The A8, Audi's full-size flagship sedan, 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 and improved gas mileage. All-wheel drive is standard and the A8 is offered in standard-wheelbase and extended-length L form.
Audi offers a high-performance S8 that makes 520 horsepower. It's covered separately in the Cars.com Research section.
New for 2013
The 4.2-liter V-8 has been dropped, and two new engines are available for the A8. There's a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 and a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8. With the introduction of the new V-6, the A8's starting price drops by about $6,500 compared with last year.
The A8's styling is marked by the incorporation of Audi's distinctive white LED daytime running lights 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
- Standard power glass sunroof
- Available powered trunk lid
The A8 seats four or five people depending on the rear-seat configuration, 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 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
Three engines are offered, and all of them team with an eight-speed automatic transmission and drive all four wheels through Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system. Mechanical features include:
- Standard 333-hp, supercharged 3.0-liter V-6
- Optional 420-hp, twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 with fuel-saving cylinder-deactivation technology
- Optional 500-hp, 6.3-liter 12-cylinder
- Quattro all-wheel drive has a 40/60 torque split (front/rear), giving the car more of a sporty rear-wheel-drive feel
- Optional rear sport differential
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
- Traction control
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