NEWS

2011 Audi A8: Up Close

880353678 1425510905908 jpeg automatic-content-migration

&&&&&EMBEDDED_ELEMENT_START&&&&& {“id”:1420668667984,”originalName”:”2015_03_04_17_01_17_127_http___blogs_cars_com__a_6a00d83451b3c669e20120a7c390c9970b_800wi”,”name”:”MMS ID 47480 (created by CM Utility)”,”URI”:”/63/279286496-1425510077363.”,”createDate”:”2015-03-04 05:01:17″,”metadata”:{“AUTHOR”:”automatic-content-migration”,”KEYWORDS”:””},”href”:”https://www.cstatic-images.com/stock/1170×1170/63/279286496-1425510077363.”,”description”:”Came from http://blogs.cars.com/.a/6a00d83451b3c669e20120a7c390c9970b-800wi”,”externalid”:”47480″,”updatedby”:”cmuadmin”,”updateddate”:1425511435714,”associations”:{}} &&&&&EMBEDDED_ELEMENT_END&&&&&

Luxury carmakers wouldn’t have you think we’re in a recession. This is high season for the big guys: BMW’s redesigned 7 Series came out not two years ago, and Jaguar unleashed a new XJ for 2010. Now we have the 2011 Audi A8, a car that deserves a look if you’re considering either $70,000-plus sedan.

For better or worse, the cabin has a businesslike asceticism that’s missing in the XJ’s over-the-top wood-and-chrome trimmings. But materials are still good, with wood trim that looks straight off a pricey coffee table — not at all lacquered, like it is in most luxury cars.

880353678 1425510905908 jpeg automatic-content-migration

LED headlights are standard, with arched low-beam sections that Audi calls the “wings.” It adds a bit of visual interest to an otherwise conservative design; so does the massive I-might-eat-you grille. At a glance, though, the A8’s horizontal lines and broad overhangs recall its predecessor — and the A6 or A4, if taken from the rear.

1670455644 1425510910133 jpeg automatic-content-migration

Inside, the automatic’s gearshift looks like BMW’s automatic shifters from a couple of decades ago — short and wide, like a boat’s throttle. I hope it retains the seamless pop-into-gear movement of Audi’s other automatics; little things count, and that’s one of my favorites in any Audi. Headroom up front isn’t voluminous, but thanks to a number of factors — a dash that slopes more forward that upward and a center console that doesn’t impose — this is a more open-feeling cabin than the XJ’s. Backseat legroom is rather modest for a full-size car, but Audi says an extended-length A8 is on the way, which should address those concerns.

784054306 1425510910056 jpeg automatic-content-migration
Photo of Kelsey Mays
Former Assistant Managing Editor-News Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey Mays

Latest expert reviews