X

2011 Audi A8 (photos)

As its flagship sedan, Audi builds a lot of technology into the A8. Not only does it feature extensive and useful cabin tech, but its performance tech lets this big sedan drive like a much smaller car.

Wayne_Cunningham.jpg
Wayne_Cunningham.jpg
Wayne Cunningham
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
34147987_SS01.jpg
1 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
The A8 is Audi's flagship model, a luxury sedan designed to be either owner or chauffeur driven. For 2011, Audi significantly updated the car, refining the exterior, improving the cabin tech, and giving it new performance tech.
34147987_SS02.jpg
2 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
Audi enhances the look of the A8's signature grille by decreasing the bumper and hood lines around it. The cross pieces also get a more geometrical design, making the whole piece stand out more.
34147987_SS03.jpg
3 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
The A8 uses LED headlights, currently a rare feature in cars. These lights use less electricity than conventional lamps, and last much longer.
34147987_SS04.jpg
4 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
The 4.2-liter direct-injection V-8 under the hood generates 372 horsepower and 328 pound-feet of torque, enough to get the car to 62 mph in 5.7 seconds.
34147987_SS05.jpg
5 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
Audi modernized the body of the A8 by smoothing it out, limiting the contour lines. But it also added a small C pillar window behind the rear side window, which makes the rear look ready for VIP passengers.
34147987_SS06.jpg
6 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
This car came with an air suspension, letting us adjust it between comfort and dynamic settings. Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive is standard.
34147987_SS08.jpg
7 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
The trunk is not as spacious as we would expect, but the trunk lid is designed to allow very easy access, opening all the way up toward the rear window.
34147987_SS09.jpg
8 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
Audi improved the cabin of the A8 immeasurably over the previous generation, decreasing hard plastic surfaces in favor of leather, metal, and wood.
34147987_SS10.jpg
9 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
Ambient lighting strips run along the ceiling, subtle enough not to impinge on the luxury feel of this car.
34147987_SS11.jpg
10 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
Audi uses an adjustable steering system that palpably changes in feel when the car is switched between Comfort and Dynamic modes.
34147987_SS12.jpg
11 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
The tachometer's light-up redline changes position depending on engine temperature. The fuel and temperature gauges also use light bars to indicate their level.
34147987_SS13.jpg
12 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
The center display shows a variety of information, including route guidance.
34147987_SS14.jpg
13 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
With the buttons on the steering wheel and the instrument cluster display, you can choose music from a connected iPod or other music source.
34147987_SS16.jpg
14 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
Audi calls its shifter the yacht lever, as it resembles the throttle lever on a power boat. Transmission control is completely electronic, and the shifter slides easily through its positions.
34147987_SS17.jpg
15 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
Audi's usual MMI controller sits in the center of the console, but the company added a trackpad next to it, which can be used for radio presets or to trace letters for navigation input.
34147987_SS22.jpg
16 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
Even with our lousy penmanship, the car recognized this as an E.
34147987_SS23.jpg
17 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
Once the car recognizes an input, it normalizes the letter or number, and reads it back to you.
34147987_SS18.jpg
18 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
Many of the menus in the A8 use this ellipse style menu. The main menu contains entries for the navigation, audio, and phone systems.
34147987_SS19.jpg
19 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
Drive Select lets you choose between Comfort and Dynamic settings for the car's steering, suspension, and throttle response.
34147987_SS20.jpg
20 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
Audi has the most detailed 3D maps of any car company, although this amount of rendering is only done in some downtown areas.
34147987_SS24.jpg
21 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
Audi has one of the best phone systems in the business. It supports dial-by-name voice command.
34147987_SS25.jpg
22 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
A hatch covers the CD/DVD player and two SD card slots.
34147987_SS27.jpg
23 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
Audi offers all the digital music sources you could want, including iPod integration, an onboard hard drive, and the aforementioned SD card slots.
34147987_SS28.jpg
24 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
The onboard hard drive, which Audi calls the Jukebox, can store about 3,000 tracks.
34147987_SS32.jpg
25 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
The disc player can handle DVDs, showing them on the front screen when parked, or on rear screens with an optional rear-seat entertainment system.
34147987_SS29.jpg
26 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
Audi's backup camera system includes trajectory lines and distance.
34147987_SS30.jpg
27 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
These controls on the side of the seat activate a massage system.
34147987_SS31.jpg
28 of 28 Josh Miller/CNET
There are five different massage options.

More Galleries

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera
A houseplant

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera

20 Photos
Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra
magic-v2-2024-foldable-1383

Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra

10 Photos
The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum
Samsung Galaxy S24

The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum

23 Photos
Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design
The Galaxy S24 Ultra in multiple colors

Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design

23 Photos
I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites
img-0368.jpg

I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

34 Photos
17 Hidden iOS 17 Features and Settings on Your iPhone
Invitation for the Apple September iPhone 15 event

17 Hidden iOS 17 Features and Settings on Your iPhone

18 Photos
AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?
img-1599-2.jpg

AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

17 Photos