Overview & Reviews
The flagship Audi A8 is a full-size luxury sedan meant to appeal to wealthy consumers looking for maximum luxury and space. Although competing models from the premium German and Japanese marques may sell in greater numbers, the A8 does possess a distinct advantage because of its aluminum frame and body panels. Significantly lighter than a traditional steel structure, the Audi Space Frame (ASF), as it's called, helps offset the weight of the car's Quattro all-wheel-drive system; the A8's competitors are primarily rear-wheel drive.
Thanks to Quattro, winter weather capability is one of the Audi A8's strengths. Luxurious accommodations are another, particularly with the last couple of generations. As with other Audis, understated luxury and cutting-edge electronics combine to form an experience that delivers refinement in abundance. Though it's sometimes overlooked, the A8 is a fine choice for a luxury flagship.
Current Audi A8
The Audi A8 is a full-size luxury sedan available in standard and long-wheelbase ("L") forms. Even with standard all-wheel drive (AWD), the A8 still weighs less than most of its rear-wheel-drive rivals, let alone those fitted with optional AWD. The A8's AWD system has a rear-biased power split, which helps to provide a sportier feel akin to a rear-drive performance sedan.
There are six trim levels: 3.0T, L 3.0T, L 3.0 TDI, 4.0T, L 4.0T and L W12. The 3.0T trims have a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 with 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. Like all A8 engines, it runs through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The 4.0T trims have a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 that makes 420 hp and 444 lb-ft. The W12 features a 6.3-liter 12-cylinder engine that cranks out 500 hp and 463 lb-ft. In addition to these gas-fueled powerhouses, there is the 3.0 TDI, a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 rated at 240 hp and 406 lb-ft. Regardless of engine choice, acceleration is swift, with the 0-60-mph sprint ranging from around 4.2 seconds to 6.3. Fuel economy is also notable, with the TDI in particular rated at an impressive 28 mpg combined.
Of course the A8 comes loaded with all the latest high-tech features. Highlights include a dynamic steering system that can intervene with automatic countersteering in a slide, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, automatic emergency braking, and night vision with thermal imaging and pedestrian detection. Audi's MMI electronics interface features an additional touchpad interface that reads fingertip gestures as letters and commands. Google Earth mapping for the navigation system is another A8 exclusive.
Beyond the sumptuous cabin, which features front and rear seats that can be adjusted in a multitude of ways, there's also the big sedan's impressive ride and handling characteristics. The ride is comfortable without excessive float over bumps. When pressed on a curvy road, the A8 proves surprisingly agile, with nicely weighted steering. Rear seat room is ample in the regular-wheelbase model, while the A8 L provides more than enough legroom for a pair of 6-footers.
The A8 undoubtedly lacks the name recognition and styling flair of its fellow Germans, but don't let that stop you from giving it strong consideration. With its roomy, best-in-class cabin and excellent driving dynamics, this luxury sedan shines as one of the strongest picks in its segment.
Used Audi A8 Models
The current A8 represents the third generation in the model's history, debuting in 2011. In that inaugural year, the sole engine was a 4.2-liter V8 engine with 372 hp and 328 lb-ft of torque. The following year brought the 6.3-liter W12. For 2013, the 4.2-liter was dropped, while both the supercharged V6 and turbocharged V8 seen in the current lineup debuted. Apart from lacking the TDI engine option and some minor differences in standard and optional equipment, these latter A8s are otherwise essentially identical to today's version.
The previous, second-generation Audi A8 was sold from 2004-'10. Relative to its predecessor, this generation offered a lighter chassis and a more muscular V8, along with lots of comfort, safety and suspension upgrades. This A8 was offered in both standard-wheelbase (A8) and long-wheelbase (A8 L) versions. The base engine was a 4.2-liter V8 that generated 335 hp and later rose to 350 hp for 2007. A six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive were standard. From 2005-'09, there was an A8 L W12 model that featured a 6.0-liter 12-cylinder engine that produced 450 hp.
Changes were light during this generation. There were slight styling alterations for '08, while the equipment list was bolstered nearly every model year. Regardless of which year you may be considering here, cabin furnishings were superb and the MMI interface made accessing the car's numerous audio, climate and navigation functions fairly easy. This A8 was often overlooked by luxury sedan shoppers, but we always found it to be a great alternative and certainly equal to other flagships in terms of luxury, performance and craftsmanship.
The first-generation Audi A8 was offered from 1997-2003. Although it was one of the most technologically advanced cars on the market by virtue of its aluminum frame, it never had its successor's flair for style or performance. Understated in its adornments inside and out, the original A8 failed to deliver the over-the-top ambience that's so important for high-dollar luxury sedans sold in the United States. However, if you like the idea of owning a discreet luxury car, you can buy a used A8 for considerably less than you'd pay for a used BMW 7 Series or Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
Early Audi A8s were offered only with a 113-inch wheelbase, which meant that their backseats were cramped compared to the other full-size luxury sedans. The longer and roomier A8 L arrived for the 2000 model year and would be our pick if you're planning to carry adults in back. Most first-generation A8s were sold with a 4.2-liter V8 and Quattro all-wheel drive. Thusly equipped, the A8 was one of the quickest large luxury sedans of its day, though the V8 was deficient in off-the-line torque. It was a comfortable car but not a particularly entertaining one due to overly soft suspension tuning. Audi also offered a less expensive front-wheel-drive model from 1997-'99. This rare A8 had a small 3.7-liter V8 and a modest 8.3-second 0-60 time.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 368.00
Fuel Sipper - 2015 Audi A8
By Don Santella - January 2 - 2:23 pm
This is a great automobile. The Lane control is excellent and the adaptive cruise works great in stop and go traffic. The technology is almost to the point where one could read a book while traveling on the interstate. I am getting over 40 mpg on the highway traveling at about 77 mph.
A Truly Fine Automobile - 2015 Audi A8
By Luckyme - December 15 - 8:16 pm
We've owned luxury cars by Lexus, BMW, and Mercedes. After buying my first Audi, a 2016 A6 3.0 earlier in 2015, my wife was so impressed driving my car that she traded her Lexus RX350 in for a A8 L with the same spunky V6. I can't help but to compare the drive, handling and ride quality of the A8L to a Lexus LS460L I traded for my A6 earlier this year. The Audi beats the Lexus hands down. This A8 L handles so securely for such a large car. The V6 is strong, and provides plenty of power. The car is hushed, substantial, has a huge back seat, yet handles like a smaller sedan. Technology is top notch, with the exception of no USB ports? What was Audi thinking? Otherwise, the navigation is quite good. Interior fit and finish is superb, with great feel at every touch. The massaging and ventilated seats are a nice touch as well. Fuel economy with the V6 is excellent, at 34 mpg in a 1000 mile trip at highway speeds in excess of 75 mph. A very comfortable long haul road car. Combined mpg has been a respectable 25 mpg. The LED interior lighting is subdued and well executed. The LED headlights are piercing the night driving. If these Audis hold up well, we are certainly going to continue to be Audi repeat buyers.
More than I Expected... - 2015 Audi A8
By Bill - October 21 - 11:44 pm
I have driven a Lexus for the past 16 years. I have never has a bad experience, but wanted a change. It has been two months and 4,000 miles. The Audi has delivered in every way. I loved the test drive, but find myself learning more about the car and feeling more at at home in the Audi every time I hit start... I got a lot more than I expected. There is a huge difference in Japanese vs German engineering. Design, acceleration, handling, features, air ride suspension (wow!), and the way I fit in the adjustable seat. The A8 offers subtle and spectacular at the same time. Don't buy a MB, BMW, or a Lexus without driving the Audi. Definitely worth your consideration....
A 10 - 2015 Audi A8
By Jim - October 4 - 7:50 am
I had every top end car over the years & just got the Audi A8L 4.0 Engine this car is a beast. Everything about this car is top end from the sound system to the seats & the ride. I test drove the M/B-S & the B/M/W 750iL & went with the Audi A8L
MPG or GPM????? - 2007 Audi A8
By John Ebin - September 22 - 12:39 pm
19 MPG advertised for City Driving but now with 2000 miles getting 10-12MPG. What a Scam!!!! Now see what VW has done with emissions . Did they do the same with MPG???????
Best Luxury Car with great fuel economy - 2014 Audi A8
By Bobby - September 1 - 1:38 pm
This far best comparing S350, Jag XL, Lexus. Interior design is very luxurious with all and everything you expect luxury car should provide. Driving mileage per gallon you get is far better than Benz or any other in same class offered. I will highly recommend this car - less repairs and maintenance cost is affordable. you can decide your self after driving Benz, Lexus, Jag, that this car offers more than anything you expect. Audi made this TDI version very sleek and economical. This A8L TDI delivers good power, steering comfort and most bang for your bucks (after all you want to drive this car for feel of luxury)
Waste of time and money - 2005 Audi A8
By email@example.com - August 19 - 7:57 pm
Yes its a luxurious car, awesome look/appearance, sound of V8 and exhaust are exciting. Interior specious but cargo space is smaller than chevy malibu. From day one vehicle shows to be a very time consuming burden. I can easily afford kep up of this expensive vehicle but no mater where you go not a single shop is happy to service this poorly built non sense. The vehicle is so unpopular that even dealer has no idea of occurring problems and how addressing the issue. Motor started to leak oil by 80k miles, my work vehicle chevy impala ith over 200k miles does not have a motor leak as of yet. Suspension went down due to front shock leaks. AC system had hose leak. Later sunroof began to stock. Interior: Privacy curtain has ripped, transmission shift cover broke in half, passenger seat leather ripped and was impossible to replace got it done though. All of the interior buttons peeled making car look very trashy got it replaced, later drop down mirrors in the back broke. By that time cost came over $13k on maintenance while value of the car went down by more than a half. Then I got tired of looking for a shops that would fix this so called car when dealer could not. Got rid of it and my life became a life again.
Luxury Driving At Its Nicest - 2005 Audi A8
By fastcompany - June 6 - 2:11 pm
Everytime I see my car I just smile knowing what a beautiful choice I made. I love the curvature and design of the car. I love the ride. The pickup is there if you need it but for style and handling it is pure luxury and I am as happy as the 1st day I got my car. The car does things I never thought existed. Roomy as heck in the back....more than enough for anyone of any size. Couldntve made a happier automobile owner.
120K miles retrospective - 2007 Audi A8
By boyracer3 - December 6 - 10:02 pm
Finally retired my 8 a few months ago. Absolutely beautiful car. Loved driving it. And still miss it greatly. The expense of repairs quickly exceeded the residual value of the car. The car was very reliable and honestly the issues that I had with it were worn part maintenance issues. But items like the suspension repairs @110K for $7400. Other small issues for another $7500 soon followed. $15K for a car I then traded for $12K. But I did get a new S7 so obviously I still think they are great cars. Really had no problems at all until 100K. I don't really think Audi's are that expensive to maintain, either, nothing like Porsche or BMW in my experience.
Can It Really Get Any Better Than This? - 2009 Audi A8
By tinyelvis - September 25 - 5:45 pm
Purchased with 65k 3-12 and sprung 3k for extended warr that takes me to 115k or 2017. So far I have only been able to use warr for a water pump ($1300). Yes, it is expensive to maintain. Every time I slide behind the wheel a sly grin creeps across my face. I've put 30+k on the odo, everything from Walmart trips to 600 mile East Coast jaunts through the mountains of PA and NY. This car does everything superbly. Accelerating, steering and braking exude confidence at every moment. Interior gauges, controls and ergonomics are perfect. Headlamps and cornering lamps are absolutely outstanding. My son just got his license, and I sat in back for essentially the first time. What a lot of room!