With a “singleframe” grille, LED-accented headlights and gracefully arched side windows, the A8 looks much like a supersized version of Audi’s other sedan models. Some might wish for a more distinctive look, while other will find the classy, understated sheetmetal to be a good match for the relaxed demeanor of a large luxury limo.
Like the space frame that lies beneath, nearly all of the A8’s exterior panels are made of aluminum. This means the big Audi is one of the lighter rides in its competitive set, even with its standard quattro AWD system, which benefits everything from handling to fuel economy.
Audi has long been renowned for its mastery of interior design, and the A8 upholds that reputation with exquisite materials and a stately layout. There’s plenty of room for five to sit in perfect comfort, and a plethora of optional luxuries make the cabin experience truly first class: heated, ventilated and massaging front and rear seats, four-zone automatic climate control, a rear seat entertainment system with dual 10-inch screens, and an incredible 19-speaker, 1,200 watt Bang & Olufsen sound system with speakers that rise from the dashboard upon startup in a neat piece of theater.
Navigation and entertainment functions are accessed through Audi’s MMI system, which includes a novel touchpad for entering destinations or other info by writing out numbers and letters with a finger. It’s one of the more intuitive infotainment setups on the market, although some users find that its location at the base of the center console requires a bit of a reach.
The navigation system includes Audi Connect, which features in-car internet connectivity and industry-first Google Earth integration – complete with panoramic views and high-resolution 3D satellite and aerial imagery.
For those seeking extra space, the A8 L model brings 5.4 inches of additional wheelbase that translate directly to more rear-seat legroom.
Optional safety features include active lane assist, which warns the driver when the A8 is wandering into an adjacent lane and can even gently steer the car back into the original lane. There’s also Audi pre sense, which can detect obstacles in front of the A8 and apply the brakes to prevent a crash or mitigate its severity. Finally, Audi side assist alerts the driver when a vehicle is in one of the A8 rear blind spots.