The 2011 Audi A8 Quattro is bigger and better than ever before in both base form and in the extended wheelbase configuration, the A8L.
The 2011 A8 displays a more elegant presence, but with a bolder, more athletic persona. The grille is enlarged and pronounced, sporting 8 chrome horizontal bars positioned in a single frame trapezoidal surround. The grille is flanked by newly designed headlamps, LED running lights, directional signal light tubes, along with dual bar-covered air intakes and integrated fog lamps.
The nose is elongated with the hood flowing upward into the sharply raked windscreen. The greenhouse offers up a coupe-like effect with its blacked out pillars.
My tester was the regular wheelbase A8 with Quattro powered by a 4.2-liter V8 with variable intake-valve-lift system and mated to an 8-speed automatic. The engine generates 22 more horses — 372 horsepower at 6,800 rpm. The torque rating is 328 lb.-ft. feet at 3,500 rpm. This 2011 A8 is capable of traveling from 0-60 mph in a mere 5.7 seconds — pretty impressive considering the 2 tons-plus of mass — while also managing to achieve significantly improved fuel economy of 17 miles per gallon city and 27 mpg highway.
The acceleration is instantly responsive and the handling characteristics provide a spot-on feeling of control. The ride quality is extremely compliant over all surfaces without being mushy. The variable ratio steering delivers the correct amount of input across the board as needed in every situation. The adaptive air suspension automatically tightens up and teams with the steering as speed increases, allowing the A8 to corner with the agility of a sport sedan.
The Goodyear Eagle F1 rubber mounted on 10-slotted-spoke 20-inch alloy wheels help with traction and grip during more spirited maneuvers. If there’s any misgiving with the new A8, it’s that it is perhaps too quiet inside — the pleasing notes of the engine and exhaust are muffled with the windows up, and even the horn sounds a tad weak. All are more noticeable with the windows down.
This fourth generation A8 sports a longer wheelbase, is longer overall, wider and taller than its predecessors.
It has also gained a little weight at 4,436 pounds, but the added horsepower gained by the addition of Audi’s variable intake-valve-lift system and reduced internal engine friction negates any extra heft.
The new interior reveals an enhanced and more luxurious atmosphere that is tastefully executed with several significant new nuances including: the beefy three-spoke steering wheel with functional controls and paddle shifters; the pop-up Bang and Olufsen dash speakers and info display screen; the t-shaped, putter-style gear selector; and Audi’s Multi Media Interface with an updated touch pad control feature, which allows spelling out navigation entries by scrawling with one’s finger directly onto the pad — a totally cool and unique feature that is faster and easier than spelling out names conventionally.
An optional 22-way front seating adjustment allows one to achieve the optimum driving position despite their physical makeup. The quilted, sculpted and supportive seating surfaces provide heat and cooling, as well as five different massaging functions. Base pricing is about $79,000, while a fully optioned A8 such as my tester, may go as high as $95,000.
The 2011 A8 sedan is truly the new Lord of the Rings. Well okay, the A8L is bigger, so perhaps the A8 is only the heir apparent. — Arv Voss, Motor Matters
Next New On Wheels: 2011 Honda CR-V
2011 AUDI A8
VEHICLE TYPE_________________ 5-passenger AWD full-size sedan
BASE PRICE___________________ $79,000 (as tested: $95,000)
ENGINE TYPE__________________ 32-valve DOHC V-8 w/FSI
HORSEPOWER (net)_____________ 372 at 6800 rpm
TORQUE (lb.-ft.)_____________ 328 at 3500 rpm
TRANSMISSION_________________ 8-speed automatic
WHEELBASE____________________ 117.8 in.
OVERALL LENGTH_______________ 202.2 in.
TURNING CIRCLE (curb-to-curb) 41 ft.
FUEL CAPACITY________________ 23.8 gal.
EPA MILEAGE RATING___________ 17 mpg city, 27 mpg highway
2011 DODGE CHARGER: With its iconic character, contemporary fastback four-door coupe proportions, world-class performance, craftsmanship and refinement, and state-of-the-art connectivity features, the all-new 2011 Charger is the Dodge brand’s flagship sedan. The all-new Charger SE and Charger Rallye feature the new 3.6-liter Pentastar engine for world-class levels of power, refinement, technology and fuel efficiency. For maximum thrills, efficiency and best-in-class power, the new Dodge Charger R/T lineup features the legendary 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine with four-cylinder mode FuelSaver technology. (Source: Dodge)
LUXURY HEART & SOUL: Near-luxury models will spark Lincoln’s rebirth says Jim Farley, chief of global marketing for the Ford Motor Co. Two of those models are the MKX, a crossover utility vehicle and an MKZ, Lincoln’s first hybrid model. “Growth for Lincoln will come from the `near-luxury’ segment,” Farley predicts. “Success for Cadillac and Audi, for instance, has come from their most affordable models — in the $35,000-$65,000 range — not in the $85,000 range,” he says. “The $85,000 range doesn’t define the heart-and-soul of the luxury business anymore,” Farley says. (Source: Down the Road, Motor Matters)
AUTO REPAIR ADVICE: When I start the engine on my 1994 Silverado there is a banging sound that bangs about 30 times and then stops. The sound happens again when I shut the engine off. The sound seems like it emits from the heater system, so I removed the air conditioning/heater fuse, but still have the noise. Answer: The climate control system in your 1994 truck has blend doors in the heater box that work off vacuum from the engine. To test you can disconnect the small vacuum line that lead into the heater box to verify this is the problem. In most cases the heater box assembly has to be removed for repair. (Source: Ask the Auto Doctor, Motor Matters)
Copyright, Motor Matters, 2010