Audi just recently updated its flagship luxury sedan, the A8. With that new facelift came a new, blingy grille, sharper headlights, and some new color choices. However, it’s still mostly the same as before. So is it new enough to take on some of its competition, such as the BMW 7 Series? Let’s take a look.
Up front, the new Audi A8 replaced its old grille insert — a bunch of horizontal slats — with a blingier honeycomb insert. It absolutely looks better than before and gives the A8 a necessary style boost. It’s actually surprising just how much of a difference it makes. Conversely, it’s also shocking to see how much of a difference the 7 Series’ grille makes, in a negative way. The 7 Series’ headlights are nice, its front air intakes are cool, and its hood features nice creases but its grille is just flat-out bad. It ruins the look of the whole front end. So the Audi A8 wins up front for sure.
In profile, the Audi A8 is sleek, simple, and clean. It’s not trying to be overly sporty or stylish (although its wheels are a bit flashy), nor does it have much muscularity. While the 7 Series is a bit chunkier, a bit more muscular, and it features a massive piece of trim that looks a bit like a hockey stick. This is where preference comes in, as fans of more aggressive styling will like the 7 Series more and fans of simpler styling will prefer the A8. I fall into the latter camp, so it’s the Audi A8 for me.
Out back, the Audi A8’s rear taillight bar features some slick LED lighting elements that do little dances and give the car some real pizazz. While the 7 Series has a light bar, too, it features fewer tricks than the A8’s. However, the 7 Series wins back some points for having real exhausts, while the A8’s are fake, something we have a hard time forgiving. So it’s a wash out back.
Inside, things get a bit more difficult. Personally, I find the Audi A8’s interior to be the far more handsome. However, there are many enthusiasts that prefer the more driver-focused cabin of the 7 Series and its greater use of physical controls. Also, BMW’s iDrive 7 is more intuitive and easier to use than Audi’s touchscreen MMI system. The Audi A8 fights back, though, with a far superior digital gauge cluster, as Virtual Cockpit is leaps and bounds ahead of BMW’s Live Cockpit Professional.
Last time I compared both cars, I far preferred the Audi A8. It’s not that the 7 Series is bad, it’s just a bit odd looking and lacks some of the luxury you’d expect from such an expensive car. Now that the A8 is updated and improved, I think the gap widens even further. BMW is working on a new 7 Series that should be out next year or so and, when that time comes, maybe our opinion changes. But for right now, the Audi A8 is the winner here.