Team-BHP > Team-BHP Reviews > Test-Drives & Initial Ownership Reports


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 20th July 2020, 11:34   #1
Team-BHP Support
 
Akshay1234's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 10,079
Thanked: 9,075 Times
Default Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)

The Audi A8L is on sale in India at a price of Rs. 1.56 crores (ex-showroom).

What you'll like:

• Massive size and unmistakable Audi styling
• Futuristic interiors. Packed with technology & 23-speaker Bang and Olufsen ICE
• Luxurious rear seat. Has a foot massager too!
• Fast V6 turbo-petrol; 335 horses on tap
• AWD gives it phenomenal grip, whether on dry tarmac or wet
• Feels smaller than it is while driving. Fun to drive on the open road
• Safety kit includes 10 airbags & a plethora of driving aids

What you won't:

• Simply overpriced. CBU pricing places it higher than the S-Class & 7-Series
• Diesel option is sadly unavailable. The other Germans offer 6-cylinder diesels
• While the air suspension is competent, it doesn't have that "magical ride" of the S-Class
• A 4-seater (not 5) due to the individual seats at the rear
• Many controls feel the same as the cheaper Audis
• Understated looks. Most people spending this kind of money want more attention to go with it

Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)-img_5329.jpg
Akshay1234 is offline   (50) Thanks
Old 20th July 2020, 11:35   #2
Team-BHP Support
 
Akshay1234's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 10,079
Thanked: 9,075 Times
Default

Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)-a8-replace.jpg

The A8 has been Audi's flagship saloon meant to compete with the S-Class and the 7 Series, and it is now into the 4th generation. This had been launched globally in 2017, and it has been made available in India since just a few months now. Audi's flagship has always been available with a wide range of petrol and diesel engines the world over, even a W12 engine which it shares with the Bentleys. Technology has been top notch throughout the years with features such as fingerprint readers to recognise the driver, and the pop up B&O tweeters which have now become an A8 signature. The A8 in my opinion has always been neither as comfortable as the S class, nor as good to drive as the 7 series, but it does have its own niche in the market.

Last edited by Aditya : 20th July 2020 at 11:36.
Akshay1234 is offline   (34) Thanks
Old 20th July 2020, 11:35   #3
Team-BHP Support
 
Akshay1234's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 10,079
Thanked: 9,075 Times
Default

Exterior

Head on, the A8 has the now typical Audi look, and will be confused for the A6 many a times. The trapezoidal grill is massive, and there's a ton of chrome too, which doesn't go too well with this grey colour. Personally I would prefer a black pack if available:
Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)-img_5309.jpg

The rear, again, seems like an evolutionary design. The joined tail lamps look awesome, and the OLED patterns on locking and unlocking are a great party trick. Lower down, the exhaust tips are fake. The real ones poke down ever so slightly from under the bumper:
Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)-img_5317.jpg

The side profile, again, is similar to the previous A8. Nothing to complain about. The executive and rather simplistic looks are carried over here also. It does look slightly under-tired, but then again, most of the luxury barges sold here do, in the name of comfort. Do note that the suspension is in dynamic setting here, a.k.a lowered:
Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)-img_5349.jpg

Simple 5 spoke wheels, but they look good with the two-tone colour and the pattern. Tyres are Michelin PS4s, and I'm sure they added a fair bit to the drive quality:
Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)-img_5347.jpg

Audi's have always had beautiful tail lamps, and this A8 certainly doesn't disappoint. The intricacies are interesting to look at. I wish they had spent a little more time on the vehicle design, and a little less on the tail lights . We may have had a slightly more revolutionary design:
Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)-img_5348.jpg

The matrix LED headlights, with laser high beams. I couldn't use the laser high beams as I believe they activate only when certain conditions are met. Needless to say, the light output was great and made night driving painless:
Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)-thumbnail_img8792.jpg

Another look at the A8. While it is simple, one cannot really fault the design. It does please the eyes. For those looking to not get attention, this is a top choice:
Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)-img_5354.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 20th July 2020 at 11:37.
Akshay1234 is offline   (41) Thanks
Old 20th July 2020, 11:35   #4
Team-BHP Support
 
Akshay1234's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 10,079
Thanked: 9,075 Times
Default

Interior

The moment you step into the interior, it does exude a certain quality. From the leather, to the door handles, it feels flagship. And the interiors look and feel very modern and techy. There are features like the AC vents which open and shut automatically, except its not very noticeable. The screens, all match the piano black trim when off, and when the ignition is on it suddenly feels like the A8 has come to life, with so many black panel buttons lighting up, along with the screens. The screens and the trims are real fingerprint magnets, as you will see in the following pictures:
Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)-img_5361.jpg

The front seats are large, and have good bolstering. They have the normal adjustments one would expect from a vehicle in this segment. Ventilation and memory are present (something the base S-Class doesn't get on the front seats), and only the driver's seat has the massage function. I was hoping the passenger seat would have it too. Leather quality seems top notch, and it is great to touch and sit on. The alcantara bits are nice touches:
Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)-img_5360.jpg

Nice to see separate rear seats in the A8, which its rivals don't offer. These cars rarely see a middle passenger in the rear, hence I prefer this. The seats have a myriad of adjustments, and they are comfortable to sit on, along with a large amount of space. This is certainly a car to be driven in. The entertainment screens can be removed from their holders, and are actually android tabs. Very useful for sure:
Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)-img_5362.jpg

The digital instrument cluster is similar to other Audi's from the last few years, except the graphics are a bit different and the resolution seems better. It is easy to read, and has different layout options, but nothing special in this flagship which the others do not offer:
Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)-img8270.jpg

A view of the cockpit. It really does feel super high tech, with all the buttons and twin centre screens, and the lighting. What does feel odd is the fact that many buttons have the same feeling as they have in cars like the A4, in terms of how they click. Now compare that to the S-Class, where every single button feels and clicks in a far better way than the basic C-Class. The steering wheel is something which I personally don't like one bit. I think a more normal or sleeker steering wheel would improve the whole interior:
Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)-img8280.jpg

A closer look at the twin screens. The lower screen controls the air conditioning and seat ventilation / heating, and also has some other controls which would normally be physical buttons on the centre console, like the rear blind and auto start stop. The upper screen controls a lot of other stuff, like settings, media, navigation, etc. What I found odd is that the upper screen has haptic feedback, but you need to press it slightly firmly for it to register, which is counter intuitive when you are on the move, and want to quickly press buttons:
Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)-img8361.jpg

The 360 camera system and the rear view camera display. I personally didn't find the camera system as good as the Mercedes or BMW ones, which are easier to use. This just seems to be a generation behind:
Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)-img8375.jpg

The yacht-like gear selector, with the handbrake and hold buttons below it. You can see some physical buttons above, for the volume, engine start / stop and parking lights, etc. Also note the piano black here too:
Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)-img8370.jpg

This car had the top of the line Bang and Olufsen advanced sound system with 23 speakers. These pop up tweeters have been an A8 signature since two generations now. The sound quality is crisp and clear. I'm no audiophile but I found it similar to the B&Ws and Burmesters of the world:
Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)-img8372.jpg

A special part of the A8 - the rear left seat! The front seat goes to the front and pops out a footrest and the rear seat reclines a fair bit. I do think the S-Class is more comfortable when fully stretched out, but the A8 has a foot massager built into the backrest of the front passenger seat:
Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)-img8326.jpg

The rear left doorpad. You can see the buttons on top for moving the seat into a fully relaxed mode or a fully upright mode, and a memory setting incase you like a position in between. Also note switches for the left and right door curtains and windows, front and rear sunroof shades, and even the rear windshield shade. Both rear doors have similar buttons. A rather large door pocket on the rear door too:
Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)-img8339.jpg

Everything is futuristic here, including the lighting of the mini fridge built in between the two rear seats. Its neatly integrated and looks awesome:
Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)-img8310.jpg

A closer look at the rear control panel. The seat controls are below the screen. I believe they didn't need to be so in your face. If you see the screen, the settings are open for the matrix reading lights, which are extremely cool. The size of the beam can be set, and the focus point can be moved too separately for both seats. Something a chauffeur driven owner will certainly appreciate:
Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)-img8345.jpg

The upper screen pops out and is wireless. It can control a slew of things like the media, seat settings, light settings, amongst others. The massages on offer do not match up to the S-Class, which I found are far superior:
Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)-img8346.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 20th July 2020 at 11:38.
Akshay1234 is offline   (36) Thanks
Old 20th July 2020, 11:35   #5
Team-BHP Support
 
Akshay1234's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 10,079
Thanked: 9,075 Times
Default

Driving the 3.0L Petrol AT

This Audi A8 is the 55 TFSI, which means it has a 3.0-litre V6 turbocharged engine which produces 335 BHP and 500 Nm. This is the only engine which is currently on offer, and it is shared with the S5 and the Q8. It misses out on the 48V system which is only available on the larger engines. But it still feels par for the course in this behemoth.

The moment you sit into the A8, you are struck by the minimalistic and futuristic design. But there is still a large sense of familiarity from the controls, dials, buttons and the layout in general. There are many places which feel a level above the other Audis in terms of quality and feel, and an equal number of things which feel exactly the same.

The startup of the car is cool. Before the ignition is on, its just got large shiny black surfaces which suddenly turn into screens, and the air-con vents pop out. The engine is very refined upon startup, and settles into a smooth idle, such that its difficult to make out whether its on or not. The large front seats, with their good bolstering and multitude of adjustments, make it easy to get comfortable quickly.

Moving the yacht like gear lever into drive, and starting to drive, I instantly noticed that despite its size, the A8 feels a lot smaller to drive. It just never feels as large as it actually is. While on the move and when you start pushing it, it shrinks around you even further, and that is a great thing.

Since this is a luxury barge, what most will primarily be concerned with is the comfort. So, let's talk about that first. The seats are all supremely comfortable, and one will have no reason to complain. But what does take away a bit of the comfort is the suspension. The low speed ride is something I found disappointing, since it just felt too busy. Always moving and rocking around, even with smaller bumps. Now, its not bad by any means, but its nowhere close to the gold standard which is the S-Class. It feels like an A6 which is just more refined. As the speed picks up, the ride does settle and gets more comfortable, but the suspension setup seems to be on the sportier side since the body control is actually quite good, and the handling is predictable. It actually makes you want to push the car a bit when you are in the driver's seat. Sound insulation is top notch, and so is the refinement, and it does cut you out from the outside world. The back seat is the place to be, and especially on the left seat. You can be sprawled out, getting a back and foot massage, while listening to some beats on the B&O audio system, and I assure you, it makes you feel like you have made it.

In terms of driving, I was pleasantly surprised, because I expected yacht-like handling and the A8 to feel its size. But it feels smaller than it is, and nimble too. And this 3.0L engine coupled with the 8-speed transmission is a potent combo. When one wants to have a go at it, the A8 feels pretty quick, and doesn't ever feel out of steam. It hits the ton in around 5.6 seconds, which is a respectable number. The transmission could have been calibrated better and sometimes feels a bit confused as to whether it is in a sporty car or a luxury limousine. Traction is great thanks to the Quattro all-wheel drive system, and going flat out even on wet roads doesn't make the A8 blink. Its actually a pleasing vehicle to drive, especially once you get up to speed on an open road. The steering feel is numb, like most Audis, and I always wonder how they manage to make the steering feel of so many vehicles they sell always feel the same. While the super light steering is good for driving in the city, once you want to push around the car a bit, the steering weighs up but doesn't feel very accurate. But maybe I was expecting too much.

While the car has an assistance button, I was surprised to see the A8 missing out on radar assisted features, especially considering the price they are selling it at. The rivals all offer features like adaptive cruise control, and collision avoidance systems. While I understand they may have some issues in Indian traffic, there is no denying that they can help avoid accidents.

All in all, the A8 is a competitive product. But its a bit confused as to what it wants to be. On one hand, its loaded with tech and features. But the main purpose of comfort is a notch below what it should be in this segment. The S-Class is still the car to buy if one is looking for ultimate luxury, and the 7 Series is still the car to buy if one enjoys driving themselves. That leaves the A8 for those who want something a bit under the radar, futuristic, and techy.

The drive select system alters things like the suspension height and stiffness, steering weight, throttle response, etc. depending on the mode chosen. It definitely makes a difference, especially in Sport. One big issue for me was the fact that to raise the car, the drive select menu has to be opened and then the raise button pressed. In the S-Class and the 7 Series, there are dedicated physical buttons to raise the car, which is good considering how often it needs to be done due to the large speed breakers and length of these cars:
Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)-img8363.jpg

A picture with the car in its raised height. Definitely helps it clear most speed breakers if taken carefully. Its a pity it lowers itself again after 30 km/h, and you cannot raise it again until you are almost at a crawl:
Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)-img_5350.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 20th July 2020 at 11:38.
Akshay1234 is offline   (54) Thanks
Old 20th July 2020, 11:43   #6
Team-BHP Support
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 10,155
Thanked: 42,472 Times
Default re: Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Test-Drives section. Thanks for sharing!
Aditya is online now   (6) Thanks
Old 20th July 2020, 11:55   #7
Team-BHP Support
 
Gannu_1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Madras
Posts: 6,009
Thanked: 14,081 Times
Default re: Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akshay1234 View Post
I wish they had spent a little more time on the vehicle design, and a little less on the tail lights


Here's a short clip of the dynamic lighting of the OLED tail lights on the A8 while locking and unlocking the car.

Gannu_1 is offline   (38) Thanks
Old 20th July 2020, 13:33   #8
BHPian
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 200
Thanked: 222 Times
Default re: Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)

Excellent review Akshay! Clear, crisp and concise, as always. Rated this thread a well deserved 5-stars.

About the new A8 L, I have mentioned this elsewhere on the forums as well. These piano black surfaces and touchscreens replacing traditional buttons is a step backward in my opinion. The prospective buyer of such a car gets the best haptic feedback/OLED display on his iPhone Pro Max too. Where is the sense of occasion?

Fiddling with that little stalk under the A/C vent in the S-Class left a lasting impression on me. As did the tactility of all the other switchgear in the interior. Knurled knobs, interior pieces milled from materials like aluminium, titanium, magnesium, etc. would justify the price tag more appropriately and not an interior which is essentially a fingerprint magnet.

As you rightly said, the chauffeur driven will flock to the S-Class, the driving enthusiasts to the 7-series. This Audi lies somewhere in the middle, with a confused identity, much like always. Still, its the only one Tony Stark is driven to board meetings in. The halo car for the understated, tech enthusiast, "chaar bangdi" fan.

I reckon it will see decent sales only after discounts/price corrections.
n:CorE is offline   (12) Thanks
Old 20th July 2020, 13:46   #9
Senior - BHPian
 
CARDEEP's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: NCR
Posts: 2,883
Thanked: 1,841 Times
Default re: Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)

This car though good enough is 2.5 years late in India.
My previous boss who's a SG citizen had one in December 2017 almost when it was launched internationally. I was driven around in same in 1st week of January 2018. It was a crore then, but then buying cars in SG is high so he had to pay much more.

Things have moved on since then... Timing is always important. Wish premium & luxury auto makers learn this.
CARDEEP is offline   (5) Thanks
Old 20th July 2020, 22:28   #10
BHPian
 
Amsdoc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Pune
Posts: 93
Thanked: 144 Times
Default re: Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)

Great review! The A8 has changed so much over the years. I fell in love with it after watching the famous car chase scene from the 1998 movie Ronin (technically it was a S8). The current one looks unlikely it will ever come close to that.



Audi has always been somewhere between the BMW and the Merc in all its models. Some will say not as good as either, some will say best of both worlds.
Amsdoc is offline   (7) Thanks
Old 21st July 2020, 08:21   #11
Team-BHP Support
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 13,869
Thanked: 19,160 Times
Default re: Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)

The S8 in Ronin was the best of the lot methinks!

The A8 sold in reasonable numbers earlier on as the then MD of Audi India used to directly market them to industrialists and Bollywood through effective networking. Around then the W220's reliability forced conquest sales.

After the W221's improved reliability onwards, the A8 sales have declined. No-one really wants the Quattro system at this price point - that's where the premium goes and again the old same sausage different size does not really cut it.I know of one person who bought the outgoing car a couple of years back for nearly Rs 20L off!

Will be a great used buy
ajmat is offline   (5) Thanks
Old 21st July 2020, 08:31   #12
BHPian
 
Flyer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: KL 02
Posts: 541
Thanked: 1,329 Times
Default Re: Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)

Thanks for the review Akshay!

It's a big drawback from Audi that there are no diesels on offer even in their expensive flagship models. Most buyers in this segment still prefers diesel. This will definitely effect the A8 sales. I remember in a recent Autocar interview, MB CEO saying 50% of their sales are still diesels!
Flyer is offline   (5) Thanks
Old 21st July 2020, 11:21   #13
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 13
Thanked: 6 Times
Default Re: Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)

Great review!

From being market leaders in almost every segment to being completely ignored by their prospective customers, the fall of Audi India or should I say VAG India has been remarkable. A simple market research would have revealed that primary A8 customers are the ones who find the S Class or the 7 Series a bit expensive for their liking.

Nevertheless great day for the Merc and Bimmer marketing departments. One man's loss is another man's gain I must say.
mufeez1234 is offline   (2) Thanks
Old 21st July 2020, 11:41   #14
BHPian
 
viXit's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Hyd
Posts: 130
Thanked: 262 Times
Default Re: Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)

All the interiors of luxury cars like these, I have noticed so any times to be stained and scratched up in the reviews.
Is it because all the media houses get the same cars and because it’s passed like that they’re treated badly?

Last edited by GTO : 21st July 2020 at 11:50. Reason: typo
viXit is online now  
Old 21st July 2020, 11:58   #15
GTO
Team-BHP Support
 
GTO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Bombay
Posts: 58,320
Thanked: 169,765 Times
Default Re: Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)

I was pleasantly surprised by how fun the A8 was on the open road. I expected it to be a boat, but it sure had me grinning on the entire expressway. Phenomenal grip - maybe the best in class. Loved the engine & gearbox (although not BMW ZF-level). That said, I wouldn't buy it over the S-Class which to me is a cut above the A8 & 7-Series:
Driven: Audi A8L Review (3.0 V6 Turbo-Petrol)-20200621-09.01.18.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by viXit View Post
Is it because all the media houses get the same cars and because it’s passed like that they’re treated badly?
Media cars are driven to within an inch of their life. They are abused more than dealership test-drive cars and as much as rental cars. Don't ever buy one, no matter what the discount.

There is no concept of running-in the brand new engine either. Sometimes, I get a fresh media car with 150 km on the odo & I know that the engine needs gentle running-in, but I also have a review to do, so it is redlined while still a baby. A part of my heart does ache when doing this .
GTO is offline   (19) Thanks
Reply

Most Viewed
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks