2016 A8 New Car Test Drive
The Audi A8 is a genuine contender for the world heavyweight championship, the full-size luxury sedan category, now topped by the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. But with the A8's long wheelbase for interior room, its aluminum space frame for lightness, and its available 12-cylinder engine for spectacularness, it feels kingly.
It's not just that unique W12 flagship engine that makes the car stand out. The lineup includes three other engines, including a new supercharged V6, a turbodiesel V6, and a twin-turbo V8s. And that's not counting the S8 with a more powerful version of that V8.
The supercharged 3.0-liter V6 is the base engine, making 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque while getting 29 highway mpg. The 3.0-liter turbodiesel TDI makes 240 hp and 406 pound-feet of torque, while getting 36 combined mpg with a range of more than 800 miles to a tank of gas, numbers we achieved at 80 mph on a weekend road trip.
The 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 makes 435 horsepower, which is pretty impressive until you try on the 6.3-liter W12 that makes 500 horsepower with 488 pound-feet of torque and accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds.
The biggest change for 2016 is that the shorter wheelbase A8 has been dropped for North American import. There's also a new model, the A8 Sport with the V8, which takes on aggressive front and rear fascias that visually give it a touch of S8.
An 8-speed automatic transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive are standard in the A8, with the torque split 60/40 to the rear under normal driving conditions, while moving to 60 percent at the front if traction is needed there.
The base price of the A8 3.0T with the supercharged V6 engine is $81,500. Standard equipment includes leather, navigation, LED headlights, satellite radio, Bose sound system, Bluetooth, front and rear climate control, and sunroof. Everything that moves is power-operated.
Option packages start jacking the price way up, including ventilated seats, 19-inch wheels with all-season tires, leather console and armrests. Stand-alone options include night vision and rear-seat entertainment, and a 14-watt, 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen Advanced sound system.
There's a Sport plus package that includes dynamic steering, adaptive air suspension, 265/40-series summer tires, and the same differential that's used on the S8.