2012 Audi A8 Interior
This interior review was written when the 2012 Audi A8 was new.
Reviewers are generally impressed with the high-quality materials, passenger space and cutting-edge cabin electronics inside the 2012 Audi A8. The A8 also offers more interior storage than most European rivals, but falls short with less cargo space to stow your gear.
- "Phenomenal cabin design and materials." -- Car and Driver
- "In typical Audi fashion, the fit and finish is superb, with generous amounts of wood, faux suede and aluminum accents lending a luxurious ambience." -- Edmunds
- "The A8’s cabin may be the segment’s new luxury standard as well, as beautifully finished as any competitor, but with leading ergonomics from its easy-to-use M.M.I. (for multimedia interface) and ancillary controls. No automaker does graphics and displays with such consistent elegance." -- New York Times
- "The A8's new interior is beautiful. My test car was upholstered in gorgeous black and coffee-brown leather, with sumptuous suede inserts in the door panels. The tiered and sculpted dash is not only functional but one of the best-looking around. I love the way various wood, aluminum, and leather design elements curve around the dash and continue along the doors." -- BusinessWeek
- "The A8's navigation system comes with the usual advanced features we would expect, such as text to speech and traffic avoidance. This latter feature did not always work optimally in our testing. In one instance, it advised us to get on the freeway into stop-and-go traffic rather than travel about four blocks on surface streets. Unlike some competitors, Audi has not added data sources such as weather or local gas prices." -- CNET
The comfortable seats and roomy accommodations inside the A8 earn high marks from almost all reviewers who’ve driven it. The standard leather front seats are comfortable, heated and power-adjustable, but most reviewers have driven an A8 with the optional Premium package, which includes heated and ventilated front seats with a massage function.
- "With the available 22-way power-adjustable front seats (including upper seatback angle) and standard power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, finding a comfortable driving position is easy for folks of all body types." -- Edmunds
- "Bristling with tech and featuring a cavernous interior, it's a limo with the soul of a sports sedan." -- Car and Driver
- "The driving position is easily tailored via a power tilt and telescopic steering wheel and ample seat-adjustment ranges. The seats themselves are well-shaped and supportive." -- Consumer Guide
- "The optional Comfort front seats offer especially vigorous massages six ways; the chairs’ 22-way adjustments include pneumatic side and thigh bolsters, a cushion extender and an upper backrest control." -- New York Times
- "The front seats are unusually comfortable and there's plenty of foot, knee, and head room in the rear seat." -- BusinessWeek
- "Even with the regular-length A8, there was enough backseat space for nearly all of our child-safety seats." -- Mother Proof
The A8 earns rave reviews for its sumptuous accommodations and cutting-edge interior tech, but reviewers agree that one sticking point is the A8’s quirky electronic shifter. It lacks the mechanical gates of traditional gear selectors, so the driver has to carefully nudge the stick toward the desired gear. Push too hard and the A8 might end up in Sport mode instead of drive, or park instead of reverse.
Still, the rest of the A8’s interior features a healthy dose of tech gadgets that most test drivers appreciate. They say the optional, but pricey, Bang & Olufsen sound system is among the best-sounding stereos available in a super luxury car. Audi’s MMI interface also earns praise from the automotive press. Most say that it’s easy to use, and they love the new touchpad. You can still use the MMI knob to make selections for audio, navigation and vehicle settings, but with the touchpad you can write out destinations or select audio settings with your finger. You don’t need great penmanship either. Most reviewers say that the touchpad can recognize even the worst chicken scratch.
While Audi’s MMI is vastly improved, one reviewer comments that MMI absorbed too many of the A8’s functions. Still, most competitors have gone this route -- BMW’s iDrive and Mercedes-Benz’s COMAND are also one-stop shops that adjust most vehicle settings. If you’re on the lookout for a super luxury car that doesn’t integrate all of its functions into a single user interface, check out the Porsche Panamera or the Lexus LS, which both offer separate controls for audio, climate and vehicle functions.
- "Finicky, weird shifter." -- Car and Driver
- "The dash is uncluttered by buttons thanks to Audi's MMI, which handles everything from the navigation and audio systems to the adjustment of the driver-selectable air suspension. The latter even has the ability to recognize handwritten gestures." -- Edmunds
- "The test car's new-style shift lever--shaped like a yacht's hand-throttle, Audi says--had a stiff action that often resulted in overshooting the desired position." -- Consumer Guide
- "Ambient light, in a choice of three colors, spills over an optional Alcantara suede headliner worthy of a Bentley. On interior door panels, shapely awnings of wood and metal overhang a suede midsection so soft it might have come from skinned velveteen rabbits." -- New York Times
- "Putting the navigation system into destination entry mode, we were able to bypass Audi's inefficient rotary alphanumeric input and trace letters on the touch pad. We found it very easy to keep our eyes on the road while entering letters and numbers, with the system offering verbal confirmation for each input." -- CNET
- "Gone are the days of endlessly twisting the MMI knob to input an address, find a phone contact, dial up an XM station or navigate a map on the flip-up, central-mounted display. The MMI Touch is hands-down the A8's killer app, and Audi's competitors better hope that the patent application has more holes than the Steelers' defense." -- Autoblog
Compared with most super luxury cars, the A8’s 13.2 cubic feet of trunk space comes up a little short. Athletic competitors like the BMW 7-Series and Porsche Panamera offer 14 and 15 cubic feet of cargo space, respectively. If you need even more room to stow your gear, look to the Lexus LS or the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which offer 18 and 16.4 cubic feet, in that order.
- "Trunk space is a bit small, though, at just 13.2 cubic feet." -- Edmunds
- "The trunk has a usefully cubic shape but unexceptional volume. The aperture is too small for bulky boxes. Old-fashioned sickle-shaped trunk lid hinges seem cheap at this price, but they're covered and don't intrude much. Typical of the class, the rear seats don't fold, and a trunk pass-through/ski sack costs extra. Above-par interior storage includes large bins and small covered cubbies in the doors, and a deep center-console box beneath twin height-adjustable armrests." -- Consumer Guide
- "The only packaging penalty is cargo space: when I popped the powered lid I was surprised at the modest trunk within. At 13.2 cubic feet, the A8’s trunk trails not only its main competitors, but is about 3 cubic feet shy of the smaller Audi A6 sedan." -- New York Times