Audi A8 Diesel Saloon L 50 TDI Quattro Sport 4dr Tiptronic [C+S] Car Leasing
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Ten Second Review
This MK4 model Audi A8 faces some tough rivals, but there's an argument that it's as good as any of its competitors, even Mercedes' mighty S-Class. It's smarter, larger and more sophisticated and claims to be the first production car in the world to have been developed for highly automated driving.
Audi is used to winning. It's got extremely good at it, continuing to push technological boundaries wherever it can to stay a step ahead of its rivals. And the best place to see Vorsprung Durch Teknic at work? Well it has to be here doesn't it, with the brand's top A8 large luxury saloon, further improved in this fourth generation form. It's hard to remember now, but prior to this A8's original launch back in 1994, Audi wasn't really considered a fully-fledged prestigious brand. Its cars generally languished in the corner of your local Volkswagen dealer's showroom and appealed to those who couldn't quite stretch to the products of the smarter German makers. The first generation A8 changed all of that, a car the like of which the luxury segment had never seen before. Aluminium spaceframe technology from NASA. 4WD quattro technology from the World Rally Championship. And exquisite standards of build quality that redefined what boardroom buyers could expect from a European luxury car. At a stroke, it put posh rivals on the back foot - and Audi has never looked back since. The second and third generation A8 saloon merely perfected the recipe, but this MK4 model claims to have taken a real step forward once again. Has it? Let's find out.
The array of engines you get in the latest A8 is pretty mouth-watering. While it's true that the oily bits have been tweaked rather than offering anything overwhelmingly novel, they were good to begin with and have just got better. There are two extensively re-engineered V6 turbo engines: a 3.0 TDI and a 3.0 TFSI. The 50 TDI diesel develops 286PS, and the 55 TFSI petrol version 340PS. A 60 TFSIe quattro PHEV variant is also offered, this derivative mating a 3.0 TFSI petrol engine with an electric motor to achieve a 449PS output and 700Nm of torque. The other option is the S8, which uses a 420PS 4.0-litre petrol V8. This time round, dynamic all-wheel steering complements the standard quattro permanent all-wheel drive system and buyers also get Audi AI active suspension, a fully active suspension set-up. Depending on the driver's wishes and the driving situation, it is capable of raising or lowering each wheel separately with electric actuators. This newfound latitude enables it to deliver the polished ride comfort of a classic luxury saloon and the taut, composed agility of a more driver-oriented performance car in equal measure. It's clever. It's an Audi. What else did you expect?
Design and Build
This fourth generation A8 signalled the beginning of a new design era for the entire brand. The front end with its wide, upright Singleframe grille and the fluid, muscular body both aim to convey power, elegance, sophistication and modernity. As before, two bodystyles are available, the 5.17-metre 'standard' version and the A8 L, which has a 13cm-longer wheelbase. Space is often considered to be the ultimate luxury, and compared to its predecessor this MK4 A8 has grown substantially in length in both body styles. Occupants can also now relax in even more sublime surroundings, with every detail radiating superlative bespoke quality - from the perforation in the seat upholstery to the electrically opening and closing shutters on the air vents. The most sought-after seat in the new Audi flagship model could quite possibly be the rear left - the optional relaxation seat in the A8 L that comes with four different adjustment options and a footrest. In this seat, the passenger can warm and massage the soles of their feet on a unit with multiple settings incorporated into the back of the front-passenger seat. Up-front, the instrument panel is largely free of buttons and switches. At its centre is a 10.1-inch touchscreen display which, when off, blends almost invisibly into the high-gloss black surround thanks to its black-panel look.
Market and Model
Prices start at just over £70,000 and range up to around £103,000. A major draw this time round is the automated driving technology that Audi has built in. The Audi AI traffic jam pilot takes charge of driving in slow-moving traffic at up to 37mph on major roads where a physical barrier separates the two carriageways. The system is activated using the AI button on the centre console. The traffic jam pilot manages starting, accelerating, steering and braking. The driver no longer needs to monitor the car permanently and can even switch to watching the on-board TV. As soon as the system reaches its limits, it calls on the driver to take back control of the task of driving. Whether this wil be permitted by UK legislation is yet to be determined but from a technical perspective, the traffic jam pilot is revolutionary. And there's more. The Audi AI remote parking pilot and the Audi AI remote garage pilot autonomously steer the A8 into and out of a parking space or a garage, while the manoeuvre is monitored by the driver. The driver does not need to be sitting in the car - he or she can start the appropriate system from their smartphone using the new myAudi app. It broadcasts a live feed of the parking manoeuvre taken from the car's 360-degree cameras onto the owner's handheld device for easy monitoring.
Cost of Ownership
All the conventional A8 engines operate in conjunction with a belt alternator starter, which is the nerve centre of the 48-volt electrical system. This mild hybrid technology enables the car to coast with the engine switched off, and to restart smoothly. It also has an extended start/stop function and an energy recovery output of up to 12kW. The combined effect of these measures is to improve efficiency substantially. Let's get to the WLTP figures. The 50 TDI diesel delivers up to 40.9mpg on the combined cycle and up to 180g/km of CO2. The 55 TFSI petrol version manages up to 28.8mpg and 223g/km. For ultimate efficiency though, you'll want to talk to your Audi Centre about the A8 60 TFSIe quattro version, which uses a powerful plug-in petrol/electric hybrid drivetrain. Its 3.0 TFSI engine and powerful electric motor achieve 449PS of system power and 700Nm and there's a lithium-ion battery that stores enough power for about 28 miles of electric driving. The 60 TFSIe PHEV manages up to 113mpg and up to 57g/km. Depreciation in this sector is traditionally severe, especially where the more expensive models are concerned, but Audi residuals are usually strong.
This fourth generation A8 is an impressive achievement. Every car in this segment is. As it should be, this is a showcase for Audi's best and most advanced engineering, aluminium construction and quattro all-wheel-drive now joined by astonishingly clever industry-leading automated driving technologies. Add in classier design and a range of engines that are pokier yet cleaner and more frugal and you've a formidable luxury saloon. But is it one that you can bond with, a luxury conveyance you'll love as well as admire? The answer depends upon the owner of course. Some may still see this A8 as being a little remote compared to a wood-panelled Jaguar, a status-conscious Mercedes or a proudly opulent BMW. I'm guessing though, that a significant number of boardroom buyers might now find this Audi a surprisingly complete all-round choice. Hugely capable, innovative and beautifully built, this is the car that rivals always feared Audi would build. And if you're in this market, it's one you need to try.
Mercedes-Benz C Class Saloon Special Editions
C300de AMG Line Night Ed Premium 4dr 9G-Tronic
per month inc. VAT
Mercedes-Benz E Class Diesel Saloon
E220d AMG Line 4dr 9G-Tronic
per month inc. VAT
Jaguar Xf Saloon
2.0 P300 R-Dynamic S 4dr Auto AWD
per month inc. VAT
BMW 5 Series Saloon
530e M Sport 4dr Auto [Tech/Pro Pack]
per month inc. VAT
Ds Ds 9 Saloon
1.6 E-TENSE Performance Line + 4dr EAT8
per month inc. VAT
Mercedes-Benz E Class Saloon
E300e AMG Line 4dr 9G-Tronic
per month inc. VAT
Vehicle maintenance packages are provided to you by the finance company and generally include and exclude the following elements. This cover is an addition to the standard full UK manufacturer’s warranty and roadside assistance that comes with all new vehicles.
Please note: Terms and conditions of vehicle maintenance packages can vary slightly depending on the finance company. Full details of the maintenance contract provided on your chosen vehicle will be forwarded to you with your quotation once you have enquired.
Maintenance Contract includes:
- Mechanical and electrical repairs or replacements, including associated parts and labour
- Bulbs, Batteries, Exhausts, Wiper Blades, Alternators & Starter Motors (dependent upon finance provider)
- Tyre repair and replacement
- Breakdown assistance
- No recharges for punctures or damaged tyres (dependent upon finance provider)
- MOT tests (if applicable)
What are the key benefits of a Maintained Contract?
- Planned fixed monthly cost
- No unexpected maintenance costs
- Protection from rising inflation costs
- Dedicated qualified technical team to deal with any problematic vehicles
- VAT is 100% recoverable on the Maintenance element of your contract for VAT registered businesses
What are the exclusions?
- Repairs or replacements due to driver error or driver induced faults
- Repairs due to accident damage
- Missing or Broken items e.g. Bent Aerials, Missing Hub Cabs
- Vandalised and Stolen Wheels and/or Tyres
- Damaged windscreen and/or glass replacement
- Lubricant and Fluid Top Ups between service intervals (e.g. Oil Top Ups, Screenwash Top Ups)
- A relief vehicle is not guaranteed as part of your maintenance package. However, this may be available at an additional cost, dependant on your finance provider
What is WLTP?
The Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) replaced the NEDC test procedure for establishing official fuel consumption and CO2 emissions for all new cars and became mandatory from September 2018. WLTP is a more accurate way of reading the statistics of an engine’s economy outputs based on realistic driving on an every day basis. The cycle of WLPT is divided in to 4 sections which fall under different average speeds of the vehicle being at low, medium, high and more high. It also includes various driving scenarios such as breaking accelerating and stops.
How will this effect me?
From 1st April 2020 the first registration tax for new cars will be higher. If you currently have a car on order which has not yet been registered then the price will increase and this will vary depending on the cars. If the new car you have on order is being taken on finance or lease then your monthly payments will increase by the amount the first registration has gone up. The new payments will be displayed on the finance documents you receive to sign before delivery of the vehicle.
In addition, from the 6th April 2020 company car tax known as benefit in kind, increased as a response to the WLTP new testing procedure.