When you think of German automotive excellence, Mercedes and BMW are two brands that easily come to mind. Audi, too, has been making a name for itself and is poised to cause a lot of trouble for its Bavarian cousins with its current line of cars and planned models. The cream of the crop Audi is the A8, a true champion and a terrific alternative to BMW and Mercedes. Let’s take a closer look at Audi’s top-of-the-line sedan and what it has to offer to you, the European sedan enthusiast.
Back in 1994 Audi decided to take on Mercedes and BMW by introducing an all new car the full size Audi A8. As the first car built on an entirely aluminum platform [for weight savings optimization] the Audi A8 has been constantly redefining the German luxury car market ever since. Way back in 1997, the Audi A8 became the first car in the world to offer six air bags. Later, more powerful diesel and gasoline powered engines were introduced to further separate the brand from its competitors.
Since 1997 the A8 has been marketed in the USA, but it hasn’t swiped as many sales away from Mercedes and BMW as Audi had hoped. Still, the current model offers much flair and technological innovation to be truly a different model from BMW’s 7-Series or Mercedes’ S-Class.
One thing that Audi enthusiasts have appreciated about the Audi A8 is its diverse engine choices. Certainly, a powerful gasoline powered V8 is offered, but other engine choices including V10 and V12 engines have shown up as well. Turbo diesel aspirated V6 and V8 engines have made their way onto European versions of the car, but not in America where emissions standards are much more restrictive.
So, what exactly can you get with an Audi A8 besides a wide variety of engine choices? Much, as outlined here:
- 6 speed Tiptronic transmission
- Quattro all wheel drive
- Power sunroof
- Bi-Xenon headlamps
- Front and rear foglamps
- Premium sound system
- 18 inch alloy wheels
- Full leather interior
For a retail price of just under $70,000 for the “base” model, the Audi A8 is priced competitively against similar sized BMW and Mercedes models. However, if it is speed that you want, then the W12 model will get you there in about five seconds. In this case, you’ll have to pony up at least $118,000 for the top-of-the-line Audi A8.
Of course, not everyone wants a car as big and as expensive as the Audi A8. If your tastes are a bit simpler, the automaker markets 13 other models in North America and its Volkswagen division also offers a wide selection of less pricey models.
Then again if it is an Audi A8 that you want, then price will not be an object. At least Audi hopes it is that way for many of its well heeled customers!