Who would order a brand’s largest sedan with the smallest engine? In the past, it was a recipe for boredom but engine technology has outpaced the weight of modern luxury sedans. Audi sells the A8 in two sizes for us, the short A8, and long-wheelbase A8 L. Your engine choices are a 3.0 liter V6 or a 4.0 liter V8. Both make use of forced induction to power their flagship. The biggest Audi makes a grand entrance, so we were glad to see it arrive. To see if it meets our standards, Audi of America sent us a fresh A8 L quattro Tiptronic loaded with the Executive Package.
Badges can be deceiving and websites can also. The 3.0 liter V6 found across their lineup is badged as a 3.0T. Every automaker seems to have fallen in love with turbochargers, but look under the hood and you won’t find any. The 3.0 uses a supercharger instead of turbos. As if they are ashamed of using a belt-driven intake manifold, you won’t find any reference to it on their specifications page. All you need to know is that it delivers 333 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. The difference in forced induction was also divisive among us, and we reached a few conclusions after a week of commuting.
Since 1994 it has been built on VW’s D platform, which is also shared with the VW Phaeton and all flavors of the Bentley Continental. It makes use of high strength aluminum and all-wheel drive for a safe ride. A few of us said the interior quality and insulation were not equivalent to the Bentley, but you really have to try hard to find fault with materials or construction. Electrical steering can be done with a pinky and the 8-speed automatic is barely perceptible. After reading up on the gear ratios we found that 6th gear is 1:1, so a fun test of torque was devised. Cruising at 80 mph it was easy to downshift to 6th and make use of instant power. This is where turbo lag would be most prevalent, but the blower is always ready.
Back seat passengers always seem to have more fun, and the Executive Package doesn’t disappoint. Diamond stitched seats have 22-way adjustment up front, and the rears are out of this world. All four are covered in Valcona leather with massaging, heat, and ventilation. A headliner of Alcantara surrounds the panoramic sunroof so the rear passenger won’t have a worry in the world. All of the latest safety and convenience features are also along for the ride. Active lane assist, adaptive cruise control, and four-way climate control all add up to a hefty curb weight of 4,464 lbs. With the center differential locked in a 40:60 torque split front to rear, 325 lb-ft of torque is decent for most situations. Sure it could use more power, but that isn’t the goal of this car. Fully loaded, the Audi A8 L carries an MSRP of $92,500 which is comparable to other big sedans. If you need the ultimate in luxury check out these listings from our dealers.