Friday, 15 April 2011


Audi SA has bolstered its flagship A8 sedan model with a string of new engines for this market. Launched late last year in 4.2-litre petrol V8 form, the A8 is now open for business in the 6-cylinder segment with a good variety of petrol and diesel entrants now available. Also on offer is a unique model - the 4.2-litre TDI - which is not contested anywhere in the segment by either BMW or Mercedes.

Opening one of the massive doors which feature soft push close function reveals a vast interior. This is testament to the 3 meters odd length between the axles and the advent of sumptuous interior space is relayed instantly. Luxury features are plentiful as expected and the A8 boasts one of the best-designed cockpit areas in the business.

It reeks of quality workmanship, Bauhaus undertones and the scenario presented here is that of a command section which can be themed to taste. It’s either you go for wood veneers or piano black surfaces, your choice.

Expect a phalanx of features that include an MMI navigation with hard disk, voice control, DVD changer with rear screens, a BOSE sound system, electric sun shade for rear window, 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel with shift paddles, and a lighting package with LED technology amongst many.

The supercharged entry level 3.0T engine is known from lower Audis as the muscle for both S4 and S5 (not in SA). It’s a supercharged powerhouse with 213kW between 4850rpm and 6500rpm, torque of 420Nm between 2500rpm and 4850rpm that gives the girthed A8 an encouraging vigour more especially if you are in a butch, sporty mood. Quattro AWD is standard, so is a 0 – 100km/h sprint time of 6.1 seconds and a top speed of 250km/h. This model is said to consume on average 9.1 litres per 100 km in the combined cycle, while emitting C02s of 213 g/km.

Reduced fuel consumption while brandishing even more power, the 3.0-litre TDI diesel engine is a gem. Introduced many years ago into the Audi fold, this single turbocharged engine is refined, yet explosive and although it comes to the party when dynamic driving is fuelled, it really can be enjoyed more on the cruise. Its talent is to the effect of 184kW and 550Nm of torque between 1500rpm and 3000rpm. Returned consumption is a Sasol-repelling 6.6 litres per 100km, while C02 emissions make for a tree-hugging 174 g/km. Nevertheless under perfect conditions it will also run from 0 – 100km/h in 6.1 seconds, just like the 3.0T.

And now for the 4.2 TDI bruiser. This one is infinitely torquey and responsive, more especially on the overtake. This is the current headline motor, unless the manic engine used by the Q7 V12 TDI is introduced. In its other life it powers the second-in-charge Q7 and the VW Touareg V8 TDI, but in this application, it turns the limousine into a devastating road-eater. At a maximum go of 258kW and 800Nm, the bruiser is no cruiser. Sprint times are quoted as 5.5 seconds from 0 – 100km/h, but top speed is limited to the usual 250km/h. And it will drink less fuel than the corresponding petrol 4.2-litre V8 for its efforts, or 7.6 litres per 100km, giving a range of around 1 100km from a full 90 litre diesel tank.

Audi’s quattro underpinnings are standard with the big Audi and happily, the company has tweaked the design of this previously, grossly understeery car to tuck in its nose better, to lean shorter into bends and generally be tidier on the fast run through mountains. However, push it really hard and that understeer resurfaces but thanks to electronic safety system tied to its mainframe, this unappealing scenario is quickly alleviated.

Overall it’s a worthy rival to the status quo; read Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series and Jaguar XJ. It is crafted beautifully enough with great thought to design, craftsmanship and the now mandatory exclusive looks. I’m not too crazy on its exterior design in the face of the Merc and Jaguar but the combination of old style class and new age digital interfaces strikes a chord with me. Just don’t order the wood veneers though. Timber really only suits Mercs.

Audi A8 Pricing
3.0T FSI quattro Tiptronic (R918 000)
A8 3.0 TDI quattro Tiptronic ( R924 500)
A8 4.2 TDI quattro Tiptronic (R1 121 500)



WozaFriday said...

The 4.2 sounds like a phenomenon

Uwe said...

uber A8. It's on!

Anonymous said...

Those are hot rims. very sporty and RS6 liek

jacques_motor said...

For the well-heeled and mature. The rest buy 7-series and s-class.