2019 Audi A8 review – the best luxury saloon on sale? | What Car?

2019 Audi A8 review – the best luxury saloon on sale? | What Car?


Imagine this, you’ve done very well for
yourself and you’re looking for a new car. You’ve done so well, in fact, that luxury
cars such as the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 Series are now well within your reach. But
you don’t want either of them, because you want something with four rings on the bonnet.
Look no further then than the Audi A8. The A8 is a luxury car in every sense of the
word. It’s big, bold, and has a price tag that’s best read sitting down. It’s also
very clever, because Audi claims that this car can even drive itself in some situations. So is the A8 a better buy than its rivals
from Mercedes and BMW? Well, in this review we’ll tell you what it’s like to drive,
how spacious it is inside, and ultimately whether we think you should buy one. And if
you do want to buy one, then remember we could help save you thousands on your next new car,
just head to our New Car Deals section. First though let’s take this Audi A8 out
for a drive. There are three engine options to choose from,
one petrol, one diesel, and one hybrid. First up is the petrol, a 335bhp 3.0-litre
V6 petrol badged as the 55 TFSI. Then there’s the diesel, it is a 3.0-litre
V6 with 282bhp which is badged as the 50 TDI. Both are refined and quiet. The petrol is
also a clever engine, it’s a mild hybrid, so if you lift off the accelerator on
the motorway the engine can coast for up to 40 seconds with the help of
a small electric motor. This diesel option, meanwhile, hasplenty of pulling power from low down in the rev range, making overtaking feel almost effortless. There’s also the hybrid A8 e-tron, which
is able to run partly on electric power so could do wonders for your fuel bills. There’s no getting away from the fact that
the A8 is a very long and heavy car, but Audi’s quattro four-wheel drive system comes as standard
so you’re never likely to be stuck for traction. There’s also a very expensive option of
four-wheel steering which can improve maneuverability at low speeds. The system can also give you
extra stability at higher speeds, and makes the A8 as easy to drive in town as it is on
the motorway. Both the S-Class and 7 Series feel more agile
than the A8 through corners, and if you do press on then the A8’s big body begins to
wallow on its standard air suspension. The A8 is best enjoyed at a more relaxed pace,
then, which is fine because this is one of the best-riding cars on sale today. It glides
along the road untroubled by all but the very worst of lumps and bumps. You’ll be supremely
relaxed no matter which seat you’re in, helped by the double-glazed windows which
keep road noise to a minimum. In the not too distant future the A8 will
be able to drive itself in certain situations, and there will be an app on your smartphone
allowing you to guide the car into a parking space remotely – which might make parking
in tight spots easier. Luxury cars need to be supremely comfortable,
and the A8 has no trouble here. This driver’s seat can has 22 different ways to adjust it,
and between that, the four-way lumbar support which I’m going to have a play with. and this adjustable steering column, you should
be able to find a driving position which suits you. Visibility is usually a strong point in luxury
saloons like this, but the A8 is the best we’ve found. These broad windows and expansive
rear screen mean that no matter where you’re looking you’ll have a great view. Front
and rear parking sensors come as standard, as does a rear-facing camera to help with
parking. This interior feels beautifully made, and
is better built in some places than the rival S-Class. While there are plenty of high-quality
materials in here, though, it doesn’t have the same sense of occasion as the Mercedes. The standard kit list inside this A8 includes
these screens. This 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster puts the most relevant information
– including the sat-nav map – right in front of my eyes, while there’s also a second
10.1-inch screen here for infotainment, and a 8.6in screen below that which is given over
to climate controls. Although these screens look great, unfortunately
on the road they can be hard to use. There are just too many small icons to hit, which
means you’re constantly looking down and taking your eyes off the road, and that makes
it more distracting than many rival systems. Here in the front of the A8, you won’t have
any trouble stretching out, as there’s plenty of head and legroom on offer, plus enough
space between you and your front passenger. And there is lots of room in the door bins
for your everyday clutter, and I haven’t filled it up. Anyway lets see what the space in the back
is like. The A8’s party piece, though, is how well
it caters for rear passengers. There’s a vast amount of space back here, and if you
go for the long-wheelbase version then you also get a 5.7-inch tablet which can act as
a remote control, you also get electric sunblinds and heated rear seats. If you’ve been on a particularly large shopping
trip, then getting it all into the boot of the A8 should be no problem, plus there is
these handy nets and compartments to keep it all in place. Next to its key rivals from Mercedes and BMW,
the Audi A8 seems competitively priced, even before you take into account the standard
four-wheel drive system. CO2 emissions are higher than either the S-Class
or 7 Series, though, which might deter many company car drivers. As ever with luxury limos, too, depreciation
could wipe out a chunk of your car’s value in its first year alone. At least you get plenty of equipment, with
18in alloy wheels, leather trim, heated front seats, LED headlights and Audi’s Virtual
Cockpit all coming as standard. Long-wheelbase cars additionally get heated rear seats, four-zone
climate control and USB charging ports for rear passengers. A word of warning too about the A8’s semi-autonomous
technology, because even when you can buy it its use will still have to be made legal. The A8 is one of the most relaxing luxury
cars you can buy. It’s beautifully built, practical, well equipped and offers performance
and serenity in equal measure. For plenty more on the Audi A8, including
our full online review of it and its key rivals, head to whatcar.com, and while you’re there
click on our new car deals section to find out how much we can save you on your next
car. Remember, it could be thousands of pounds. Before you do anything else, though, click
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About the Author: Michael Flood

62 Comments

  1. it's a very masculine looking car. Not a bad thing but.. I think within this price point, it needs some grace and elegance, which is lacking

  2. Much prefer the Audi interior compared to the Merc, but wish they both had real buttons and knobs for key functions.

  3. I am not criticizing any auto manufacturer in the luxury segment that uses Chrome on the exterior of their cars, but I remember not too long ago that Cadillac was ridiculed relentlessly for their use of extensive Chrome on the exteriors of their cars. This Audi has more Chrome on the exterior than any Cadillac car that I can remember….. and it looks beautiful!

  4. Has to be the S Class in this segment. Also why does she talk like she’s addressing a 5 year old.

  5. Love Audi, but this A8 is an unfortunate looker and dated looking already. They need be a little more imaginative , I love smart tech but not when it looks like a mid 90s American saloon. Reviews are a class act btw.

  6. It has a face only a mother or in this case the owner, can love. The genius of the sclass is that it is simple yet beautiful and says look at me without trying. This audi front design is just screaming for attention, its trying too hard.

  7. Intro calls himself.. You have money but you dont want bmw or mercedes but audi…
    Its the only reason to buy audi..

  8. We have a winner. 4 years in a row, 3 contender tried to take its crown, they all failed.

    -The s class

  9. With a retail value of £69,000 you shall loose the best part of £25,000 when you sign the ownership papers and drive it out the showroom.

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