Practical test Audi A8 50 TDI Quattro: Probably the last of its kind
Stately, comfortable and, above all, expensive: anyone who owns a luxury liner like the Audi A8 has come a long way in life. The Ingolstadt company is asking at least 100,000 euros for their flagship. This does not even include the many extras that Audi offers in abundance and make the business sedan roll even more exclusively. The current A8 will be the last with a combustion engine, as its successor will be roaming the streets purely electrically in the future.
Until then, the current fourth generation is holding the flag high for well-heeled buyers. It was released in 2017 and received a thorough update last year. Optically only subtly changed, but refreshed with, among other things, digital matrix LED headlights. Five engines, from the V6 TDI with 286 hp to the V8 petrol engine with 571 hp in the sports version S8, are available for the luxury class sedan. All-wheel drive is always on board as standard.
With an exterior length of 5.19 meters, the Audi has a stately appearance. The expansively wide single-frame radiator grille also contributes to the imposing appearance, and the generously dimensioned wheelbase of exactly three meters ensures a pleasant amount of space inside. The long version, which extends to 5.32 meters and has a wheelbase that is 13 centimeters longer, is even more comfortable. The XL variant thus qualifies as the befitting chauffeur limousine, but in order to fully enjoy the agile driving characteristics, the company boss should rather drive his A8 himself. Just like us, who chose the V6 diesel in the regular body variant.
We quickly learn to appreciate the first optional feature: the all-wheel steering for an extra 1950 euros not only makes the A8 noticeably more agile on winding roads, but also makes it a lot easier to maneuver when maneuvering in narrow underground car parks. With it, the turning circle shrinks from the conventional 12.5 meters to 11.4 meters. It doesn’t sound like much, but in practice it does a lot. As a result, the A8 feels more like a smaller mid-range vehicle despite its opulent dimensions. For this reason, all-wheel steering is considered a worthwhile investment.
The digital matrix light for 1820 euros is also recommended. With the innovative headlight technology, the LED light is controlled even more precisely and with a very high resolution. As a result, your lane is illuminated even more brightly without dazzling oncoming traffic. Thanks to the high-resolution light, information can also be projected onto the road directly in front of the A8. The lighting technology supports the driver at motorway construction sites and shows him the way in the event of a swerve.
In general, the Audi A8 offers tons of driver assistants. There are more than 40 in total, including fully automatic parking. If it is activated, the A8 automatically sets the indicator, automatically changes gear to R and maneuvers backwards into the gap. If the driver has also missed a previous parking space on the side of the road, the luxury liner offers him the free space again and, if necessary, slowly feels his way back on his own. The A8 even rolls into garage entrances on its own. And if things get really tight, the driver can direct his A8 using a smartphone app – without having to sit behind the wheel himself.
In the A8, the driver looks at a digital command center with a virtual cockpit. There are hardly any conventional switches anymore, but in addition to the multimedia screen there is another large touchscreen in the lower area of the center console. The high-resolution display offers haptic feedback and can be personalized in many ways. For example, navigation destinations, telephone numbers or your own music playlist can be saved in a separate field and are therefore immediately to hand.
Of course, the voice control in the Audi works with online support and also understands whole sentences. And if a command is not immediately understood, the system asks specific questions in order to provide precise results. The whole thing works fairly reliably and proves to be pleasantly comfortable. The virtual voice gives tips on recommended restaurants in the vicinity or sets the desired comfortable temperature of the automatic air conditioning on demand.
When driving, the Audi turns out to be a comfortable glider. Thanks to the standard air suspension, the Ingolstadt vehicle simply irons out bumps such as bumps and potholes. The 2.1-ton boss limo is surprisingly light-footed and follows the imposed course with its precise, responsive steering. The 3.0-liter V6 diesel is also pleasing. The 286 hp TDI unleashes its powerful 600 Newton meters of torque at an early 1750 rpm and is powerful, while the automatic shifts unobtrusively through its eight-course menu.
If necessary, the quiet and cultivated A8 50 TDI Quattro sprints to the hundred mark in 5.9 seconds and has a top speed of 250 km/h. However, we did not manage the specified standard consumption of 7.0 liters of diesel. It was exactly 7.5 liters with a restrained driving style. Overall, the Audi flagship consumed 8.4 liters with us on average. – still an acceptable value for the opulent luxury liner from Ingolstadt. (cen/Guido Borck)
Data Audi A8 50 TDI Qattro
Length x width x height (m): 5.19 x 1.95 x 1.47
Wheelbase (m): 3.00
Drive: V6, diesel, 2967 cc, AWD, 8-speed aut.
Power: 210 kW / 286 hp at 3500-4000 rpm
Max. Torque: 600 Nm at 1750-3250 rpm
Top speed: 250 km/h
Acceleration 0 to 100 km/h: 5.9 seconds
WLTP average consumption: 7.0 liters
CO2 emissions: 183 g/km (Euro 6d)
Test consumption: 8.4 liters
Empty weight / payload: min. 2095 kg / max. 615 kg
Trunk volume: 505 liters
Max towing capacity: 2300 kg
Maintenance interval: as indicated
Base price: 99,900 euros