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Audi A8 4.2 TDI 2011 review

The new A8 TDI V8 is an absolute rocketship with acceleration that will pin your ears back and singe your eyebrows!
EXPERT RATING
8

THE nation's "decision-makers" now have three more luxury saloons to choose from. Audi has added two turbo-diesel A8s to the existing 4.2 FSI petrol V8 model with a long-wheelbase model coming next month.

The new flagship is the 4.2 TDI V8, the first V8 diesel in its class. It will be joined by a 3.0 TDI V6. It will be joined by a 3.0 TDI V6. All engine models also now come in a long-wheelbase version.

Audi Australia boss Uwe Hagen says these models will make them more competitive.

"The D segment is really important to us because these are the decision-makers of the country," he says.

PRICE

The diesel V8 arrives at the same price of $234,000 as the existing 4.2 FSI V8, providing a tempting choice for decision-makers. The 3.0 TDI V6 is listed at $188,000.

A8 product planner Jacqueline Walden says 35 per cent of all Audi sales last year were diesel-powered. She expects the two new diesel models to represent 70 per cent of A8 sales with about 60 per cent of those buyers opting for the flagship.

"We will have a diesel in every model in our range by the end of the year except the R8," she says.

The A8 comes standard with quattro all-wheel drive Audi "drive select" and air suspension. The V8 also gets a sport differential which splits torque between the rear wheels for better drive through corners. It's optional in the V6.

The V6 comes with 18-inch alloys, pre-sense safety system, rear camera and parking system, cruise control, MMI satnav, Bluetooth, music interface, metallic or pearl paint, electric adjustable steering column, electric sunroof, Xenon headlights and LED daytime lights.

The V8 adds 19-inch alloys, ambient lighting in three colours, adaptive lights that monitor oncoming cars, automatic boot lid, servo-closing doors, Bose sound system, digital TV and sports diff.

Key options include LED headlights ($2700), night vision assistant with pedestrian detection ($5400), adaptive cruise with stop and go ($5395), adaptive cruise with lane assist, side assist and pre sense plus ($9080), 1400-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system ($16,950 in the V6 and $14,430 in the V8) and rear seat entertainment screens ($9845).

TECHNOLOGY

Walden says the TDI technology has a "racing pedigree" from their four diesel-powered Le Mans victories.

"TDI not only benefits the race track, but also customers," she says. The new turbo-diesel engines are "high-performance, low-consumption, lightweight and compact engines".

New to the 3.0 TDI V6 is a stop-start system that switches the engine off when stationary. Walden says this, alone, represents a fuel consumption saving of up to 0.4 per cent. Other fuel-saving technologies in the V6 are an on-demand oil pump, reduced internal friction, thermal management and a recuperation system.

The engine weighs 194kg, which is 23kg less than the previous model. Power has been increased 13kW to 184kW and torque is up 100Nm to 550Nm, yet fuel consumption is down 1.4 litres per 100km to 6.6L/100km and CO2 emissions are down 40g/km to 176g/km. But most impressive is the stonking 258kg 4.2 TDI V8 with a walloping 800Nm of torque.

Yet Audi claims it sips fuel at 7.6L/100km and emits CO2 at 199g/km. Fuel economy is reduced 6 per cent by the addition of an eight-speed transmission, with shift-by-wire technology.

DESIGN

The new A8 arrived last year and these models continue the same Audi style with single-frame grille, V shape bonnet and coupe-like D pillar.

It's an attractive, if understated saloon, with an opulent and hi-tech interior. The MMI touchpad infotainment system is a little more complex than before and takes a bit of getting used to. However, the touchpad function helps simplify use and the restyled gear lever actually becomes a handy arm rest when using the touchpad.

Underneath is the new Audi spaceframe which is 40 per cent lighter than a conventional steel body.

DRIVING

The national media launch of the A8 took us down narrow country roads west of Melbourne. We marveled at the car's remarkable stability when stepping two wheels off on to the soft dirt shoulder to allow a truck to pass on the narrow bitumen. Then we hit a monster pothole.

When we returned to the bitumen, the car immediately felt biased to the left and within a kilometre a warning on the dashboard told us we had a flat tyre. The spare is a space-saver, but thankfully Audi "minders" arrived with a full-size replacement. Owners can't expect that sort of service when they buy the car.

The new A8 is a delight to drive and the TDI V8 is an absolute rocketship with acceleration that will pin your ears back and singe your eyebrows. Audi tells us it accelerates to 100km/h in 5.5 seconds.

But most importantly for drivers and passengers in this class of car, the diesels don't sound or feel like tractors. They are smooth and quiet, while the V8 has a macho growl at full throttle that could fool most people into thinking it's a petrol engine. They handle like much smaller cars and the sports diff gives them even greater cornering agility.

VERDICT

Audi's new diesel A8s provide the "decision maker" with a balanced approach to power, economy, environmental concerns and safety.

AUDI A8

Pricing: $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.