|Premium large car; Built in Germany|
|Good condition price range: $28,900 – $81,900*|
2011 Audi A8 Front
2011 Audi A8 Front-2
2011 Audi A8 Front-3
2011 Audi A8 Rear
2011 Audi A8 Interior
2011 Audi A8 Front-4
Rival flagship sedans may still beat the A8 for brand cachet, residual-value strength and customer-satisfaction scores. Audi counters such deficits with standard all-wheel drive, unique styling, and (when new) lower base prices with comparable equipment. Audi’s subtle yet thorough 2011 makeover only added to the appeal of a terrific premium-large sedan that merits a close look and serious consideration.
Redesigned for 2011, Audi’s flagship full-size sedan gained freshened styling for its regular A8 and extended-wheelbase A8 L models. Dimensions increased modestly: length, width and height, along with weight. Volkswagen owned this Audi brand, and the two German companies had connections dating back many years. Both models featured Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive, along with a new 8-speed automatic transmission that used steering-wheel shift paddles. A newly revised 4.2-liter V8 engine added 12 horsepower, for a total of 372. All A8 models included an adaptive air-spring suspension. Also standard was a navigation/infotainment system with Audi’s MMI (Multi Media Interface) controller, which now added a console-mounted touchpad that could be used to input handwritten commands for certain functions.
Standard Audi Drive Select could alter steering and throttle responses, transmission shift points, and suspension firmness through Comfort, Dynamic and Automatic settings. Standard safety features included antilock braking, traction control, an antiskid system, curtain side airbags, front and rear side airbags, and front knee airbags. All models also included front- and rear-obstacle detection. Optional features for the Audi A8 included blind-spot alert, lane-departure warning, night vision, adaptive cruise control, full LED headlamps, and 20-inch wheels to replace the standard 19-inchers.
Audi’s Premium Package included heated/ventilated 22-way massaging and multicontour front seats. The Sport Package added a sport adaptive air suspension, sport steering, and 20-inch alloy wheels. A costly Executive Seating Package included heated/ventilated rear seats with lumbar adjustment, right-side power legrest, rear footrests, and a refrigerator. In addition to a 5-inch longer wheelbase, the A8 L sedan had a rearview camera, keyless access/starting, power door-close assist, power side sunshades and a power trunklid. With its A8, Audi competed against such premium-large sedans as the new Hyundai Equus, as well as the familiar BMW 7-Series, Jaguar XJ Series, Lexus LS, and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The latter rival now came with a diesel-engine option.
The S8 high-performance version of Audi’s A8 sedan returned to the U.S. after a two-year furlough in 2013. The S8 is based on the A8, but aims more at driving enthusiasts than luxury lovers. Because of its specialized nature, the S8 is the second costliest model in the A8 family.
S8 competed in the small but hotly contested sports-luxury subset of the premium-large-car class. Its only rivals were the Alpina B7 variant of the BMW 7-Series; the Jaguar XJ Supersports; and the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG, based on that brand’s big S-Class sedan.
Those cars formed a very exclusive group, with each model’s yearly U.S. sales typically numbering in the hundreds, not thousands. The S8 has usually finished last in the race, much as the A8 line as whole is still outsold by its British and other German rivals.
The 2012 Audi A8 lineup expanded to include a new ultra-lofty trim level with a 12-cylinder engine. In the new A8 L W12, a 6.3-liter V12 engine developed 500 horsepower. Front- and rear-obstacle detection was standard on the A8 L and A8 L W12, and optional on the Base model. Heated and ventilated front seats with a massage feature were standard on the W12 and optional on Base and L sedans. Heated/ventilated rear seats with massage and dual-screen DVD entertainment were standard on the W12 and optional for the L. A refrigerator between the rear seats was optional in the L and W12. The Audi Design Select Package included unique exterior and interior trim. Blind-spot alert, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, and adaptive cruise control were optional on all models.
Though redesigned for 2011, the A8 saw a number of changes for 2013. Heading the list were a first-ever V6 model (at least for U.S. consumption), a new V8 engine and, after a year’s absence, the return of the high-performance S8. Also new was a “top-view” camera system to aid maneuvering in close quarters.
A diesel joined the A8’s powertrain lineup for 2014.