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.
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.
The A8 uses LED headlights, currently a rare feature in cars. These lights use less electricity than conventional lamps, and last much longer.
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.
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.
This car came with an air suspension, letting us adjust it between comfort and dynamic settings. Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive is standard.
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.
Audi improved the cabin of the A8 immeasurably over the previous generation, decreasing hard plastic surfaces in favor of leather, metal, and wood.
Ambient lighting strips run along the ceiling, subtle enough not to impinge on the luxury feel of this car.
Audi uses an adjustable steering system that palpably changes in feel when the car is switched between Comfort and Dynamic modes.
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.
The center display shows a variety of information, including route guidance.
With the buttons on the steering wheel and the instrument cluster display, you can choose music from a connected iPod or other music source.
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.
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.
Even with our lousy penmanship, the car recognized this as an E.
Once the car recognizes an input, it normalizes the letter or number, and reads it back to you.
Many of the menus in the A8 use this ellipse style menu. The main menu contains entries for the navigation, audio, and phone systems.
Drive Select lets you choose between Comfort and Dynamic settings for the car's steering, suspension, and throttle response.
Audi has the most detailed 3D maps of any car company, although this amount of rendering is only done in some downtown areas.
Audi has one of the best phone systems in the business. It supports dial-by-name voice command.
A hatch covers the CD/DVD player and two SD card slots.
Audi offers all the digital music sources you could want, including iPod integration, an onboard hard drive, and the aforementioned SD card slots.
The onboard hard drive, which Audi calls the Jukebox, can store about 3,000 tracks.
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.
Audi's backup camera system includes trajectory lines and distance.
These controls on the side of the seat activate a massage system.
There are five different massage options.