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- Highs Sophisticated design, sumptuous cabin, good ride and handling for its size.
- Lows Outdated infotainment system, smallish trunk, styling might be too conservative for some buyers.
- Verdict The A8 is handsome, luxurious, and provides surprisingly good driving dynamics, but it could use some updating.
The A8 is Audi’s large flagship sedan, competing with the benchmark Mercedes-Benz S-class, as well as the BMW 7 series and Lexus LS sedans. Unlike its rear-wheel-drive competitors, the A8 starts with an unusual longitudinal engine/front-wheel-drive platform but with standard all-wheel drive. Combine that with its aluminum body and structure, and the big sedan has a somewhat sportier driving character than the Mercedes and Lexus. The current model, launched for 2011, is more conservatively designed than previous generations. It started out in both long- and short-wheelbase versions, though for 2017 the A8 is available only with the long wheelbase.
What's New for 2017?
The short-wheelbase version of the A8 has been dropped, leaving only the A8L, with a 122.9-inch wheelbase and 207.4-inch overall length. The Sport package is now its own trim level, with special exterior design details and a new optional Black Optic package. A 21-inch wheel package with new Audi Sport 20-V-spoke design wheels is newly available.
- Base: $83,450
- Sport: $92,450
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The base A8 is powered by a 333-hp 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 engine, while the Sport model comes with a 420-hp 4.0-liter turbocharged V-8. Both are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel-drive. Despite the A8’s conservative styling, it handles corners like a much smaller sports sedan while maintaining ride comfort over rough road surfaces. And thanks in part to its lightweight aluminum structure and body, the A8 is among best-in-class for both quick acceleration and fuel efficiency.
EPA fuel-economy testing and reporting procedures have changed over time. For the latest numbers on current and older vehicles, visit the EPA’s website and select Find & Compare Cars.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The A8 lives up to Audi’s reputation for offering interiors that are among the industry’s most handsome, with best-in-class fit and finish. Like its competitors, a wide array of leather and vinyl colors and metal and wood trim choices are available. With its long, 122.9-inch wheelbase the A8 also offers sumptuous rear seat leg-, head- and elbow-room for three passengers. The extra room doesn't extend to the cargo area, though, with a non-competitive 14.2 cubic feet of space available for luggage.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The A8 comes with Audi’s MMI Navigation Plus system with a track-pad controller, Google Earth maps, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth, voice control, live traffic, weather, and news, and a 14-speaker Bose audio system with satellite radio. There’s an optional head-up display with animal and pedestrian detection via an infrared camera, and an optional 1920-watt Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System with 23 speakers. Overall, the infotainment system works well enough, but rival luxury sedans have more modern interfaces.
Safety Features and Crash Test Ratings
For more information about the Audi A8’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites.
Some older vehicles are still eligible for coverage under a manufacturer's Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. For more information visit our guide to every manufacturer's CPO program.