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2019 Audi A8 Review

It’s here at last, the 2019 Audi A8. The previous generation hung around for quite some time while rivals like the BMW 7 Series and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class staked out substantial territory as newer models. But the fourth generation of this full-size luxury sedan arrives with a whole portfolio of compelling qualities.

We call it a flagship sedan, but it’s really a successful marriage of high style, high tech and smart comfort. We love the idea of an optional heated massaging footrest just as much as the second-generation Virtual Cockpit and a predictive active suspension. This latter item is a fresh innovation. If the car senses an imminent side collision, it will lift the chassis on that flank by 3.1 inches (in 0.5 of a second), so the strongest parts of the frame can bear the grunt of an impact.

The new A8 is also the first car ever to deploy a laser scanner. It’s part of a sensor array that detects what’s happening around the A8 and contributes to the (optional) partially autonomous driving features. In the tidy yet sumptuous cabin, a new dual-touchscreen infotainment system accepts smartphone like gestures, handwritten inputs or voice commands using natural speech. Under the aluminum hood, meanwhile, is a mild hybrid drivetrain.

Every new A8 coming into the United States is the long-wheelbase version, hence the "A8 L" badge at the rear. BMW and Mercedes-Benz follow the same formula with their flagship sedans.

What’s New for 2019?

This is an all-new model, with nothing carried over but the name. See the 2019 Audi A8 models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Sublime interior
  • Lots of interesting tech
  • Composed yet comfortable handling
  • All-wheel drive is standard

What We Don’t

  • Small trunk
  • Only one standard USB port

How Much?

$84,795

Fuel Economy

The new A8 has an 8-speed automatic transmission and Audi’s quattro AWD system.

Propulsion comes from a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine making 335 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. This drivetrain is supplemented by a 48-volt mild hybrid system running off a lithium-ion battery. It powers the fuel-saving engine stop/start function, making it a much smoother operation than in cars without this feature. It also provides the energy for many of the A8’s systems, such as the infotainment system, driver aids and electro-mechanical suspension.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel consumption at 19 miles per gallon in the city, 27 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg in combined driving.

Standard Features & Options

The 2019 Audi A8 L 3.0 TSFI ($84,795) comes in one well-equipped trim level. Further features are available as options.

Standard equipment includes 19-in alloy wheels, adaptive air suspension, full LED exterior lighting with automatic high beams and headlight washers, rain-sensing wipers/headlights, heated/power-folding/self-dimming side mirrors, a heat-insulated windshield, keyless entry/ignition, a panoramic sunroof, powered soft-closing doors, a power-operated trunk, quad-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, Drive Select (adjustable steering, suspension, transmission and throttle settings), variable-ratio steering, 18-way power-adjustable/heated front seats with memory settings, leather upholstery, powered sunshades for the rear window and rear side windows, a garage door opener, front/rear parking sensors, forward-collision warning, ambient LED cabin lighting, Virtual Cockpit (a 12.3-in configurable digital driver information display), navigation, Wi-Fi, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, dual-touchscreen infotainment system with a 10.1-in upper screen and an 8.6-in lower screen, an HD/satellite radio, Bluetooth, a USB port and a Bang & Olufsen 17-speaker/730-watt audio system.

There are a plethora of extra features among the options bundles. The Executive package includes blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, vehicle exit warning, a 360-degree/top-view camera system, a head-up display, heated/ventilated/massaging 22-way power-adjustable front seats with memory settings, dual-pane acoustic glass, a heated steering wheel, phone signal booster and wireless charging.

The Driver Assistance package brings adaptive cruise control with Traffic Jam Assist, active lane-keeping assist, Intersection Assist, Pre Sense 360 (including the aforementioned body raising in case of a side impact) and road sign recognition.

There are two Rear Seat Comfort packages. The most luxurious one is the 4-seater version that includes folding rear tables, reclining/ventilated/massaging rear seats, remote controls for climate and lighting and for moving the front passenger seat far forward, which allows that lucky passenger to enjoy the heated/massaging footrest.

Other options include night vision with pedestrian/large animal detection, dynamic all-wheel steering, a fragranced/ionized cabin air system, heated rear seats, heated armrests, two rear USB ports, a rear DVD player, 20-in alloy wheels and a 23-speaker/1,920-watt Bang & Olufsen 5.1 surround-sound system.

Trunk space measures 12.5 cu ft., which is less than impressive. The 7 Series comes with 14.8 cu ft., the S-Class has 16.3 cu ft. and the Lexus LS 500 offers 17 cu ft.

Safety

Standard safety equipment includes stability/traction control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, active front head restraints and seven airbags (including a front center airbag). Pre Sense (standard in all Audi cars) is a collision mitigation feature that closes the sunroof and windows, and pre-tightens seat belts in the event of hard braking.

The A8 has not been crash tested in the United States. Large luxury cars rarely are, but they’re usually the first to showcase fresh safety technologies. There’s no need to feel anything but secure in the new A8.

Behind the Wheel

Quiet opulence in a quiet cabin. Designs and technologies are understated, yet firmly stated. Materials are consistently superb, and practically everything has an expensive, precisely engineered feel. There’s passenger space aplenty and enough features to keep them relaxed. The touchscreens have tactile as well as audible feedback.

The actual driving experience is smooth, efficient and satisfying rather than exciting, with agility (and parking lot behavior) enhanced by the optional rear-wheel-steering system. That’s completely fine, the A8 delivers exactly what’s required from it without trying to be all things to all drivers.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 BMW 7 Series — To luxuriate in the back is wonderful, but to be in the driver’s seat is glorious.

2019 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.

2019 Porsche Panamera — This second generation of Panamera has arguably more successful styling than the first, while still packing the kind of 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

This has to be on anyone’s radar if they’re seeking a new large luxury sedan. We recommend choosing the Executive and Driver Assistance packages for the full high-tech, high-luxe involvement. Find an Audi A8 for sale

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