Finding Replacement For Displacement There are few things sweeter than the modern naturally aspirated V8 engine. In the past decade, we've been blessed to experience fine examples of free-breathing eight-pot goodness from around the globe, perhaps the best of which being the growling 6.2-liter unit that Mercedes-Benz once used in just about all of its AMG models, and a close runner-up being Audi's awesome, high-revving 4.2-liter V8. But those fiery German V8s won't be around forever. Slowly but surely, Mercedes-Benz is replacing all of its excellent 6.2-liter V8s with lighter, quieter (boo!) twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter engines. And more to the point of this review, Audi's 4.2-liter V8 that we've loved in countless applications is now a rare find. For the 2013 model year, only the R8 supercar and RS5 sport coupe are left with this truly world-class engine, which at one point could be found in the majority of Audi models. It's a damn shame. So here we are, the year 2012, and for every 4.2-liter V8 that Ingolstadt will no longer sell you, there is instead a supercharged 3.0-liter V6. We've tested it plenty of times in the A6, A7, S4, S5 and Q7, but now Audi's flagship A8 loses its 4.2 in favor of the forced-induction six. Displacement, meet your replacement. But don't worry – that isn't all bad. The A8 is our least-favorite quad-ring sedan in terms of design. For starters, know that this 3.0T Quattro model serves as the entry-level A8, pricing for which starts at $72,200 – nearly $6,000 less than the base 2012 model – not including $895 for destination. Our modestly equipped test car, only including options like the driver assist package, cold weather pack, LED headlamps and six-disc CD changer, stickered for $85,045 all in. Engines aside, what else is new with the 2013 A8? Well... nothing. It's still the same big, svelte sedan it always was, incorporating every last drop of Audi goodness. We so have to admit, though, that the A8 is our least-favorite quad-ring sedan in terms of design – that front end equipped with full LED headlamps still looks a bit saggy to us – but compared to most rivals, the A8 is a handsome package, even with the smaller 19-inch wheels (20s are optional) at all four corners. It won't slap you in the face with sexiness like the Jaguar XJ, but to the eyes of this staff, it is indeed a more handsome barge than rivals like the S-Class and BMW 7 Series. No one will second-guess your street cred when they see those LED strips coming up behind them in the rearview mirror. How about interior changes? Again, nothing. But why bother trying to update a cabin that's already brilliant in terms of design, quality and functionality? The cabin of our test car may have been awash in the sort of cold, gray German leather that's plagued these luxury sedans for centuries, but warmer, more inviting hues can be had. Optioning up for the long-wheelbase A8L …
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|MPG||13 City / 21 Hwy|
|Power||500 @ 6200 rpm|
|Drivetrain||quattro all wheel|
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