Review: Audi A8 (2010 – 2017)
The ultimate in luxurious travel. Superb refinement and a pleasure to travel in. Good to drive with agile handling. 3.0 TDI offers remarkable economy for such a large car. High-tech and stylish interior.
Apart from the dominant grille, styling is nondescript.
Audi A8 (2010 – 2017): At A Glance
- New prices start from £68,275, brokers can source from £50,095
- Contract hire deals from £617.15 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 40–50
- On average it achieves 80% of the official MPG figure
The third generation Audi A8 of 2010 is an understated and extremely classy car. There is nothing about its styling an onlooker has to get used to. It looks exactly like a big, luxurious limousine should look
To travel inside there are few better cars on the road and its amazing refinement, sheer quality and clever yet useful on-board technology make it the perfect flagship to the Audi range. Whether you're behind the wheel, or lucky enough to be sitting in the back, the Audi A8 is a delightful car to be in.
Its forte is long distance cruising, which it manages in effortless and cosseting style, helped by an advanced adaptive air suspension system and a superb range of powerful yet smooth engines. The pick is actually the smallest engine in the form of the 3.0 TDI quattro - a powerplant perfectly suited to the refined Audi A8.
An aluminium body ensures weight is kept to a minimum which has huge benefits for both handling and economy. The 3.0 TDI is capable of impressive fuel economy with some versions achieving close to 50mpg - according to the official figures that is. The Audi A8 also handles very well with an agility and composure in corners that belies its size.
Add to that a sumptous and elegant cabin with acres of rear space and it's easy to see why the A8 is such a wonderful car to travel in. The interior oozes class with its impeccable quality and a host of advanced systems including satellite navigation with 3D mapping that actually 'talks' to the gearbox and lets it know when there are corners to avoid unneccesary gear changes.
Other cars in this class may look more distinctive from the outside, but none can quite match the all round abilities of the Audi A8. Its effortless style helps create that crucial 'feelgood factor' that means every journey is always a pleasure.
What does a Audi A8 (2010 – 2017) cost?
Audi A8 (2010 – 2017): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 335–520 litres
Longer and wider than before, this A8 has huge amounts of passenger space and the best place to appreciate this is in the back. There's an immense amount of legroom, helped by the fact that the A8 is more than five metres long, while the standard leather seats are supple yet supportive, helping long journeys to fly by if you're lucky enough to be travelling in the back.
As an optional extra, you can specify electrically adjustable rear seats but the real benefit is that this also includes, heating, ventilation and a massage function. This can also be chosen for the front seats and the five-program massage system is genuinely relaxing and not - like some other systems - an annoying instrusion.
In the front, the cabin design is stylish but somewhat understated, especially when compared to the Jaguar XJ. But it's the attention to detail that really impresses such as the neat gear lever which is based on the design of the throttle on a high performance speed boat or the lovely analogue clock in the centre of the dash. All the main controls and buttons are perfectly placed for convenience and there's a feeling of true luxury about the finish with everything swathed in supple leather.
Thankfully, the interior of the A8 isn't littered with switches, keeping with the minimalist style of the A8. Instead, the majority of systems such as the stereo, Bluetooth and satellite navigation are controlled via what Audi calls its MMI system (or Multi Media Interface). This features a dial (situated in front of the gear lever) for scrolling through the various functions and a large colour screen that neatly slides out of the dash top.
It's very intuitive to use and although the sheer number of functions can seem daunting at first, it only takes a short time to familiarise yourself with it. And one of the neatest features is a clever touchpad that allows you to actually write out letters and numbers with your finger which the sat nav will recognise, so you can spell out your destination without taking your eyes off the road.
Both the front seats and steering column are electrically adjustable so finding the perfect driving position is straightforward plus the boot is a good size too and with 510-litres of luggage room has a similar capacity as the BMW 7 Series (although the Mercedes S-Class boot is larger). You can easily fit in four golf bags plus top models come with an electrically opening and closing boot lid as standard.
The sheer luxuriousness of the Audi A8 is a joy to behold and the quality is everything you'd expect of a car of this type with only the best materials used throughout and an impeccable finish. So it's those special features that stand out. Such as the fact that when the A8 knows you're driving abroad (thanks to the sat nav data) it automatically changes the headlights for driving on the right, plus even alters the clock for you. It's these touches that help the A8 to stand out from the other luxury saloons on the market.
Equipment from launch (June 2010):
Eight-speed automatic gearbox, Audi drive select with three pre-configured models (Comfort, Auto Dynamic), 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive air suspension with four selectable modes, engine start-stop function (3.0 TDI only), Valcona leather, electrically-adjustable four-way lumbar support, electric front seats with memory (14-way adjustable), heated front seats, MMI with universal connection for iPods, USBs and MP3 players, satellite navigation, 20GB music storage, eight-inch colour screen, DAB digital radio, Bluetooth, front and rear parking sensors, automatic headlight range adjustment, cruise control, electrically adjustable folding door mirrors, double glazing, electric steering column, ESP stability control, Isofix child seat mountings, LED rear lights, automatic headlights, rain sensitive wipers, xenon headights with LED daytime running lights, climate control, LED ambient lighting, keyless start and metallic paint.
Adds 19-inch alloy wheels (different design), Audi parking system advanced, keyless entry and an electrically operated boot lid.
Child seats that fit a Audi A8 (2010 – 2017)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Audi A8 (2010 – 2017) like to drive?
The Audi A8 is available with a good range of very powerful but relatively efficient engines. It's the 3.0 TDI that is the most popular, but just because it's the smallest engine, it's certainly not the poor relation in the line-up. If anything, its refined and smooth nature suits the A8 perfectly and it makes the most sense in terms of running costs.
It's available with the quattro four-wheel drive system and has plenty of power and an impressive 550Nm of torque. This means it gains speed effortlessly, making it a great long distance relaxed cruiser. It may not have the immediate pace of the more powerful engines, but that's rarely a problem in a luxury car where comfort is the priority. Best of all, it can average a close to 50mpg in some versions.
For more performance there's the 4.2 TDI which is a superb engine with thunderous pulling power. The 4.2 TDI provides instant acceleration from low down and feels incredibly muscular, yet still returns 37mpg which is amazing given the performance on offer.
The standard gearbox on all A8 is a new eight-speed tiptronic automatic - an incredibly advanced transmission that delivers smooth but lightning fast shifts, for the ultimate in effortless yet quick progress.
If you're feeling particularly enthusiastic, there are also steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, so you can change gears yourself.
This may seem like an unusual feature in a luxury limousine-type car, but thanks to an incredibly lightweight aluminium body, the Audi A8 is a genuinely great car to drive and one that handles more like a sporty hatchback.
It's nimble in corners and deals with quick changes of direction superbly well, so that tackling tight bends is not only enjoyable, but doesn't result in dizzy passengers.
This ability in corners isn't at the detriment of the ride quality though and the A8 is superbly cosseting. This is mainly down to the excellent Audi Drive Select system which comes as standard. It allows the driver to fine tune the steering weight, throttle response, gearshift points and air suspension settings across three pre-set levels - comfort, automatic and dynamic.
There's a noticeable difference between the three, but the automatic setting is so capable, it tends to be most drivers' default choice.
One small criticism is the steering which often feels quite artificial and over-assisted, although it's still very responsive to inputs and feels well-weighted at higher speeds. So even at Autobahn speeds, the Audi A8 is amazingly stable and reassuring, helped by double-glazed glass which means the cabin is near-silent.
The A8 is packed with technology, but one of the smartest allows the sat nav and automatic gearbox to 'talk' to each other. Using the digital road maps, it can factor corners or hills into the gearshifts, so avoids unneccesary (and fuel sapping) gear changes, making journeys not only more efficient, but smoother too.
|2.0 TFSI Hybrid||44–45 mpg||7.7–7.9 s||144–148 g/km|
|2.0 TFSI Hybrid L||44 mpg||7.9 s||148 g/km|
|3.0 TDI||47 mpg||7.9 s||158 g/km|
|3.0 TDI L||46 mpg||8.0 s||161 g/km|
|3.0 TDI quattro||44–50 mpg||5.9–7.9 s||149–169 g/km|
|3.0 TDI quattro L||44–49 mpg||6.1–6.2 s||153–171 g/km|
|3.0 TFSI quattro||32–36 mpg||5.7–6.1 s||183–204 g/km|
|3.0 TFSI quattro L||32 mpg||6.2 s||205 g/km|
|4.0 TFSI L||30–31 mpg||4.6–4.7 s||216–221 g/km|
|4.0 TFSI quattro L||30 mpg||4.7 s||221 g/km|
|4.2 FSI quattro||30 mpg||5.7 s||219 g/km|
|4.2 FSI quattro L||29 mpg||5.8 s||224 g/km|
|4.2 TDI L||38–39 mpg||4.7–4.9 s||190–197 g/km|
|4.2 TDI quattro||38–39 mpg||4.5–5.5 s||189–196 g/km|
|4.2 TDI quattro L||38 mpg||5.6 s||198 g/km|
|S8 4.0 TFSI 520 quattro||30 mpg||4.1 s||216 g/km|
|W12 6.3 L||24–26 mpg||4.6–4.7 s||254–277 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Audi A8 (2010 – 2017)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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