- Surprisingly fun to drive
- Luxurious interior
- Impressive range of engines
- Dated infotainment
- Lacks some modern safety features
- Expensive to buy
Large luxurious limo-like saloon
The Audi A8 is the German manufacturer’s biggest and most opulent car. First introduced in 1994, the A8 is now in its third generation. Designed to rival the BMW 7 Series, and the Mercedes S-Class, the A8 is a huge luxurious saloon that’s designed to be at the very forefront of motoring luxury. It might not be quite as spacious as its rivals, but it still has a lot to offer. The A8’s interior is exceptional in both design and build quality, whilst the engine range is powerful and efficient. So if you’re in the market for a luxury limo, the Audi A8 should be somewhere close to the top of your shopping list.
In 2014 the Audi A8 went through a minor regeneration. Much of the car’s underpinnings remained the same, but with improved aesthetics, and a more modern, efficient range, the latest A8 is better than ever.
Opulent luxury and a spacious cabin.
When you’re spending the kind of money it takes to buy a luxury limo, you expect for it to make you feel special. Thankfully, the A8 is hugely successful in this regard. It’s not as practical as some of its rivals, but you will get an extensive list of standard equipment.
The dashboard design of the A8 manages to combine luxury, simplicity, and a contemporary feel. The huge swooping dash is cloaked in the very finest of materials, with leather adorning almost every nook and cranny. Build quality is also excellent, and altogether it feels expertly constructed. The controls are well laid out, with all the essentials being close at hand. And with Audi’s intuitive infotainment system, it’s simple and easy to take full advantage of all the goodies you get as standard.
When it comes to practicality, the A8 also impresses. There’s more than enough room in the rear seats for even the biggest passengers to travel comfortably. And if you go for the long wheelbase model, you’ll get even more legroom. It’s still not as spacious as the BMW 7 Series, or the Mercedes S-Class however. The 520 litre boot capacity is bigger than both though, so if you plan on carrying a lot of luggage, you shouldn’t be left wanting for space.
Equipment levels in the A8 are impressive no matter which model you go for. The entry-level SE trim comes with adaptive air suspension, leather upholstery, heated electric front seats, sat-nav, DAB, and cruise control. It has everything you need and then some, though it must be said that the infotainment system feels dated compared to the BMW 7 Series’.
All in all the interior of the A8 is an exceptionally well thought out package. Whether you’re a driver or a passenger, you’re going to feel like you’re in an exceptionally high-end product. It might not be as modern in terms of infotainment, but there’s still plenty of kit included, even with the entry-level model.
Surprisingly fun to drive for such a huge car.
When you consider how big the Audi A8 is, it’s surprising to learn that it’s fun to drive. It feels much smaller behind the wheel than it actually is. The hydraulic steering system is the main reason why this is the case. It offers sharp, responsive steering, both in town, and out on the open road. There’s plenty of grip as well, particularly if you go for one of the four-wheel drive Quattro models. Body roll is kept well under wraps, with little to no movement, even through the sharpest of bends.
Suspension and Chassis
Comfort and refinement are of great importance for a luxury limo, and the Audi A8 is one of the most impressive cars on the road in this respect. The air suspension system easily irons out even the worst surfaces that British roads can throw at you, so you’ll never feel uncomfortable, particularly in comfort mode. Refinement is also excellent, thanks in part to the double glazed windows. At motorway speeds there’s next to no road, wind, or engine noise, so you can eat up the miles in silent bliss.
Gearbox options in the A8 come in only one form. No matter which model you go for you’re going to get an eight-speed automatic. It performs pretty impressively, with smooth, well-timed gearshifts. It has been said by some reviewers that it’s not quite as responsive as the automatic in the BMW 7 Series, which is a point worth noting.
An exceptional selection of diesels.
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your A8, you’ve got the usual two options: petrol, or diesel. Diesels make up the bulk of the range, and all of them are of the highest quality. The S8 petrol is a car for true petrolheads, though it won’t be cheap to run.
Large luxury limos aren’t usually the car of choice for speed freaks, but the petrol-powered S8 TFSI Plus is a car that can challenge out-and-out supercars. The 4.0 litre V8 produces a monstrous 597bhp and 553lb/ft of torque. With all that power under the bonnet, you’ll be flying from 0-62mph in an eye-watering 3.8 seconds. The S8 is the most expensive to buy and run however. And, with even the slowest A8 only taking 5.9 seconds to 62mph, the S8 is only really an option worth considering for ultimate petrolheads.
Eco-friendly buyers won’t be especially pleased with the S8 range, but the lower powered diesel engines perform pretty well when compared to rivals. The greenest of them all is the 3.0 TDI 262 model. It emits just 149g/km of CO2, which considering the S8’s size, is actually respectable. This engine is also the best suited to money-savers. Not only is it the cheapest to buy in the range, it’s the cheapest to tax. And with a fuel economy figure of up to 49.6mpg, you won’t be spending too much at the service stations each month.
Whichever engine you go for in your A8, you’re going to get an engine built with all the expertise that Audi has accrued over the years. They’re all exceptional, but the cheapest diesel engine makes the most sense from a financial point of view.
Equipment list isn’t quite as lengthy as rivals.
Like nearly every luxury limo, the Audi A8 hasn’t yet been tested by NCAP. That’s because NCAP only tests the most popular cars on sale, and unfortunately, luxury limos don’t sell in great numbers. Despite this, it’s worth considering the fact that Audis generally score amongst the highest out of all manufacturers, so it’s more than likely the case that the A8 would score the full 5-stars if tested.
The A8 comes as standard with plenty of safety kit on board. You’ll get eight airbags, electronic stability control, tyre-pressure monitoring, advanced ABS, and Audi’s PreSense system, which detects if an accident is about to happen. Features such as lane-assist and adaptive cruise control are both optional extras however. Disappointing when you consider these come as standard with the A8’s rivals.
Great value for money, if you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation.
The Audi A8 represents solid value for money for buyers on the lookout for a luxury limo. Obviously it’s not a cheap car to buy, especially from new, but that’s to be expected. Running costs are relatively low throughout the range, though it does depend on which model you choose to go for. The most efficient 3.0 litre diesel engine will be the best option for most buyers, because it’ll only cost £145 to tax each year, whilst fuel economy is close to 50mpg.
Insurance groups for the A8 again depend on which model you go for. As the A8 is quite an expensive car to buy, and with such potent engines, it won’t be cheap, even if you go for the entry-level diesel, which is in group 43. The most powerful diesel is in group 47, whilst the supercar slaying S8 is in the highest possible group 50.
Depreciation is a factor to consider with the A8, but only if you choose to buy from new. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Audi A8 remains one of the very best luxury limos that money can buy. With a luxurious interior, ample space, and some impressively potent engines, it’s close to the complete package. The infotainment might seem dated compared to rivals, but that’s only a very minor chink in the A8’s armour. There are few cars that offer such opulent luxury as the A8, and if you’re on the lookout for a supersize executive saloon, the A8 should without doubt be on your shortlist.
Buying a used Audi A8 online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Audi A8 for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used A8. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Audi A8 online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Audi? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Audi A8, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used A8, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Audi to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.