Summary, Prices, Specs

By July 19, 2004


With each new model introduction, Audi further dispels any lingering perception that it's not a Tier 1 premium brand on par Mercedes and BMW. Like the Mercedes S-Class and the BMW 7 Series, the Audi A8 is fast, roomy, luxurious and exceptionally comfortable. It rides like a luxury car, yet it's taut and handles like a sports sedan should you decide to drive it more aggressively. Loaded with innovation, the A8 is a thinking man's luxury sedan, more progressive, less traditional than a BMW or Mercedes. It's elegant but not arrogant, indulgent without being excessive. It's priced a little lower than comparable sedans from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, yet gives up almost nothing to either.

V8 or 12-cylinder? In Germany, where the autobahn beckons with no speed limit, that would be an easier choice, assuming money is no object. In our land, the 12-cylinder's advantage is image as much as it is functional. The $45,000 price premium compared to the V8 makes for expensive image, no matter how much disposable income you have. Nonetheless, if you want a 12-cylinder sedan with all-wheel drive, you can't choose an S-Class or 7 Series, because neither Mercedes nor BMW offers one. And even if they did, the A8 L 6.0 quattro would be an excellent choice.

Model Line Overview
Model lineup:Audi A8 4.2 quattro ($66,950); A8 4.2 L quattro ($69,900); A8 L 6.0 quattro
Engines:330-horsepower 4.2-liter dohc 40-valve V8; 440-hp 6.0-liter dohc 48-valve W12
Transmissions:6-speed automatic Tiptronic
Safety equipment (standard):dual front airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, inflatable Sideguard full-cabin curtain airbags, front knee airbags for driver and front passenger, front safety belts with automatic pretensioning and force limiter, three rear three-point safety belts, ABS, EBD, all-wheel drive, electronic stability control
Safety equipment (optional):none
Basic warranty:4 years/50,000 miles with free scheduled maintenance
Assembled in:Ingolstadt, Germany
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSPR):Audi A8 L 6.0
Standard equipment:fully automatic four-zone climate control with Rest function (heater can operate with vehicle shut off), dual sun sensors and smog sensor with activated charcoal filter, Valcona leather upholstery on seats, armrests, door panels, center consoles and lower dashboard, Alcantara headliner and rear shelf, heated 16-way power front seats with ventilation and massage, four-position memory (for seat adjustments, climate control settings), heated power-adjustable rear seats with electric lumbar adjustment, full rear center console, power seatbelt height adjustment, power glass solar sunroof with pre-select function and pinch protection, power windows (with power retention, one-touch down/up for all four windows), power side and rear sunshades, Advanced Key touch-and-go entry and starting, Soft Touch power door closer and trunk closer, heated power tilt/telescope steering wheel with multi-function MMI controls, 12-speaker AM/FM Bose Surround Sound system with noise-cancellation technology and 6-disc CD changer, Bluetooth phone prep and voice control, LED low-beam headlights, cruise control, automatic day/night rearview mirror, heated power side mirrors
Options as tested (MSPR):none
Destination charge:$720
Gas guzzler tax:N/A
Price as tested (MSPR):N/A
Layout:four-wheel drive
Engine:6.0-liter dohc 48-valve W12
Horsepower (lb.-ft @ rpm):440 @ 6200
Torque (lb.-ft @ rpm):425 @ 4000
Transmission:6-speed Tiptronic automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:N/A
Wheelbase:121.1 in.
Length/width/height:204.0/74.6/57.3 in.
Track, f/r:64.1/63.6 in.
Turning circle:41.0 ft.
Seating Capacity:4
Head/hip/leg room, f:37.4/NA/41.3 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m:N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r:38.3/NA/42.3 in.
Cargo volume:17.7 cu. ft.
Towing capacity:N/A
Suspension, f:independent, fully pneumatic
Suspension, r:independent, fully pneumatic
Ground clearance:4.7 in.
Curb weigth:4398 lbs.
Brakes, f/r:vented disc/vented disc with ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, ESP
Fuel capacity:23.7 gal.
Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle. All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSPR) effective as of July 19, 2004.Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges. N/A: Information not available or not applicable. Manufacturer Info Sources: 1-800-822-2834 -