2012 Audi A8 Review
This review was written when the 2012 Audi A8 was new.
For 2012, the Audi A8 continues to offer excellent handling, standard all-wheel drive and an opulent, tech-heavy interior.
As Audi’s flagship sedan, the 2012 A8 offers all the technology, comfort and performance that test drivers expect from a super luxury car. From a performance standpoint, the A8 is a super-luxury Jack-of-all-trades. It’s sportier than the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Lexus LS, but more comfort-tuned than the Porsche Panamera and BMW 7-Series.
Combine that composed, just-right handling with the A8’s standard all-wheel drive and good fuel economy, and the A8 sounds like a sedan that even Goldilocks could love. However, compared with many V8 super luxury cars, the base A8 is short on horsepower. Most critics say that the lack of power isn’t an issue, since the engine is well-paired to the eight-speed transmission, but others want performance that competing cars like the BMW 750i and Porsche Panamera S have.
Reviewers say the A8’s cabin is exceptionally crafted, and the standard MMI infotainment system now features Google Earth views on its navigation screen and available Wi-Fi connectivity, thanks to a SIM card in the A8’s dash. Test drivers like the design and features inside the A8, but say that it packs less cargo space than many rival luxury sedans. Passenger space, on the other hand is ample.
One reviewer says that perhaps the A8’s biggest shortcoming is likely that it lacks the panache and brand recognition of its European rivals. Combined with understated exterior styling, the 2012 Audi A8 lacks the commanding presence of cars like the S-Class and Panamera.
Other Cars to Consider
If you’re looking for a car with an equally luxurious interior, and are willing to trade some of the A8’s sporty performance characteristics for a lower base price, consider the Lexus LS. Reviewers rave about the LS’ luxurious interior and comfortable ride, but note that the LS can get pricey when you start adding options.
The BMW 7-Series is also a worthy competitor if you want a more engaging driving experience. Reviewers say the 7-Series is nimbler than the A8, and it’s available with multiple drivetrain configurations. However, most agree that the A8 has a nicer interior, and if you’re drawn to Audi’s standard all-wheel drive, you’ll have to add it as an option on both the BMW and the Lexus.
Audi A8: The Details
The 2012 Audi A8 comes in two trims: the A8 and the extended-wheelbase A8 L. A V8 engine and all-wheel drive come standard on both models, while an optional W12 engine is now available on the A8 L. See the full 2012 Audi A8 specs.
- "It's our current favorite flagship sedan, having bested the BMW 7-series and Jaguar XJ in a comparison test." -- Car and Driver
- "The 2012 Audi A8 gives nothing away to its rivals in terms of performance, comfort, technological wizardry or build quality. As such, this driver-focused luxury sedan should be on the consideration list of anybody shopping this segment." -- Edmunds
- "Rival flagships may still best the A8 for brand cachet, residual-value strength and customer-satisfaction scores, but Audi counters with standard all-wheel drive, unique style, and lower base prices with comparable equipment." -- Consumer Guide
- "While not out of line for this class, the Audi is no longer a Lexus-level bargain." -- New York Times
- "The redesigned A8 sedan offers luxury and performance at a lower price than rivals BMW and Mercedes -- too bad it also offers less horsepower." -- BusinessWeek