- Surprisingly nimble on tight country roads
- Standard all-wheel-drive traction
- One of the quietest interiors of any vehicle
- Dreamy front seats—firm, supportive, and comfy
- Vast back-seat space in extended-length L models
- Design now quite dated
- Fuel economy is very low with W12 engine
Perky, nimble handling and frisky, refined performance is what separates the 2008 Audi A8 from the rest of the super-sedans.
The A8, Audi's large luxury sedan, gets a number of minor cosmetic improvements--including a redesigned front end and LE taillights--and newly available high-tech features for 2008. The 2008 Audi A8 remains powered by a 350-horsepower, 4.2-liter V-8 on the standard A8 and extended-length A8 L, or a 450-hp W12 engine in the top-of-the-range A8 L W12. The high-performance S8, with its V-10 engine and more aggressive equipment, is covered in a separate review.
The A8's variable-ratio, variable-assist steering system has been recalibrated for 2008 to yield more road feel, and the air suspension has been retuned. V-8-powered models of the 2008 Audi A8 have plenty of power in either body length, but the 12-cylinder engine has a quiet whir and tremendous torque to provide effortless acceleration at almost any speed.
The 2008 Audi A8 has some of the best front seats in any vehicle at any price; they're large and not only firm enough to hold you in place on a twisty road but also superbly comfortable for long-haul driving. The standard-wheelbase model has enough backseat space for average-size adults, but the extended-length L model has almost limousine-like legroom that's good for even the lankiest passengers.
The Audi's instrument panel looks remarkably clean and simplified, thanks to the use of the Multi-Media Interface (MMI), which uses a simple controller to access a range of audio, climate-control, and navigation functions. The system in the 2008 Audi A8 works quite well compared to BMW's iDrive or Mercedes-Benz's COMAND.
New high-tech options for 2008 include a side assist system that uses radar technology to scan blind spots alongside the car, and a lane assist system that uses a small camera to warn the driver with a steering-wheel vibration if the vehicle strays from lane markings. Other options include rear dual-zone climate controls, an awe-inspiring Bang & Olufsen sound system, obstacle-detection systems, a rearview camera, a solar-powered ventilation system, and a power rear sunshade. A Sport Package is also available on the 2008 Audi A8. As before, the standard-features list is extensive, including a navigation system, heated front and rear seats, and adaptive bi-xenon headlamps.
The 2008 Audi A8 has not been crash tested, but the list of safety features is vast, including separate front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags, front knee airbags, front active head restraints, and electronic stability control.