Audi A8 Review & Prices
The Audi A8 has a spacious, luxurious cabin and is very comfortable to drive, but the Mercedes S-Class's plug-in hybrid has a longer electric range
Find out more about the Audi A8
With all its on-board technology and luxurious materials, the A8 is a bit like one of those fancy new smart homes in that it’s clever, comfortable and full of screens to help you go about your business.
Audi updated the A8 in 2022 but it would be a long game of ‘spot the difference’ because the changes are subtle. You get some new bumpers, shiny trim pieces and sharp new headlights. It’s no bad thing because the A8 looks smart and sophisticated, with its rear end particularly handsome. The front is imposing but that big grille isn’t particularly elegant next to the swoopy lines of the S-Class.
Inside, it’s tough to find anything to criticise. Again, changes are minimal and limited to some new, more comfortable seats. Not that there was anything uncomfortable about what came before. Regardless, you get the same triple-screen set-up, with a pair of large displays in the centre for infotainment and climate control, and Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit in the instrument binnacle.
There are plush, squishy materials everywhere you look, with loads of space up front for passengers and their things. You get cup holders and large door bins, and a handy cubby hole for storing your phone.
It’s the rear seats that are the real event, though. Many people buy an A8 to be driven, rather than drive, so you get incredibly comfortable chairs with decent legroom that extends to excellent in the long-wheelbase version.
Want to travel like a celebrity? There’s a rear comfort pack that really upgrades the experience with tablets mounted to the seats in front, rear footrests and extra lumbar support in the seats.
The Audi A8 feels lovely and plush inside, but you should opt for the rear comfort pack if you want to travel like a VIP
The Audi A8 range includes the standard car, a long-wheelbase version called A8L – both of which have a 3.0-litre diesel with 286hp, a 3.0-litre petrol with 340hp and a 462hp plug-in hybrid version called TFSI e – and the S8, which has a 4.0-litre, 570hp petrol engine.
We got behind the wheel of the plug-in model and found it was lovely to drive with imperceptible switching between battery and electric modes. The S-Class has a longer all-electric range, though, which will be important to some people.
Overall it’s incredibly comfortable to drive, whether you’re on the motorway or pootling around town, where the air suspension provides a carpet-smooth ride. It’s a touch less silent than the Mercedes at high speeds, but feels a bit more fun in corners and not quite as intimidatingly large in urban areas.
The Audi A8 is a fantastic luxury saloon that’s comfortable, spacious and packed full of technology. If you want luxury at all costs then the Mercedes S-Class wins, but the Audi is less expensive and only just behind.
Like the look of the Audi A8? You can check out the new car deals available on carwow to see how much you could save, or take a look through the latest used examples or other used Audi models. You can sell your current car through carwow, too.
The Audi A8 has a RRP range of £77,980 to £115,790. However, with carwow you can save on average £11,080. Prices start at £67,931 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £641. The price of a used Audi A8 on carwow starts at £43,450.
Our most popular versions of the Audi A8 are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|50 TDI Quattro Sport 4dr Tiptronic||£67,931||Compare offers|
|50 TDI Quattro Black Edition 4dr Tiptronic||£74,219||Compare offers|
There are four trim levels available in the A8: Sport; S Line; Black Edition and Vorsprung. As you would expect, even the entry level cars are ridiculously well-equipped when it comes to safety tech, infotainment and standard equipment. That means items such as a 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of the Audi Virtual Cockpit, adaptive air suspension, 18-inch wheels and head-up display.
S Line models get bigger, 20-inch wheels, LED headlights, dynamic indicators and privacy glass, while the Black Edition (around another £2,000) has, as you might expect, black elements including the wheels and exterior styling pack. Bespoke lights also feature here.
Finally, the Vorsprung (which isn’t available on the standard-length A8 models) adds in 21-inch wheels, a panoramic glass roof, massage seats and an upgraded sound system. Extra safety technologies are also included here, such as lane keep assist and a 360° camera.
It’s tough to describe a car that starts around £75,000 as being good value for money, but the S-Class entry price is around £10,000 more and the new 7 Series has crossed into the six-figure mark. You can get a long-wheelbase, top-spec Vorsprung A8 for less than that.
It’s not all rosy, though. Optional extras can really pack the pounds on; the comfort and sound pack, with an upgraded Bang & Olufsen sound system, is over £2,000, and the rear comfort pack will set you back £3,000. A panoramic glass sunroof is another £1,800.
On the motorway, the A8 is arguably the perfect partner, but if you’re looking for fun down a country lane, look elsewhere
For such a big car, the A8 feels surprisingly agile in urban environments. In fact, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re behind the wheel of the much smaller A4. Part of this agility is down to four-wheel steering, which turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the front ones to enable a smaller turning circle.
This is particularly useful when trying to navigate tight spaces such as car parks, narrow roads or mini roundabouts. The operation is never going to be on the scale of a much smaller car, but for a 5m-long barge, it’s impressive.
Regardless of engine, there’s an eight-speed automatic gearbox attached, which can sometimes be a bit slow to react. It might not be much of an issue in town as in other driving environments, but it’s not something you’d expect on such a high-end vehicle.
Air suspension helps the ride, while bumps and potholes are handled with ease on A8s specced with smaller wheels. Things get a bit less comfortable when rolling with the 21s, but it’s still not bad.
The steering is light, which helps when manoeuvring around town and the safety cameras and sensors make it easier to stay away from potential hazards.
On the motorway
It’s fair to say that many drivers will buy an A8 to cruise down motorways at high speed. In this regard, the A8 takes some beating. The level of refinement is excellent and, while there is a bit of wind noise, you won’t have to worry about much else. Very little sound comes up from the road thanks to the sound deadening and double glazing on the windows.
Meanwhile, the engines can be heard when pressing on, but it’s typically a pleasant sound, rather than an intrusive roar. Each of the engines offer plenty of power, which means overtaking moves are straightforward and uneventful. Obviously it’s easier to undertake such a move in the S8 than the base model diesel, but the latter is no slouch.
If we’re being picky, the S-Class is a touch quieter, but there’s very little in it.
On a twisty road
If you’re looking for ‘fun to drive’, then the A8 probably isn’t the car for you. There’s more joy to be had if you go for the S8 but, even then, it’s not a hot hatch or even a compact performance saloon.
There’s loads of grip on tap, which means corners can be taken with confidence and in relative comfort thanks to the air suspension. Plus, a combination of that four-wheel steer and Audi’s legendary quattro four-wheel-drive system help keep the big car planted.
However, it’s definitely more a comfort-focused car and doesn’t love being thrown into a corner. No car in this class will be super-agile, but the BMW 7 Series is the best choice for keen drivers.
The A8 – as you would expect – is a very comfortable and welcoming place to be – but those switching from an SUV might miss the extra headroom
The 2022 changes are very subtle, and that’s as true on the inside as it is the outside, which has gone through a low-key evolution rather than a revolution.
However, that doesn’t mean that practicality or comfort has been compromised. The seats – which are hugely comfortable – come with 22-way electric adjustment. There is also four-way lumbar support to really make sure you’re in prime luxury before you start out on a journey. The steering wheel gets the same electronic adjustment in all directions, ensuring the optimum driving position is easy to achieve.
Given its body shape, there’s more head room in one of Audi’s SUVs, but the A8 outmatches them in terms of luxury and attention to detail. The surfaces are typically covered in piano black trim, which hides numerous cubbies, cup holders and other storage bins. The glovebox is a decent size, operated by a subtle button that has been integrated into the dash, to the point where it’s easy to miss.
There are generous door pockets that can accommodate large bottles and easy to use controls on the door handles for the windows, wing mirrors and locking rear doors. None of the haptic nonsense that features elsewhere in the VW Group – Audi has gone for proper buttons here.
Space in the back seats
There’s plenty of room behind the driver and front passenger, as you might expect. Although in the standard version of the car, it’s not much more spacious than Audi’s A6. Go for the long-wheelbase version of the car and it’s a different matter. We’re talking limo-type proportions because, let’s face it, that’s what a lot of new A8s will be used for.
As well as having plenty of head and leg room around them, rear passengers get massaging seats and electronic adjustment. Spec the ‘Rear Seat Package’ and your A8 will feature screens mounted on the back seats that allow you to watch TV or a streaming service.
A wide central armrest boasts cup holders and storage space, while there are extra practical elements like pockets on the back of the front seats and spacious door bins.
The A8 is a big car – measuring more than five metres long. Audi quotes the boot area at 505 litres, which puts it slightly down on the S-Class’s 550 litres. The BMW 7 Series splits the difference at 525 litres in the plug-in hybrid (or 500 litres in the electric i7).
One point to note is that those choosing the hybrid A8 loses more than 100 litres of space in the boot – the figure drops to 390 litres – due to the extra batteries. It’s a similar story in the Mercedes though, which drops to 325 litres.
There’s netting on either side of the A8’s boot for storage of smaller items, but no option of dropping the rear seats forward for extra load capacity.
It’s a high-quality tech-fest in the big Audi, but those drivers who favour button controls or a more simplistic layout might be put off by the multiple screens in front of them
Audi has made high-end car interiors for years and the A8’s cabin is the pinnacle of quality and attention to detail. Despite a vast amount of technology onboard there seems to be a sense of simplicity, with fewer buttons and the vast majority of functions carried out via the touchscreens. What buttons there are in the cabin are well laid out either on the dashboard or steering wheel.
Changes over the pre-update model are subtle, the Audi Virtual Cockpit being a mainstay of the new car situated right in front of the driver, coupled with the two central touchscreens, one of which handles all things climate, the other everything audio, navigation and smartphone operation.
The latest A8 gets a new navigation package (MMI Navigation plus), which is supported by Audi’s third-generation ‘infotainment toolkit’. Any updates can be done over the air – like a smartphone software refresh – which makes life easier for owners. Another change sees the old A8’s circular control dial retired. It’s been replaced by a pad that you can write on with your finger, as well as a voice recognition system activated by saying ‘Hey Audi’. Failing that, the buttons on the screen are large and clear enough to use.
A head-up display adds to the multiple information sources when behind the wheel of the A8, and a steering wheel that – as you would expect – also enables you to change the volume, activate the voice control technology and change audio inputs.
The choice of materials is first class, with soft leather throughout and nice metallic detailing – all put together superbly. Where plastics are used they are soft to touch, strong and sturdy.
Depending on your budget, there’s the potential to make your A8 a really plush place to be. Options (on most models) include a panoramic sunroof, acoustic double glazing and an air quality pack.
There are four engine options across the range for the A8 and S8. First up is a 3.0-litre diesel in the ’50’ model, which has 286hp and can sprint from 0-60mph in under six seconds. Drivers can expect a fuel economy figure of more than 40mpg from the diesel. Next is a petrol engine – also a 3.0-litre – with 344hp. It’s faster, but is more thirsty, so expect fuel economy figures to be around the low 30s in terms of miles per gallon.
With one eye on the 2030 ban on internal combustion engine-powered cars, there’s a plug-in hybrid version of the A8. A combination of a 3.0-litre petrol engine and an electric motor give a total output of 462hp and a 0-60mph time of under five seconds. With this car, drivers will have the option of electric-only power for up to 34 miles, which explains the official fuel economy figure of 156.9mpg. However, in real life conditions, expect it to be lower than that, depending on how much time you spend running the car on the battery rather than petrol engine.
It’s slightly disappointing that the maximum charge rate is a leisurely 7kW, so it will take two hours to go from 20-80% capacity. The S-Class has a much bigger battery and will go almost twice as far on a charge, too.
Finally, there’s the S8, just in case there isn’t enough power for you in the current A8 range. A turbocharged 4.0-litre petrol engine is used here, which offers 571hp and powers the car to 60mph from a standstill in 3.7 seconds. But with this extra performance, you only get economy returns of an official 24.6mpg.
The latest A8 hasn’t been subjected to a Euro NCAP evaluation, however other recent products from the Audi stable have excelled, gaining five-star ratings. Therefore it’s probably a good bet to assume that the safety levels of the big saloon will be more than up to scratch.
As already mentioned, there’s a boat load of technology onboard the A8 such as lane departure warning, parking cameras and sensors (depending on model), park assist and tyre pressure warning. There’s an ‘advanced key’ for keyless entry and operation, while a Thatcham alarm is fitted as standard for extra peace of mind.
The Audi A8 comes with the industry standard three-year, 60-000-mile warranty. As with most other models and brands, this can be extended via the dealer for subsequent 12-month periods, with prices dependent on the specific model.
As the car has only recently gone on sale there haven’t been any reported issues with the A8. In terms of reliability, Audi generally performs OK across the board in industry surveys, so expect the A8 to not encounter too many complaints from owners or drivers.
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