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2010 Audi A8 Review

This review was written when the 2010 Audi A8 was new.

In its last year before a major redesign, Audi has trimmed the A8 lineup significantly -- but the car that remains is still one of the most athletic and luxurious Super Luxury Cars. Its cabin outclasses some of the world’s finest cars, and the Quattro All-Wheel-Drive system makes it feel secure and planted.

Audi will introduce an entirely new flagship A8 for the 2011 model year -- but that doesn’t mean buyers should overlook the 2010 edition currently sitting on dealership lots. It’s still an exceptional car, and it is possible that the arrival of the 2011 A8 could push prices of the current model down, creating a unique buying opportunity in mid-2010.

The A8 has a distinct personality within the hyper-competitive Super Luxury Sedan class. It offers what many reviewers consider one of the finest interiors of the group, with exemplary Valcona leather and real wood trim, and one of the easiest-to-use electronics interfaces available on a premium car. It’s remarkably agile for a heavy, full-size car. Quattro All-Wheel-Drive gives inspires conficence, and precise steering makes it perhaps the most nimble car in its class. It also carries one of the lowest entry prices of the group.

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Still, the A8 has flaws. For 2010, Audi has discontinued the sporty S8 variant, as well as a powerful W12 engine that won raves from the automotive press for years. The only powerplant available in the A8 this year is a 4.2-liter V8 that, while not underpowered, can’t compete with the 400-plus horsepower units offered on the BMW 7-Series, Mercedes-Benz S600 or Porsche Panamera.

Each of those cars was redesigned more recently than the A8 -- and each carries electronic safety advances not found on the Audi. The A8, for instance, does not offer a telematics system that will contact emergency services in the event of an accident, or a forward-looking radar that illuminates objects in the road beyond headlight range.

Details: Audi A8

Audi plans an entirely new A8 fairly early in 2010. Though it will be badged as a 2011 model, the next A8 could reach dealerships early in the summer. 

For 2010, Audi has trimmed the A8 lineup. The ultra-premium W12 edition and the sporty S8 variant have been discontinued. Standard A8 and long-wheelbase A8L editions are still offered. Other changes for 2010 are minor, including now-standard LED daytime running lights, and new contrast-color seat stitching on long-wheelbase editions.

  • “An iconoclastic alternative to the more popular Mercedes S-class, the A8 is a refined and beautifully made luxury car that can do a convincing impersonation of a sports sedan.” -- Car and Driver
  • “"Audi's flagship trumps some rivals for interior decor, standard all-wheel drive, and, depending on model, base price. A8s can overwhelm with high technology, and the air suspension doesn't provide an ideal ride/handling balance. Still, these Recommended picks are formidable premium large sedans.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "A thinking person's luxury car, more progressive, less traditional than a BMW or Mercedes. It's elegant but not arrogant, indulgent without being excessive." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "The A8 remains the German luxury sedan for drivers who want more all-weather sport than rolling boardroom." -- Motor Trend
Review Last Updated: 9/14/11

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