2022 Audi A8 L 4.0 Review : Ring Leader
Singapore - In the realm of luxurious limousines, the Audi A8 L isn’t the newest, or the most jaw-dropping entrant within the highly contested fray of indulgent uber-luxe saloons. It isn’t the most spectacular limo, nor will it pander to the tastes of the younger Nouveau Riche coterie.
Strictly speaking, it’s a car built on a platform that’s nearly half a decade old. But it’s undergone a mid-cycle facelift to bring it toe to toe with the well-established competition from Bavaria and Stuttgart.
But where the other two teutonic namesakes have taken to outfitting their flagship saloons with dazzling ambient lights and more square inches of touchscreen displays, Audi’s flagship limo is more subtle and understated. Incidentally, those are the exact traits that the Audi A8 is commended and revered for.
Let’s put it this way: It’s a car that might not gratify the tastes of Silicon Valley tech billionaires, but one that should appeal to the tastes of Vieux Riche aristocratic types.
Audi A8 L 4.0 - It’s all in the looks
When stacked up against other full-size luxury saloons, the A8 L is undoubtedly the more “traditional” offering within the niche, but that isn’t to say that it loses out in terms of grandeur. At over 5.3 metres long and damn near 2 meters wide, it’s a veritable luxury barge.
For added Riche flex, this facelifted model sees the addition of new digital matrix headlight clusters, an enlarged singleframe grille with a new chrome motif, a set of 20-inch rims and reworked front and rear bumpers with even more chrome lashings.
It is, without a doubt, a vehicle that commands presence. It’s certainly understandable if other road users hurry to get out of your way when they see the A8’s chrome-studded grille grow larger in their rearview mirror.
Audi A8 L 4.0 - Business Class Motoring
In the cabin, little has changed where interior interfaces are concerned. But the preceding A8’s interior wasn’t exactly outdated to begin with. The dashboard sports the same virtual cockpit gauge cluster with a 10.1-inch infotainment screen and an 8.6-inch touch panel for ancillary systems like the climate controls. Other touchpoints like the gear selector, the MMI system controls and even the HVAC vents are identical.
Obviously, it’s in the back where the opulent and indulgent features are more prevalent. In Singapore, the new A8 only comes in this extended wheelbase guise (hence the “L” suffix), so rear seat occupants would be treated to the complete business class treatment with plenty of legroom. The 22-way seat adjustment controls are within easy reach on the centre console and the door panels, so you’d hardly have to stretch to recline your seats.
In this 4.0-litre 60 TFSI variant, the A8 L comes as standard with two multimedia screens mounted in the seat backs. The centre armrest features yet another touchscreen for controlling various functions including the massage seats (the front seats have the same massage functions), the air conditioning and seat ventilation system, the ambient lighting and the blinds. There’s even a 3-pin socket to charge mobile devices or laptops.
While some would call it old-fashioned, others may prefer the subtlety that the Audi has to offer. After all, the low-key appearances of the A8 L would undoubtedly be appreciated by those who’d prefer to keep a lower profile.
A low profile, that is, until you depress the start button and the MHEV 4.0-litre V8 snarls to life with a soundtrack that belies its mild hybrid nature.
Audi A8 L 4.0 - Sure and Steadfast
It’s the same twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 powerplant that you’d find in the barnstorming Audi S8 and the SQ7 SUV. However, in the A8’s application, that V8 has been tuned to produce just 460 horsepower and 660Nm of torque. That’s still plenty of grunt.
Depress the throttle a little harder than necessary and the V8 burble increases an octave as the 8-speed switches ratios to propel you to triple-digit speeds before you’re aware that you’re past legal limits. From a standing start, the A8 gets to 100km/h in just 4.5 seconds, which essentially means that you’d be committing a felony in about four seconds flat if you keep your foot pinned on the throttle.
It isn’t exactly the sort of vehicle you’d pick for dynamism or hijinks. It is still a luxury vehicle after all. Albeit one that proved to be surprisingly spry and lithe for its size.
The progressive steering rack is well-weighted in any and all driving modes, and the all-wheel steering system works effectively to reduce the car’s turning radius to just 12.9m. As cliché as it sounds, it’s not an exaggeration to say that the A8 L drives like a much smaller vehicle.
That being said, the all-wheel steering has a proclivity for being a little overzealous. Drivers wouldn’t feel the effects of this, but the rear passengers may feel a tad discombobulated at the sharp degrees of turn in. Using the term “seasickness” is a stretch, but those who are more susceptible to motion sickness may not fare as well.
But when driven like how a luxe limo is intended to be driven, the A8 L is a supremely capable machine. Comfortable, stable, and steadfast. The standard air suspension does brilliantly cresting over gentle humps. Even at speed, the car feels willowy and plaint with seemingly endless levels of rebound and compression.
One could opt for the predictive active suspension for upwards of S$30,000, but it’s a high cost option for little in the way of added refinement. As is, the suspension system holds its own in and about Singapore’s road network, and it’d even fare brilliantly for trips up north. In terms of both comfort and range.
To a point, one could even call the A8 L efficient. Especially so when you consider its large displacement engine. On multiple occasions, we’ve bested manufacturers’ quoted efficiency figures. But to do so with ease in a vehicle that has 4 litres of displacement is something else entirely.
Over about a 120km journey with highway and city driving that included bouts of congestion, I managed an average consumption figure of 11.4L/100km. We’re not mathematicians but that’s about 9% better than what Audi claims on the spec sheet. If you’re more zealous on the throttle, expect your fuel economy to soar past 17L/100km. But otherwise, you'd quite easily manage north of 650km on a full tank.
We’d chalk that impressive figure down to the cylinder deactivation system and the MHEV system, but the latter feature is not without its faults. The V8 spurs up intermittently while stationary and the car isn’t as happy to shut off the engine while coasting at lower speeds on the highway. But if specific conditions are met, you could make full use of the mild hybrid system to eek a couple more miles out of the 82-litre fuel tank.
Audi A8 L 4.0 - Old school cool
There’s plenty to like about the Audi A8 L, but there are a few reasons one might be less receptive toward it. With a starting price of S$707,991 (at the time of writing), it’s a sizeable sum of money for the average Joe. But this is isn’t a vehicle for average Joes. After all, it’s a flagship luxury limousine, not your run-off-the-mill saloon.
Some would call it old fashioned, but in this context that old adage is hardly a faux pas. In fact, plenty would pick the steadfast dependability of the A8 L's analogue approach to luxury motoring.
PHOTOS Jay Tee
Audi A8 L 60 TFSI
Engine 3996cc, V8, twin-turbocharged petrol MHEV
Electric Motor 11.2hp/55Nm
Transmission 8-speed tiptronic automatic
Top Speed 250km/h
LxBxH 5320 x 1945 x 1488mm
Fuel Consumption 12.4l/100km