I’d be neglecting my duty as a fellow journalist if I didn’t preface this article with the fact that buying used, expensive German luxury cars is probably a bad idea. They’re expensive to own, expensive to maintain and, most importantly, very expensive to fix. They also require fixing more often than your average car. Having said that, if you’re brave enough to take the risk, you can get a D4-generation Audi A8 for absurdly cheap.
The D4-gen Audi A8 was sold between 2010 and 2017, making later models only a few years old. The 2015 model year marked its facelift, so any A8 between 2010 and 2014 has the older style design, while cars from 2015 and later have the newer design. However, whichever model you choose, you don’t have to spend more than $25,000, which is a bargain considering the D4 A8 was inching toward $100,000 when new.
Admittedly, like any older car, the interior is a bit dated. It’s not bad by any means, as it’s actually quite good looking, but it’s just not as modern as you might be used to. That said, it’s great to look at and even nicer to sit in.
Technology-wise, the D4 A8 is very dated, however. Even the latest models have an MMI system that seems ancient by modern standards. However, one of the best parts about the D4 Audi A8 is the fact that its MMI screen can actually be hidden away. Press a button and the screen will slide down into the dashboard, leaving only a beautifully finished piece of wood trim in its place (unless you spec another trim material, of course).
Speaking of wood trim, the A8 has miles of it. There’s lovely trim everywhere inside the cabin and it looks fantastic. The seats are outstanding, the back seat is spacious and it even gets an analog clock in the dash. Classy.
Under the hood, the D4 Audi A8 gets different engines depending on which model year you buy. There were always at least two different engine options available. From 2010-2013, the entry-level engine was a 4.2 liter naturally-aspirated V8 with 372 horsepower and 368 lb-ft of torque. Also available in that year range is a 6.0 liter W12, making 500 horsepower and 443 lb-ft. In 2013, the 4.2 liter V8 was replaced by a 3.0 liter supercharged V6, with 333 horsepower and 325 lb-ft. However, an additional engine was added; a 4.0 liter twin-turbocharged V8 with 420 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque.
All engines get a ZF eight-speed automatic and Quattro all-wheel drive as standard kit. Those were the early days of the now-ubiquitous ZF eight-speed but even older units are fantastic to us and near-bulletproof reliable.
When you consider that you can have all of that high-end German luxury that, just a few years ago, some customers were willing to pay $100,000 for, for the same price as a new Toyota Camry, the D4 A8 seems like an incredible bargain. Obviously, buying an older German luxury car like the Audi A8 is going to bring some problems with it. Cost of maintenance and reliability are certainly the biggest of them. However, if you can stomach that risk, the D4-Gen Audi A8 is a steal.