The new Audi A8: Brand’s luxury flagship saloon is big, bold and loaded with new technology

“The new Audi A8: Brand’s luxury flagship saloon is big, bold and loaded with new technology”

  • Stunning interior

  • Acres of space

  • Some of the most advanced safety features on the market


Overall Rating

  • Long expensive option list

  • Not the most exciting car to drive

  • Autonomous driving features not available yet

Overall Rating


Audi’s flagship luxury limo comes loaded with new technology and a starting price of over €100,000. Rivals include other premium stalwarts such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the BMW 7-series, but does it have what it takes to set it apart in this very exclusive end of the market?

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Interior Gallery


Space & Practicality

Who drives an Audi A8? Well – the better question might be who gets driven around in an Audi A8 – because a lot of people experiencing this car will be experiencing it from the backseat.

Naturally, space is plentiful back there, with plenty of room to stretch out and read the paper, adjust your own personal climate zone and enjoy the ambiance of being in a supremely comfortable and well finished space. There’s a choice of high-tech infotainment packs available on the option list to enhance this further.

As for the front – it is here you start to understand and appreciate the attention to detail that that six figure price tag commands. A simple, elegant layout combined with excellent quality materials ensures everything feels screwed and damped to perfection. We challenge anyone not to be impressed by the way the air vents emerge seamlessly from the dashboard on start-up. It’s little touches like this as well as the effortless swipe of a finger to adjust the touch sensitive interior lighting and temperature controls that serve as constant reminders that you are in something special.

There’s a vast array of electronic adjustment in the seats with different areas you can move and heat individually – so if you want your back a bit warmer than your derriere – you can do that, and so can your passenger. You can then save all these adjustments to your driver profile so that it will automatically adjust to the way you like it each time you sit in. Again, effortless.

The boot, for what it’s worth, measures in at a useful 505 litres.

Equipment & Safety

Standard equipment is predictably impressive and includes full leather, four-zone deluxe air-conditioning, the Audi Virtual Cockpit, MMI Navigation and a head-up display. The Luxury model will add Valcona leather upholstery, 360 degree cameras, Audi phonebox with wireless charging and upgraded exterior styling including Matrix LED headlights with dynamic indicators.

Some of the vast amount of safety features on offer includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Active Lane Assist and Audi Side Assist with Pre Sense.

Some of the more impressive ‘wow’ features like the rear seat entertainment, the TV package, and the Bang and Olufsen sound system are unfortunately quite expensive options.

Performance & Running Costs

There are two engines to choose from – a 3.0l petrol or a 3.0l diesel which is what was under the hood of our test car. It pushes out 286 bhp, comes with an annual motortax bill of €390 and a claimed fuel economy of 5.8l per 100km. It also comes paired with an 8 speed automatic transmission and Audi’s Quattro 4 wheel drive system as standard. This gives it a great feeling of control around bends and despite its considerable bulk makes it reasonably engaging to drive.

The big news with this A8 was of course the autonomous driving features it was supposed to come which apparently, will eventually allow you to switch off and let the car drive for you. Unfortunately, they are not legal here yet so we’ll come back to you on that.

It does however have a pretty cool mild hybrid system which allows the engine to switch off and conserve fuel on a long stretch of road, using onboard cameras to read the conditions of the road ahead to determine if it is safe to do so.

The main draw of a car like this one is comfort and that it has it by the bucket load. The adaptive air suspension makes you feel like you’re floating above the road rather than driving on it and the sound insulation is so good, the cabin can only be described as serene. It’s an incredibly relaxing drive and immediately calming to get in to, and the perfect place to sit into after a long day in the office.

Reliability & Residuals

The A8 ticks all the boxes of what you want from a big luxurious saloon in terms of space, comfort and effortless elegance. It’s just a pity that some of the more impressive features come at such a high premium.

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