By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 8.0
In the world of big executive sedans, the 2016 Audi A8 holds particular appeal. Not as boldly styled as the BMW 7 Series or Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the A8 flies just under the radar. The A8 distances itself from the competition by offering standard all-wheel drive (AWD) and by placing a heavy emphasis on the car’s interior design. For those who prefer the back seat to the driver’s seat, the A8 W12 provides limousine-like comfort and a 12-cylinder engine, creating a car that will never be mistaken for the standard airport livery car. Among the A8’s other engine options is a fuel-efficient turbodiesel serving up class-leading fuel economy up to 36 mpg. With its shorter wheelbase, the performance-oriented S8 provides a measurable improvement in handling and acceleration.
If you’re looking for a large, premium automobile that emphasizes subtle but strong styling over flamboyance, Audi’s 2016 A8 luxury sedan and S8 performance sedan should be first on your list. With its clean, powerful and efficient operation, the TDI diesel option will surprise many.
Compared to the newer Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the Audi A8 for 2016 is looking a bit old. It doesn’t have the same bold presence, nor is its technological equipment as cutting-edge. Resale values for the A8 are also less than stellar.
KBB Expert Ratings
Audi’s luxury sedan for 2016 carries over with only minor updates. The A8 Sport offers the 4.0-liter turbocharged engine in a more athletic package with revised front and rear bumpers, front sport air intakes and a rear diffuser. With the exception of the S8, all A8s now ride on the long-wheelbase chassis.
The 2016 Audi A8 full-size luxury sedan is as comfortable showing off its handling prowess as it is its abundant luxury credentials. The comfortable but confident ride is due in...
... large part to the car’s adaptive air suspension. Activated by a push of a button, the driver can opt for smooth and silent Comfort mode, a sport-oriented Dynamic setting or simply place the system in the Automatic mode and allow the suspension to automatically adjust according to road conditions and driver input. The A8’s 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 provides seemingly unending bursts of power, and all of its functions, even the fuel-saving engine stop/start feature, work seamlessly. Nimble for its size and always eager to please, the enthusiast-oriented 2016 Audi S8 sacrifices very little of the A8’s luxurious nature, yet returns a much more enjoyable driving experience.
TDI CLEAN DIESEL ENGINE
In the land of Audi, diesel is no longer a “dirty” word. The A8’s 3.0-liter turbodiesel fires right up, emits none of the clatter and black smoke associated with diesels of old and offers up ample torque with fuel economy reaching 36 mpg on the highway.
GOOGLE MAPS INTERFACE
Audi’s navigation is second to none. Need proof? Check out the cool Google Earth 3D satellite imagery brought to life by a brilliant 8-inch touch screen. It’s practically like piloting the starship Enterprise.
Step inside Audi’s 2016 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 on the long-wheelbase models, which also offer a pair of seats with massaging function.
Audi's flagship sedan is stately but mostly reserved, eschewing the fluidity of, say, the latest 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 grille. All 2016 Audi A8 luxury sedans come with LED headlights and a cleanly sculpted hood. The S8's standard length comes in at just over 202 inches, while the A8’s stretched wheelbase is roughly five inches longer. The performance-oriented S8 is distinguished by wide quad tailpipes, 21-inch wheels, new side sills and rear diffusor.
As is par for the course among full-size luxury sedans, the Audi’s A8 luxury sedan for 2016 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 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.
Many of the 2016 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.
Three gasoline engines and one diesel are available for the 2016 Audi 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 diesel 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 normal-wheelbase 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 2016 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: 18/29 mpg
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 (Audi S8)
520 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
481 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/27 mpg
The 2016 Audi A8 luxury sedan has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) beginning just over $82,500 for a 3.0T. The diesel starts just under $84,000, while the V8 pushes the price just over $91,000. The S8 debuts just shy of $116,000. The W12 is the most expensive A8, starting over $140,000. The Audi A8's starting price is less than that of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. It is slightly higher than those of the BMW 7 Series, Lexus LS and Jaguar XJ, and significantly more than the Hyundai Equus and Kia K900, which start in the $60,000 range. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying for their new A8. Long-term, the A8's value is expected to hold up better than those of the BMW 7 Series and Jaguar XJ, but not as well as the Lexus LS.