2013 Audi A8 Performance
This performance review was written when the 2013 Audi A8 was new.
Reviewers say that the 2013 Audi A8 offers surprisingly nimble handling for a super luxury car, as well as strong brakes and a powerful range of engine choices. Test drivers also note that the 2013 A8 offers a comfortable, composed ride, thanks to an adaptive air suspension and Audi Drive Select, which allows you to customize the A8’s engine, transmission, suspension and steering settings.
- "Power is plentiful, whether under acceleration or cruising down the highway. Passing slower cars is effortless and the brakes are equally up to the task of bringing the big sedan to a halt." -- Edmunds
- "Most important, the 2013 A8 L 3.0T feels just as good to drive as the old 4.2 does. Its aluminum-intensive construction allows the big Audi to waft along the road feeling much lighter, smaller, and more tossable than any full-size luxury sedan has a right to." -- Motor Trend
- "Compared to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class or BMW 7 Series, the A8 seems almost demure. That is, until you get behind the wheel and unleash the power from any one of the A8's three available engine choices, including a 500-horsepower W12." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "Around town, we'd leave the suspension in Comfort mode and enjoy the ride. The shifts are imperceptible, and the S8's cabin is a cocoon of isolation." -- Popular Mechanics (Audi S8)
Acceleration and Power
The 2013 Audi A8 comes with a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that produces 333 horsepower. An eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard. A turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 and a 6.3-liter W12 are optional, which produce 420 and 500 horsepower, respectively. The EPA reports that the base A8 gets 18/28 mpg city/highway, which is similar to the Jaguar XJ’s fuel economy, but not quite as good as the BMW 740i’s.
The high-performance Audi S8 comes with a 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 engine that generates 520 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 481 pound-feet of torque at 5,500 rpm. An eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard. Audi reports that the 2013 S8 accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds with a top speed of 155 mph.
Reviewers love the acceleration that the 2013 S8’s turbocharged V8 engine delivers, but some say that even the base supercharged V6 engine provides plenty of power. Last year, the 2012 A8 came standard with a more powerful V8 engine, and one critic was unconvinced that the smaller V6 would provide enough power. However, those concerns were laid to rest on the test track, where the new engine helped the A8 deliver a quicker 0 to 60 mph time than the outgoing model.
- "The engine steps off the line gracefully and spins smoothly to redline without the slightest hint of turbo lag. Working seamlessly with the crisp eight-speed automatic, the 4.0-liter is always ready to twist the tach needle to the right and launch the S8 down the road." -- Automobile Magazine (Audi S8)
- "When we heard that a supercharged V6 would replace the base V8, the news was met with quite a bit of skepticism. As it turns out, the new V6 is actually quicker to 60 mph, if only by a few tenths of a second. We contend that few drivers would ever suspect the difference between the two engines." -- Edmunds
- "The S8 roars to life with an all-new twin-turbo V8 that is a work of art. With 520 horsepower on tap, it's enough to get the 4,300-pound car to 60 mph in less than five seconds." -- Kelley Blue Book (Audi S8)
- "Nail the gas pedal to the firewall and the sensation is unrelenting thrust unlike that of just about any sedan we've ever driven." -- Popular Mechanics (Audi S8)
Handling and Braking
Most reviewers are impressed with the 2013 Audi A8’s adjustable air suspension, which allows the driver to choose between Comfort and Dynamic (sport) driving modes, or an Automatic mode that’s the middle ground between the two. They say that the A8 offers a comfortable, composed ride, and that it handles well when the road gets twisty.
- "Even in the stiffest setting, Audi has preserved the compliance you'd expect from an A8. So while body motions are tightly controlled, the ride on the standard 21-inch wheels is never jarring." -- Automobile Magazine (Audi S8)
- "With its all-wheel drive, automatic air suspension and crisp steering response, the A8, in either wheelbase configuration, handles like a smaller, lighter sport sedan. Yet over broken pavement the Audi flagship delivers a compliant, composed ride fully in keeping with its luxury sedan status." -- Edmunds
- "The standard adaptive air suspension does an impressive job of giving a ride that allows the driver to feel in touch with the road, while also soaking up larger surface imperfections." -- Motor Trend
- "The 2013 Audi A8 offers a fine balance between a luxury cruiser and sports car when driven. The adaptive air suspension provides an overall comfortable ride but isn't afraid to get the job done when pushed hard into a tight corner." -- Kelley Blue Book