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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
considerable downshifting occurs on even moderate upgrades
feels "smaller than actual size
steering is great, with perfect feel and weight
Performance has been an asset of the Audi A8 since its current form took shape in the early 2000s. Drivers will enjoy its V-8 whir and the subtle shifts of its six-speed automatic transmission-though in this final year, the high-performance S8 and the 12-cylinder versions have been dropped from the U.S. product lineup.
The former longer-wheelbase, 12-cylinder version wasn't necessarily faster; in an older review, Motor Trend says the direct-injection V-8 engine "gives up little to the V-12." Soldiering on for 2010, the 350-horsepower, 4.2-liter V-8 has plenty of power for the lighter, more agile, aluminum-frame A8. With it, Audi claims the 2010 Audi A8 will accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in just over 6 seconds. The top speed is limited to 155 mph. With the standard six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, "considerable downshifting occurs on even moderate upgrades," Cars.com reports. "Fortunately, those downshifts are smooth and prompt." Fuel economy is rated at 16/23 mpg, a mild surprise in this class.
The lightweight body contributes to its energetic feel, giving the biggest Audi less baggage to carry around, and lending it a nimble overall handling and steering sensation, particularly for its class. It simply handles sharp curves better than most other large sedans its size, due to weight savings and the confidence its naturally weighted steering and all-weather traction bring. MyRide declares, "On our twisty road loop in the Santa Monica Mountains, the Audi A8 felt smaller than actual size." Ride quality is another high point, with the A8's air suspension delivering a well-balanced ride that's far from springy or tight. Motor Trend says steering is "great, with perfect feel and weight," and Cars.com reports, "On narrow two-lane roads, this full-size sedan whips from one curve to the next with ease. It stays beautifully flat while cornering and responds immediately to driver inputs."
The 2010 Audi A8/A8L blends handling finesse with high-performance V-8 muscle.