Well it’s safe to say this fourth generation A8 isn’t your everyday ‘factory-line’ saloon. Audi’s flagship luxury car certainly wouldn’t look out of place with a mob boss behind the wheel, but does it live up to the standards of its rivals? We had the pleasure of driving the A8 50d. The contrast between absolute technological advancement & a car that can literally ‘drive itself’ (In certain conditions of course), it takes the term ‘less is more’ & throws it straight in the bin. Here’s what we thought.
Our overall Vehicle Rating – 7/10.
This barge like luxury saloon looks exactly how it we would expect. Riding low & long on standard 18-inch alloy wheels, the chrome accents and gentle curves are subtle, classy & straight to the point. In comparison to its rivals it looks fairly tame and some would say even quite standard. We would definitely recommend upgrading the alloys to the 19-inch 5-arm polygon alloys or even the 20-inch 10 spoke Y alloys, giving the car a much sportier, stronger stature. The headlights & rear lights also come in an array of options, with the higher caliber Matrix OLED lights costing (I hope you’re sat down) an extra £4,900! No, that is not a typo. But in all fairness, you would be relatively happy with the standard LED lights, until you pulled up at the lights next to one with the OLEDS, you will wish you forked out the extra cash. They truly do look special, especially when you lock & unlock the car.
Our overall Exterior Rating – 7/10.
Now this is where the A8 really comes into its own lane. Not so long ago, the bigger German powerhouses were well against touch screens in their cars full stop. That clearly, is no longer the case. Boasting a RR Velar style Centre Tech Pillar, the top of the 2 screens is 10.1 inches and HD crisp. The screen underneath is reserved for climate controls and driving style. When using the sat-nav on the center screen as well and the instrument cluster, it can begin to look a little intense, but luckily you can switch modes on the IC & have basic dials, or vice versa with the central screen. We did find the high gloss black and glass to be a little frustrating, you literally see every speckle of dust and every single fingerprint on the centre console, it begins to look extremely messy and untidy very quickly. However, what we found most impressive was the way the screen reacts upon touch. You can set the user interface to ‘click’ when it’s touched, kind of similar to ‘force-click’ on the iPhones. Ever been driving and tried to change radio station or punch in some details on your central screen and struggled to click the right thing? This completely cancels it out. The standard soft touch valcona leather is incredibly comfy. With Electric memory seats and 4-way lumbar supports as standard, this is all you would ever need.
Where do we start? No matter how comfy you make the driver and passenger, it’s in the back where the magic happens. Rear-passengers get a smart phone sized tablet, controlling everything from the rear televisions, to the window blinds and the heated seats (Standard on the LWB and optional on the SWB) After all, this is a car to be driven in, right? Apparently now having a back massage at 70mph is no longer enough, how about a drop down panel from the front seats that gently massages and warms the soles of your feet? Bravo Audi, Bravo.
Our overall Interior Rating – 9/10.
Without exaggerating, this is genuinely one of the comfiest cars we’ve ever had the pleasure to drive. Extremely similar to the Mercedes S-Class in size and stature, you would expect it to drive the same. You would be wrong. We can’t comment on the petrol model as we have only driven the A8 50tdi, but we can only imagine it would be just as good & extremely quiet. It has no aggression as such; it picks up speed in a buttery smooth manner. However, don’t mistake this for a slow car. All model A8s come with adaptively dampened air suspension and a very clever on board system that works alongside a front mounted camera. This actively recognizes potholes and bumps in the road and adjusts the suspension accordingly, practically dousing out any harsh jolts throughout the car. Each corner is fitted with an electric actuator as opposed to its predecessor’s anti-roll bars. These lift and lower individual wheels when necessary, further dampening any vehicle body movements. Overall.. Extremely comfy, very easy to drive and a little sturdier than the rival S-Class.
Our overall Driving Rating – 8/10.