New Audi A8 means business

Audi’s prestigious new A8 oozes quality, but is decently economical, according to our motor man Graham Courtney…

The Audi A8 is one of those rare cars that oozes style and quality yet has a purposeful appearance without being all shouty.

It rates as one of the most graceful saloons around and, if you really want space to stretch out in the back, you can opt for a longer wheelbase.

The new Audi A8 is stunning to drive and remarkably agile for such a sizeable car. You can waft along in near silence or show other road users a clean pair of heels with some serious performance.

There are two engines…a 3.0 litre 282bhp TDi diesel (0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds, top speed 155mph, combined mpg 50.4) and a petrol 335bhp 3.0 litre V6 TFSI (0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds, top speed 155mph, combined mpg 36.7).

Both engines use an eight-speed tiptronic gearbox. There’s stop-start technology and a mild hybrid system to improve economy. When you decide to press on, the engine and exhaust combine to make a lovely rumble.

The four-wheel quattro transmission provides assured roadholding and also helps when some typical North-East weather makes the going tricky.

The electronic chassis platform allows the driver to use the Audi drive select system to activate different drive profiles between comfort and dynamic.

The communications hub in the Audi A8 is centred round 10.1-inch upper and 8.6-inch lower touchscreens.

They replace the rotary controller and button system used in previous models.

The online services from Audi Connect have been expanded to include features such as traffic sign and hazard information. It’s clever stuff.

In terms of standard kit, the list is comprehensive. You get air con, sat nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth and class-leading levels of safety equipment. In fact, there is no need to dip into the options list.

In terms of prices, the Audi A8 starts at £69,415 for the TDi model or £71,030 for the TFSi petrol model. If you want the long wheelbase version, add around £4k.

In terms of trim, there is only one option, S-Line, but it’s only available with the TDi engine. This is aimed at drivers who want a more-sporty look to their A8. S-Line adds 19 inch alloy wheels, sports seating, acoustic double glazing, privacy glass and high definition lighting; it also adds around £4500 to the price.

Build quality is superb. When it comes to premium manufacturers, Audi is now top of the tree.

Overall, the Audi A8 rates as a stunning, large, prestige saloon. It’s also decently economical and comes fully loaded.

If you want to make an impression in business or when rolling-up at a garden party, you can’t go wrong with an Audi A8.

FACTFILE for the Audi A8

Best model: 3.0 litre TDi
Best engine: 3.0 litre TDi diesel
Power: 282bhp
0-60: 5.9 seconds
Top speed: 155 mph
MPG: 50.4 mpg

Selected prices for the Audi A8

A8: £71,030
A8L: £75,025 Long wheelbase

A8: £69,418
A8 S-Line: £73,910
A8L: £73,410 (Long wheelbase)
A8L S-Line: £77,905 (Long wheelbase)