Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Audi A8 Saloon reviews

Elegant looks, refinement, aluminium construction
Ride could still be a little smoother

The big Audi luxury car has an amazing range of engines. Even the 207bhp 2.8-litre V6 copes reasonably well, as the all-aluminium A8 is impressively light weight for such a large motor. This means the pace of the V8 versions is searing – particularly the amazing 4.2-litre TDI, which storms to 60mph in 6.1 seconds, yet still returns reasonable economy. Quattro four-wheel-drive for most models means the power can be deployed without fuss as well. There are two choices of automatic gearbox, CVT or conventional auto, though the latter can be a little jerky at times. Superb air suspension provides extremely assured road manners, while the steering is light and direct. The ride can be pattery at times, though.

We reckon you’re best off with the entry-level 2.8 V6 – it’s plenty fast enough for most people, as well as providing surprisingly good fuel economy and low emissions. The other petrol engines - a 3.2 V6, 4.2 V8, 5.2 V10 and 6.0 W12 - range from fast to downright ferocious, but running them will cost a bomb. The diesels are tempting, too, with a choice of a 3.0 V6 and a 4.2 V8, both of which provide very strong performance.

Ride and Handling
All A8s ride on an air-suspension system with four settings. Body control is good for a big car, and the A8 handles tidily for its size. Speed-sensitive power steering makes the A8 easy to drive in town, but it lacks feel at higher speeds. A good driving position and electric adjustment for the seat and steering wheel make it easy to get comfortable up front, while the main controls and instruments are easily reached. A single knob between the front seats controls the stereo, satellite-navigation system and suspension settings, with menus viewed on a dash-top screen, but the system isn’t entirely intuitive.

All of the engines are muted in everyday driving and they issue only a subdued growl under hard acceleration. Road noise is also kept to a low level over most surfaces, while minimal wind noise at speed is only noticeable because of the absence of any other noises.



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