Audi A8 – Quick Drive

Continuing my series of Quick Drives is the Audi A8. A competitor for the BMW 7-Series and Mercedes S-Class, the Audi A8 is a joyous place to be. I spent some time in the A8 taking in the luxury and classiness.

Audi A8

A Few Facts:
Model Tested: Audi A8 SE Executive.
Engine: 3.0 diesel  – 262hp and 580Nm.
Transmission: 8 Speed Tiptronic, Quattro four wheel drive
Price: The A8 range starts from €93,900, as tested – €104,136, including options.

Audi A8 2014 January launch at Carton House Spa and golf Hotel in Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture Conor McCabe Photography.

The week I had the A4 on test, I was getting all kinds of looks from people. I put this down to the fact that I was a 21 year old driving a 2015 Audi A4. Now, just imagine a 21 year old driving a 2016 Audi A8. It was certainly entertaining. 

I hopped into the driver seat of the A8 and was immediately greeted with class, lashings of the leather, wooden inlays and luxury. Although the A8s infotainment system isn’t as up to date as it is in the Q7 or A4, it didn’t matter. It was fitting. The rows of buttons and the keypad just above the gearstick didn’t at all look out of place. It was the small touches that counted. For example, the small analog clock in the centre of the dash and the fact that the media system was hidden behind a small ‘push-door’. It wasn’t until I was almost finished my time in the A8 when I realised that I had had RTE Lyric on the radio the  whole time in the background…

Innenraum

The A8 is a weird one. As I pulled out of Killruddery House, I wafted up to the speed limit and happily sat there. As I pulled onto the motorway I put my foot down to get up to speed, the A8 surprised me. All hell broke loose, all of the 272hp and 580Nm were all released at once, the A8 powered ahead. Up to 100km/h I go and I release my foot from the accelerator. The engine quietens and again andI’m wafting along at 100km/h.

While your chauffeur might be having some fun up front, you will be relaxing in the back. The A8 comes in a Long Wheel Base version (with prices starting from €98,400) but the Short Wheel Base does not leave the rear occupants wanting more. There is tons of leg room and head space so passengers won’t feel cramped. Many options are available for rear passengers to enjoy including the Bang & Olufsen sound system (€10,772.50), digital TV (€2,866.42) and an Audi Connect system allowing occupants to use internet on board – Phone prep – High with Connect (€1,160.11).

The A8 comes with lots of standard equipment meaning that there is not much need for those pricey optional extras. Standard equipment includes; Audi Music Interface, Audi Presense, Cruise Control, Electric Seat Adjustment with memory, Front and rear park assist with rear reverse camera, 360 degree birds eye camera, Heated front seats, Inlays in walnut brown, LED interior lighting package, Light and Rain Sensor, MMI Navigation system plus, MMI Touch and Valcona Leather upholstery. Options on our test car included;  the Sport Package (€3,500), Matrix LED Beams (€1,432) and Metallic Paint (€1,644).

Audi A8 2014 January launch at Carton House Spa and golf Hotel in Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture Conor McCabe Photography.

If you’re still looking for that S-Class or BMW 7-Series well you might want to think again. The Audi A8 has lots to offer and may surprise you in more ways than one.

Ian