The A8 has always been and will likely continue to be Audi's epitome of 'vorsprung durch technik' (progress through technology).
It has never really sold well in Singapore, and is not exactly going like hotcakes in other markets too. In the U.S., the A8 does about one-third the volume of BMW's 7-Series, and about one-fifth that of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
But I personally think its success doesn't come from sales, but how it is a canvas for Audi to paint its most beautiful picture, using the best of the brand\'s talents and medium- technology.
It almost feels like Audi is proud of this. Just look at the design. It is simple and clean, not particularly revolutionary and nowhere near as avant-garde as the new Mercedes S-Class. But does Audi care? Nope. It's almost as if they're saying: "If you want something flashy and loud, look elsewhere."
The wow-factor of the new A8 has to be the rear OLED lights though. And ‘wow’ it did when we showed it off to our colleagues at work, the full panel LED does a ‘opening ceremony’ and never fails to drop jaws with its running lights sequence.
Swing open the heavy driver's door and the clean, non-showy lines continue in the interior. The quality of materials used are of achingly top quality though - which makes the elegant lines even more attractive and lovely to behold and touch.
The chunky four-spoke steering wheel has a futuristic design with aluminium grips that house steering controls. Aircon ventilation outlets also automatically open and close like the first Jaguar XF. Cool stuff.
The super sleek and seamless Virtual Cockpit instrument is another wow-factor for the interior and spans across the dash, but it is also a fingerprint magnet. People with OCD beware! Even the aircon controls are touchscreen and you can toggle through all the settings (fan speed, temperature, etc) with literally the touch of a finger.
One thing the A8 ‘limo’ has is acres of space. The refinement on all the materials found in the cabin are of top-notch quality and finishing. Yet it never feels over-the-top. Which to me, is the true essence of class.
Powering the new A8 is a 3.0-litre turbo-petrol V6 with an adequate 340 bhp and 500 Nm of torque. A smooth and quick eight-speeder automatic compliments the power-plant, and they both combine with the adaptive air suspension to serve up the A8 on a smooth magic carpet.
Despite having these strengths and cool tech features, we’re certain that nine out of ten Singaporeans will still choose a Mercedes S-Class or a BMW 7-Series over the new Audi A8.
Perhaps it may be due to resale value or demand, maybe it has got to do the fact that old perceptions die hard. Either way, it is by no means reflective of the car, because the new A8 is truly a class act.