Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Audi A8 2011 review

Of the big German three we prefer the Audi.
EXPERT RATING
8

The big A8 is Audi's flagship model and competes against the likes of the Benz S-Class and BMW's 7 Series.
But it's sportier than the Benz and stands out in a way that the 7 Series never could - a car that for some reason is virtually invisible on the road. The big diesel walks the line between performance and economy, unlike a petrol V8.

VALUE

Deep breath. It's high end luxury and the asking price is a whopping $234,500, about $80,000 more than we guessed. For the same price you can have the 4.2 FSI petrol model or, if more legroom is required, there's also a long wheelbase version for another $15,000.

Standard features include leather, wood, a sunroof, four-zone airconditioning, power operated boot, plus hard drive audio with satellite navigation and a 14-speaker Bose sound system.

The thing is even at this price many features remain optional some of which should perhaps be standard like adaptive cruise control at $5400. It's opulent all right but for a high end model, a little light on in the gadget department.

DESIGN

The A8 is Audi's technology leader. It's a long 5.137 metres, aluminium bodied to save weight and kitted out with lots of leather and wood trim. Our test vehicle even smelled like it had been freshly polished inside. The front seats are 22-way power adjustable and the ambient strip lighting in the cabin is a real treat at night.

SAFETY

As good as it gets with a pre-sense safety system for avoiding accidents and for minimizing their consequences. Comes with all the safety gear you'd expect including six airbags, all-wheel drive, electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes.

TECHNOLOGY

The 4.1-litre, not 4.2 twin turbo diesel V8 (it has a capacity of 4134cc) delivers 258kW of power and a massive 800Nm of torque from a low 1750 revs. 0-100km/h takes a surprisingly quick 5.5 seconds and it even sounds like a V8, but doesn't have anywhere near the same appetite for fuel.

Claimed fuel consumption is an incredible 7.6 litres/100km, which with a 90 litre tank gives the car a range of 1184km  but the trip computer was showing a more realistic longterm average of 12.8.

The V8 is hooked up to a state of the art eight speed auto complete with paddles shifts, with drive to all four wheels via a self-locking centre differential. Despite its size it weighs only 1995kg because of the all-aluminium construction.

DRIVE

The all-wheel drive system is biased towards the rear to give the car a sportier feel, with a sports differential that distributes power between the rear wheels for better handling. 

Feels slower than it is but when the lights go green you'll soon discover yourself 200 metres down the road ahead of everyone else. Even in dynamic mode the adaptive air suspension was a little soft for our liking, but you can add sports suspension for another $2200.

It has really annoying brakes that pull you up abruptly but then the car rocks backwards and forwards on its suspension before finally coming to rest.

VERDICT

Of the big German three we prefer the Audi, but if economy is a priority we'd probably opt for the much cheaper 3.0-litre diesel which also offers plenty of performance. Then of course there's the superlative S8 which we'd buy in heartbeat if we won Lotto.

AUDI A8

Price: $234,000 (FSI), $188,000 (V6), $234,500 (TDI V8)
Engines: 4.2L V8 petrol, 3.0L TDI V6, 4.2L TDI V8)
Power: 273kW (FSI), 184kW (V6), 258kW (TDI V8)
Torque: 445Nm (FSI), 550Nm (V6), 800Nm (TDI V8)
Transmission: 8-speed auto with paddle shifts
Economy: (l/100km): 9.5 (FSI), 6.6 (V6), 7.6 (TDI V8) CO2 (g/km): 219 (FSI), 176 (V6), 199 (TDI V8)

Pricing guides

$36,985
Based on 3 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$36,985
Highest Price
$44,950

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
3.0 TDI Quattro 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $35,700 – 46,200 2011 Audi A8 2011 3.0 TDI Quattro Pricing and Specs
4.2 FSI Quattro 4.2L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $39,500 – 50,490 2011 Audi A8 2011 4.2 FSI Quattro Pricing and Specs
4.2 TDI Quattro 4.2L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $60,700 – 76,780 2011 Audi A8 2011 4.2 TDI Quattro Pricing and Specs
L 3.0 TDI Quattro 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $45,800 – 57,860 2011 Audi A8 2011 L 3.0 TDI Quattro Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.