Large luxury sedans are a hard class to break into, and Audi was already late to the party. The A8 nameplate has only been around for 26 years, whereas leading rivals like Mercedes-Benz have had almost a century to perfect their offerings. But while its German counterparts like the S-Class and BMW 7 Series might be a little more refined, the Audi A8 is certainly no slouch. With two capable turbocharged powertrains - a 335-horsepower V6 and a 453-hp V8 - the executive sedan has more than enough muscle to push smaller cars out of its way, even if it lacks the curb presence of more lavish rivals. The A8 also comes with an extensive list of standard features, as well as competitive fuel consumption figures. But then again, with a starting price of $85,200, that's not likely to concern many buyers. If you want pure luxury, without all the pomp and ceremony, the Audi A8 should definitely be on your shortlist.
Fresh off a complete redesign in 2019, the Audi A8 only gets some minor tweaks for the new year. The Virtual Cockpit Plus is now standard along with lane departure warning, while the Executive Package now includes multi-color ambient interior lighting. Both trims can be specced with the Black Optic or Sport Style packages, while the 60 TFSI can opt for the combined Sport Plus Package. HD matrix-design LED headlights with Audi laser light are available as standalone upgrades.
Executive sedans are meant to be conventionally handsome, and the A8 is a prime example of this ethos. There are a few curves around the rear, but the overall appearance is one of conservative lines with broad bumpers. A broad single-frame grille takes up most of the fascia, with a pair of full LED headlights curving ever so slightly around the wide hood. The taillights and daytime running lights are also LED. Both trim levels come standard with 19-inch alloy wheels, while 20- or 21-inch stylized options are available, and the 60 TFSI gets black brake calipers. A panoramic sunroof and a power trunk lid are standard, while all four doors boast soft-closing power functions. Two exterior packages are available to customize the sedan's appearance: a Sport Style and Black optic package, adding sportier elements, and you guessed it, blacked-out trim elements. Both of these trims strangely require the other to be equipped, making it an expensive all-in grouping.
Large luxury sedans are rather cumbersome beasts, muscling their way onto the road with their sheer size as much as their powerful engines. The A8 stands proud at 208.7 inches long, while only the 123.1-inch long wheelbase is available in the States. While there are bulkier sedans on the market, the Audi still needs at least 76.6 inches of room to park, with its mirrors folded down. Sedans may not be as tall as SUVs, but the A8 is still quite tall at 58.5 inches. The lighter engine on the 55 TFSI gives the sedan an overall weight of 4,773 lbs, while the 60 TFSI gains 132 lbs thanks to the V8.
The Audi A8 can be dressed in a variety of metallic paints, all at no additional cost to buyers. This palette comprises Florett Silver, Glacier White, Moonlight Blue, Navarra Blue, Seville Red, Mythos Black, Savannah Beige, Monsoon Gray, Terra Gray, and Vesuvius Gray. However, if this still isn't enough choice, then there is still the Audi exclusive paint collection. For a $3,900 surcharge, shoppers can customize their purchase from an even larger palette.
While not specifically built for athleticism, the large sedan's broad, bulky design belies its quickness. Two powertrains are available, each delivering impressive performance.
Under the hood of the lower-trim 55 TFSI is a turbocharged V6 engine that delivers 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels. The eight-speed automatic transmission mated to the engine swiftly and smoothly shifts through the gears to launch the A8 to 60 mph from a standstill in a brisk 5.6 seconds. And while the gear shifts might be noticeable when making the sprint, they are far less pronounced when cruising around town sedately. For an even more impressive burst of speed, the sedan can be equipped with a turbocharged V8 that develops 453 hp and 487 lb-ft. Mated to the same gearbox, this powertrain allows the A8 to make the 0-60 mph sprint in a breathtaking 4.5 seconds. However, the large sedan is still electronically limited to 130 mph like the lower trim.
Both engines enjoy the companionship of a 48-volt MHEV motor that doesn't directly impact the vehicle's performance. Instead, this mild-hybrid motor directs its output towards the car's systems to take the strain off the combustion engine. Both are also equipped with standard all-wheel-drive, unlike the BMW 7 Series which offers rear-wheel-drive as well.
Two potent, well-refined powertrains are available under the hood of the Audi A8, depending on just how absurdly powerful you really want your executive sedan to be. A 48-volt MHEV motor comes paired to each engine, gaining charge while on the move and directing it to the sedan's systems in lieu of relying on energy from the combustion engine.
The standard engine is a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 that develops 335 hp and 369 lb-ft. Regulated by an eight-speed automatic gearbox, this power is directed to all four wheels simultaneously. Some rivals offer a rear-wheel drivetrain as standard, with an optional all-wheel drivetrain, but Audi makes its intelligent quattro drivetrain the default. In this guise, the A8 has no trouble getting around town or passing on the highway, with plenty of power readily on tap.
But, if you still want more, then there is the 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 that comes on the 60 TFSI. Mated to the same transmission and paired with the quattro drivetrain, this engine develops 453 hp and 487 lb-ft. Only the most high-performance of sports cars should give you a run for your money on the highway.
While it may be designed to be driven in, rather than to drive, the Audi A8 is far from boring. You won't be swinging its rotund rump around hairpins turns in the hills, but the large sedan can still provide some thrills with its athletic acceleration, especially if you're willing to up-spec the car. The available all-wheel steering is particularly nice on an otherwise unwieldy car, giving the A8 a sharper turning circle and more high-speed agility and stability than you'd expect from a stately cruiser.
Naturally, the sedan really shines when it comes to road comfort. Bumps aren't completely swallowed up by the air suspension, but what does make it through to the cabin is so well damped that it's barely noticeable. Nevertheless, there are smoother rides out there, like Mercedes-Benz' silky smooth S-Class.
However, despite being eminently capable, the A8's steering can be a little numb, not really telling you what the wheels are doing, even as the column vibrates in your hands over rougher roads. We have no complaints when it comes to the brakes, though, which are more than powerful enough to bring the portly sedan to a stop in just 149 feet from 70 mph in independent testing without negatively impacting the vehicle's composure.
Overall, the Audi A8 is certainly more of a passenger vehicle than an exciting driver, but it doesn't discard fun completely in its pursuit of luxurious comfort.
Large luxury sedans with potent powertrains seldom boast impressive fuel consumption figures, but the Audi A8 falls a little short of the segment norms. Equipped with the turbocharged V6, the sedan gets 17/26/21 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles. The similarly powered Mercedes-Benz S-Class gets 18/28/22 mpg, while the BMW 7 Series gets 22/29/24 mpg, each with their all-wheel drivetrains. The stronger V8 sips more greedily from the fuel tank, getting only 15/23/18 mpg. With a 21.7-gallon tank on hand, the A8 can cover 456 miles between gas station visits, but you'll be filling up with premium gasoline, so be ready for the bill.
The A8's cabin is extremely spacious thanks to the sedan's long wheelbase, with the majority of the space delegated to the rear seats. Up front, most of the dashboard is covered by the dual-touchscreen infotainment system. But as good as it looks, the suite can be a bit tricky to operate. The rest of the cabin looks handsome, too, with the controls laid out for ease of operation. The seats are highly adjustable, too, with comfort being the primary concern. There are few places as pleasant to pass the time as the inside of a luxurious executive sedan, and the Audi A8 is a prime example.
Within the spacious cabin, there are seating appointments for up to five passengers inside the large sedan. With a panoramic sunroof coming standard, headroom is still quite good, and the front seats offer plenty of legroom, too. However, it's the rear seats that really impress with their incredible leg- and shoulder room, meaning fitting three adults in the back isn't an absurd idea. Heated 18-way power front comfort seats come standard with available heated and ventilated 22-way power front seats with massage functions. The rear seats can be swapped out for heated and ventilated comfort seats with massage functions that come with heated footrests at the cost of reducing passenger capacity by one. Getting in and out of the sedan is supremely easy, but its large size can create some unwelcome blind spots. Available driver-assistance features help to overcome these minor failings, though.
Audi used only the most premium materials in the construction of its flagship sedan. Upscale Valetta leather comes standard on either trim, available in Black, Saiga Beige, or Sarder Brown with a Black dashboard and Pastel Silver headliner. If that still isn't plush enough for you, then you can opt for the $4,000 perforated Valcona leather upholstery (requiring the addition of both the $800 Cold Weather Package and the $4,600 Executive Package), which is offered in Black, Nutmeg Brown, Pearl Beige, Saiga Beige, or Sarder Brown with the same Black dashboard and Pastel Silver headliner. Merino Gray is also available in the Valcona leather at an additional cost of $500. Real wood inlays are standard on either trim, in Dark Brown Walnut, Gray Brown Ash, or Gray Brown Eucalyptus. Regardless of your choice of styling, the Audi A8 is remarkably well-built, with nary an unrefined, hard surface in sight.
While the A8 may be extremely large, the majority of its interior space is designated for passenger usage. The trunk is on the small side, even for the large luxury sedan segment. Behind the rear seats, only 12.5 cubic feet of space is available. This is enough for the most mundane of daily errands, such as light shopping, but an all-day shopping spree is certainly out of the question. The Audi's German competitors, the Merc S-Class and BMW 7 Series, each provide more cargo capacity - 16.3 cubic feet and 18.2 cubic feet, respectively. The rear seats don't fold down to open up any extra space, but there is a center pass-through to allow slightly larger items to be stowed in the trunk.
While the cabin might offer plenty of space for storing people, it doesn't give many options for storing small items. Each of the four doors gets a small, fabric-lined pocket, and there are some small trays for keys or sunglasses. The glove compartment is average in size, but the front armrest cubby is a bit small with the wireless charger inside.
Each A8 comes equipped with heated 18-way power comfort front seats with lumbar and memory functions, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, and quad-zone climate control. Convenience features include cruise control, keyless entry and ignition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and rain-sensing wipers. Standard advanced driver-assistance features comprise front and rear sonar, lane departure warning, and forward collision avoidance, while blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a surround-view camera, and lane keep assist are available. The front seats can also be upgraded to heated and ventilated 22-way front seats as part of the Executive Package, while heated and ventilated rear seats with lumbar and massage functions are part of the Rear Seat Comfort Package.
Audi equips its flagship sedan with a dual-touchscreen infotainment suite that comes programmed with Bluetooth functions, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, and navigation. The standard 17-speaker Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system comes paired with HD Radio and SiriusXM, but it can be upgraded to a 23-speaker B&O unit. Two USB ports are offered to those up front, while the center armrest can add a wireless charger and signal booster as part of the Executive Package. A rear-seat entertainment system is also available, comprising dual tablets and a DVD player in the glove compartment. Additionally, an upgraded version of Audi's Virtual Cockpit, which displays maps and other infotainment features in the driver's line of sight, has been made standard for the new year.
The A8 may not have a verified dependability rating, as yet, but it hasn't given the select few buyers capable of affording it anything to complain about. Only a single recall has been issued for the new-generation model, and even then, only 66 vehicles were reported to be affected. Perhaps the only real failing when it comes to the large sedan is its rather stingy warranty plan. Both the bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranty plans are only valid for a basic 50,000 miles/48 months, while complimentary maintenance is covered for a single year or just 10,000 miles.
Unsurprisingly for such a premium vehicle, the Audi A8 has not been subjected to proper crash-test safety evaluation by any official body. Despite its standard and available advanced driver-assistance features, the luxury sedan has no rating from the NHTSA or the IIHS.
Every A8 comes standard with ABS, EBD, stability and traction control, and at least nine airbags: dual front, driver knee, front side, rear side, and side curtains. Audi pre sense basic and front are also included on both trim levels, with front and rear sonar, lane departure warning, as well as forward collision alert with automatic emergency braking. Further available features comprise lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, intersection assist, traffic sign recognition, and a surround-view camera.
We could just say the Audi A8 is the German manufacturer's flagship luxury sedan and leave it that, but that would be selling it short. There is very little to complain about when it comes to the large cruiser, especially when you consider the market it is targeted at.
Yes, it may not be a thrill-seeker's car like so many smaller Audis are, but the A8 does a remarkably good job at being a comfortable, large, stately cruiser. Both of its powertrains do an excellent job of getting the hefty sedan around town in record time, and its handling dynamics are more engaging than you'd expect from a sedan targeted towards passenger comfort.
It also gets everything you could ever need or want on a luxury sedan, such as plush, power-adjustable front seats with similar available rear seats, a comprehensive infotainment suite, and enough standard safety features to give you peace of mind. However, there are rivals that do a better job in the areas they focus particularly hard on, such as the Merc S-Class's absurd luxury and comfort, and the BMW 7's extra fun factor. Both rivals also offer more cargo capacity than the A8, making them slightly more practical as daily drivers.
However, Audi does an excellent job of combining all these factors to produce a well-rounded executive sedan that covers all the bases, especially with the available packages. It may not excite or turn as many heads as some more lavish competitors, but the A8 is a solid offering at a respectable price for the segment.
Situated at the very top of Audi's non-performance vehicle range, it's no surprise that the Audi A8 bears a truly premium price tag. Getting behind the wheel, or rather in the back seat, of the 55 TFSI will set buyers back an impressive $85,200. If the turbocharged V6 under the hood of the base model isn't enough for you, then you can get the even more potent V8 in the 60 TFSI at a higher cost of $96,800. But don't expect that to be anywhere near your final bill; speccing on a few additional packages and safety features can easily increase the price to $120k. These prices exclude tax, registration, licensing, and Audi's $995 destination fee.
The Audi A8 is available for purchase in two trim levels: the A8L 55 TFSI and the A8L 60 TFSI. In most aspects, the two models are indistinguishable, but they each get their own powertrain. The 55 TFSI is powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 that develops 335 hp and 369 lb-ft, while the 60 TFSI gets a 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 that develops 453 hp and 487 lb-ft. Both engines come mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and a quattro all-wheel drivetrain.
Standard equipment includes 19-inch alloy wheels, full LED headlights, taillights, and daytime running lights, along with power soft-closing doors, a power trunk lid, and a panoramic sunroof. Upholstered in premium Valetta leather, the interior boasts heated 18-way power front seats with lumbar and memory, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with a power tilt-and-telescoping column, and quad-zone climate control. Audi's 12.3-inch virtual cockpit display is complemented by a dual-screen infotainment suite that comprises a 10.1-inch upper screen and an 8.6-inch lower one. Standard software includes Bluetooth, navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, and Audi connect Prime and Plus. HD Radio and SiriusXM make up the standard listening options, played back through a 17-speaker Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system. Convenience features include keyless entry and ignition, cruise control, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror, while standard safety features comprise front and rear sonar, lane departure warning, and a rearview camera.
Apart from the stronger engine, the 60 TFSI also gets front and rear black brake calipers, and access to additional optional packages.
While it may come well-equipped right off the production line, the Audi A8 is still quite customizable, with a variety of packages available to tweak both the features and the aesthetics. The majority of the packages are available to both trim levels, like the Executive Package ($4,600), which adds heated and ventilated 22-way power front seats with lumbar, massage, and memory, a heated steering wheel, multicolor ambient LED interior lighting, a signal booster and wireless charger, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, vehicle exit warning, a surround-view camera, and a head-up display. The Sport Style ($3,700) and Black Optic ($1,500) exterior packages each change the sedan's appearance, giving it a sportier body styling and black exterior accents, respectively, but strangely must be equipped together, driving the price sky-high. The Executive Rear Seat Comfort Package ($7,750) on the 60 TFSI model deletes the rear bench and replaces it with two heated and ventilated rear relaxation seats that come with heating, power adjustability, and massage functions, as well as heated footrests with massage functions. This package does reduce the adjustability of the front seats to ten directions only, though.
A price difference of $10k may be a big deal to some buyers, but when you're already looking at a starting price that nears the $100k mark, is it really? The two trims each offer the same list of features, so it really comes down to whether you want the stronger V8 engine or not. You certainly don't need it, since the standard turbo V6 is more than potent enough. In terms of sheer value for money, the base-model 55 TFSI is the better deal. But if you want utter opulence, the 60 TFSI with the Executive and Executive Rear Seat packages is the way to go, if you can afford $120k. At the very least, you should probably go for the Driver Assistance Package, since the base A8 is actually a bit light on advanced safety features, but this requires the Executive Package at an additional $4,600.
The smaller brother to the A8, the A6 shares its big bro's business-like approach to luxury without sacrificing too much playfulness, either. Being smaller than the full-size sedan, the A6 is a bit nimbler on the road, even if its powertrains are a little less potent: the standard turbo four-cylinder develops 248 hp and 273 lb-ft and there is the option of the A8's turbo V6, but the V8 remains beyond its reach in the run of the mill models. The midsize sedan still focuses more on passenger comfort than driver pleasure, but it's still more fun than the portly A8. Naturally, the smaller vehicle loses out on the A8's insane passenger space, but it manages to supply a larger 13.7-cubic-foot trunk. While both sedans come well equipped with the latest tech and available safety features, the A6 makes more sense from an economic perspective with its significantly lower starting price and better mileage figures. But, if you care more about prestige, the A8 is the way to go.
Mechanically identical to the A6, the A7 is a sleeker sedan with more curb appeal than either the A6 or the A8. It doesn't perform any better than the A6, with the same choice of powertrain, but it will turn more heads with its sloping roofline. Normally, a sloping roof means you sacrifice trunk space, but since it's a sportback, the A7 actually beats out the A6 with its standard cargo capacity of 19 cubic feet, which can be expanded to almost 50 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down, absolutely shaming the A8. However, the sportier-looking sedan sacrifices passenger headroom, making it feel cramped compared to the spacious A8. The A7 also costs quite a bit more than the A6, although it is significantly cheaper than the A8. In terms of practicality, the A7 makes more sense, but who buys a $100k sedan to be practical? The A8 is far more luxurious as a passenger vehicle.
Check out some informative Audi A8 video reviews below.