A limousine with its heart on its sleeve


Audi’s fourth-gen A8 arrives in India practically two-and-a-half years after it was launched in world markets. The new flagship sedan is bigger than its predecessor, based mostly on a brand new platform and is loaded with tech. So, has it been well worth the wait?

The new A8 L wears its limousine heart on its sleeve. If the 10ft (3,128mm) wheelbase wasn’t sufficient, the rear overhang extends far out, making it appear like a correct stretched sedan. What additionally helps is the window line, which stretches far again past the precise seating space of the cabin, giving it a curved, coupé-like form. This check automotive sits on a set of quite racy five-spoke, 19-inch wheels, however that’s the one sporty contact you’ll see right here.

As with earlier A8s, there’s been no try at making this automotive look sporty or overly curvaceous. It is all enterprise, although straight traces and creases, and daring particulars on the entrance and rear do liven issues up. There is loads of chrome throughout too; it does ship that all-important highway presence for a luxurious automotive.

The interiors

The again seat is, in fact, the place you gravitate to in a automotive like this, and Audi has actually gone to city right here. First, there isn’t any extra bench seat and the break up rear cabin is customary — a tall centre console runs between the 2 chairs, and homes the central AC vents, seat controls, the elective rear wi-fi cellphone charger, an elective mini-fridge situated within the boot, and a small command centre that centres round a detachable touchscreen pill. This operates each single operate of the rear seat — powered sunshades, sunroof, lights, local weather management, media and the seats themselves.

The rear seats are what actually set this ‘limousine’ class of luxurious sedans aside from the whole lot else on the market. Sure, the long-wheelbase E-class additionally will get reclining seats and added legroom, however the A8 and its opponents are in an entire completely different league.

Heating, cooling and massaging seats are the norm right here, as are the leisure screens, panoramic sunroof, and powered sunshades for all the rear cabin. Though the sheer plushness of the cushioning may nonetheless fall a bit of shy of these in an S-class, it’s close to unattainable to fault the rear-seat consolation. Aside from the massive quantity of changes you can also make (together with folding the entrance passenger seat ahead) there may be the elective foot-massage system, which is exclusive to the Audi. Built into the again of the front-passenger seat, this heated pad kneads your soles into leisure.

Then there may be the rear leisure system. The screens are literally removable Android-powered tablets replete with front-facing cameras, web connectivity and full performance. This signifies that not solely are you able to entry in-car infotainment capabilities, however you may also stream your favorite films and even maintain video conferences.

A limousine with its heart on its sleeve

The entrance half of the cabin has numerous the wow issue too, with air-con vents that glide gently open while you slide your finger throughout the touch-sensitive management strips. The dual-touchscreen MMI system is current, in fact, and as we’ve documented prior to now, it’s feature-packed and appears wonderful, however will be tough to make use of on the transfer.

Things aren’t all that rosy from the driving force’s seat although. The big transmission tunnel means the driving force footwell may be very slim and there may be an audible squeak that emanates from someplace behind the centre console on a bumpy highway. Also, at sure instances of the day, the massive plank of shiny black trim on the dashboard throws up large reflections.

A limousine with its heart on its sleeve

The engine

Coming to the engine, the A8 is accessible in 55 TFSI guise in India, and meaning a 340hp/500Nm turbocharged petrol V6 engine with a 48V mild-hybrid system. An 8-speed computerized gearbox is customary as is the Quattro all-wheel drive.

Now, whereas this is identical engine because the Q8, the A8 is 160kg lighter than the SUV, and because of this it feels noticeably sprightlier. Audi claims it’ll do 0-100kph 0.2sec faster than the Q8 too, taking simply 5.7sec, and although that’s fairly fast for a limo, this isn’t a sporty engine by nature. Yes, a tough launch will yield the requisite outcomes, however in most driving conditions, energy supply is light, easy and much more refined. And when you’d desire a little bit of sport within the Q8, on this A8, you don’t.

Similarly, the driving dynamics — you merely don’t need to put this automotive in Dynamic mode. Even after I wished to go faster, I discovered myself dialling simply the powertrain into ‘Dynamic’ and leaving the steering and suspension at their soothing, mushy finest. We have introduced the A8 L onto some quite unsavoury rural roads, and, frankly, that additional diploma of absorption you get from ‘Comfort’ permits it to experience flat over a patchy highway. Credit should additionally go to the fitment of 19-inch alloy wheels that take a few of the hit.

A limousine with its heart on its sleeve

The agility of the A8 L comes as a giant shock, and that’s principally due to the elective rear-wheel steering. Pair that with a light-weight and easy really feel on the wheel and also you get a 5.3m sedan that tucks into site visitors gaps like a hatchback. Also, while you’re altering lanes at excessive velocity, stability isn’t compromised, because the rear wheels flip in the identical route because the entrance ones, quite than the alternative.

A limousine with its heart on its sleeve

Pricing

In summation, for those who’re seeking to purchase your subsequent limousine, you’ve got a really compelling choice within the A8. Imported as a CBU with a beginning value of ₹1.56 crore (ex-showroom, pan-India), the A8 L 55 TFSI is a little more costly than six-cylinder-petrol-powered variations of its regionally assembled rivals, the S-class and seven Series. The differentiator, like with the Q8, is the extraordinary degree of customisation. Customers have entry to the total Audi Exclusive catalogue of paints, upholstery, trims and wheels, which ought to ensure that every automotive stands out. Moreover, although there are tools choices to select from, the usual specification may be very beneficiant; so even for those who don’t need to spend a rupee greater than the beginning spec, you’ll nonetheless get a complete luxurious expertise.

Audi is aware of it has misplaced treasured floor to Mercedes and BMW on this high tier of brand-defining flagship luxurious sedans; and to make up for it, it has pulled out all of the stops with the A8 L, providing a no-compromise package deal that’s certain to make an affect as massive because the grille on its nostril.

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