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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
The Audi A8 has the bone structure for excellent passenger protection. It's built on an aluminum space frame, for lightness as well as strength, and it has extra airbags above and beyond the mandatory ones--at the front passengers' knees and at the sides of the rear passengers.
It's also fitted and programmed with electronic systems beyond the usual stability control, all in the name of preventative safety. The brakes clamp down when the car senses an impact is imminent, and the seatbelts tighten. Then there's the standard all-wheel drive--one of the earliest passive-safety measures we can name.
On the technology front, the A8 comes with standard parking sensors, but shockingly, omits the rearview camera on the A8 3.0T unless you spend $3,000 for an option package. More expensive models make up for that omission with a surround-view camera that's an excellent tool for parking in tight spaces.
The A8's more exotic safety technologies are sold as options bundled in packages. They include adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability in traffic and full brake ability at speeds of under 19 mph; blind-spot monitors; lane-keeping assist; and night vision.
Like many expensive luxury cars, the Audi A8 hasn't been subjected to crash tests by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). We don't expect it will be, either, since it sells few examples each year.
An aluminum frame and high-tech safety gear give the A8 a higher than usual baseline for safety, though no crash tests have been performed.