By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 7.9
For the ultimate in executive luxury, Audi’s A8 and S8 sedans for 2017 are the pinnacle of reserved elegance. The A8 doesn’t stand out like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series do, and that’s just how owners like it. With its standard all-wheel drive and choice of supercharged and turbocharged engines, the 2017 Audi A8’s performance credentials are never in doubt. The A8 may be aging, but it’s doing so well with a stunningly gorgeous interior filled with the most ostentatious features money can buy. And while we lament the loss of the TDI and W12 engines this year, there is still the superb S8 that combines all the luxury and elegance of the A8 Sport with 605 unruly horses under the hood.
If you’ve achieved the kind of success that merits owning a car like the 2017 Audi A8, you’ll find its subtle styling and elegant interior avoid a showy appearance while still impressing those you need to impress.
KBB Expert Ratings
Audi’s A8 luxury sedan and S8 performance sedan for 2017 see some minor changes to their exterior styling. What’s more important is what is not here for 2017, namely the short-wheelbase option and the TDI and W12 trims.
Calling Audi’s full-size 2017 A8 a luxury sedan may be a bit deceptive, as this big cruiser is also quite the performer. Standard quattro all-wheel drive (AWD) coupled with a...
... sophisticated 5-link front suspension helps the A8 round curves with utter confidence, and when the road gets rough the A8’s adaptive air suspension has your backside. The air suspension can be set to the self-explanatory Comfort mode, or moved to the Dynamic setting for a firmer, more sporting ride. The system can also be switched to Automatic mode, which lets a clever and very quick-reacting computer pick the perfect setting. The Sport trim’s 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 is the best engine choice for this big sedan, delivering effortless acceleration and enviable passing power without too much of a penalty at the pump. Enthusiast drivers will love the S8’s 605 horsepower, its sport suspension, recalibrated steering and quilted sport seats.
S8 TURBOCHARGED V8
Most drivers will agree a V8 is the engine of choice for a big performance sedan. Audi takes it one step further by bolting on a turbocharger, bumping output for the 2017 S8 performance sedan’s 4.0-liter V8 to an astounding 605 horsepower and 517 lb-ft of torque.
GOOGLE MAPS INTERFACE
If you want to see the model for how in-car navigation should look and perform, look no further than the 2017 Audi A8. Among the more notable features is Google Earth 3D satellite images displayed on a crystal-clear 8-inch touch screen.
Step inside Audi’s 2017 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. 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, thanks to the A8’s long wheelbase. You can even opt for a pair of rear 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 2017 Audi A8 luxury sedans come with LED headlights and a cleanly sculpted hood. The A8 and S8’s standard length is now set at 207 inches. The performance-oriented S8 is distinguished by wide quad tailpipes, 21-inch wheels, side sills and rear diffusor.
As is par for the course among full-size luxury sedans, Audi’s A8 for 2017 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 2017 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.
Two gasoline engines are available for the 2017 Audi A8 sedan, both connected to a smooth 8-speed automatic transmission. The A8 3.0T uses a supercharged V6 while the 4.0T Sport gets a turbocharged V8, both of which have fuel-saving start/stop technology. The star athlete, however, is the S8 Plus with its 4.0-liter turbo V8 tuned to make 605 horsepower. With a blistering 0-60-mph time of less than four seconds, the 2017 S8 will embarrass many sports cars.
3.0-liter supercharged V6 (3.0T)
333 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
325 lb-ft of torque @ 2,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/29 mpg
4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (4.0T Sport)
450 horsepower @ 5,300-6,000 rpm
444 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-5,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/29 mpg
4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (S8)
605 horsepower @ 6,100-6,800 rpm
517 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-6,000 rpm
553 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-5,500 rpm with overboost
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/27 mpg
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
The 2017 Audi A8 luxury sedan has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) beginning just under $83,500 for a 3.0T. The A8 Sport V8 pushes the price just shy of $92,500. The S8 Plus debuts just shy of $117,000. 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, which starts 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.