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2015 Audi A8

Overview
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2015 Audi A8 Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 8.1

The 2015 Audi A8 is the German luxury automaker's flagship sedan, meant to take on executive haulers like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series and Lexus LS. The A8 has traditionally flown a bit lower on the radar compared to those 5-passenger high-end sedans, but it has more than enough power and pomp to play with the best. In addition to being the only full-size luxury sedan equipped with standard all-wheel drive, the A8 offers a variety of trims and two lengths, standard or the long-wheelbase A8 L. Several engines are also available, including a turbodiesel that earns the A8 class-leading fuel economy of up to 36 mpg or, at the other end, a 12-cylinder behemoth. For the performance-minded, the S8 takes this sedan to another level.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you crave a full-size luxury sedan that's conservative on the outside but sophisticated within, the A8 is the subdued standout in this segment. For buyers who don't already appreciate the benefits of a diesel engine over a gasoline one, the A8 L TDI is an awesome introduction.

You May Not Like This Car If...

With features like in-car Wi-Fi and Google Earth 3D navigation, the A8 is hardly a Luddite – but neither is it the technological marvel that is the new, nearly self-driving Mercedes S-Class.

What's New for 2015

Updates for the 2015 Audi A8 include new front and rear design, an available head-up display with night-vision warning information, and a safety system to keep you from drifting lanes. The 4.0-liter V8 engine increases horsepower from 420 to 435.

Driving the A8
Driving Impressions

The 2015 Audi A8 offers an excellent balance between plush luxury cruiser and potent sports sedan. Much of this dual personality is owed to the adaptive air suspension, which delivers...

... the best of both worlds in ride quality. With the push of a button, drivers can choose from a sofa-soft Comfort mode, performance-tuned Dynamic setting, or an Automatic mode that alters suspension damping to suit driving conditions. On the power front, there's little to complain about in the A8 sedan's 4.0-liter turbocharged V8. Even the restarts of the defeatable engine-idle fuel-saving feature are unobtrusive. The 2015 Audi S8, meanwhile, has serious performance credentials. During a sprint up Independence Pass in Colorado, it danced into corners and had thrust to spare, though its suspension feels stiffer than an A8's in ordinary driving. Still, the most recommendable engine is Audi's 3.0-liter turbodiesel. It has loads of torque, little to no turbo lag and class-leading fuel economy.

TDI CLEAN DIESEL ENGINE
Audi has been among the leading automakers helping rid our collective consciousness of what "diesel" used to mean. No more clattering, stinky, sooty engines of yore. Today's clean diesels offer hybrid-like fuel economy and tons of power. It's a brilliant combination and makes the Audi A8 TDI a brilliant vehicle.

GOOGLE MAPS INTERFACE
No one does navigation like Audi. For years the luxury automaker has wowed with lifelike maps, and the A8 continues that by way of Google Earth 3D satellite imagery on full display on its 8-inch screen.

2015 Audi A8 Details
2015 Audi A8 photo Interior

Step inside the Audi A8's 5-passenger cabin and you might think you're in a private jet. Immediately noticeable is a gear selector reminiscent of an airplane's throttle lever. Above are two tiers of knobs, buttons and a touch pad to control climate, audio and navigation functions. All are mostly simple to operate. The A8's cabin boasts the requisite leather and wood expected in a car of this caliber, and attention to detail borders on obsessive. The front seats fit a variety of bodies, and rear-seat legroom is impressive – especially in long-wheelbase models, which also offer a pair of seats with massaging function.

Exterior
2015 Audi A8 photo

Audi's flagship sedan is stately but mostly reserved, eschewing the fluidity of, say, the new S-Class for a more conservative shape. We say "mostly" reserved save for the front, which is distinguished by Audi's signature LED strip underneath the headlights and a massive, trapezoidal front grille. For 2015, all A8s come with LED headlights, and the hood has more sculpting to it. The A8's standard length comes in at just over 202 inches, while the long-wheelbase A8 is roughly five inches longer. The performance-oriented S8 is distinguished by wide quad tailpipes, 21-inch wheels, new side sills and rear diffusor.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

As is par for the course among full-size luxury sedans, the 2015 Audi A8 comes with a long list of standard features. Among the highlights are leather interior, 18-way power-operated and heated front seats, 14-speaker Bose audio system, navigation, dual-zone climate control and sunroof. Every new A8 also comes with a 6-month subscription to Audi connect, which offers in-car Wi-Fi connectivity. Quattro – Audi's term for its all-wheel-drive system – is also standard. In addition to a more powerful V8 engine, S8 models come with a sport differential and larger front brakes.

Optional Equipment

Many of the A8's options are bundled into packages and include a wealth of creature comforts and some gee-whiz tech. Among the former are massaging front seats with ventilation and 22-way adjustment, higher-grade leather trim, heated rear seats and heated steering wheel. In the latter category Audi's executive sedan offers adaptive cruise control, lane-departure mitigation, and a night-vision assistant with pedestrian detection. Rear-seat passengers can be treated to a DVD entertainment system with twin 10-inch rear screens, while all can enjoy the sounds of a 19-speaker/1,400-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system.

Under the Hood

Three gasoline engines and one diesel are available for the 2015 A8, all connected to a smooth 8-speed automatic transmission. On the gasoline front, the A8 3.0T uses a supercharged V6, the 4.0T a turbocharged V8, and the A8 W12 a 6.3-liter 12-cylinder. The V6 and V8 models come in standard or long-wheelbase (LWB) form, while the 12-cylinder is LWB only. The diesel, also LWB only, uses a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6, has a stated 0-60-mph time of 6.3 seconds and is rated up to 36 mpg. All of those engines except the W12 have fuel-saving start/stop technology. The star athlete is the S8 with its 4.0-liter turbo V8 tuned to make 520 horsepower. With a blistering 0-60-mph time of 3.9 seconds, the 2015 S8 will embarrass many sports cars.

3.0-liter supercharged V6
333 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
325 lb-ft of torque @ 2,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/29 mpg

3.0-liter turbodiesel V6
240 horsepower @ 3,550 rpm
428 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/36 mpg

4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8
435 horsepower @ 5,100 rpm
444 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/30 mpg, 18/29 mpg (long-wheelbase)

6.3-liter W12
500 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
463 lb-ft of torque @ 4,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/22 mpg

4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (2015 Audi S8)
520 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
481 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/27 mpg

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