3.0 TDI quattro SE Executive
(aka luxury cars) are
by their very nature expensive
vehicles but there is no shortage
of buyers even in todays grim
YEAR 8,647 LUXURY CARS WERE SOLD IN THE UK a rise of 6.2% over 2010.
It's a fact of life that those with money will usually always have money and
seem better cushioned to cope with a recession. Important people and high-profile
businesses look upon limousines or luxury cars as essential transport.
Audi UK knows this and very astutely have worked hard and spent a lot of their
Marketing and PR budget getting the A8 and their Audi brand a high profile with
the 'right' people. This of course has led in part to their huge sales surge
again last year with another all-time record of 113,797 registrations
a 14% increase over 2010.
has a fleet of chauffeur-driven A8s for VIP use and more often than not when
a celebrity appears at a 'red carpet' event they will be getting out of, or
in to, an A8. VIPs obviously like what they see so no wonder the A8 and other
Audi models seem to appeal to famous affluent buyers and by the 'me too' association
to the wealthy but not so famous.
A8 competes with main rivals such as the BMW 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class,
Jaguar XJ, plus models from Bentley, Rolls-Royce and others. It might be a small
market segment but I have counted 14 different model ranges that compete for
UK sales in the luxury segment.
The Audi A8 Saloon
range with standard and
long wheelbase body
options and with seating
for up to five people all
have quattro all-wheel
drive and automatic
transmission as standard
no matter what the
choice of engine is...
In 2011 the Jaguar XJ accounted for 23.3% of the UK sector sales, the S-Class
19.7%, the 7 Series 17 per cent, the A8 15.8% and the Bentley 10.2%. More interestingly,
almost 70% of all cars sold in this sector were powered by a diesel engine.
Now the A8 saloon isn't exactly the latest new model in Audi's fast growing
range but it is the model that has spearheaded their introduction
of aluminium construction, the use of high-tech drivetrain technology with less
CO2 emissions yet more power and better fuel economy, plus electronic wizardry
and on-board gizmos that have cascaded down to all other models in the Audi
range from the A1 upwards.
The Audi A8 Saloon range with standard and long wheelbase body options and with
seating for up to five people all have quattro all-wheel drive and automatic
transmission as standard no matter what the choice of engine is. There are currently
3.0, 4.2 and 6.3-litre petrol engines and 3.0 and 4.2-litre TDI turbodiesel
units. Prices start at £56,620 for the standard wheelbase model or £60,585 for
the LWB versions and the current top 6.3-litre W12 version costs £95,120. A
high performance S8 4.0-litre TFSI 512bhp quattro version is to be added to
the range and so too is a hybrid model.
My test A8 was the £59,225 3.0-litre TDI quattro SE Executive not the
long wheelbase model but the standard length version which still looks impressive
with huge road presence. I consider long wheelbase models as the car for those
who like to be chauffeured around; the standard length is for executives who
would rather drive themselves.
247bhp 3.0-litre turbodiesel is by far the most popular unit and should be fast
enough for most: a 155mph top speed with zero to 62mph done and dusted in 6.1
seconds. The seamless eight-speed auto 'box harnesses the generous 405lb ft
of torque (from just 1,500rpm) before it goes as needed to the front and rear
wheels via the quattro drive.
this variable torque-split all-wheel drive system doesn't dampen the performance
or harm the fuel economy or CO2 emissions. Officially the A8 3.0-litre TDI quattro
I drove will return 44.1mpg for the Combined Cycle my rather short time
behind the wheel showed a figure of 36.5mpg.
This 247bhp 3.0-litre
turbodiesel is by far the
most popular unit
and should be fast enough for most:
a 155mph top speed
with zero to 62mph done
and dusted in
This was outstanding given the non-sedate speed at which I had to complete all
my driving duties (for my daughter's wedding) in the allotted time.
CO2 emissions are a respectable 169g/km so the road tax is £275 for the First
Year and then £195 for the second year onwards. The 27% Benefit-in-Kind costs
are hardly going to trouble the executive business user-chooser drivers who
make up the bulk of A8 customers, and neither is the 43E insurance group rating.
Boot space all 510 litres of it is ample for golf clubs or designer
Naturally the list of standard equipment is comprehensive too much to
list but trust me when I say it's all there including climate control,
leather upholstery, heated seats, a supreme sound system with DAB radio, wi-fi
connectivity, Bluetooth, cruise-control, 19-inch alloy wheels and an electronic
open/close bootlid function.
You also get an impeccably styled and impeccably built cabin it really
is a glorious, comfortable place to be. My only niggles were the fiddly-to-use
small gear select lever and the electronic parking brake. In
addition to the refinement the V6 diesel unit and eight-speed automatic transmission
offers, Adaptive Air Suspension with four modes (auto, dynamic, comfort and
lift) is standard.
modes are all self-explanatory but the auto setting is best as the 'brain' sorts
out the ride comfort to best suit the load, the roads as well as the balance
and handling of the car at all speeds.
addition there's Audi's Drive Select which gives the owner (or chauffeur) the
choice of comfort, auto or dynamic guess which one is best for most people?
You also get an
impeccably styled and
impeccably built cabin
it really is a glorious,
My own experience with the A8 and other similarly equipped models in the Audi
range is to just leave all settings in auto mode because the A8 does everything
apart from opening and closing the doors and steering for you.
And, if it was allowed, then I'm sure braking would be an automatic function
Against? Fiddly auto gear selector, electronic parking brake.
For? Audi's flagship luxury saloon, all the refinement, image, and technology
you could wish to find, classy and comfortable interior.
The A8 is a very clever car, a great flagship, and a showcase for Audi's technology
and image which cascades down to all the lesser models in their range.
And I guess if the Boss is impressed by and happy with their A8 there's a good
chance his or her staff might find their way into other Audis as company or
family cars. For proof, look no further than at Prince Charles and his family.
A8 3.0 TDI quattro SE Executive | £59,225
Maximum speed: 155mph | 0-62mph: 6.1 seconds | Overall test MPG: 36.5mpg
Power: 247bhp | Torque: 405lb ft | CO2 169g/km