Test Drive: 2013 Audi A8L 3.0T quattro Tiptronic

?2013 Audi A8 model line now

offers five models?

By Arv Voss


From this writer?s perspective, Audi?s A8 luxury sedan has long been overshadowed and perhaps overlooked in the grand scheme of executive level luxury transport.The upper echelon-luxury sedans of other German manufacturers as well as British and Japanese automakers have often been perceived as being superior to the A8. No more my friends.

The 2013 Audi A8 lineup consists of: the base model A8, which comes with a choice of engines – a 3.0-liter, DOHC, 24-valve supercharged V6 that makes 333 horses along with 325 pound feet of torque, or a 4.0-liter, DOHC, 32-valve turbocharged V8 that produces 420 horsepower an 444 pound feet of torque. Next up is the S8 with a tweaked 4.0-liter, turbocharged V8 engine that pumps out another 100 horsepower for 520 while also generating 481 pound feet of torque. The ?King of the Hill? or ?Lord of the Rings? is the W12 powered A8 that?s naturally aspirated and delivers 500 horsepower and 463 pound feet of torque. All engine variants feature Direct Fuel Injection and all are longitudinally mounted up front and all models send power to all four wheels via Audi?s Quattro permanent all-wheel drive system through an eight-speed automatic Tiptronic transmission with a Sport program, wheel mounted paddle shifters and manual shift mode.

Audi A8 engineThe first three A8s are available in either a Normal Wheelbase or Long Wheelbase, while the W12 A8 comes only in the extended wheelbase configuration.

We?ll deal here with the Long Wheelbase A8 quattro, that?s powered by the 3.0-liter V6. And is capable of traveling from 0-60 mph in a mere 5.5 seconds ? pretty impressive considering the two ton plus mass. All of the above is possible while managing to achieve impressive fuel economy, surpassing the figures delivered by many other large luxury sedan class entries including BMW, Jaguar, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz, including their hybrid models

Weight has been minimized where possible by Audi?s continued use of space-frame technology and the extensive utilization of aluminum in the vehicle?s construction.

The nose is elongated, with the hood flowing upward into the sharply raked windscreen. The roofline curves gracefully into the backlight and finishes off with a lipped deck lid and blunt rear with bright dual exhaust tips. The greenhouse offers up a coupe-like effect with its blacked out pillars and chrome glass area surround trim. The overall exterior image is both sporty and sophisticated.

Audi A8L InteriorMoving to the inside reveals an enhanced and luxurious atmosphere that is tastefully executed with several significant nuances, including: the beefy three-spoke steering wheel with functional controls and paddle shifters; the Bose info display screen; the t-shaped, putter-style gear selector; and Audi?s Multi Media Interface (MMI) with a touch pad control feature, which allows spelling out navigation entries by scrawling with one?s finger directly onto the pad ? a totally cool and unique feature that is faster and easier than spelling out names conventionally. An optional 22-way front seating adjustment allows one to achieve the optimum driving position despite their physical makeup. The quilted, sculpted and supportive surfaces provide both heat and cooling as well as five different massaging functions. The Bose surround sound system delivers concert hall audio reproduction with excellent sound distribution and quality.

My test 2013 Audi A8L quattro wore a Night Blue Pearl Effect exterior; while the interior was done in a rich Nougat Brown tone with lots of satin finished aluminum trim accents, highlighted by polished dark wood panels. The base sticker of my test vehicle read $78,500 while the Driver Assistance Package with Audi Adaptive Cruise Control with stop and Go, Audi Lane Assist, Audi Side Assist, and Audi Pre-Sense Plus; LED headlamps; 6 CD/DVD changer; and Destination charge elevated the final count and amount to $84,245. Which may sound like a lot initially, but it?s considerably less than the base prices of competitive vehicles in the marketplace.

SUMMARY: The 2013 Audi A8L is without doubt one of the finest executive luxury sedans to ever roll off of an Audi assembly line. It is seemingly just the right size to serve its purpose of transporting its owner in ultimate style and comfort. The array of electronic gadgetry is enough to boggle the mind at first, but given enough time for familiarization, one might just want to consider making room for the car in the living room of their house. Yes, it?s that comfortable, and it?s that well connected in terms of social networking.

Audi A8L interior 2Ahh, but how does it perform? Exceptionally well on all levels thank you very much. The acceleration is instantly responsive and the handling characteristics provide a spot on feeling of control. The supercharged V6 delivers the power of a normally aspirated V8, and the ride quality is extremely compliant over all surfaces without seeming mushy. The variable ratio steering delivers the correct amount of input across the board as needed in virtually every driving scenario. The adaptive air suspension automatically tightens up and teams with the steering as speed increases, allowing the A8 to corner with the agility of a smaller sport sedan. The Continental ContiProContact rubber mounted on 10-?Y?-spoke 19-inch alloy wheels help with traction and grip during more spirited maneuvers, and this latest A8 may well be on par with an S6 in handling prowess, despite its size.

Audi A8L wheel

The A8 seats four adults in spacious comfort fore and aft, and can accommodate a fifth passenger in the rear center, but that position is best reserved for the large fold-down rear center armrest with drink holders. An optional executive power rear seat is available. If there?s any misgiving with the new A8, it?s that it is perhaps too quiet inside ? the pleasing notes of the engine and exhaust are muffled with the windows up, and even the horn sounds a tad weak. All are more noticeable with the windows down.

Audi A8L RearThe 2013 Audi A8L quattro sedan is truly the new Lord of the Rings, even with the V6 powerplant. The three driver selectable modes (Comfort, Automatic, and Dynamic) along with engine stop/start, Audi MMI touch with handwriting recognition, Night Vision assistant with pedestrian detection and warning, not to mention Audi Connect render the Audi A8L a truly remarkable luxury sedan.

SPECIFICATIONS: 2013 Audi A8L 3.0T Quattro tiptronic-?13

Base Price: $78,500. LWB = + $6,300
Price as Tested:??????????? ??????????? $84,245.
Engine Type and Size:?????????? 3.0-liter DOHC, 24-Valve Supercharged V6 with TFSI Direct Injection and Audi valve lift system.
Horsepower (bhp): 333 @ 5,500 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 325 @ 2,900 rpm
Transmission: ZF Eight-speed automatic with Tiptronic, Sport program and manual shift mode.
Drive Train: Longitudinally-mounted front engine / quattro permanent all-wheel drive system with Electronic Differential Lock.
Suspension: Front – Five-link with stabilizer bar.Rear – Trapezoidal link.
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel vented discs with ABS, EBD, BA and electromechanical emergency brake.
Tires: Continental ContiProContact 255/ 45 R19 mounted on 10 ?Y?-spoke design alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 122.9 inches = + 5.1 over Normal Wheelbase.
Length Overall: 207.4 inches = + 5.2 over Normal Wheelbase.
Width: 83.1 inches with mirrors extended.
Height: ? 57.5 inches
Curb Weight: 4,409 lbs. = + 33 pounds more than Normal
Fuel Capacity: ? 23.8? gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 18 mpg city / 28 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.26
0 – 60 mph: 5.5 seconds. Top track speed electronically limited to 130 mph.

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