Base price: $82,500
As tested: $99,445
The Audi A8 TDL Quattro harkens back to a day when luxury meant big, comfortable and expensive. Your senses are bathed in a sensual combo of polished wood and fine leather the moment you climb into this beautiful machine and take your driver’s chair. With windows up, the noise of the outside world all but disappears. The front and back seats have acres of space to stretch out in whether you’re driving, if you want to pull over and do some work, dine or in my case, practice an hour of guitar in comfort and tranquility. The ride, whether you’re in command or someone is driving you, is more comfortable than your living room easy chair, I bet.
My tester was the Turbo Diesel version but there was really no discernable driving difference between this model and some of the other high-end gasoline-powered Audis I’ve tested, nor any kind of fuel odor as in days past. But lest you forget what powers your plant, ugly-as-hell badging on both front and back door reading “TDI Clean Diesel” reminds you and everybody else.
Outside, stickers aside, it’s got dignified but speedy-looking angles, a signature waterfall grill, and the trunk is happily cavernous. The engine was completely overhauled this year and delivers power via an 8-gear automatic transmission and permanent all-wheel drive which is what the “Quattro” refers to. Mileage, depending on terrain and your driving habits, is somewhere around 28 MPG, not bad for an 8-cylinder. The rather numb steering’s accomplished with “Servotronic” speed-dependent rack-and-pinion. One beef is shifting when parallel parking and you need to do the “drive, reverse, drive, reverse” tango to straighten out. The shift is numb and aggravating and I never got used to it.
Options are many and pricey, starting with keyless access, “drive select” which delivers four-way suspension adjustment, transmission, throttle and steering as well as a sunroof, four-zone air conditioning, 22-way powered seats and much, much more.
For more information/pricing/trims click on: http://www.audiusa.com/models/audi-a8l