Published on April 24th, 2011 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Audi’s New A8L Surprises Us With Its Luxury And Drive
This new 2011 Audi A8 like its predecessor is a segment leader in many areas with a price structure that is hard to believe after you meet it in person. The engineers at Audi’s Ingolstadt factory have done their homework so well that this new A8 is stiffer than ever, and weighs about 350 pounds less than its older sibling and is still made from an aluminum space frame.
The cabin is probably the best place to be in its segment. The interior is typical Audi from recent years with acres of leather, wood veneer and high quality plastics. The fascia has been designed with a notion of symmetry, the centre console rising up to divide two electric lounge chairs.
The material quality inside the new A8 is a benchmark for Audi, for the first time winning the title ‘car interior cabin of the year’ surpassing Lexus and Mercedes-Benz. There isn’t a surface you can put your hand on that doesn’t feel expensive to the touch.
There’s entirely new ambient LED interior lighting, found in soft strips reminiscent of neon in carefully chosen places. You can change the colors to either ‘Ruby’ or ‘Polar’. The ‘yacht’ inspired gear lever is small and fits perfectly under your palm. The driver gets a new instrument display with is larger and very easy on the eye. It produces all the necessary information in one clear scan.
The center console has a combination ‘piano’ black finish surrounding the 8’ MMI screen with dark wood paneling that feels just grand to the touch but is a little to reflective under the harsh midday sun. Navigation is one feature not included and the rest of the luxury features are included. We liked the wide opening rear doors for easy access and the powered individual rear seats that offered 1st class comfort.
There is also 4 zone climate control allowing all 4 passengers their individual cooling needs. One interesting feature of the rear seats was its ability to lower itself every time the rear doors were opened to allow its passengers easier entry and exit. We also liked the analog clock that sat in the center of the dash. Even with the digital time on the instrument display and MMI display, having an analog clock just spoke to us.
Driving the A8 L is something many owners will leave to their chauffeur, but if they were to get behind the wheel they will realize that it is more than just a corporate mover. It is a driver’s car with plenty of involvement and feedback. The engine in this version is a 3-liter TFSI with a Quattro (all wheel drive) system.
Producing some 290 horsepower and 420Nm of torque, this large 5.27 meters sedan moves with ease when commanded. With a shave below 2 tonnes in weight, the A8 is not that heavy for its sheer size and so the turbocharged 3-liter engine has little work to do to move the A8 along in traffic and also the highway. Even under hard acceleration there is little side effect for the passengers as the seats envelope the passengers in sheer comfort and with little noise entering the cabin, passengers are detached form the outside world.
Drivers get real steering feel in ‘Dynamic’ mode (best when on the highway at high speeds where it rewards with noticeably quicker throttle response and a slightly stiffer ride) and in ‘Comfort’ mode there is still steering feel, but the steering gets a tad lighter which is great for city traffic mode. The Quattro system on this A8 is also new where Audi engineers have put up to 60 percent of the available horsepower to the rear wheels for a more traditional sport sedan experience. This proves that Audi is not just targeting the rich Asians who love to be driven but they want this A8 for drivers also.
You will need to meet the A8 L in person to decide 1st if this is the car for you to travel in style and 2nd to arrive with envy in the eyes of onlookers. There is little else today that can turn heads as much as this car does in its price range. Remember, you are getting all this for just RM658,000 when most head turning cars costs almost double. 3rd you need to drive and be driven in it to truly appreciate the level of quality, comfort and engineering that has been put into it. Now it is time to try it for yourself.
AUDI A8 L Specifications
Engine: V6-cylinder turbo
Gearbox: 8-speed Tiptronic
Max power: 290 hp @ 4850-6500 rpm
Max torque: 420 Nm @ 2500-4850 rpm
Top Speed: 250 km/h
0-100 km/h: 6.1 secs