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2018 Audi A8: New Car Review

The 2018 Audi A8 large flagship sedan squeezes one last model year from this generation. Its replacement is due as a 2019 model and should have an edge on its rivals, especially in terms of technology. So any disadvantages the current A8 has compared with cars like the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class should be reversed.

In the meantime, the 2018 A8 is still a luxury car to be reckoned with. The styling seems untouched by the years, and the cabin remains modern yet welcoming. The A8 has always leaned toward the futuristic. It was the first of its kind to use an aluminum spaceframe on which aluminum panels were mounted. This created a lighter car, giving the A8 an advantage not just in fuel consumption but also in driving experience. The current A8 is available in long-wheelbase form only (just like the German competition).

What’s New for 2018?

A revision of equipment means the 3.0 version now has a rearview camera, and the 4.0 comes with 21-inch alloy wheels as standard. See the 2018 Audi A8 models for sale near you

What We Like

Sublime interior; punchy V6; authoritative V8; composed handling; all-wheel drive as standard

What We Don’t

Ready for replacement; relatively small trunk; larger wheel/tire combinations bring more road noise and a firmer ride

How Much?

$83,475-$92,975

Fuel Economy

Every version has an 8-speed automatic transmission and Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system.

The 3.0TSFI uses a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine making 333 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel consumption at 19 miles per gallon in the city, 29 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg in combined driving.

The 4.0TSFI model enjoys a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine that develops 450 hp and 444 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is rated at 16 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/19 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2018 Audi A8 L comes in 3.0TSFI and 4.0TSFI versions.

The 3.0TSFI ($83,475) has 19-in alloy wheels, full LED lighting with automatic headlights, an adaptive air suspension, keyless entry/ignition, headlight washers, heated windshield-washer nozzles, rain-sensing wipers, quad-zone automatic climate control, a sunroof, dual-pane acoustic glass, heated/power-folding side mirrors, self-dimming mirrors, parking sensors front and rear, a rearview camera, power door closers, Drive Select (adjustable steering, suspension and throttle settings), leather upholstery, 18-way power-adjustable/heated front seats with memory settings, a power-adjustable tilt-telescopic steering wheel, ambient cabin lighting and power sunshades for the rear window and rear side windows. Audi’s proprietary MMI infotainment system includes a retractable 8-in TFT display, Bluetooth, a touchpad with handwriting recognition, navigation with Google Earth street views, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, voice control and a Bose 630-watt/14-speaker Surround Sound system with a CD/DVD player, iPod integration, twin SD card slots and satellite radio.

The 4.0TSFI ($92,975) brings 21-in wheels, a panoramic sunroof, twin trapezoidal exhaust outlets, upgraded leather upholstery with diamond-pattern stitching, a simulated suede headliner, 22-way ventilated/massaging front seats (with power lumbar adjustment), heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, top- and corner-view cameras, blind spot monitoring and a head-up display.

Many standard features in the 4.0 are available as options in the 3.0. Other extras include forward-collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, sport seats and heated/ventilated/massaging/power-adjustable rear outboard seats.

Trunk space is 14.2 cu ft., which isn’t as good as some midsize sedans. At least there’s a hands-free power trunk lid as standard.

Safety

Standard safety equipment includes stability/traction control, 4-wheel antilock disc brakes, active front head restraints and 10 airbags (front, front side, front knee, rear-side, full-length side curtain), as well as a range of advanced safety technologies, such as a lane-departure warning system with active lane-keeping assist, and a collision-mitigation feature that closes the sunroof and windows and pretightens seat belts in the event of hard braking.

The A8 has not been crash-tested in the United States.

Behind the Wheel

This is one of the nicest cabins in the automotive world. Materials are consistently superb, and practically everything has an expensive, precisely engineered feel. The 8-in display is a beauty, especially when calling up Google Earth for a 3-D street view. The front seats are undoubtedly comfortable, but don’t have any wow-factor features like the S-Class sedan’s active side bolsters.

Both engines are satisfying in their own ways. The supercharged V6 is remarkably potent for its size, while the twin-turbo V8 is a fabulous choice for those who appreciate both speed and subtlety. It’s strong, smooth and fuel-efficient.

The standard all-wheel-drive system is already a performance plus with its 40/60 front/rear power split, but it’s enhanced by that optional electronic rear differential.

The A8 has a smoother ride than lesser Audi cars, thanks to its air suspension. Even so, make sure you’re satisfied with the ride quality on rough pavement if you want those 20- or 21-in wheels. Road noise can also be an issue with this setup.

Other Cars to Consider

2018 BMW 7 Series — To luxuriate in the back is wonderful; to be in the driver’s seat is glorious.

2018 Cadillac CT6 — No V8 option, but the CT6 has everything else required to compete at the highest level. And turbocharged V6 engines are really good these days.

2018 Jaguar XJ — For the luxury car buyer who likes being behind the wheel, this is worth a look. A new generation is in the pipeline, though.

2018 Lexus LS — A new generation debuts for 2018. This model brings the LS back into serious contention.

2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class — A technological masterpiece whose driving experience is more pleasant than thrilling. But it’s undeniably luxurious, and the attention to detail is mind-blowing. Updated for 2018.

2018 Porsche Panamera — All-new for 2017, with arguably more successful styling, and still with the breathtaking performance and dynamics for which Porsche is justifiably renowned.

Used Bentley Flying Spur — Even though it’s huge and high-quality, the Flying Spur might surprise a few people with its excellent driving abilities.

Autotrader’s Advice

If you really can’t wait for the all-new 2019 model or prefer to get a version in which any bugs have been ironed out by now, the choice between the V6 or V8 model is completely up to you. Or, perhaps more likely, whatever’s the best deal on offer. In our view, the smaller wheels of the V6 translate to a nicer ride quality.

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