The latest generation of Audi's largest and most luxurious sedan, the A8, launched as a 2004 model. A short-wheelbase version was added to the lineup for 2005. The 2006 models carry over, though with a new, much bolder front grille design. A high-performance S8 version will be introduced in the fall of 2006.
The A8 is the flagship of the Audi fleet. It is large and luxurious, but also lightweight because of its all-aluminum frame, an engineering architecture Audi pioneered in 1996. This aluminum frame makes the A8 strong but light, and safe but nimble.
The A8 is available in two versions. The "standard" wheelbase model measures 115.9 inches between the front and rear axles, and the extended wheelbase version stretches another five inches to provide an even smoother ride and more legroom for those sitting in the rear seat. The rear seat is a particularly pleasant place in the top-of-the-line A8 L W12. Although there are only two seats in back, they include separate heating and air conditioning controls for each occupant. A rear-seat, DVD-based entertainment system also is standard equipment on this model. However, even the standard A8 and A8 L are luxury cars that come with a high level of equipment.
A 335-hp, 4.2L V-8 engine propels the standard A8 and the mid-line A8 L. A six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission automatically selects from more than 200 shift programs as it adjusts to each driver's particular driving style. A standard adaptive air suspension system assures a comfortable ride for cruising, but, like the transmission, responds when the driver wants to take a curve more aggressively. The top-of-the-line A8 L W12 draws its energy from a 450-hp, 6.0L 12-cylinder engine that is amazingly compact because instead of a "V" architecture, it features four cylinder banks, each with three cylinders, as if two V-6s were joined side by side.
The Audi A8 competes in the Large Premium Conventional category, the prestigious class with top-of-the-line luxury cars, where elegant appointments, not-too-radical styling, power and precision are crucial factors.
The Lincoln Town Car paces this segment, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM with 47,122 sales in calendar-year 2005-nearly twice as many sales as its next closest competitor. Next was the Lexus LS (26,043 sales in 2005), followed, in an exceptionally tight race, by the BMW 7 Series (18,165) and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (18,035). Others in the category include the Jaguar XJ, Infiniti Q45, and Volkswagen Phaeton. Joining this category for model-year 2006 is the Cadillac DTS.
|4.2 (A6)||6 speed automatic||$68,130||335-hp / 4.2L 8-cyl||17/24|
|L 4.2 (A6)||6 speed automatic||$72,090||335-hp / 4.2L 8-cyl||17/24|
|W12 (A6)||6 speed automatic||$118,190||450-hp / 6.0L 12-cyl||15/21|