Monday, January 17, 2011
2011 Audi A8 is an exceptional luxury sedan
By combining advanced technology with smooth, refined performance, Audi has crafted a compelling alternative to other more flashy luxury saloons.
The Audi A8 also sits quite low to the ground, almost sports car low, which also adds to the smaller car feel behind the wheel.
Audi has equipped the Audi A8 with its Audi drive select feature, which allows the driver to adjust the dynamic steering, adaptive air suspension, transmission shift characteristics, and engine response. Put everything in comfort mode and the ride morphs into old school luxury boat levels of plush, while the dynamic mode substantially firms up the shocks and steering response, as well as placing the transmission in sport mode and increasing throttle responsiveness.
Secondly, Audi has added two additional cogs to the transmission, for a total of 8 forward gears.
While cruising around in 8th gear on the freeway we easily achieved an honest 26+ mpg, an impressive feat for such a big and powerful car, especially one with wide, grippy tires and all-wheel drive.
Throughout history, great men have noted the importance of being quiet. Teddy Roosevelt famously claimed that his foreign policy was to speak softly and carry a big stick. Oddly, the modern luxury sedan, a beast that should epitomize silent might, doesn't. Most big-dollar four-doors are brash, showy machines, Trump buildings on wheels. The Audi's body is aluminum, which helps keep curb weight down and boosts fuel economy. Adjustable air suspension, variable-ratio steering, and all-wheel drive are all standard, and the automatic-torque-vectoring rear differential from the 2011 S4 — a magic box of gears — helps the A8 corner like the world's largest rally car. A collision-mitigation system can sense an imminent crash, automatically applying the brakes and reducing impact speed. This is luxury with purpose, tech for more than just tech's sake.
Active suspension, all-wheel-drive, and dynamic steering make it handle exceedingly well. The navigation system incorporates beautifully detailed 3D maps and next year will integrate with Google maps. The audio system delivers clean sound.
The bottom line: The "2011 Audi A8 is an exceptional luxury sedan", with top-of-the-line infotainment and driver assistance features and performance tech that makes it handle like a sports car.
The latest version of Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system includes, optionally, a rear differential that pushes torque from left to right. Audi keeps up with Mercedes-Benz and BMW by offering night vision. The navigation system incorporates beautifully detailed 3D maps and next year will integrate with Google maps. The audio system delivers clean sound.
The bottom line: The 2011 Audi A8 is an exceptional luxury sedan, with top-of-the-line infotainment and driver assistance features and performance tech that makes it handle like a sports car.
The latest version of Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system includes, optionally, a rear differential that pushes torque from left to right--Audi mimics its previously established parking-light style with these LED headlights.
During a demonstration, Audi showed us how satellite imagery from Google maps would fill in the navigation system's own maps, showing much more realistic detail of the car's surroundings. Putting the navigation system into destination entry mode, we were able to bypass Audi's inefficient rotary alphanumeric input and trace letters on the touch pad. Audi also changed the main menus in the system--for navigation, phone, and audio--to an ellipse style.
The Audi A8 is the kind of car that could be chauffeur-driven--and Audi will most likely release a long wheelbase version, as it did with the previous generation--but we preferred sitting in the driver's seat, usually with the car set in Dynamic mode.
Audi fits the A8 with its Drive Select system, which sets steering, suspension, throttle response, and transmission between Comfort, Automatic, Dynamic, and Individual modes--The car gets to 62 mph in 5.7 seconds, according to Audi.