Audi A8 3.0 TDI 2014 review
The latest version of the big Audi A8 saloon, and its sporting brother the Audi S8, have finally arrived in Australia.
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It's one of the most recognisable cars on the road -- an imposing presence usually found at airports and their environs and in upmarket suburbs around town.
The S model name appeared first in 1972 in the W116 series which was the first car with ABS. This breaking technology trend has continued through each subsequent S-Class which has ushered in new technology like cruise control, crumple zones and air bags among a retinue of other now almost ubiquitous features. Now, there's a new S-Class which makes a quantum leap ahead in technology terms.
DESIGN / STYLING
S-Class is a four or five seat sedan with stately proportions and is available here in three model variants, the V6 diesel 350Bluetec, the petrol V8 500 and the petrol V8 63AMG with long wheelbase versions available on all but the 63. It has a distinctive look this time around with touches of Maybach ultra-limo about its flanks. It retains a star motif on the bonnet (not the grille) like a gun sight and the roofline is in the curving coupe idiom.
The rear end tapers in giving a smaller than expected appearance from behind while the beltline is high punctuated by dynamic style lines. Complex, high-tech LED headlights give S-Class an earnest-looking front. Up to 95kg has been sliced from the S-Class hybrid alloy/steel body but it still comes in close to two tonnes in the lightest variant. Super low drag aerodynamics rate Cd 0.24 which contributes to the nearly silent interior.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSION
All three engines have a seven-speed auto transmission and all offer superlative performance with relatively low fuel consumption. The 350 has a 3.0-litre turbo diesel with 190kW/620Nm output and an incredible 6.0-litres/100km fuel economy.
The 500 is a 4.7-litre biturbo petrol V8 with 335kW/700Nm and 9.2 litres/100km economy while the 63 runs a 5.5-litre biturbo petrol V8 (same as E63) with 430kW/900Nm and 10.2-litres/100km. The 63AMG differs with an AMG Speedshift seven-speed auto designed for high performance.
Possibly one of the most interesting features is so called Magic Body Control that scans the road ahead with a camera and adjusts the suspension according to the road conditions -- in advance.
Safety equipment is vast and there's even a pedestrians warning through the night vision system that automatically flashes the headlights.
ON THE ROAD
Get in and it's a whole new world with possibly the world's biggest in-car wide-screen, virtual instruments with night vision as standard and a new two spoke, multi-function wheel. There's an integrated dash with door trims forming one unbroken sweep from side to side, and a number of different fascia media are used.
The high quality interior is lounge-like, classy and ultra luxurious, especially in the rear seats. It's a cavern of high end components like Burmester audio, sumptuous leather upholstery, telematic control, on board WiFi hotspot for the internet, seven ambient lighting choices, luxury head restraints.
Ouside there's a hands free boot opening/closing, panoramic glass sunroof, adaptive high beam, 360 degree camera view from four cameras, active park assist and a swag of safety and driver assist features. There's even climate control seats for added comfort. We were chauffeured in the back seats and also drove the new S-Class and as expected, you don't want to get out.
From the rear seat it's sheer luxury with large reclining seats, individual screens, air conditioning and other entertainments. We drove the 350 diesel and can't see why you'd want anything else. It has excellent performance across the range and is smooth and silent. It's big though with a wide expanse of bonnet in front of you and you know it's a big, heavyweight that can still deliver a somewhat sporty feel.
S-Class is the recipient of all new Benz technology, cutting edge stuff that's designed to optimise safety, performance, luxury and economy. Costs plenty though starting at $215 grand for the short wheelbase 350 Bluetec.
The complete Mercedes-Benz S-Class range is:
S350 3.0-litre turbo-diesel four-door sedan: from $215,000 (automatic)
S350L 3.0-litre turbo-diesel four-door sedan: from $222,500 (automatic)
S500 4.7-litre twin-turbo petrol four-door sedan: from $285,000 (automatic)
S500L 4.7-litre twin-turbo petrol four-door sedan: from $310,000 (automatic)
S63 AMG 5.5-litre bi-turbo petrol four-door sedan: from $385,000 (automatic)
Price: from $215,000 (S350)
Engines: 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel (190kW/620Nm), 4.7-litre V8 twin turbo petrol (335kW/700Nm)
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
Economy: 6.0L/100km (diesel), 9.2L/100km (petrol)
Emissions: 159g/km (diesel), 215g/km (petrol)
Safety: Nine airbags (two rear seatbelt airbags optional), radar crash avoidance, lane-keeping, blind zone alert, self parking, up to eight cameras, 12 parking sensors
Warranty: Three years/unlimited
Servicing: 12 months/25,000km
Spare tyre: No. Runflats
|S500||4.7L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$121,110 – 139,260||2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2014 S500 Pricing and Specs|
|S63 AMG||5.5L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$182,160 – 209,330||2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2014 S63 AMG Pricing and Specs|
|S63 AMG L||5.5L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$168,960 – 194,260||2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2014 S63 AMG L Pricing and Specs|
|S300 Bluetec Hybrid||2.1L, Hyb/Diesel, 7 SP AUTO||$92,290 – 106,040||2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2014 S300 Bluetec Hybrid Pricing and Specs|