2012 Audi A8
Starting MSRP $78,750–$133,500
The A8, Audi's full-size flagship sedan, was redesigned for 2011. It competes with the BMW 7 Series and Jaguar XJ in a segment dominated by the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The fourth-generation A8, which seats up to five, brought evolutionary exterior styling, a revamped interior, improved gas mileage and standard all-wheel drive. The A8 is offered in standard-wheelbase and extended-length L form.
New for 2012
The A8 L W12 model becomes Audi's new top-shelf model, featuring a 6.3-liter 12-cylinder engine that makes 500 horsepower. Instead of two banks of cylinders in a V configuration, this engine resembles two six-cylinders intertwined in a W-shaped arrangement. Standard features include 22-way adjustable seats, ventilation and massage functions for all seats, LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof and a rear entertainment system. Audi Connect with Google Earth, which integrates terrain and aerial images into the navigation system, and Wi-Fi hotspot capability are standard on all A8s.
The A8's styling isn't a radical change from previous versions, but it's marked by the incorporation of Audi's distinctive white LED daytime running lights — this time in the shape of checkmarks underneath the headlights. Taking it a step further, Audi makes all the lights available as LED, including low beams, high beams, signals, markers and cornering lights. In this arrangement, the low beams themselves comprise multiple LED segments that follow the checkmark curve of the running lights, and the LED high beams remain at the top in a more conventional projector-beam shape.
Overall length on the standard 117.8-inch wheelbase sedan is 202.2 inches. The L models are 122.9 inches in wheelbase and 207.4 overall. Exterior features include:
- Standard 19-inch alloy wheels; available 20-inch alloy wheels
- Standard rain-sensing wipers
- Standard bi-xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights
- Standard headlight washers
- Available powered trunk lid
- Standard power glass sunroof
The V-8 models seat five, the W12 model has four bucket seats and all models have leather upholstery. The interior was modernized, especially in terms of high-tech features, with the redesign. The automatic transmission's gear selector is now a shift-by-wire handle on the center console, an approach similar to what BMW uses in its 7 Series. The A8's Multi Media Interface was upgraded with improved menus and a touchpad that recognizes handwriting, giving a new way to input characters for the standard navigation system.
A premium Bang & Olufsen stereo option has 19 channels, 21 speakers and more than 1,400 watts of amplifier power. Interior features include:
- Standard navigation system with Google Earth
- Standard dual-zone automatic air conditioning
- Available rear air-conditioning controls
- Available heated steering wheel
- Standard heated front seats; ventilation available
- Standard CD stereo
Under the Hood
The A8's standard 4.2-liter V-8 is joined for 2012 by an optional 6.3-liter 12-cylinder engine. Both engines team with an eight-speed automatic transmission and drive all four wheels through a Quattro all-wheel-drive system. The V-8 does zero to 60 mph in less than 5.7 seconds, and the 12-cylinder can reach 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, according to Audi. Mechanical features include:
- Standard 372-hp, 4.2-liter V-8 makes 328 pounds-feet of torque
- Optional 500-hp, 6.3-liter 12-cylinder makes 463 pounds-feet of torque
- Quattro all-wheel drive adopts a 40/60 torque split (front/rear), giving the car more of a sporty rear-wheel-drive feel
- Optional rear sport differential
- Driver can select driving modes that vary the engine, transmission, steering and suspension characteristics
Available safety features include a blind spot warning system, a lane departure warning system and night vision, which shows the road ahead on the instrument panel and can detect and highlight pedestrians and animals.
The optional adaptive cruise control's radar sensor detects impending collisions. At first, the system sounds a warning and jolts the brakes momentarily if the A8 closes too quickly on an obstacle. If a crash is unavoidable, another available system can initiate full braking to soften the impact. Standard safety features include:
- Front and rear side-impact airbags
- Side curtain airbags
- Knee airbag
- All-disc antilock brakes
- Electronic stability system with traction control
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