Lexus sparing no thought for money as they splashed out on top-notch materials that look and feel good. If you want the last word in luxury, you can get the likes of cut glass-inspired inserts and hand-pleated fabric as part of the £7,600 decoration pack.
Is the Lexus LS Saloon practical? Its boot is the biggest disappointment, as it measures just 430-litres. That’s way off the Audi and the rest of its competitors.
That aside, there’s plenty of space available. Headroom is excellent thanks to the curvaceous roofline, while the Premier model treats your rear seated passengers well with its massage and heating functions.
But perhaps the most impractical thing about the Lexus is its sheer size that will make it awkward to drive in the city.
Audi – £71,000 – £74,995
Lexus – £71,624 +
Audi A8 Saloon vs BMW M6 Gran Coupe
The new BMW M6 Gran Coupe is an uber stylish offering from BMW that’s great fun to drive.
Where the M6 has always distinguished itself, and where it distinguishes itself now, is in the way it drives. It might be elegant but it’s also sporty, and while active steering is available as an optional extra, you have to ask yourself if it’s really necessary.
Performance-wise, the BMW M6 is best described as “epic.” A twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine powers the car and it develops a mammoth 552bhp, which is enough to gallop from a standstill to 62mph in just 4.2 seconds. At higher speeds, in-gear acceleration is fantastic from the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.[vc_single_image image=”67580″ img_size=”article-image”]
If you need even more power and pace, you can add the Competition package which tops you up with 15bhp while knocking the 0-62 time down to 4.1 seconds.
Running costs? Unsurprisingly, this is where the BMW doesn’t fare too well. The brand claims it can return 28.5mpg at best but you might find it hard to achieve those figures on a regular basis. Still, it’s better than its predecessor, which had an official figure of a 19mpg economy.
Inside, the car looks and feels as expensive as it is – which is exactly what you want. There’s thick leather upholstery for the seats, the centre console is covered carbon fibre trim, while dark Alcantara is used on the windscreen pillars.
It’s a wide, spacious car, and this is good for comfort. Rear seated passengers are treated well and get their own air-con vents and oodles of leg room, while headroom is also good.
Is the BMW M6 Gran Coupe practical? It’s really designed for four adults but there’s a third seat belt in the rear should you need it. Storage space is good and includes a large central cubby box, while the boot measures 460-litres.
BMW – £100,095 +
Verdict Of Our 2018 Audi A8 Saloon Review
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