The new Audi A8 in 90 seconds
With the emergence of the new Mercedes S-Class, Audi has retaliated with this, the new A8. By no means is this a new car, though; merely a product refresh incorporating cutting-edge technology, a raft of engine upgrades and new cosmetic features to drag the outdated saloon firmly back into the ring.
From supercharged V6 to twin-turbo V8
Whereas the V6 was never a true substitute for the big V8, the entry-level A8’s new 3-litre supercharged TFSI engine is now a fully-fledged alternative. Thanks to internal tweaking, it delivers 310HP (up from 290HP), propelling the car to 62mph in just 5.7sec and on to an electronically limited 155mph. The revered ‘Quattro’ four-wheel-drive system remains, as does the silky 8-speed automatic gearbox. At a price of €74,500, it’s an attractive proposition and easily among the best of the bunch.
For the speed freaks able to stretch their budget a little further, the €114,500 'bahn-busting S8 shouldn’t disappoint. The 520HP 4.0 TFSI engine is now Euro Six compliant, thanks to cylinder-on-demand technology. We imagine those interested in the S8, though, will prefer to fire on all eight, when the saloon will surge to 62mph in a startling 4.1sec. There are five other engines available, including a range-topping W12 and a 2-litre diesel hybrid.
A W12 makeover
The top-spec LWB Audi A8 offers immense power albeit with a slightly different approach. The 6.3-litre W12 has had a makeover, incorporating Audi’s latest cylinder-on-demand technology, a system which cuts off up to four cylinders, depending on the load on the engine. Another new feature is Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), which coupled with active air suspension and electrically adjustable massaging leather seats equates to an extremely relaxing and comfortable ride for both the driver and the slumbering passengers.
Deer in the headlights
By night, the road is perfectly illuminated thanks to the A8’s new ‘Matrix Beams’ – a highly advanced lighting system whereby certain LEDs in the lamps are automatically dimmed or turned off to avoid blinding oncoming drivers, while others stay on permanently, constantly enhancing your view. In addition, large wild animals are detected from a distance in the infrared night-view screen. Once spotted, the optional carbon-ceramic brakes should sufficiently slow the big Audi before damaging that elegant new front end.