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FEATURES | 10 out of 10
If you want to know the location of the closest mall, simply draw out the letters M-A-L-L on the pad with your finger
Using the broad width of the gear select as a hand rest, the driver uses their forefinger to trace letters or numbers onto the touchpad while keeping their eyes on the road ahead.
Unlike so many gee-whiz tech features that are more annoying and distracting than the more conventional methods they replace, the draw-it function is not only cool but far quicker, easier, and less distracting to use than scrolling around searching for the right letter or number with the knob controller. Very neat.
Audi also offers a WLAN hotspot system on the A8 L, so your passengers can cruise the Net as you cruise the autobahn.
The optional 1400-watt Bang & Olufsen stereo sounds exactly like you expect it to (excellent)
The 2012 Audi A8 is a true luxury sedan through and through, but when it comes to bragging rights the German automaker has put a lot of emphasis on technology in addition to traditional flagship comforts.
Rest assured, all the luxury-car basics are covered--and a lot more, for limo-like accommodations in some versions. Of course leather interior, power everything, navigation, Bose audio, satellite radio, and of course quattro all-wheel drive are all included. But there's also a four-zone climate control keeps everyone comfortable; the rear seats are power-adjustable; and the right-side one includes a footrest while the left-side seat includes massage and recline functions. We'd also recommend you spring for the two-panel panoramic sunroof as it brightens the interior without interfering with headroom.
The 2012 Audi A8 comes with the latest version of Audi's MMI system, which is completely redesigned versus the previous generation. Once again, you get a rotating controller to scroll through menus, but the special new feature is MMI Touch--a scratchpad that makes address or info entry much easier by simply scratching out individual letters. Steering-wheel controls also let you see an abbreviated list of options, and a new Google Maps–based navigation system uses its own data connection to get live-updated mapping and routing information. The eight-inch display is beautiful and easy to read from a wide range of angles. For 2012, that system and an integrated wi-fi hotspot have been made standard.
Serious audiophiles will want to go for the top Bang & Olufsen Advanced sound system, which has 19 speakers, including small tweeters at the front of the cabin that emerge at startup, along with more than 1400 watts of power.
Available as part of a safety-minded driver assistance package ($3,000) is adaptive cruise control, which will now bring you to a complete stop and restart automatically, plus lane assist and side assist. Also available is a night vision system that will help spot and identify pedestrians.Also on offer in back is a rear-seat entertainment system with its own 20-gig hard drive and two 10.2-inch screens, or—for the classic executive car need—a folding table.
Another new option for 2012 is a special 'Audi design selection' interior package, offered in Balao Brown.
With a smart touchpad system, night vision, integrated wi-fi, and high-end Bang & Olufsen audio, the 2012 Audi A8 has true geek appeal to match its luxury platform.