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Audi A8 Review

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2017
      Body type
      Luxury
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel, PHEV
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
“Audi’s class-leading luxury limousine”

Best bits

  • One of the smoothest-riding cars on sale
  • Sensational interior quality
  • Absolutely packed with luxury kit

Not so great

  • Touchscreen system could be better
  • Automatic gearbox can be slow to respond
  • PHEV has smaller boot than the rest

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Audi A8 Exterior Front

Overall verdict

Audi A8 Interior

On the inside

Audi A8 Driving Front

Driving

Audi A8 Driving Back

How much does it cost to run

Audi A8 Driving Side

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict on the Audi A8

"There was a time, not all that long ago, when there was only one sensible choice in the luxury saloon market: the Mercedes S-Class. Dubbed by many as ‘the best car in the world’, it was more comfortable, more enjoyable and quieter than rivals like the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and Jaguar XJ, and it was also roomier, better on quality and made more financial sense."

Audi A8 Exterior Front

Fast-forward to 2017, though, and out of nowhere, Audi comes up with this, the latest A8. It was big. It was smart. It was packed with technology. Could it finally do the unthinkable and topple the class-leader? Yup. That’s precisely what it did.


You see, there are a few things that a luxury limousine needs to get right above all else. The first of them is comfort. That means having enough cabin space for well-heeled occupants to stretch out, and enough luxury kit to keep them relaxed and entertained. Both boxes checked here. 


It also means isolating your occupants from the vulgarity of the outside world, by not letting bumps in the road, or exterior noises, ruin the calm. And it’s this that the A8 does better than any car of its type. Not only is this the smoothest-riding car in its class, it’s one of the smoothest-riding cars in any class. Okay, it may not handle quite as sharply as it’s rivals, but who cares?


The other thing that a luxury car needs to nail is quality and sophistication. After all, if you’re ferrying around VIPs and captains of industry, they’ll want to feel like they’re travelling first-class. And again, this is an area in which the A8 leads the way. The standard of the materials on show is second-to-none, and the solidity and attention-to-detail with which everything is assembled is absolutely impeccable. That’s why no car in the class makes you feel more spoiled.


It’s not just these areas of extra importance where the A8 nails things, either: it does an exemplary job in pretty much every area. The engines are smooth and powerful, the efficiency figures look good, especially on the clever plug-in hybrid version, while all the other ownership costs stack up well, too. Niggles? The touchscreen infotainment system is a bit distracting when you’re driving and the automatic gearbox is a bit slow to react sometimes, but that’s about it.


Like most Audis, the A8 is a fabulous all-rounder, which helps solidify its place at the very top of the class. If you find yourself in need of a luxury limousine, there’s now a different ‘only sensible choice’.


Is the Audi A8 right for you?

Are you after a luxury limousine? Are you after the best one you can possibly get, pound-for-pound? Then the A8 is the car you want. Even compared with excellent rivals like the BMW 7 Series, Jaguar XJ and Mercedes S-Class, the A8 is an exceptional all-rounder, doing a great job in every single area. 


However, the things it does best are the things that matter most in a luxury car, those being ride comfort, refinement and quality, and that’s what puts the big Audi at the top of the class. So, if you’re a busy CEO that needs to be driven between meetings, or a chauffeur company operator that needs to drive celebrities between gala dinners and film premieres, this is the car you want.


What's the best Audi A8 model/engine to choose?

In terms of trim level, we can’t see much missing from the entry-level Sport car. It gives you all the luxury kit you need and upgrading to S line or Black Edition trim earns you very little except a few aesthetic upgrades. To be fair, range-topping Vorsprung trim adds loads to the roster, but it also adds loads to the price.


Engine-wise, the V6 petrol will probably be of limited appeal due to its thirst, so the diesel will be more popular, especially for high-mileage drivers or those that spend lots of time on motorways. This is the one we reckon will suit most people. The PHEV version, meanwhile, will be of interest to those with short-hop commutes or those who spend most of their time in cities. There are some very useful tax advantages for company car drivers, too.


What other cars are similar to the Audi A8?

You can’t talk about any Audi without talking about its inevitable equivalents from old German foes BMW and Mercedes. As Audi’s flagship luxury saloon, the A8 goes toe-to-toe with BMW’s 7 Series, and Mercedes-Benz’s S-Class


Mind you, Jaguar also offers a temptingly athletic alternative in the XJ, and those who value reliability above all else will want to consider the Lexus LS. The Maserati Quattroporte could be a more glamorous left-field alternative, while a little (well, quite a lot) further up the scale, you have the Bentley Flying Spur and Rolls Royce Ghost.


Learn more

Audi A8 Interior

On the inside

Audi A8 Driving Front

Driving

Audi A8 Driving Back

How much does it cost to run

Audi A8 Driving Side

Prices, versions and specification