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Car reviews - Audi - A8 - 3.7 V8 sedan

Our Opinion

We like
High-tech engineering, smooth engine, refinement
Room for improvement
Bland looks fail to excite

Audi logo24 Apr 2001

By MALCOLM LIVERMORE

THE A8 was launched in Australia in May, 1995, and the range comprises the 3.7-litre V8 entry level model and two 4.2-litre quattro V8 models - the super-luxury A8 4.2 and the flagship S8 sports sedan.

The A8 is a big, solid German luxury express packed with features, powered by a silky V8 and offering exceptional space and driving entertainment.

As the world's first aluminium luxury sedan, the A8 features a complex space frame chassis, all in the name of weight saving, body strength and recyclability.

Wider than a 7 Series, the A8 does not feel boardroom-like inside. The conservative interior is functional and cosy, and the leather seats shapely and supportive.

The quality of materials and switchgear is equal to its competitors while the instrumentation would be familiar to current model Audi A4 and A6 drivers.

The 3.7-litre model's front-wheel drive layout, unusual as most competitors are rear-wheel drive, makes itself apparent when driving in a sporting fashion.

With agility that belies its vastness, the A8 still displays some torque steer but the tyres grip and the traction control system allow for confident press-on driving.

The 4.2-litre V8 model offers the stability and all-weather security of quattro four-wheel drive, a unique feature in the class in which the A8 resides.

The base model's 3.7-litre V8 engine is so refined it barely growls, even at the red line. Around town it is virtually inaudible.

Firm suspension settings suggest this is a car to be driven hard. Body roll is well disciplined and low-speed ride quite acceptable. There is little wind or road noise.

The Audi A8 is for those who wish to know their car is more recyclable, more frugal and, under the shiny skin, more advanced in some ways than other luxury sedans. The main problem is that unless you are well versed in the car industry, the visual statement made is such that you are unlikely to get that message.

- Automotive NetWorks 05/02/1999

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