The big 2008 Audi A8 L W12 combines high luxury and surprisingly sporty performance. Its tech credentials are anchored by a stellar Bang & Olufsen audio system, and include some innovative driving tech. While quite nice to drive, a chauffer makes a fine accessory.
The A8 L W12 is the absolute top of Audi's product line, a car combining luxury and sporty handling. The L means this is the long wheelbase version, affording extra leg room in the rear seats, while the W12 refers to the car's engine, a massive 6-liter 12 cylinder.
Although an ultimate luxury car, the A8 L W12 uses standard Audi styling in front, with the big grille extending through the bumper. A window in the lower portion of the grille houses the forward-looking radar, used for adaptive cruise control and collision mitigation.
The engine is two V-6es set side-by-side and intertwined. With 6-liters and 12 cylinders, it creates 450 horsepower and 428 pound-feet of torque. It is thirsty, though, getting 13 mpg city and 19 mpg highway.
The instrument cluster gets wood trim surrounding the gauges, a nice touch. In this image, the adaptive cruise control is active. The green lights on the speedometer show that the A8 is tracking the car in front of it.
The six speed automatic transmission works nicely in sport mode, downshifting when you apply the brakes before a corner. There is also a manual mode. The A8 uses Audi's standard MMI controller for controlling navigation, audio, and cell phone.
The optional Bang & Olufsen audio system delivers the best sound we've ever heard in a car. It uses 14 speakers each with its own amp and over 1,000 watts. This subwoofer sits on the rear deck with full range drivers to either side.