Audi A8 L (60 TFSI) review: First class on wheels
Audi A8 L 4.0L review: First class on wheels
Note: This article was first published on 5 May 2023.
Audi’s A8 is often forgotten amidst the sea of S-Class and 7 Series that cruise our streets and its future looks bleak in the face of the ever-growing popularity of luxury SUVs. Maybe that’s why instead of giving us an all-new model, the people at Ingolstadt have decided to give it a minor facelift. Even so, there’s no question that this is a car that is befitting of the title of Audi’s flagship saloon.
The TLDR version:
It’s frightfully expensive but few cars in the world are a greater pleasure to be chauffeured around in.
In Singapore, the A8 will only be available in a long wheelbase version, which is what the “L” in A8 L stands for. It also means that this is, unquestionably, a car that is meant to be driven in. This point is crucial because the experience of driving it and being driven in one is quite different.
@hwztech The rear seats of the Audi A8 L are the best place to be in. Stay tuned for our full review. #hwzsg #hwz #audi #audisingapore #audia8 #motoring #cars #carsoftiktok #tech ♬ Aesthetic - Tollan Kim
The latter is one of the great motoring pleasures of the world. To start, legroom is so vast that I suspect all but the tallest of NBA players could sit in the back and stretch their legs fully. Furthermore, the seats, which are adorned in luscious Valcona leather, are incredibly plush and highly customisable. Not only do they recline, but they are also ventilated and feature massage function. You need to visit an orthopaedic doctor if you can’t get comfortable.
Elevating the rear seat experience is the absence of any type of noise or vibrations. Road and wind noise are kept to a minimum thanks to loads of sound-deadening materials and double-glazed windows. And any harshness from the road is masterfully dealt with by the adaptive air suspension.
The air suspension offers freakish levels of comfort. You see imperfections on the road and they hardly register. However, certain undulations and dips in the road can cause the car to pitch unnaturally. I spent the entire weekend trying to seek out roads that would unsettle the car and I didn’t find many.
There are loads of other niceties in the back. For example, a large panoramic sunroof lets light in should you ever feel claustrophobic – unlikely given the immense size of the cabin – and sunblinds can pop up should you require a little more privacy. And as you'd expect from a car of its class, rear passengers have individual climate controls and there's even two 10.1-inch displays for entertainment. However, getting content to show on the displays isn't the most straightforward. What Audi could have done is include popular streaming apps such as Netflix and Disney+ in their cars.
The combination of comfy seats that recline, the lack of noise, and a thumping sound system mean this is easily one of the most opulent and restful cars to be driven around in. If I had to get to KL in a pinch, I’d rather be in the back of this A8 L than on a plane in business class.
To drive, the A8 L is less impressive, though I suspect most of its buyers won’t care because they’ll likely not drive it themselves. Even so, the handling, as you’d probably expect of a two-ton luxo-barge, is imprecise and numb. And it doesn’t take to changing directions quickly too kindly, though it must be noted that, thanks to its rear-wheel steering system, the turning radius is remarkably small for something that is well over 5 metres long. U-turns would not be a problem. Still, this car feels most at home when it’s ploughing straight and at speed.
As is the case with most high-end Audis, the powertrain can hardly be faulted. The version I tested is the one with the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 motor and it is a mountain of power drenched in cream. Whenever you depress the accelerator, the A8 L just surges forward effortlessly. There are no signs of strain, just a subtle low-pitched V8 burble that hardens the more you push. The A8 L might tip the scales at over two tons but the 460hp and 600nm of torque that this motor produces is sufficient.
The motor has a couple of fuel-saving tricks but it’s still a big V8 and its fuel efficiency and range will vary greatly depending on the types of trips you make. Range, fortunately, remains decent thanks to its large 82L capacity fuel tank. Over my weekend of testing, I travelled over 440km and managed an efficiency of 6.84 km/l. One should be able to easily get at least 500km of range on a full tank of gas, which makes it a respectable long-range cruiser. Getting to KL on a single tank won't be a problem.
The only thing that holds this car back from a hearty recommendation is its price. With prices starting at S$787,211 (you can partly blame the revised ARF taxes for that), it’s priced competitively to the V8 equivalent S-Class, but it’s over S$200,000 more than the entry-level A8 L. One could argue that that car has a less powerful and exotic 3.0-litre V6 and is less well-equipped, but the price discrepancy is too staggering to ignore. Complicating matters further is the fact that the even more powerful S8 starts at S$47,000 more. I know it’s a lot of money but in the context of the A8 L, it’s 5% more and I don't think that's enough to deter buyers who are shopping in this stratosphere.
But no matter which A8 you pick, rest assured that it’ll transport you in great serenity, comfort, and luxury. Just make sure you hire a competent chauffeur.
Pricing and availability
The Audi A8 L is available in Singapore now with prices starting at S$576,181 for the 3.0-litre V6 version and S$787,211 for the 4.0-litre V8 version. The test car is the V8 version and it came with some optional extras. Prices include COE and are correct at the time of publishing.