2011 Audi A8

Base AWD 4-Dr Sedan V8 auto trans

Base AWD 4-Dr Sedan V8 auto trans

2011 audi a8 Reviews and News

2011 Audi A8 Front Three Quarters
I first drove the new Audi A8 on the launch event in Spain, and I liked it. Recently I had a new A8 4.2 here at home in New York, whose mean streets of provide a much more challenging, real-world environment.
2011 Audi A8 Front Three Quarters
Impressively, the A8's chassis is still able to deliver a dreamy ride over our ragged, spring-thawed blacktop. Impact harshness is well masked, despite the big Audi's 20-inch wheels and resultant low-profile tires. Around town, and on a road trip to Philadelphia, I mostly left the Drive Select system in its default, Intelligent, mode, where it automatically decides when to soften and when to firm up the dampers. It also sets its own parameters for the sensitivity of the electronic throttle, the shift mapping, and the steering effort. The latter is a particular success, with natural efforts that don't vary severely, as they do in other Audis. Kudos too, to the electronic brains behind the throttle calibration, which make smooth getaways easy to achieve.
With the 4.2-liter V-8 able to whip the A8 from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, apparently Audi engineers did not feel the need to artificially enhance the feeling of responsiveness by giving the car a jumpy throttle. The A8's swiftness comes via an engine with only 372 hp and 328 pound-feet of torque -- neither are towering figures in the luxury-sedan world, but they prove to be more than enough for the svelte, aluminum-spaceframe Audi. The standard-wheelbase A8 tips the scales at a hair over 4400 lbs, which makes it lighter than any of its all-wheel-drive, 8-cylinder competitors -- and also lighter than the rear-wheel-drive, V-8 BMW 7-series and Mercedes-Benz S-class.
Light weight also helps the A8 post very good EPA numbers, 17/27 mpg, which beat the six-cylinder and hybrid versions of the 7-series as well as the LS600h L hybrid. (On a related subject though, the gas gauge does not use a needle pointer; instead it lights up a series of tiny white lights, about the size of a grain of rice, in between white hash marks -- an odd design that's easy to overlook.)
2011 Audi A8 Rear Three Quarters
Taking the A8 on a road trip meant we got more experience programming the navigation system and using the Bluetooth phone interface, which gave us a chance to really get to know Audi's touch-pad system. You input letters and numbers by drawing them with your finger. Unlike so many gee-whiz tech features that are more annoying and distracting than the more conventional methods they replace, the draw-it function is not only cool but far quicker, easier, and less distracting to use than scrolling around searching for the right letter or number with the knob controller. Very neat. Overall, Audi's MMI and its surrounding buttons get high marks for clarity and ease of use.
Both this example and the car I drove at the launch were standard-wheelbase models, but Audi says that the long-wheelbase A8 typically accounts for the vast majority of sales. It's not hard to see why. Although the standard A8's base price starts at a reasonable (for its class) $78,925, my loaded-up test version rang in at $100,575. At those prices, you might as well get the limo-like rear-seat space of the long-wheelbase version, which is only $5950 more than the standard A8.
2011 Audi A8L Front Three Quarters Static Driver
Despite the precariousness of the economic recovery, oil tycoons and financiers still have lots of money to spend, and they are getting sick of not spending it. To wit, sales of ultra-luxury goods like Louis Vuitton bags are gaining momentum. It's also fair to assume that these billionaires will need a proper luxury sedan to tote them to and from Congressional hearings. That's why, even as Audi promotes more efficient and proletarian A8s, including a 3.0 diesel V-6 that will make it to the U.S. market, it still intends to import its top dog -- the updated A8L powered by a bigger and more powerful W-12. The twelve-cylinder sedan will arrive on our shores a few months after the November launch of the 4.2-liter V-8-powered short and long wheelbase A8.
2011 Audi A8L Front View Static
Much like the short wheelbase model we drove a few months ago, the new A8L W12 brings evolutionary, rather than revolutionary changes. In fact, casual observers might have a difficult time telling if this A8, stretched about five inches from the regular-wheelbase model, is the new one -- something that was definitely not the case when the last generation debuted in 2003. Only a few small badges on the outside and on the doorsills tell people you've got the serious motor. That said, our jet-black test model, with its piano black, chrome accented grille and standard full-LED headlights, certainly had enough attitude to cruise unchallenged in the left lane of the Autobahns around Munich.
The cabin is also a clear evolution from the last model, rather than a groundbreaking new design. The result is handsome and hard to fault, but doesn't have the oh-my-gosh appeal of the new Jaguar XJ. There are some fantastic material choices, ranging from a swathe of brushed aluminum across the dash to linen for the door inserts. The W12 model also has standard navigation, controlled as in all A8s by the latest-generation MMI interface. A touch pad located forward of the shifter allows you to scroll across maps, dial phone numbers, and most impressive, scribble in the names of points of interest.
Another neat new trick is the ability to download satellite maps and updated route information from Google Earth. At the same time, MMI appears to have turned the corner on user-friendliness. It's still plenty intimidating to new users, but it has improved enough so that a driver could hope to learn all its key functions before the lease ends.
2011 Audi A8L Front Three Quarters Passenger 2
The star of the show, the 6.3-liter W-12 engine, has been given a bit more oomph, thanks to an increase in displacement and the incorporation of direct injection. It now puts out a healthy 500 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque. As in all A8s, the W-12 is paired to an eight-speed automatic -- the same basic unit found in the rival BMW 760Li. The W-12, for all its muscle, can't match the twelve-cylinder Bimmer's staggering 533 lb-ft of torque, but then, it doesn't have to. With its aluminum space frame construction, the A8L W12 weighs in at about 4530 pounds, a good 400 pounds less than the BMW. Not surprisingly, it's mind numbingly fast: the trip to 62 mph flies by in 4.7 seconds, according to factory figures. What's really impressive though, is the distinctly expensive smoothness with which this all transpires. The W-12 does its job in near silence until you ask for warp speed, when it responds with a refined yet throaty roar.
The excellent ZF transmission likewise plays a good Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, swapping gears with seamless perfection in normal driving, and then supplying almost instant downshifts at the squeeze of the gas pedal or tap of left steering wheel paddle. The adaptive air suspension mostly holds up its end of the bargain, too, providing a compliant ride even with Audi's drive select in Dynamic mode (some credit here is also due to the impeccably maintained Bavarian roads). The only fly in the A8 punchbowl is the variable-effort steering, which has an unsettling habit of suddenly reducing assist mid-corner. Efficiency won't be a selling point either, though the extra cogs in the transmission and improvements to the engine should yield some improvement from the last model's dismal 15 mpg rating.
So, the top A8 is every bit as pleasant to drive as one might expect of a twelve-cylinder, six-figure German luxury sedan. As cliché as it may sound, however, the A8L is a car best enjoyed from the back seat. The A8L W12 comes standard with two reclining buckets instead of a rear bench, with a high-tech center console in place of a fifth seat. From this comfortable throne, we were able to convert the passenger's seatback into an Ottoman, flip on the message and heating functions, and watch television on the front headrest-mounted LCD screen (you haven't properly appreciated "Two and a Half Men" until you've watched it with German dubbing).
2011 Audi A8L Side View Passenger
Rear passengers can also keep up with their lucrative jobs, as the A8L is a rolling wireless hotspot. Just punch in the password into your laptop or Internet-enabled phone and you're ready to shoot out e-mails and stream video as you fly down the Autobahn. Audi says it is still searching for a wireless partner to provide this service in the United States, and promises it will be available shortly after launch (and will be available on models already sold). And if your chauffeur decides to job search on his iPhone while driving, no matter, as the A8's full complement of driver aids will remind the fool not to hit someone while changing lanes and will engage full braking if he can't be bothered to slow down after repeated warnings that a collision is imminent.
No doubt, this 500-hp sedan is something of a highbrow dinosaur, even within the A8 lineup. In addition to the more sensible 4.2-liter V-8 and fuel-sipping 3.0-liter diesel, the A8 can be had, in Europe, at least, with a bigger diesel or a 3.0-liter gas V-6, which we also drove and found more than sufficient. A hybrid is also on its way. And yet, as an ultimate expression of over-the-top but at the same time understated luxury, the new A8L W12 still does the job quite nicely.
1005 Z 03+2011 Audi A8+side View
The third generation of Audi's aluminum-spaceframe flagship, the A8, has now been unveiled. The standard-wheelbase model, seen here, and the long-wheelbase variant (set to debut in a few months time) will both arrive at North American Audi dealers this fall, for the 2011 model year. An enhanced powertrain, an innovative new electronics interface, and an evolved design are highlights of the new car.
1005 Z 01+2011 Audi A8+front Three Quarter View
Our preview drive was confined to the standard-wheelbase variant, which historically is only ten percent of U.S. A8 sales. It may be the smaller of the two A8 models, but it is no small car. Lengthwise, the new A8 sits halfway between the current standard- and extended-wheelbase models; the A8 also has grown in width, to become the widest car in its class. Despite the size increase, Audi claims that the new car has maintained its weight (although the company is not yet publishing final figures for the U.S.-spec model); if so, then the A8, tipping the scales at some 4400 pounds, will keep its position as the trimmest entry in the all-wheel-drive, ultra-luxe sedan class.
That's a good thing, considering that even the newly enhanced version of Audi's 4.2-liter V-8 has less power and torque than its major competitors. Now with 372 hp and 328 pound-feet of torque (versus 350 hp and 325 pound-feet previously), the direct-injection V-8 is newly mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The combination makes the A8 a very responsive car -- Audi claims a 0-to-62 mph time of 5.7 seconds -- it's just not quite as quick as the eight-cylinder BMW 7-series, Mercedes-Benz S-class, or Lexus LS460. The eight-speed gearbox helps improve fuel economy by some 13 percent; when EPA testing is complete, that increase should give the A8 mpg figures approaching those of the Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid.
2011 Audi A8 Front Three Quarter Passenger Side
Buyers craving more power -- or better mileage -- eventually will have those choices. A twelve-cylinder variant is an inevitability (probably in 2011) as is a sporty S8 (following after); while a hybrid variant or, potentially, a 3.0-liter V-6 TDI, could appeal to those who prize fuel economy.
Appealing to a broad range of drivers is the reason for Audi's Drive Select program, which has appeared on other Audis and is standard here. Comfort, Dynamic (sport), Automatic, and Custom settings allow one to tailor steering effort, air suspension firmness, and drivetrain responsiveness to their liking. On our drive through the tourist villages of the southern Spanish coast, and on the hilly, winding roads just inland, we found the comfort or automatic modes to be the most satisfying. Even with the electronics at their most relaxed, the A8 chassis is tight and its steering is pleasantly firm. In dynamic mode, though, the steering effort is not only high but artificial-feeling. We were pleased to find that, unlike lesser Audis, there's no jarring variance in boost levels between low and high speeds. The A8's ride is very controlled whatever the setting, but the roads here were too smooth to discern any suspension harshness. In any mode, the A8 rolls into the throttle in true luxury-car style, yet transmission kick-down is satisfyingly snappy.
In any gadget-intensive machine such as this, the man-machine interface is elevated in importance. Thus, a major innovation with this model -- and in fact a first on the market -- is its touch pad interface, which supplements Audi's turn-and-push knob controller for its Multimedia Interface (MMI).
1005 Z 04+2011 Audi A8+rear Fascia
The touch pad at first sounds like a gimmicky sap to iPhone fetishists, but in fact it is rather useful. Located within a finger's reach from the gear selector -- itself redesigned to be evocative of a power boat's throttle -- it allows the driver resting his hand on the shift lever to draw letters, or numbers, on the pad rather than twisting the controller knob to the correct letter/number and then pushing to select it. The advantage is that one can finger-write a letter without looking at the pad (the system repeats it aloud when it is recognized), whereas as the turn-knob-and-push method (which is still available, by the way) requires a glance at the screen. Audi claims that the touch pad reduces eyes-off-the-road time by 50 percent for actions such as entering a navigation destination, looking up a name from a phone list, or manually entering a phone number. At other times, the pad doubles as a six-button key pad for radio presets, so these are more readily accessible.
If the touch pad is the new hardware most likely to enthrall tech geeks, the navigation system's Google function will be their favorite piece of software. Activated by a button on the nav screen, you can Google search, say, "restaurant," either near your current location or your destination, and see results in a list (with additional info available) or on the map. Oh, and the map itself can be a Google earth image. The Google search functionality requires a subscription to an internet data plan through a wireless carrier; Audi will pick up the tab for an initial time period after which you can expect to pay between twenty-five and thirty dollars a month. (A warning to early adopters: the Google function will be not available at start of production, but is coming within the first year.)
2011 Audi A8 Rear Lights
Considering the essential nature of the main screen -- which is used for navigation, audio, as well as many climate control and seat adjustment functions -- it's strange that Audi elected to go with a pop-up unit rather than one that's integrated into the dash. But that is absolutely the only discordant note in the predictably lush interior, where the attention to finish detail borders on obsessive.
Outside, though, Audi's usually forward-reaching design aesthetic seems stuck in neutral. The new A8 looks like nothing so much as a larger version of the A6 or even the A4. Audi makes a big deal of the car's all-LED front lights -- an industry first -- but their shape mimics the LED daytime running lights that have characterized Audis for a while now, so there's no dramatic new appearance. But while this latest A8 may not look radically new, it packs enough leading edge technology to render it a worthy step forward for Audi's range-topping sedan.
2011 Audi A8
2011 Audi A8 Rear Motion
On sale: Fall 2010
Base price (estimated): $78,000
4.2-liter direct-injection V-8 372 hp @ 6800 rpm 328 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm
8-speed automatic
4400 lbs (estimated)
Length x width x height:
202.0 x 76.7 x 57.5 in.
117.8 in.
Performance (manufacturer's figures):
0-62 mph: 5.7 seconds top speed: 155 mph (electronically limited)
Fuel economy (preliminary estimates):
18/26 mpg city/highway
2011 Audi A8
2011 Audi A8
The Audi A8 has long been the flagship sedan model and is all new for the 2011 model year. Now better equipped than ever before and ready to take on the BMW and Mercedes models, the A8 is loaded up with all the rich features that you would expect of a luxury sedan. The A8 even has a high tech information center that makes use of inputs from a touchpad located on the center console. This system can show you all sort of information about your vehicle, surrounding traffic and can even plot out your trip on the built in gps navigation system.

The new body style is larger than previous models, but the all aluminum frame allows for an almost even trade off in weight. The base models engine is now a 4.2 L V-8 giving 372 HP and over 320 foot pounds of torque. When this high powered engine is parred with the Audi Quattro all wheel drive system, you have a match made in heaven. The A8 offers a long wheel base option to allow for more luxury and lounge space.
Ferrari 458 Spider Front Three Quarter1
Been away from your computer this week and missed all the automotive news? We’ve gathered a few of the top stories of the past week along with the weekend racing schedule for your convenience.
Audi A8 Hybrid Front2
Audi plans to launch a hybrid version of its biggest luxury car, the A8, in 2012. The A8 hybrid is designed to provide the performance of a six-cylinder car while sipping fuel like a four-cylinder car. The majority of the A8 hybrid’s propulsion comes from a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine good for 211 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. It works in tandem with a disc-shaped electric motor rated for 54 hp and 155 lb-ft. The motor is mounted in place of a torque converter between the engine and the eight-speed automatic transmission. Peak combined power from the engine and motor is 245 hp and 345 lb-ft.Electrical energy is stored in a 40 kW lithium-ion battery located in the trunk. Audi says the A8 hybrid returns the equivalent of 37 mpg in preliminary testing. The hybrid can drive at up to 62 mph on electric power alone.Keep your speed limited to 37 mph, however, and it can travel 1.86 miles using only electricity. With both drive units working in tandem, 62 mph can be reached in 7.7 seconds. For reference, the non-hybrid A8 is EPA-rated at 17/27 mpg (city/highway), and reaches 62 mph in 5.7 seconds, according to Audi. The A8 hybrid will offer three driving modes: EV prioritizes all-electric propulsion, D is a normal blend of efficiency and power, and S is meant for sportier acceleration. Unlike the A8s sold in our market, the A8 hybrid is only offered with front-wheel-drive. To set it apart from regular A8 models, the hybrid gets unique, turbine-style 18- or 19-inch wheels; an exclusive Arctic Silver paint color; LED headlights; and plenty of hybrid badges. The Audi A8 hybrid is scheduled to begin production in 2012. It’s unknown whether the car will make its way to American dealerships. Audi does plan, however, to bring a diesel-powered A8 to the U.S. market next year. Source: Audi
2011 Audi A8l Front Left Side View
It's difficult to appreciate just how long the A8L is until you stand next to it...or attempt to park it in your garage. Perhaps this will provide some perspective: the A8L's wheelbase and overall length are within a half an inch of the three-row, eight passenger Honda Odyssey minivan. In other words, they aren't kidding around when they added the "L" to the name. Hip and headroom are plentiful, although as in the A7 the wide console in between the front seats -- which houses the MMI dial flanked by related buttons and now the touch pad -- makes the driver's seat feel tighter than it should in such a big car. The upside is that this large area provides another place to use the gorgeous, matte wood veneer that we loved in the A7.
2011 Audi A8l Front Left View
In addition to this A8L test car, I drove another A8L, virtually identical in spec, with our design editor, Robert Cumberford, last month in New York. We drove from the west side of Manhattan to Monticello, 100 miles northwest, and back again. Upon returning to the city, I was at the wheel as we spent two hours creeping across Manhattan, and this type of driving exposed something I'd not noticed before in the A8L: how difficult it was to smoothly modulate the brake and accelerator pedals in low-speed, stop-and-go traffic. I feared that Robert must think I was a lousy driver, so I finally said, "Sorry I'm being so jerky, but I'm finding it really hard to operate either pedal smoothly." "Don't worry," Robert replied. "I was having the same issues." I felt like I was either stomping on the brake and accelerator pedals or applying them too gingerly; there was no in-between. The result: incredibly annoying herky-jerky driving as we inched our way from the George Washington Bridge across Central Park and down Fifth Avenue, over to Madison Avenue, and finally west to Robert's hotel near Times Square, in heavy traffic the entire way.
2011 Audi A8l Left Side View
The Audi A8 may not have gotten an Automobile Magazine All-Star award this year, but it makes my own personal All-Star list. The A8 is a paragon of luxury, but it's interior has a totally different character than that of, say, the Jaguar XJ. While both vehicles are make use of fine-grained leather and high-quality wood and metal trim, the XJ feels overtly opulent while the A8 feels more restrained but still very rich.
2011 Audi A8l Rear Left View Parked
2011 Audi A8L
2011 Audi A8l Rear Left View
2011 Volkswagen Jetta 02
Just as they did last month, German automakers have each posted overall sales increases for May. While all brands saw sales growth this past month, the big winner once again was Volkswagen with a respectable 27.9-percent gain over May of last year.
2011 Kia Optima Interior

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2011 Audi A8
2011 Audi A8
Base AWD 4-Dr Sedan V8
17 MPG City | 27 MPG Hwy
Top Ranking Vehicles - MPG
2011 Audi A8
2011 Audi A8
Base AWD 4-Dr Sedan V8
17 MPG City | 27 MPG Hwy
2011 Lexus LS460
L AWD 4-Dr Sedan V8
16 MPG City | 23 MPG Hwy
2011 Audi A8
2011 Audi A8
Base AWD 4-Dr Sedan V8
Top Ranking Vehicles - Price
2011 Audi A8
2011 Audi A8
Base AWD 4-Dr Sedan V8
Top Ranking Vehicles - Horsepower

2011 Audi A8 Specifications

Quick Glance:
4.2L V8Engine
Fuel economy City:
17 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
27 MPG
372 hp @ 6800rpm
328 ft lb of torque @ 3500rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear
  • Radio
  • CD Player
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD
  • Navigation
50,000 miles / 48 months
50,000 miles / 48 months
Unlimited miles / 144 months
Unlimited miles / 48 months
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rollover
Not Rated
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
IIHS Overall Side Crash
IIHS Best Pick
IIHS Rear Crash
IIHS Roof Strength
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated

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