Audi looks at the big picture with its spacious (and speedy) 2016 A8 L.
Generation three of Audi’s largest and most lavish four-door, the A8 L, has multiple power choices. As with most Audis, the powertrain is all-wheel drive regardless which engine choice is made. In an effort to increase both performance and economy at the same moment, the chassis and body are made of aluminum instead of the heavier steel.
With the smallest, yet powerful, 3-liter supercharged V6, which churns out 333 horsepower, fuel mileage is a very respectable combined rating of 22 miles per gallon. For the more performance-oriented, an optional 6.3-liter, 12-cylinder model will push this limo-like sedan from 0-60 mph in a short 4.2 seconds. An automatic eight-speed is the only transmission, but shifting can be handled manually with hefty paddles behind the leather-covered steering wheel.
And speaking of leather, the interior is fully lined with Valletta leather with some wood sprinkled around in the dash, doors and console. Besides the supportive cushioning and infinite number of adjustments of the front seats, with some special controls on the side of the seat, a number of massage options are available. Pick the portion of your body that needs relaxation, and choose from wave, pulse and stretch; and for 10 minutes, your massage needs will be taken care of. If you want to cool down, the front seats can be cooled (or even heated) as needed. Interestedly, the headrests can, much like airline seats, have the flanks twisted in for more support.
Unlike many others, the seemingly mandatory video in the center of dash can be hidden with a push of bottom. Normally, the mini, iPad-size screen pops out to the top center of the dash when the start button on the console is hit. When displayed, multiple functions, ranging from navigation to Bluetooth, are available. When backing up, a 360-degree view and forward- or rear-view is shown at the same time. Th e Google-connected navigation system can be commanded by voice, and can show either a standard map or a real-life view. Turn directions are by voice, and arrows in the dash pod guide you on course. An adjustable, heads-up display in the driver’s side windshield provides your speed.
Indulgences continue in the rear chambers, which are designed to handle three, but in reality, the rear set up is made to pamper two. Th e L after the A8 indicates additional legroom in back. A super-sized, folding arm-rest provides some options, including individual climate controls and seat temperatures. Power window shades are available on the back and side windows to keep the sun at bay. But if sun is needed, there are both front and rear sunroofs. Mirrors can be popped down from the ceiling for a final check before exiting into your adoring crowds. A large trunk with a power lifting and closing lid can handle storage needs.
Surprisingly, with all of the performance available, silence generally describes the interior no matter what thrust mode is in action. Likewise, the shifts of the eight-speed transmission are rarely felt. For more performance, a sport setting button accelerates shifting. But when all is said and done, there is no shoddy handling. The traditional large-mouth grill is found up front with a rakish roofline rounding out the styling theme. A number of people commented favorably on the looks of this Audi.
In the highly competitive luxury large sedan market, this Audi is certainly a player, whether you are seeking speed or comfort, or both.
Audi A8 L
Performance: 0-60, with W-12 engine: 4.2 seconds
Powertrain: V-6, 3.0 liter, 333 horsepower; W-12: 6.2 liter, 498 horsepower, eight-speed automatic
Sound System: Bose surround sound, 14 speakers, 630 watts
Price: $81,500 (v-6), as tested $83,730; W-12 model: $137,900
Fuel Economy: city 19; highway 29; combined average of 22 mpg with V-6 model
All photos courtesy Audi USA