Gone are the days when luxury in a car’s cabin meant yards of switches and a dash full of dials. Today, according to Audi, true luxury is about creating a haven of calm where the driver and passengers have access to all the technology they need, but only when they need.
The A8L is Level 3 Autonomous where permissible, and packs an array of sensors to enable Audi AI traffic jam pilot, remote parking pilot and remote garage pilot, which enables the A8L to squeeze into tight parking spots with no driver on board, saving the awkward squeeze as you try to get out without scratching the door.
Audi’s A8L shares the Audi family’s design cues writ large. As a long-wheelbase version of the A8, it’s designed as much for rear-seat passengers as for the driver, with an extra 13cm (5.1 in) in the wheelbase for a total length of 5.3metres. From the outside the bold singleframe grille is flanked by LED headlights, while the rear features dynamic rear indicators. The exterior design is notable for its restraint; surfaces are smooth and sleek without ostentatious creases or styling lines. The A8L rides as standard on 18” 5 V-spoke wheels, though if you opt for the S line model these are upgraded to 19” 15-spoke designs.
As befits a luxury flagship the A8L features Audi’s top-ranking MMI Navigation Plus and MMI Touch system. All instrumentation is via the Audi Virtual Cockpit, replacing analogue dials with crisp, clear and full configurable displays behind smooth glass panels. Optional features include heated rear seats with rear seat remote, electric sun blinds for rear windows, parking system plus and rear-view camera. HD Matrix LED headlights with Audi laser light and OLED rear lights are among other options, as are goodies like a rear compartment cool box or cooling and massage function seats. The optional Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System brings 3D sound with 23 speakers, four of which are installed in the ceiling area.
Verdict: the A8L is a traditional luxury saloon of the kind you’ll see gliding around city business districts, normally with chauffeurs behind the wheel and a CEO studying the latest FTSE news in the rear compartment. Beneath that understated exterior, however, there’s some ground-breaking Audi AI technology that makes driving safer, less stressful and more efficient. It’s also a rewarding car to drive when the chauffeur has the weekend off.
The A8 L is available in different versions, known as trim levels. These allow you to choose a version that reflects your preferred styling, driving experience and equipment level. Standard equipment and the choice of options both vary by trim.
A8 Sport trim highlights include:
In addition to A8 Long Wheelbase Sport, the S line trim highlights include:
In addition to A8 Long Wheelbase S line, the Black Edition trim highlights include:
A8 Vorsprung trim highlights include: