Audi proudly presents its new flagship model: the 12-cylinder A8. The brand with the four-ring badge yet again defines the benchmark for dynamic performance in the absolute top automotive bracket. Because the launching of the A8 L 6.0 quattro marks the appearance of a vehicle full of superlatives – the sportiest luxury saloon car in the world. Twelve cylinders, 450 bhp and 580 Newton-metres of torque make this a supremely excellent car.
The A8 6.0 L quattro sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds, and it accelerates from 0 to 200 in a mere 17.4 seconds. The twelve-cylinder model reaches its electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h after scarcely 30 seconds. The most impressive thing about it is just how spontaneously the six-litre engine translates every adjustment of the throttle into acceleration, and just how smoothly it can rev right up to the rated speed of 6,200 rpm if desired.
At the same time more than 95 percent of the engine's peak torque is available between 2,300 and 5,300 rpm; the ideal basis for supreme pulling power in every velocity range. The torque characteristic of this large-capacity naturally aspirated engine is utterly unequalled.
The six-speed automatic transmission with tiptronic function makes sure that exactly the right amount of power is always available. And it additionally offers the driver the chance to intervene actively in the tiptronic gearshift gate. The automatic transmission's Sport program waits for higher engine speeds before shifting up, and shifts down sooner, allowing the full revving ability of the twelve-cylinder engine to be utilised.
In conjunction with the low weight of the aluminium body built using the Audi Space Frame ASF principle, the engine and transmission turn in an excellent performance coupled with exemplary economy.
quattro permanent four-wheel drive remains unequalled in the luxury segment. It translates engine performance with superb efficiency into propulsion and lateral support. The aluminium chassis with air suspension as standard is a feature found only on the new A8 L 6.0 quattro, a system that delivers the right characteristic for every situation: by means of the continuously variable damper settings, the adaptive air suspension reduces body movements, while optimising roadholding and ride comfort.
The driver can choose between four predefined settings, for a suspension characteristic ranging from overtly sporty to ultra-comfortable.
The interior presents an atmosphere of superb luxury. The top quality of the materials and finish, visible and palpable down to the smallest detail, perfectly complements the spaciousness and perfected ergonomic layout. The driver and passengers alike can savour an ambience, the style, exclusivity and functionality of which are remarkable, even in the luxury car bracket.
All these characteristics highlight the sheer technological calibre of this luxury saloon and – in conjunction with the superlative drive train and suspension – create a unique vehicle: the Audi A8 L 6.0 quattro.
Even at a glance, the flowing outlines of the new Audi A8 make the overall character of this 5.19-metre long, 1.89-metre wide and 1.45-metre high saloon perfectly clear. It is a harmonious blend of clarity, sports appeal, agility and elegance.
The flat front end with strikingly short overhang, a high, imposing tail end and the pronounced wedge shape of the new A8 L 6.0 quattro lend it an overtly dynamic architecture. The crouched silhouette and the shoulder line rising sharply to the rear accentuate its sportiness. The prestigious size of this large luxury saloon only becomes evident upon closer inspection.
The A8 L 6.0 quattro is identifiable at first glance as the top model in the range. Its front end is distinguished by the new formal idiom of Audi design. Its central element is the striking single-frame radiator grille, the outer chrome ring of which surrounds the painted grey fins of the grille with horizontal chrome strips. The W12 badge serves as a visual indication of the engine's high performance.
The clear glass headlight covers visibly display the technology that they protect: the 12-cylinder A8 is the first car in the world to be equipped with LED daytime driving lights, whose distinctive 5-pointed star-type lighting elements have a dual function as new design features for the vehicle's front end. A revolutionary technology: because the A8 L 6.0 quattro is the first vehicle in the world on which the use of daytime driving lights adds virtually nothing to fuel consumption – a clear safety advantage, as the car is more easily spotted whatever the light conditions.
This advance has been made possible by the use of LED units, the energy consumption of which is only a fraction of that of conventional bulbs. When the low-beam headlights are switched on by the standard-fit light and rain sensor, the daytime driving lights remain on but are dimmed to the brightness of the side lights. The LED daytime driving lights thus serve as a distinguishing feature both by day and by night.
At the rear end, the trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes integrated into the rear bumper single out the A8 L 6.0 quattro as the new Audi flagship model.
18-inch wheels with a 12-spoke design act as a further typical feature of the 12-cylinder A8 when viewed side-on. The wheelbase of the long version of the 12-cylinder Audi A8 measures 3074 mm. The extra 130 mm in the body's length has been most elegantly incorporated between the B and D-posts. The rear doors, which are also 130 mm longer, blend harmoniously into the dynamic side line. They make it extremely easy to get in and out of the car.
The driver-oriented overall design of the driving area that is a characteristic of all A8 versions is a notable feature of the interior. The central architectural features are the rising centre console – reminiscent of a sports car – incorporating the MMI terminal, with its retractable display in the instrument panel.
The MMI and the absence of a conventional handbrake lever pave the way for the neat, expansive design of both the centre console and the instrument panel.
The smooth transition between the instrument panel and the door top shoulder is another feature that is typical of Audi. This line, structured by a two-section trim insert, continues back into the rear compartment, creating a new ambience. Depending on the choice of materials, the interior can be given a sporty flavour, or a tastefully elegant direction. One exclusive trait of the top version's driving area is a horizontal aluminium strip running below the wooden trim inlay.
Another equally visible feature of the 12-cylinder A8 is the new 4-spoke multifunction steering wheel. The new generation is distinguished by the visual reference to the single-frame trapezium with the four rings on the central airbag cover. Its oval exterior geometry is likewise a variation on the single-frame shape.
There are three new versions of seat available, developed specifically for the A8, to match the various specifications and thus assure a harmonious interior appearance.
The electrically adjustable front seats (with active head restraints at the front) combine perfect long-distance comfort with good lateral support and maximum safety. Qualities from which the rear occupants likewise benefit: they too will appreciate the individual seats, available as an option at no extra charge. There are ultra-ergonomic Comfort seats, again available as an option for all passengers, and for which a massage and ventilation function is available.
The equipment, data and prices stated here refer to the model range offered for sale in Germany. Subject to amendment; errors and omissions excepted.