Audi A8 L 4.2 FSI V8: Sitting in the lap of luxury | Inquirer Business

Audi A8 L 4.2 FSI V8: Sitting in the lap of luxury

/ 03:20 AM March 09, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—Finally, the new Audi A8, internally codenamed D4 has reached our shores. Audi delayed the unveiling of the new A8 by almost two years due to the unfavorable economic conditions back in 2009. But the wait was worth it as PGA Cars-Audi has allowed me to take the A8 for a short drive through Metro Manila, sampling some highway driving, a lot of traffic driving and high-street parading.

From the outside, the huge Audi grille is simply enormous, reminiscent of the pre-war Auto Union race cars with their massive V16 engines, highlighted by LED light strips on either side to give it a modern vibe. It’s a shame, though, that the huge grille’s flowing lines will be interrupted by a license plate. The equally enormous 20’ wheels shod with Goodyear Eagle high-performance all-season rubber, look rather small behind equally enormous wheel arches. Thankfully an even more massive 21’ wheel and tire combination is available.

Inside, you’re greeted with soft maple wood, beige leather and some bits of chrome and polished aluminum accents to liven up the already airy cabin. The Audi MMI dash, your one-stop-shop for the vehicle dynamics, mobile telephone connectivity, Internet, satellite navigation and mobile theater control are within easy arm’s reach. Unfortunately, mobile Wi-Fi Internet is unavailable here, as well as satellite navigation for the time being. Hopefully in the future, these options will be. The MMI also allows you to play cd/dvd movies with three monitors fitted as standard in this test unit, a center console measuring 8 inches and two rear-mounted monitors measuring 11 inches. Impressive stuff indeed, looks something right out of a custom-shop in LA, SoCal, but cleanly and tastefully done as it is very well integrated into the overall design theme of the Audi A8.


The steering wheel is the usual Audi 4-spoke with auxiliary controls for some functions of the MMI and cruise control, adjusting for both reach and rake. The gearshift also resembles something of a putter mallet, perhaps pointing to the target audience the big A8 is being pushed to. Seats are soft and plush but with adequate support for the fat cats who’ll be riding driving this, although PGA Cars feels that more of these A8’s will be chauffeur-driven, with owners probably taking them out for a spin on Sundays and holidays when the driver’s on his day off. Good thing then as it would be a shame for the chauffeurs to be the only ones enjoying the big bad Audi.


What’s really amazing, though, is its infra-red 4’ monitor that significantly helps night driving. A thermal scan of the road ahead as far as 30 meters ahead is able to pick up living organisms and even other vehicles that might have poor or no nighttime lighting so you can see the road ahead clearly and avoid possible accidents.

The engine is a 4.2 liter V8 used in previous generation Audi’s. Further tweaks from the engine means the V8 is developing 366bhp from the old 322bhp and is able to deliver increased fuel economy and cleaner, greener emissions, thanks also in part to the new 8-Speed Tiptronic Quattro automatic transmission. Drive Mode Selection allows the A8 to be comfortable, automatic or sport, changing throttle responsiveness, the damping for the air-suspension and weight from the steering wheel to match your mood.

Driving it is typical Audi, but with a noticeably higher level of driver involvement available. The steering and brake pedal are light, the throttle smooth and accurate. The brakes in particular have lessened the over-boosted, over-assisted sensation, making them far easier to modulate.

No Audi would also be complete without all the technological marvels included such as the Audi MMI multi-media system, Quattro all-wheel drive system, and Audi’s patented ASF aluminum-space-frame chassis, which combines lightness and stiffness as its key characteristics to create a more refined and higher-performing luxurious limousine unafraid of twisting mountain roads.

Of course, no Audi is also complete without the safety kit common in high-level cars so it has multiple airbags, traction and stability control, ABS-EBD with brake assist and cornering brake control, as well as Audi PRE-SENSE safety technology that rolls up the windows when they are open, straightens up the seats, closes the dual moon-roofs and tightens the seatbelt tensioners once it detects that a crash is imminent.

Rear seat space is simply massive, and with the monitor right smack in front of you, it gives a true first-class airline seat feel to it. The Audi A8 is big, roomy and in the right color, very regal. It’s also going to be pretty rare as Audi’s only been allotted a handful. In A sea of Mercedes S-Classes, BMW 7-Series, Lexus LS’ and the odd Jaguar XJ, the Audi A8 will stand out especially in the right, bright color.

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TAGS: Motoring, New Products

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