Audi A8L 3.0 Quattro – Perfect companion for the self-drive businessman

For the longest time, German marque Mercedes-Benz has been known for its luxurious and most-comfortable drive, while Bavarian brand BMW is a popular favourite among drivers looking for perfect handling and drivability.

Audi, on the other hand, presents itself as a fusion of both luxury and performance. It may not fall straight into the minds of those picking a luxury saloon, but you have to admit that it does possess a striking appeal, especially to the younger generation.

And this is why we say that the new Audi A8L 3.0 Quattro would be the ideal saloon for the self-drive, technology-driven businessman.

Exterior

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Compared to the older A8, the new flagship of Audi bears minimal difference in terms of aesthetics. The only noticeable difference to the common passer-by would be the Matrix LED headlight units, which features a whole myriad of LED bulbs. Audi claims that the Matrix LED allows for a better variety of combinations to suit different driving conditions. They offer the perfect illumination without blinding oncoming drivers like how other bi-xenon lights may present themselves.

But usage and practicality aside, the Matrix LED lends a more striking appeal to the entire saloon, especially with the running signal lights which rarely failed to attract the attention of pedestrians during our three day test drive.

Over at the rear, the boot of the new A8 now offers 520 litres of space (10 litres more than its predecessor), sufficient for two huge luggages, a mid-sized one, and two hand-carry bags, all in one compartment.

Despite it being an entry-level saloon in its range, our test A8L 3.0 Quattro came with almost every other feature you could ask for. From the basic keyless entry to start/top and rear blinds, it definitely is a good deal, unless you’re yearning for extra features such as park assist and HUDs which come as standard on the 4 litre version.

Interior

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Being a flagship limousine, you would expect certain standards of luxury and comfort when you slide into the car. The A8 did not fail our expectations – it was comfortable at the back, more so than that of the 7 Series, in fact.

Up front at the driver’s seat, you’re surrounded by countless buttons that would activate different features, ranging from a touchpad serving both the roles of a track and a number pad, all the way to controlling the front seats’ ventilation. It serves well as a cockpit for the businessman’s chauffeur, but also doesn’t feel too foreign for the entrepreneur to play around.

If there’s something we felt was a little out of place, it would be the position of the MMI interface. The automatic pop-up/sliding screen is unique to Audi, but we prefer an interface screen flushed into the dash the way the S-Class and 7 Series presented theirs.

The MMI knob was a little too awkwardly placed ahead of the gear lever, instead of just in front of the central armrest similar to the rest in its range. As such, it was a little difficult to reach out for the knob to input your GPS destination. But shortfalls are all but minimal in this sedan.

For a good while, we experienced the comfort of the chauffeured CEO in the back seat, and even on Dynamic mode with hard driving, the A8 tucks you into the seat in the most comfortable manner. No swerving, no getting thrown about at the back – just pure comfort and minimal inconvenience. Not to mention you get to choose your own climate control settings from the rear central armrest. Not a bad way to spend 15 minutes before we had to take over the wheel again.

The Drive

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With a 3.0 litre TFSI supercharged V6 plant beneath the hood, the A8L is able to cook up 310 horses with 440 Nm of accompanying torque – sufficient for you to hit the century mark in just 5.9 seconds. When driven hard, the A8L delivers split second handling – it might not feel intuitive to drive at first feel, but the car grows on you by the minute as you cruise this 1.8 tonne car.

Although the A8 sizes up decently to the S-Class and 7 Series, it surprisingly does not feel as huge as the two other competitors. With that in mind, coupled with the ease of driving this 1.94 metre wide saloon, we couldn’t resist adding a little more weight to our feet and spicing up the ride.

But even the car on Dynamic or Individual modes, we found the steering a little too light for comfort. Yes, it tightens up when this giant picks up speed, but its potential to maximise handling could have been greater with more steering feel.

At just 1.8 tonnes, the A8 exhibits impressive agility and fuel consumption, with our test car clocking just close to 8.0 litres per 100 km. Not the best in its class, but reasonable for a car this size.

Conclusion

With such refinement, power, and comfort packaged together, the A8 proves to be an ideal saloon for the self-driven businessman. It may not possess the ultimate comfort of the three-pointed star, nor the pin-sharp handling of its Bavarian competitor, but it does go way beyond that of just pure comfort and handling.

It marries both, and in that sense, we found it remarkable.

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We like:

The sense of comfort at the rear. Did we also mention we love the new running indicator lights?

We don’t like: 

Cabin controls are a little too cluttered for comfort. MMI interface wasn’t the most ideal of our choice.

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