About a year has passed since I was invited out to Ingolstadt for an exclusive mindless taste of Audi’s 2018 A8; Without the use of sight, I ‘experienced’ the car in a consonant way, which certainly left me inquisitive for more. Roll on to 2018, and I conducted to get my hands on a production model for a full review.
Approaching the A8 for the first time, it’s difficult to overlook its size sat next to an AudiR8 the new is dwarfed. The front end of most modern Audi’s are dominated by the grill, with the A8 alluring this to a whole new level. Finished with sharp postal cards and plenty of chrome, the A8 portrays the business executive look the contract for has become synonymous with. The styling may not offer universal fascinate but you certainly can’t deny the car’s presence.
Alive with technology
In an arrangements of technology, the A8 is at the forefront of Audi’s line-up; it therefore came as no shock to find it jam packed with clever tech.
Driving off in the A8, the bum belts self-tension after a few seconds – an asserted reminder that a lot of the technology in this car is for the further of the occupant’s safety. Audi’s ‘pre-sense’ technology is constantly on the watch for potential incidents and gives early warnings via the HUD if something looks to be prevalent awry. Should the worst happen, pre-incident actions number shutting the windows and sunroof, adjusting the suspension so the impact is captivated at the strongest point of the chassis (model dependant), tensioning the beats for impact, adjusting the seats and applying the brakes – safe!
The Audi technology powers have also given a helping hand to those looking to leave this beast. Using a multitude of sensors, cameras and a sprinkling of miraculous, the cars internal displays map an aerial view of the car as you manipulate it into a leeway, making it an absolute doddle to line the car up when parallel or bay depositing. The car will also look out for obstacles, warning you should you get too fixed and even apply the brakes. Of course, should this establish too tricky there is an option for smartphone-controlled automated parking (call dependent)…
Features now considered common-place on modern cars secure also seen refinement. The stop-start has received a subtle but chattels tweak; Instead of waiting for the user to apply the accelerator to restart the locomotive, the car uses its radar systems to monitor the traffic, and restarts the machine when it’s time to move, streamlining the whole process.
Visibility grants have also been overhauled. The windscreen wipers now supply the windscreen wash directly through the wiper blade, minimising the ‘rash’ time between the wash being applied and wiped away. The headlights on the evaluate car were Audi’s latest ‘Matrix LED’ variants, which dynamically ducks segments of the full beam which would blind other access users, whilst keeping the periphery fully lit. In practical articles this results in an unlit circle encapsulating on-coming automobiles, creating a negative spot-light effect and maximising night pro tem visibility. It’s difficult to explain just how well this approach works, but it’s certainly a tick-box feature to go for.
The A8 launches a new formulation of the Audi infotainment/MMI system, moving away from the hockey-puck rotary input arrangement of the previous generation and instead relying entirely on a touch interface. I’m not all things considered a fan of touch screens in cars, but Audi have again been percipient here; incorporating haptic feedback into the screens to surrender button-like physical feedback to function selection. This thrives the whole experience feel a lot more natural and engaging, a settled step forward from Audi’s previous system. The new UI is indefinite, well laid out and very intuitive – our only gripe is that it could again take a while to fully boot when the car was fired up.
The titivate screen benefits aren’t exclusively for those in the front of the conduit either, with the A8 on test fitted with a back centre remote (a £500 option) which stows away in the principal arm rest. This phone sized tablet gives retreat from seat control of the cars multimedia, as well as allowing diverse comfort settings to be accessed. For anyone looking to be a chauffeured exec, this is an positive must and fully integrates the rear of the car with the infotainment scheme.
Audi have also worked hard on the conduct efficiency, with all latest generation A8’s packing an electric motor tolerating for ‘mild hybrid’ operation. In real world terms, this effectives the electric motor aids with vehicle coasting, intelligently provisioning or absorbing energy where required to maintain cruising hastens and maximise efficiency.
The car also uses the navigation system to look at upcoming freeway changes (such as speed limit or inclination changes), then supplies this back into the cruise control system to optimise the carriers speed. When driving manually, this feedback is relayed physically via a ‘tap’ to the accelerator pedal, deal out the driver a subtle aid towards efficient driving.
It’s difficult to estimate how much these individual elements bring to the party, noticeably as they all operate so discreetly, but real world economy was surprisingly virtue. With the test car featuring the V6 ’50 TDI’ engine, average MPG was far 45 for long runs, dropping to mid 30’s on shorter journeys – not bad for a car with 4-wheel industry & weighing around 2 tonnes. This economy doesn’t stumble upon at the cost of performance either, with the 0-60 time coming in nothing but under the 6 second mark.
The A8 isn’t designed to be the highest drivers car, with suspension and drivetrain suitably tuned shortly before the soft, supple end of the spectrum. The A8 is buttery smooth over all but the biggest of pot holes, but surprises by still handling bends with awesome composure: the chassis doesn’t roll excessively, whilst the bad offers enough feedback to confidently know what’s succeeding on in all 4 corners. If you were to find yourself in a sticky situation with a VIP, the A8 would be an make someone certain choice to evacuate them with minimal fuss…
Our solely annoyance when on the road was the 8-speed automatic gearbox, which we organize rather fond of dropping gears whenever additional locomotive throttle was applied. This tended to lurch the car as engine go like a bat out of hell and power took a sudden hike. It may be that with additional time after time behind the wheel I’d get a little more in-tune with the car, but after ~1000 miles it was serene causing frustration.
The interior is an area you can always rely on Audi to cart, with the latest A8 being no exception. Trim options are aplenty here, with devilish brown walnut inlays (£450) and the extended leather bale (£2,350) both fitted and looking stunning on the test car. The whole looked and felt as premium as the cars price tag demands, with the fit and perfect generally exemplary (minus the one speaker grill which had fit in its way loose). The seats are superb – after 6 hours straight effort discomfort was non-existent with support offered in all the right recognizes and electronic adjustment aplenty.
Whilst the sound system wasn’t the discretional £6,350 Bang & Olufsen upgrade, it was still fantastic donation plenty of detail and bass. Arm rests, cubby holes, USB anchorages and wireless charging pads are all neatly arranged around the bungalow, ensuring everything you could possibly need is within arms-reach. No after USB ports are offered in the rear as standard, a slight surprise for a car of this stature (although they can be added for £150).
When I initially sampled the A8 last year, a lot of the focus was on tick-box features of the car; the person that are only available when spending serious greenbacks on options. The taster was also stationary, so again the features were fare rather than driver focused, leaving me a little wary of the A8’s fundamental abilities as a car.To that end, the A8 has left me pleasantly surprised. As one of MSF’s dwelling petrol heads and a serious RS Audi fan, I honestly wasn’t enceinte to enjoy driving the A8 as much as I did. That’s not to say it’s a point and shoot horror with insane cornering ability like an RS4 or R8, but the A8 is enjoyable in its own smooth, mile crunching, supremely comfortable kind of way.
Audi justify great praise – the 2018 A8 feels every bit the next formulation car it set out to be, one which we’d thoroughly enjoy experiencing again in the future. In consequence of you Audi UK for organising our review loan.
On the road price of nonpareil as reviewed: £84,665