Optional systems and a powerhouse V8 show the AudiA8’s true depth and sporting potential
Audi’s brawny 4.0-litre, twin-turbo V8 has always been one of our favourite current engines, and it’s found an excellent home under the newly-contoured bonnet of the latest, fourth-gen Audi A8.
Having also tested the base 3.0-litre V6 turbo model, we found it a decent enough performer, but the real promise (and indeed perhaps the whole premise) of the A8 is revealed when it’s specced fully to the gills with its latest technology advancements and self-driving tech.
To better harness the 460 horses worth of power the V8 makes, that means chassis improvement systems, and the car we tested had both of them: Audi’s AI Suspension and all-wheel steering (the 3.0 V6 we reviewed only had the latter).
The first is a big step forward for chassis dynamics, using an electric motor at each suspension unit to add or subtract force in an instant. It works much more quickly than air suspension, and in addition to it as air suspension is standard on all A8 variants.
Audi says the system negates the need for anti-roll bars, and reduces all sort of unwanted chassis movement, and we found the latter to be true.
Managing the mass of a two-tonne plus luxury limo for passenger comfort is no easy task, even for experienced drivers, but the A8 can lend even novice chauffeurs a hand as braking or acceleration forces are smoothed out considerably and much of the ‘big boat’ feeling you’d have at the hands of a rough driver are no longer present.
Of course, it also lends an edge to the car if you like being behind the wheel, rather than behind the driver. The system transforms the car’s handling, and it’s especially noticeable when things get tight and curvy, such as in the hills around Valencia.
With much less pitch and roll, it enables a driver to carry more speed though corners with confidence, though it ends up leaving the lovely, grumbling V8 less to do as less engine grunt is needed to keep velocities high.
If the common garden variety A8 can already engage in this sort of fun, we can’t wait to see what the short-wheelbase, go-faster edition of the next S8 can do.
Audi A8 L 60 TFSI
Engine 3,995cc, 32V, V8, turbocharged
Power 460hp at 3800-4200rpm
Torque 660Nm at unknown rpm
Gearbox 8-speed automatic
Top Speed 250km/h
0-100km/h <5.0 seconds (estimated)
Fuel efficiency TBA
Agent Premium Automobiles
Verdict : Grunty V8 and superb AI Suspension give the A8 a keen dynamic edge