|Premium large car; Built in Germany|
|Good condition price range: $2,600 – $80,000*|
2000 Audi A8 L
1999 Audi A8 4.2
1999 Audi A8 4.2 interior
1998 Audi A8 4.2
1997 Audi A8 3.7
We like the A8, but cannot quite recommend it. Why? Simply because it’s been overpriced for what you get, and secondhand prices continue on the high side. Audi’s Quattro is the only all-wheel-drive system in this car’s class, but most people don’t really need it. Other brands give better value, even if they’re less high-tech than an Audi.
Audi’s luxury flagship slides into the dimensional gap between a BMW 7-Series and the smaller Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Use of aluminum for most frame and body panels, however, means the A8 weighs 300 to 500 pounds less than comparable luxury sedans. As its numerical designation suggests, a 3.7-liter aluminum V8 engine powered the A8 3.7 sedan, which came with front-wheel drive and standard traction control. A 300-horsepower, 4.2-liter V8 went into the A8 4.2, along with Audi’s permanently engaged Quattro all-wheel-drive system. Quattro automatically sends power to the wheels with the most traction in slippery conditions. Both models were equipped with six airbags: dual cushions in front, plus smaller airbags in each of the four doors. Rear side airbags were claimed to be an industry “first.” Standard equipment also included antilock braking, an antitheft system, and 5-speed automatic transmission. Each A8 sedan also got a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, power sunroof, cruise control, keyless entry, leather upholstery, and wood interior trim.Three option packages were available. The Cold Weather group featured heated steering wheel and front/rear seats, plus a ski sack. The Warm Weather option included insulated glass and sunshades for the back window and rear side windows. A solar sunroof in that group included interior fans that engaged when the car was parked in the sun. Rivals included the BMW 7-Series, Lexus LS 400, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
A glass moonroof replaced the previous aluminum sunroof for 1998. The mandatory 5-speed automatic transmission was now a Porsche designed Tiptronic unit, with manual-shifting feature. Dual-pane “acoustic” glass was newly standard. A new option package included high-intensity xenon headlamps.
Nothing of consequence was new for 1999 in Audi’s premium sedan, again offered in A8 3.7 form with front-drive, or as the A8 4.2 with Quattro all-wheel drive.
In addition to a mild restyling for 2000, Audi’s flagship lost its lower-priced, front-drive A8 3.7 model, and the A8 4.2 earned a $3000 base price cut. New “curtain” side airbags were installed, and the 4.2-liter V8 engine gained 10 horsepower (now rated at 310). The Sideguard airbags were designed to drop down from above the doors in a side-impact collision. Also added: a 3-point rear center seatbelt, steering-wheel audio controls, and automatic-dimming mirrors. Three new options joined the list: a satellite-linked navigation system, an “Acoustic” parking system that warned of obstacles when backing up, and an antiskid Electronic Stability Program. A longer-wheelbase sedan was scheduled for debut during 2000, promising three extra inches of rear legroom.
A 360-horsepower S8 and a longer-body A8L joined the line-up in 2001. New standard features for the A8 and L included an antiskid system, an oil-level sensor, front passenger-seat memory, and a new steering wheel with controls for manual shifting, audio, and available cell phone. Audi extended its warranty from 3 years/50,000 miles to 4/50,000.
A new radio with in-dash 6-disc changer, a “Sport” setting for the transmission, and new wheels marked 2002 versions of Audi’s flagship line. New safety features for ’02 included an in-trunk emergency release and an optional tire-pressure-monitoring system. OnStar assistance became available midyear, and could be enhanced with extra-cost in-car e-mail service.
Audi’s flagship sedan sees little change in preparation for a model-year 2004 redesign.