2009 Audi A8

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2009 Audi A8 Review


The 2009 Audi A8 is a full-size premium luxury sedan loaded to the brim with the company's latest technological advances. More than just a showcase for Audi design and engineering, the A8 serves two masters: The driver and the chauffeured. Every bit the equal of such makes as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series and Lexus LS, the A8 appeals to those who have the cash, but might prefer not to flaunt it quite so much. The A8's subtle styling is alluring without being flashy, a traditional design that stands the test of time long after other cars have become dated. Offered in regular or extended wheelbase versions, and with a choice of a V8 or the proven W12 engine, the A8 is all about style, sophistication and success.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you need a car as impressive to look at as it is to drive, the A8 will fit you like a glove. If you spend most of your time in the rear seats, you'll love the elegant Audi interior and numerous features that make doing business on the road a pleasant task.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you like the edgy, crisp styling of the new BMW 7 Series or the Lexus LS, you may find the Audi's subtle exterior too tame. The advanced Multi Media Interface (MMI) functions in a manner similar to BMW's iDrive, but it may be too complicated for some drivers.

What's New for 2009

The A8 gains a few more standard features as well as minor revisions to its optional equipment packages.

Driving the A8
Driving Impressions

Power for the big A8 comes from a muscular 350-horsepower FSI 4.2-liter V8. This engine is plenty strong and can move the A8 with ease, and there is no shortage...

... of performance anywhere within the legal speed range. You'll find the handling to be unsurpassed in this league, and the quattro all-wheel-drive system can be singled out as a major contributor to the A8's hunkered-down cornering ability.

Hideaway Navigation Screen
When not in use, the navigation screen is concealed behind a rotating wood panel.

Front and Rear Independent DVD Option
The front and rear monitors can work independently of each other, so you can select different information or entertainment for each screen's viewers.

2009 Audi A8 Details

For many, the A8's interior is unsurpassed in both treatment and amenities. An interior trim upgrade package adds Valcona leather trim to the seats and armrest while Alcantara faux suede lavishes the upper door inserts. The driver is treated to a handsome dash with full instrumentation, steering wheel-mounted controls for audio, transmission and cruise control and a folding LCD screen for the MMI and navigation features. Rear-seat passengers enjoy unparalleled legroom and can opt for power adjustable heated seats, power lumbar support, a center pass-through refrigerator and DVD entertainment.


Other luxury cars have loyal followers and so does the A8. The A8's exterior styling is somewhat low-key, with no radical or bold departures from previous Audi design themes. We think the A8 is quite handsome and very reserved – a car that appeals to your sense of taste rather than vanity. That being said, the A8 does offer a few options to make it stand out, features such as the massive 20-inch chrome wheels and a Sport Package.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The A8 has Advance Key keyless entry and start, rear view camera, power trunk lid, rear power sunshade, power door closers, adaptive air suspension, self-leveling bi-xenon headlamps, quattro all-wheel drive, side- and head-curtain airbags for the front and rear passengers, a front passenger knee airbag, 16-way power seats, dual-zone climate control, a 12-speaker Bose Surround Sound audio system, navigation, a tire pressure monitor, rain-sensing wipers and 18-inch alloy wheels. The A8L gains four-zone climate control and rear vanity mirrors.

Optional Equipment

The A8 can be equipped with a 450-horsepower W12 engine, rear-seat DVD/video monitors, massaging seats, remote start, four-spoke heated leather steering wheel with shift paddles, solar sunroof, adaptive cruise control, Audi side assist and lane assist, Bang & Olufsen audio, sport suspension with 20-inch wheels, Alcantara hatshelf and headliner and rear air conditioning.

Under the Hood

The A8 offers two excellent engine options. The standard V8 is smooth, powerful and surprisingly easy on fuel. Audi does not attempt to excessively mute the sound of its engines, allowing just enough growl into the passenger compartment to remind the driver of what's under the hood. Those who opt for the W12 (so named because of the arrangement of the cylinders, which are in two cleverly overlapping "Vees," for a "W" cross-section) will definitely experience a step up in performance, but will also add more than $50,000 to the A8's price tag.

4.2-liter V8
350 horsepower @ 6800 rpm
325 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23

6.0-liter W12
450 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
428 lb.-ft of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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