There is no time in my life that I've needed a car as much as I need the 2012 Audi A8 L. This sedan practically thinks for me and it massages me while I drive the safe, comfortable long-wheelbase A8 L. But there's also no time in my life when I've been as ill-prepared to afford this super luxury car as right now with my three small kids and their Montessori tuition, child-care bills, a mortgage, etc. It's a conundrum.
The 2012 Audi A8 L is long on cabin space; it's gorgeous inside and out and is filled with so many luxurious and convenient features that it begs to be enjoyed. And enjoy it, I did.
If you have extra money in your budget for super luxury cars, I recommend looking at the 2012 Audi A8 L. This car is a wonder. Others claim that unlike its competitors the A8 doesn't beg to be driven since it isn't equipped with as much power. I beg to differ. It may not be solely focused on ambitious engine power like some of its rivals, but it's got plenty of V-8 power to propel the sedan up any mountain, down any stretch of open road or simply around town.
An eight-speed automatic transmission is perfectly matched to the engine, and acceleration is so smooth that you barely notice it. Putting the car into Sport mode kicks things up to make the car's normal glide feel like low flight.
The A8 was redesigned last year to rave reviews for its gorgeous styling and improved gas mileage. There aren't many changes for 2012 to the standard A8, but there is a new A8 L W12 trim with a 6.3-liter 12-cylinder engine that delivers 500 horsepower.
The Audi A8 L that I tested has a starting MSRP of $84,700, but with a few options packages tacked on, the total price comes to $92,175.
The A8 L is a big car. At nearly 208 inches in length, it barely fit in my garage, and it's just 8 inches longer than the Toyota Sienna minivan and roughly 5 inches longer than the regular A8. When it comes to the intersection of sedans and families, size matters. Length is good because it translates into plenty of cabin and cargo space, which are two things families can never have enough of.
As for aesthetics, the A8 L shines. Its elegant lines, 19-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels and stylish checkmark-shaped LED headlights and turn signals all demand attention.
There are many little things about the A8 L's exterior that augment its beauty. The car unlocks automatically as you approach with the key in your pocket or hand. The doors seal themselves shut when certain small children don't close them with enough "oomph," which is helpful since the doors are quite heavy. The step-in height is low enough that even the smallest person can climb in and out independently. This car exudes a desire to help make your day a little easier, with its standard power sunroof, power trunk and Quattro all-wheel-drive system.
The trunk is ample enough at just over 13 cubic feet, and it includes a variety of netted pockets to keep everything from your laptop to your yoga mat secure.
The 2012 Audi A8 L has a 372-horsepower, 4.2-liter V-8 engine that gets an EPA-estimated 18/28 mpg city/highway. Premium or super premium fuel is required.
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Excellent
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Groove-On
The A8's cabin is so upscale that it felt like a mini-vacation every time I slid in for a drive. In fact, my husband and I were all dressed up with no place to go, so after dinner at a local restaurant, we secured some fine chocolate, got in the A8 and set out for a drive. We popped a favorite CD into the slyly hidden six-CD changer in the glove box, ignited the massage function on our seats and took off.
I drove and drove as the car glided over a deserted stretch of rural highway, and my husband and I did something unprecedented for working parents of young children. We talked and talked, reinvigorated by our massages, the music and the A8's comfort. Fear not, the kids were home with a sitter.
If that scenario doesn't convince you that this car begs to be enjoyed, I'm not sure what will. It has standard features like a SIM card that makes the five-seater a Wi-Fi hotspot, Google Earth aerial views on the navigation screen and power sunshades on the rear window and rear door windows. The interior lighting glows in thin silver strips along the roofline and is so ambient at night that all three of my kids fell asleep every time they were in this car after 7 p.m. I can't get that to happen in my regular ride.
Interior head-, shoulder- and legroom is ample. Storage space also abounds with plenty of cupholders and cleverly hidden nets and cubbies throughout the cabin.
The massage function on the front seats comes as part of the Premium Package ($2,000) that also makes the front seats 22-way adjustable instead of the standard 18 ways. There are a number of other option packages available that can get you anything from increased rear seat comfort via heating and adjustability to ever-amplified luxury via finer leather with designer touches.
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
My only complaint about this car (besides the fact that I can't afford it) is the difficulty I had using its two sets of lower Latch anchors. My fingers are still scratched up from my battle with them. The anchors are embedded between the back and bottom seat cushions, but the leather is too stiff around the anchors, making them almost impossible to access and use. I struggled mightily.
The good news is I was able to fit three car seats — two convertibles and a booster seat — across the backseat. Even the installation of a rear-facing infant seat couldn't diminish anyone's legroom in this car.
The 2012 A8 L hasn't been crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The A8 L has standard all-wheel drive, all-disc antilock brakes with brake assist, an electronic stability system with traction control, active front head restraints, a backup camera with front and rear parking sensors, and nine airbags, including a driver's knee airbag and side-impact airbags for the outboard rear seats.
My test car also came with the Driver Assistance Package ($3,000) that includes adaptive cruise control, a lane departure warning system and a blind spot warning system.
Get more safety information about the 2012 Audi A8 L here.
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