The previous-generation Audi A8 stuck around in our market for about eight years, after which the brand stopped selling it in India because of the whole ‘dieselgate’ scandal, which meant Audi had to upgrade all its engines in order to meet current European emission norms. Audi was helpless about it for quite some time but eventually ushered in the new A8 as a full import. Now although it might be a little late to the party, we discover that it has been worth waiting for so long.
There’s no mistaking the Audi A8 L for being anything but a limousine and its 3128mm wheelbase is proof.
The rear overhand stretches all the way out. We like how the window line stretches beyond the seating area in the cabin; this gives it a coupe-like shape at the back without there being a shortage of headroom for passengers at the back.
The Audi A8 L we got our hands on sports 19-inch, five-spoke alloy wheels that look quite sporty.
The grille up-front is massive; it seems like a trend being followed by all luxury car makers these days. It comes with a chrome finish and is, by far, the biggest grille we’ve seen in the range of Audi Cars.
There’s more chrome around the fog lights, below the doors, a strip running across the tailgate. Some might say it’s a bit too much, but knowing luxury car buyers in India, it totally makes sense. The Audi A8 L cannot be considered sporty, its straight lines and soft edges result in an elegant look.
A palace on wheels
Step inside, and you will lose your mind at the sheer level of luxury and opulence on offer.
Gone is the bench seat the back and in comes a split rear cabin, which means you will have an extended central console running through the front chairs into the back; it gets central AC vents, an optional rear wireless phone charger, cupholders, seat controls, an optional mini-fridge located in the boot and a command center along with a removable touchscreen tablet.
A lot of functions can be operated via this, like media, seat adjustments, the sunroof, climate control, and sunshades. Audi Cars have given this car rear seats that make it stand out in its class.
The A8 comes equipped with heated, cooled, and massage function seats, a panoramic sunroof, and entertainment screens.
The cushioning of the seats could’ve been better, but apart from that, it’s difficult to nitpick at the comfort in the rear.
Multiple adjustments can be made, plus you get an optional foot-massage system and a seat massage function as well.
The rear entertainment system includes screens that are actually detachable Android-powered tablets, featuring internet connectivity and full functionality.
You can even have video conferences from the rear, thanks to the front-facing cameras in the tablets.
The A8 L is powered by a turbocharged V6 petrol engine along with a 48V mild-hybrid system, producing 335bhp and 500Nm of torque with power sent to all four wheels via an 8-speed torque-converter automatic gearbox.
This is the same engine that does duty in the Q8, but the sedan is lighter and results in sprightly performance.
The car can sprint from 0-100kph in 5.7 seconds, making it quite quick for what is a limo.
However, don’t expect the engine to be sporty in nature, but it does launch very promptly from a standstill.
Power delivery is relaxed and the engine is very smooth.
In Dynamic mode, the car gets very comfortable and mellow. It rides flat over bad bumps and doesn’t get too floaty. We can probably thank the 19-inch alloy wheels for this.
Thanks to rear-wheel steering, the A8 is surprisingly agile and the steering feels light and easy to handle even in traffic.
You can change lanes at three-digit speeds without fear as the rear wheels turn in the same direction as the front wheels, aiding stability.
At the front, the driver’s footwell seems a bit narrow because of the big transmission tunnel, but there are lots of classy bits up-front, like the AC vents that glide open, the dual-touchscreen MMI system, and the piano-black fascia that compensates somehow. Get the best reviews and the latest news at autoX.
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