A8 only for heavyweights

FORWARD VISION: The A8's engine hood, single-frame grille and front bumper are more sculptured, while the lower edge of the headlight units has straightened
FORWARD VISION: The A8’s engine hood, single-frame grille and front bumper are more sculptured, while the lower edge of the headlight units has straightened

NEW on the market from Audi is their new flagship model range, the A8, which comes with a hefty price tag. World of Wheels spent a few days with the 3.0 TDI quattro tiptronic and, in spite of the hefty price tag, came away impressed with the luxurious oil burner.

The new A8 places Audi among the innovation leaders in the luxury segment. Its R1.1-million price tag positions the car in a niche segment only the wealthy can afford.

Its lightweight construction is one great strength. The body is made almost entirely of aluminium; an Audi Space Frame design, it weighs just 231kg.

The length (5.14m), wheelbase (2.99m), width (1.95m) and height (1.46m) remain unchanged from the outgoing model.

Additional noise damping measures reduce the already low interior noise level even further. On the open road, even at high speed, the car whispers along.

Powering the car is the highly efficient 3.0 TDI quattro clean diesel with 190kW and 580Nm of torque.

We were able to achieve a low 6.9 litres per 100km at various times during the test period.

Also impressive was the fast and smooth-shifting, eight-speed tiptronic transmission. The electronically controlled automatic transmission is paired with quattro permanent all-wheel drive. Audi also offers an optional sport differential for the rear axle, which distributes power between the rear wheels as needed.

Xenon plus headlights are standard on the 3.0 TDI quattro. Audi also offers optional headlights featuring Matrix LED technology. The headlights’ high-beam comprises 25 individual light-emitting diodes per unit that can be switched on and off or dimmed individually depending on the situation.

This enables the headlight system to react precisely to other vehicles while brightly illuminating the road. Additional features are the intelligent cornering light, new-look daytime running lights and dynamic turn signals.

The lighting system uses predictive route data from the navigation system to adjust light distribution in response to the driving situation. In combination with the standard navigation plus with MMI touch, the system recognises route data contained in the satellite navigation system, such as curves and road classifications. We were also impressed with Audi connect, including a car-phone which is standard across the range. – Bobby Cheetham

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