2008 Audi A8 Performance
This performance review was written when the 2008 Audi A8 was new.
While the Audi A8 retains its basic performance features, it still delivers an excellent ride for a large sedan. With impressive acceleration, confident handling and permanent all-wheel drive, the A8 is a luxurious cruiser that doesn't skimp on power.
New Car Test Drive says the A8 has "raised the bar for performance," and adds that it "rides like a luxury car, yet it's taut and handles like a sports sedan." The says "you would be hard-pressed to find a more sure-footed, comfortable vehicle in which to cover many miles in a short period of time."
Acceleration and Power
The 2008 Audi A8 comes with a 4.2-liter FSI engine that produces 350 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 325 pound-feet of torque at 3,500 rpm. New Car Test Drive reports that the A8 "can be a thrill to drive," and adds that it "delivers powerful acceleration, but its power delivery is sophisticated, not crude." Automobile Magazine says the car "sounds great, goes fast, and is terrifically entertaining when the pavement begins to curve."
The A8 comes with a six-speed Tiptronic transmission, that "shifts up or down according to the driver's wishes, deftly sensing how quickly and how hard the throttle is mashed," writes New Car Test Drive. The same review notes that upshifts are "silky smooth" yet "in some instances, downshifts could come quicker, but the reserve of torque in either engine more than compensates for any shift lag." The 2008 Audi A8 V8 has an Environmental Protection Agency estimated fuel economy of 16 miles per gallon in the city and 23 on the highway.
Handling and Braking
The A8 sedan has air suspension struts on all four wheels and comes with four driver-activated suspension settings, including Dynamic, Comfort, Lift and Automatic. Most conclude the Audi is easy to maneuver, and delivers a smooth and comfortable ride, despite its enormous size. "One key to this big sedan's excellent handling and ride quality is its rigid aluminum space frame," says New Car Test Drive. "The frame resists flexing and lets the suspension do all the work, which is how it's supposed to be."
The A8's rack-and-pinion steering has improved since the previous year and gives the Audi what Automobile Magazine says is a "fluid and consistent feel." Car and Driver notes that the revised setup gives the car "a more direct steering feel" and New Car Test Drive adds that the A8's steering is "sharp and precise, providing excellent communication between the tires and the driver."
Edmunds reviewers, having tested the A8 on winding German roads, mention that the large sedan feels smaller than it is in actuality, calling this a "monumental achievement," adding that the improved steering "allows you to precisely place the big A8 right between the fir trees at the edge of the road and the oncoming bread vans without making Mr. Baker-man cover his face and say his prayers when you zip through the gap."
Many praise the A8's Anti-lock Brake System and Electronic Brake Pressure Distribution. Automobile Magazine reports: "On the credit side, the A8 has extremely energetic brakes and plenty of grip." New Car Test Drive says that the brakes "are easy to modulate for smooth stops, and powerful enough for repeated hard braking from high speeds without fading." They add that the A8 "exhibits very little nose-dive during braking and absolutely no drama in the hardest stops. It simply stops straight and true, allowing the driver to maintain steering control in virtually all circumstances."
All Wheel Drive
The 2008 Audi A8 comes equipped with a capable all-wheel drive system. According to New Car Test Drive, the A8's Quattro 4 permanent all-wheel drive "offers excellent traction in slippery conditions, but also improves stability when cornering, whether under full-throttle acceleration or when the driver lifts off the gas suddenly in the middle of a turn." Forbes says the system "distributes power from front to rear and side to side, to afford both excellent dry-road handling abilities as well as added traction and control when the weather turns ugly."