2008 Audi A8

Change year or car

Change year or car

$70,690

starting MSRP

2008 Audi A8

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Performance
  • Easy maneuverability for its size
  • Interior space, especially in A8 L
  • Refinement

The bad:

  • Excessive downshifting on upgrades
  • Fuel economy
  • Price

5 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2008 Audi A8 trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • V-8 or W-12 engine
  • Bang &amp
  • Olufsen stereo option
  • Six-speed Tiptronic automatic
  • 10 airbags, including knee airbags
  • Standard- or extended-length body

2008 Audi A8 review: Our expert's take

By


Audi sharpened its flagship for 2008, not that there was anything wrong with last year’s broad-shouldered A8. The luxury division of Volkswagen calls it “honing the character” for improved drivability, comfort and refinement.

The concept is a full-size luxury sedan that drives with sports-car finesse while still coddling the humans inside. Though the changes seem subtle compared with the pre-honed A8, already a favorite among well-financed driving enthusiasts, it gradually dawns on you just how responsively this car maneuvers.

You also notice the lush ambience of the businesslike interior, the supremely comfortable seats and, more than anything, the awesome capability of the 1,000-watt, 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system. That’s the premium audio brand of the upper crust, and it turns //the// A8 into a rolling concert hall.

You know something’s up when you turn on the ignition and tiny tweeters rise on either side of the dashboard. Whether the music is funky guitar or symphony orchestra, the B&O delivers every nuance, each smidgen of sound in lifelike tones.

There’s something about the crystal clarity of a Wynton Marsalis trumpet solo on this potent audio system. On the other hand, you hear too many strained or slightly off-key singing voices, which that you might have overlooked on a lesser system.

The excellent audio provides fitting accompaniment to the A8L, the long-wheelbase version of the all-aluminum, all-wheel-drive sedan. Despite the extra length, which mostly goes to back-seat legroom, A8L impressed with its handling and overall performance.

The back seat is as roomy as a “Home, James” limousine for CEOs and other captains of industry. Or sports figures and rock stars.

Of course, you’d need some kind of wealth to afford //the// A8L’s thirst for premium gas.

Audi A8L

Vehicle type: Five-passenger, four-door sedan, all-wheel drive.

Engine: 4.2-liter V-8, 350 horsepower at 6,800 rpm, 325 pounds-feet of torque at 3,500 rpm.

Transmission: Six-speed automatic.

Wheelbase: 121 inches.

Overall length: 204.4 inches.

Curb weight: 4,409 pounds.

EPA rating: 16 city, 23 highway.

HIGHS: Taut drivability, evocative styling, superb audio system.

LOWS: Pricey with options, modest fuel mileage, soft off-the-line acceleration.

PERFORMANCE: A remarkably smooth and quiet motivator for this heavyweight, with plenty of muscle for passing and merging. Hot rodders might notice the leisurely takeoff from a stoplight, though it quickly picks up the pace. For more power, there’s a mighty, pricey and gas-guzzling W-12 engine that churns 450 horsepower. The automatic is right on the button, with a good-functioning paddle shifter.

DRIVABILITY: Here’s where the “honing for character” comes in, with firmer and more responsive steering and an air-suspension system that seems to sense road irregularities ahead of time. Those changes, plus a load of electronic enhancements, all-wheel drive and Audi’s usual engineering precision, add up to a large sedan that drives like a sporty compact.

STYLING: The purposeful and distinctive look carries over from its 2004 makeover, with massive grille and heroic proportions.

INTERIOR: In spite of the daunting array of technology stuck in here, A8’s dashboard and switchgear are intuitive and easy to use. Other automakers (hint: BMW) could learn from Audi’s console-mounted dial system that nicely handles a complex number of functions, ranging from audio to suspension adjustments.

The traditional wood-and-leather treatment is good-looking and well-crafted. But a $6,400 leather upgrade? Yikes.

BOTTOM LINE: I suppose that anyone purchasing a car costing nearly $100,000, including expensive options, won’t be too worried about gas prices.

Base price: $74,690.

Price as tested: $98,665.

OPTIONS

Leather upgrade, $6,400.

Bang & Olufsen audio system, $6,300.

Sport package, with 20-inch alloy wheels, performance tires, multi-function steering wheel, adaptive air suspension, $4,000.

Adaptive cruise control, $2,100.

Front-seat ventilation and massage, $1,500.

Paint upgrade, $750.

Power door-close assist, $600.

Dual-pane Security glass, $600.

Four-zone climate control, $600.

Rear-seat lumbar adjustment, $350.

Shipping, $775.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 5.0
  • Interior design 4.7
  • Performance 4.9
  • Value for the money 4.7
  • Exterior styling 4.8
  • Reliability 4.9

Most recent consumer reviews

4.7

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

The A8 is a wonderfully smooth luxurious car to cruise around in, that is when you have the air suspension set to comfort and the transmission in “D.” Switching the suspension to dynamic (sport) and pulling the shifter down to S and this unsuspecting German sedan transforms into a different animal! Amazing quick for its size and weight, maintaining its composure through corners and embarrassing the drivers of “sport cars.” I owned mine for 30,000 miles starting at 98,000 and I only had to replace the 2 mechanical fuel pumps on top of the engine and 1 oxygen sensor (all myself.) I consistently got 19-20 mpg evenly mixed driving, heavy footed or not. Loved every minute of it. I would probably still be in it if I didn’t need the huge back seat anymore.

5.0

Most stylishly luxury vehicle for its model year

This car exceeds all of my expectations and the price was very good. This car is a classic and very rare. It handles and rides perfectly.

5.0

Best car I ever owned

Great car with super performance. Great looking muscle car. Nice exterior and super luxury interior.

See all 10 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
48 months/50,000 miles
Corrosion
144 months/unlimited distance
Powertrain
48 months/50,000 miles
Roadside assistance
48 months/unlimited distance

Compare the competitors

2010

Acura RL

$46,830

starting MSRP

2011

BMW 750

$82,500

starting MSRP

2007

Audi S8

$92,000

starting MSRP

See all 2008 Audi A8 articles