Luxury motoring doesn’t get much better then driving, or better still being driven in Audi’s range-topping A8. Sumptuousness isn’t an optional extra when you purchase an Audi A8, this car exudes sophistication wherever its travels. It certainly needs to impress on all fronts when you consider the current line-up of tech-laden competitors, all biting for a piece of the diminutive luxury car market in Ireland. Principally, it will face competition from the recently launched Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Jaguar’s elegant XJ and the BMW 7-Series.
This fourth-generation Audi A8 is by far the most efficient and powerful model to come out of Ingolstadt, it’s good news too for Irish customers with a new lower starting price (approximately €3,000 less than its predecessor) and an increase in standard equipment. To this extent all variants come equipped with full LED headlights, quattro permanent all-wheel drive, eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission, cruise control, adaptive air suspension, MMI navigation with MMI touch, Bluetooth connectivity, keyless entry, Valcona leather upholstery, Audi drive select, electrically adjustable and heated front seats and electric boot lid operation as standard.
As with previous A8’s there is a range of petrol and diesel engines available to power them. The key seller will be the 3.0-litre V6 TDI diesel which is the model we tested, there is also a 4.2-litre V8 TDI (from €116,190) which boasts 385hp and an impressive 850Nm of torque. Petrol fans can choose from a 3.0-litre V6 TFSI which offers 310hp and 440Nm of torque, a W12 6.3-litre FSI powers the long wheelbase A8. The range-topping S8 has a 4.0-litre V8 TFSI engine that develops 520hp and 650Nm of torque, it’s the same unit that’s fitted to the sublime Audi RS6 Avant.
The 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine provides ample performance for the vast majority of motorists, with 258hp and 580Nm of torque it delivers an ideal mix of performance with the added benefit of economy, it will average 5.9l/100km (47.9mpg) on a combined run. With CO2 emissions of 155g/km, it’s seated in tax band C, with an annual road tax fee of €390. On the road, the A8 is comfortable yet poised through the corners, the adaptive air suspension (fitted as standard) copes admirably with undulations in the road. We drove the A8 from Dublin to Killarney without stopping and yet had no signs of fatigue on arrival, both front and rear seat occupants are seated in comfort with a great sense of space surrounding them. The fit and finish throughout is exemplary, our test car had the optional double glazing fitted (€1,050) which really cuts down on road noise from passing vehicles. Once off the motorway we opted for Dynamic mode through Audi’s Drive Select, this instantly sharpens the car’s responses and gives the A8 the feel of a car half its size as we darted around the renowned Killarney lakes.
One highlight on the new A8 is the optional MatrixBeam LED headlights, these are available across the range. The MatrixBeam LED headlights have 25 individual LEDs for the high-beam function, through the car’s on-board camera it can automatically switch on and off individual LEDs to prevent the main beam blinding oncoming cars, yet illuminate the areas around and behind the approaching car. It’s an ingenious piece of technology and is safer for both the driver and other road users including pedestrians.
The Audi A8 exudes class wherever it travels, it’s not just a comfortable form of luxury travel, it’s gratifying to drive too.
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