Audi has its own unique philosophy when it comes to luxury. Luxury does not mean excess, but rather elegant, cultivated style. For Audi, luxury means selecting all materials carefully and lovingly processing them using a high degree of technical expertise. The result of this is an integrated work of art like the interior of the A8 L.
The interior of the full-size sedan is a rolling lounge – an island of tranquility that spoils all of the senses. Customers for the top model value comfort, style and prestige, which is why Audi designed the long-wheelbase version for both those with chauffeurs and those who drive themselves. Every bit of the additional 13 centimeters (5.12 in) benefits the rear seat passengers.
The ultimate in luxury: the rear seats
The rear of the A8 L spoils passengers with opulant amounts of head, shoulder, foot and knee room. The Audi luxury sedan offers considerably more head room than its key competitors. The longer rear doors make entry extremely comfortable. A glass sunroof and electric sunblinds for the rear window and rear side windows are standard equipment.
The A8 L comes standard with a classic, three-seat rear bench. Audi also offers the option of two comfortable individual seats (standard with the W12) while still retaining the third seat. The individual seats feature three-level heating and electric controls for adjusting the length, the inclination of the cushions and headrests and the pneumatic lumber support. A memory function and the additional fold-down compartments in the rear armrest of the doors are standard. Additional equipment features include deluxe headrests, a passenger seat that can be moved forward and back from the rear seat and the four-zone automatic climate control system.
Among the options Audi offers for the individual seats are ventilation and a pneumatic massage function with two selectable programs and three intensity levels. Another attractive option is the continuous center console, which forms an elegant wave flowing into the structure of the center tunnel. Leather and fine wood veneers imbue it with a sumptuous look.
The switches for adjusting the seats are located on the flanks of the long console, while the top sports a wide and comfortable armrest. This houses a large storage compartment that accomodates the optional car phone and a 230 volt outlet. An additional compartment in the rear wall of the cabin is hidden behind covers with additional wood applications. The control unit for the separate rear seat air conditioning is located at the front of the console. Audi offers a number of optional components, such as fold-down tables and a cool box that can hold two one-liter bottles and is illuminated by two LEDs.
The top option in the Audi A8 L is the relaxation seat on the passenger side in the rear, which offers first-class luxury as in an airplane. Passengers sitting there can rest their feet on a power-adjustable footrest on the back of the passenger seat. The passenger’s back is massaged by ten air cushions according to four programs, each with five intensity and speed levels that can be selected using a remote control. The programs target different things. One massages the entire back, while another concentrates on the shoulders.
In addition to all of the standard features of the individual seats, the relaxation seat also comes standard with the long center console, seat ventilation and the rear seat entertainment system. The ambient lighting further refines the atmosphere.
The left rear seat also offers a massage function, here with two programs and three intensity levels. An easy entry and exit function automatically moves both rear seats to the rearmost position when the corresponding door is opened.
Airy ambience: the interior design
The elegant exterior design carries over into the interior of the Audi A8 L with its smooth lines. It is noticeably wider, more airy and more spacious than its predecessor. The salient element is the “wrap-around” – a wide arch spanning the entire cabin. The “wrap-around” forms an elegant beltline as on a yacht, putting the crowning touch on the concept of sinewy taut and wedge-shaped lines.
The large curve integrates the sleek and low instrument panel. It begins below the base of the windshield and angles slightly downward toward the seats. Although the seats in the new A8 L are mounted sportily low, most drivers can see the entire hood thanks to the low front end, which reinforces the impression of expanse and freedom.
The front of the instrument panel is shaped like a gentle wave flowing around the driver and the front seat passenger. It is animated, clean and lean. The horizontal line underscores its width. The trapezoidal air vents accentuate the new design philosophy. The instrument panel is covered with a softly padded synthetic leather material elegantly framed with precise seams. An elegant analogue clock is inset into the front center of the panel.
A special high-end feature of the A8 L only reveals itself in the dark – the interior lighting, which is produced by white light-emitting diodes and controlled by complex electronics. It turns on when the sedan is unlocked remotely. Beginning at the driver's seat, it spreads out like a wave. The driver can choose the specific lighting effect – flat, cool or warm, plastic or focused. The light strips in the headliner and between the grab handles are particular highlights.
Ambient lighting – an artistic overall orchestration – is also available as an option (standard with the continuous center console and in the W12). LEDs, fiber optics and light strips illuminate a number of additional areas of the cabin. The center console appears to float. Many of these LEDs are two-colored or three-colored – the driver can use the MMI to choose between the color schemes Ivory, Polar, or Ruby/Polar, and adjust the brightness in four zones. Audi complements this with reading lamps and a vanity mirror in the rear (standard in the W12 and in combination with the panorama roof).
Supreme comfort: the front seats
The front seats in the Audi A8 L provide your body with perfect hold and guidance; the offset upper section of the seatback provides outstanding support for the shoulders. The standard seats are power-adjustable in 12 ways – the length, the height and inclination of the seat cushion, the inclination of the backrest and two parameters for the lumbar support. Audi also offers an optional seat heating system and a memory function coupled with the power adjustment of the headrests and belt height.
The comfort seats offer even more luxury with their 22-way adjustability. The inclination of the upper backrest, the depth of the seat cushion, the inclination and height of the deluxe headrests, and the width of the side bolsters can also be adjusted here. The latter function and also the four-way lumbar support are pneumatic. The memory function is standard.
In addition to heating, other options available for the deluxe seats is three-stage ventilation using four small extraction fans – a particularly effective solution – and the five-program pneumatic massage function. The deluxe seats are also available with a rhombus perforation pattern for a sporty look.
Audi has greatly reduced the number of switches for adjusting the seats. All primary adjustments continue to be made using switches that mirror the shape of the seat. A multifunction switch with a rotary ring and four buttons controls the secondary functions, such as the side bolsters or the massage function, with each step represented visually on the MMI monitor.
A generous supply of storage space is another component of luxurious travel. The Audi A8 L features a storage compartment beneath the front center armrest suitable for a cellular phone, a car phone or an iPod.
Clear concept: operation and controls
The operating concept of the A8 L is typical for Audi – it is simple and intuitive. The red needles of the large dial instruments point to six o’clock when in the zero position and run up and fall back down when the car is started for a sporty look. With their black markings and clear, classic graphics, they can be easily read at a glance.
The driver information system, which serves as a fully fledged information and control center, has a new layout. Its center display has increased to a 7“ diagonal, showing all functions according to an easily understandable menu concept with one main field and two separate bars. In the 3.0 TDI, the driver information system includes the efficiency program, which gives the driver tips for economic driving. Another function provides information on which on-board consumers, such as the air conditioning, are active and how they affect fuel consumption.
The driver information system is also controlled using the latest version of the multifunction steering wheel, which is available in a choice of three or four-spoke designs. The steering column is power adjustable, with a heated rim available as an option. The engine is started and stopped using a separate button located the console of the center tunnel together with the latch for the electromechanical parking brake.
The front section of the console is visually separated from the instrument panel. Wide and slightly inclined, it is the perfect control panel for the controls of the deluxe automatic climate control system. The system enables quiet and virtually draft-free ventilation through a grate on the top of the instrument panel. It offers three air-conditioning styles and a fourth version for the winter.
Audi also offers an optional four-zone automatic climate control system (standard with the continuous center console and in the W12). It has a separate rear air conditioner and controls 25 servo motors. Innovative technology ensures that it is extremely efficient.
Haptic landscape: the MMI terminal
Below the keypad for the climate control system is the terminal for the newly developed MMI operating and multimedia system. It forms a three-zone haptic landscape: Audio controls are in the zone on the right; the center zone is home to the large rotary pushbutton plus the hard and soft keys used to navigate within the main menus. The field on the left contains six radio station buttons or the touchpad of the optional MMI navigation plus (standard in the W12). Operation is totally stress-free: The driver’s wrist rests on the selector lever of the 8-speed tiptronic, leaving the hand at ease to press and turn switches.
When inactive, the monitor of the MMI system is retracted into the instrument panel, with only its top edge visible as a delicate trim strip. It extends upward in an elegant curve when switched on. The large monitor with its 8-inch diagonal is extremely flat. As with the driver information system, the display area is divided into three zones, while the menu control system follows a further improved intuitive logic. All topics and also the cover art for audio CDs are presented in elegant, three-dimensional graphics.
Uncompromising: the quality
Quality knows no compromise. The interior of the A8 L has also been designed down to the finest detail according to this Audi principle. One of the areas at the focus of this philosophy is the selection lever for the eight-speed tiptronic. It appears powerful and solid like a sculpture, yet moves smoothly and with great precision. Its grip is covered with leather or wood veneer. Narrow trim strips set fine accents. To the left of the lever is an LED illuminated display for the driving program.
The start-stop button is a similar tiny work of art. Like the selection lever, it is lighted red from within and the letters have been machined out of the aluminum surface with the utmost precision.
The combination of premium materials, their look and their feel are responsible for the handcrafted atmosphere on board the A8 L. The air nozzles, for example, are partly chrome-plated. The backs of the deluxe seats have sickle-shaped inlays of fine wood framed. The edges of the veneers are reworked by hand following machine grinding, and the leather cover on the steering wheel rim is hand-stitched.
All of the switches move easily and without play. The developers precisely defined all of the sounds as well as the travel and the forces required to operate the controls. Gaps are even and narrow. In many cases they are precisely as wide as necessary for the thermal expansion of the materials, and not a tenth of a millimeter more.
The instrument panel and doors of the A8 L feature two-piece inlays – an extremely elegant solution. Their bottom elements come standard in highly polished black; the top ones in walnut brown with a deep, flawless luster. The bezels are enclosed in fine chrome strips. The top-of-the-line model features illuminated W12 badges on the door sill trims and inlays with black piano finish on top and brushed aluminum on the bottom.
Numerous control elements in the interior of the A8 L are finished in high-gloss black. Heavily used components are coated with a novel, UV-cured topcoat that makes them extremely resistant to scratching. A high-end coating called Cerapaint protects the aluminum doorsill trims. Less than two thousandths of a millimeter thick, it offers excellent protection against damage, repels dirt and is easy to clean.
Premium: colors and materials
Audi offers optional inlays in brushed aluminum or fine woods – gray vavona, which comes from the West Coast of North America, or beige fine grain birch. A very special highlight is the open-pored, natural fine grain ash. The Audi exclusive program offers seven additional types of wood.
There are five basic interior colors from which to choose: black, nougat brown, velvet beige, titanium gray and silk beige. The upper section of the instrument panel as well as its surroundings and the top shoulders are available in steel gray or peat brown. The colors for the headliner, which is also available in Alcantara, are lunar silver, silk beige, black and snow white.
There is also a wide range of seat coverings from which to choose. The standard seats are covered in black cloth, and the optional deluxe seats are covered with Valcona leather. Options include natural leather and Valonea leather, which is tanned naturally. It is particularly breathable and has an authentic surface structure. Buckskin Nappa leather, an incredibly soft material, is used on the headrests, the gear selector lever and on a cushion/hand rest. Audi also offers a combination of leather and Alcantara for the sporty deluxe seats.
The leather program offers a choice of seven colors: black, nougat brown, velvet beige, titanium gray, silk beige, mocha brown/balao brown and granite gray/brass beige. The last two combinations comprise separate interior design worlds.
The Audi design selection balao brown combines the exclusive brown interior color with special applications, such as contrasting white seams, a white headliner and inlays in open-pored ash and silver aluminum. With the Audi design selection brass beige, the upper sections of the instrument panel and the doors are granite gray. The headliner is white; the leather seat covers, the carpeting, the bottom section of the cockpit and the door liners shimmer in brass beige. Both design worlds include a series of comfortable equipment features.
The optional extended aluminum finish interior trim package (standard in the W12) is particularly eye-catching. Various components in the doors and on the instrument panel are adorned with chrome or aluminum — some brushed, and some polished. A number of additional suggestions for leather and wood applications are included in the Audi exclusive program.
Spacious: the trunk
The new Audi A8 L features a large, very wide trunk with a low loading lip. With a capacity of 510 liters (18.01 cubic ft), it can hold four golf bags horizontally; smaller objects can be stored in side compartments secured with separate nets. When unlocked, a pretensioned spring swings the trunk lid upward. Pull the lid down and the self-closing trunk does the rest.
The optional trunk package includes a floor net, two hooks for bags, an umbrella holder and a 12 V outlet. Load-through capability with ski bag, a power trunk lid (standard in the W12) and a power-retractable trailer hitch are also available. The accessories program includes a semi-rigid trunk liner and roof racks for a variety of purposes.
The equipment and data specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.