The current generation Audi A8 is nearing the end of its life-cycle, with a new model due out next year, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still a very good car. However, the Audi A8, at least in America, has been trimmed down to just one model with one engine option — the long wheelbase Audi A8 4.0T Sport.
Rather than trimmed down, let’s call it distilled, as the new Audi A8 is as good as ever despite being the oldest car in its class and a bit behind on the times. The sole engine option, Audi’s excellent 4.0 twin-turbocharged TFSI V8, develops 450 hp (15 more than before) and is capable of 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds, which is actually faster than its rivals’ times. That engine is mated to a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic gearbox and powers all four wheels, as Quattro is standard.
Inside, you’re met with a handsome and incredibly well build cabin that is as relaxing as it is good looking. Admittedly, the big A8 is falling a bit behind in terms of cabin aesthetics, as the Mercedes-Benz S Class and brand-new BMW 7 Series are far more interesting on the inside and packed with more tech and luxury. However, the A8 cabin is still a wonderfully luxurious place to spend some time, especially in the back seat where its heated, cooled and massaging thrones are some of the nicest you’ll sit in.
However, when you want to spend some time at the wheel instead of in the back, the A8 rewards even more. With sharp, precise steering, the Audi A8 4.0T Sport can double as a sports car if you want it to be. While it isn’t the most exciting driving car in the world, it’s certainly fun for a two-ton luxury SUV. Plus, it has that stonking V8 at the front that delivers instant, turbine-smooth thrust with just a hint of growl that suggests its belying power. But make no mistake, the A8 4.0T isn’t a hardcore sports car. Its suspension is soft and comfortable, but never floaty or bouncy. Its buttoned down and refined, the way a proper German car should be.
As the Audi A8’s competitors advance and debut new technology, luxury and performance, the A8 is still a worthy adversary to all of them. This is especially true when you consider that the Audi A8 is the cheapest car in its class. The Audi A8 4.0T Sport starts life at $90,500 whereas the BMW 750iL xDrive and Mercedes-Benz S Class 4Matic both start at $98,000.
So the A8 4.0T Sport is capable of holding its own in the segment, despite the fact that it’s by far the oldest car in it. It wears its age with grace and is still a proud luxury car. Hell, it can even show the new guys a thing or two about power and performance. So while we wait for a new Audi A8 to debut, the current generation is still holding its own just fine.