It drives remarkably well, and it is a very luxurious place to be. The EV range isn’t as wide as it could be, and there are still some questions about the ride.
What is it?
It is almost strange to imagine yourself driving an Audi A8 luxury limousine in 2022. It is still the flagship of its manufacturer, just like the BMW 7 Series or Mercedes-Benz S-Class. But, all eyes now turn to the EVs, SUVs, and hybrids.
This feeling is bolstered by the fact that the facelifted A8 does not introduce any new technology. Driving this slightly improved version is a nice reminder of how relaxing it can be to travel, as both a driver and a passenger.
Although there aren’t any new features that will grab attention, the 60 TFSIe plug in hybrid model has one major upgrade: the battery has been increased to 17.9kWh (of whom 14.4kWh is available) to provide 36.6 miles of pure electric running. It also feeds an electric motor with a greater power output, increasing the system output by 20bhp from 455bhp.
The A8 is still available with the mild-hybrid 3.0-litre turboV6 petrol or diesel engines, and with the stunningly woofy 563bhp turbopetrol V8 in S8.
Design-wise, the grille was redesigned (it hasn’t gotten any smaller), and Vorsprung’s top-of-the-line version now has digital matrix LED headlights. These are said to have more control over the beams, so they can highlight your lane, for instance.
The A8 L is the longest-wheelbase variant that we tested. Your chauffeur will have to worry about seeing at night in the A8 L. The back seats offer incredible comfort thanks to the large amount of legroom and massaging seats that allow for endless adjustment. You can even have screens mounted to the rear seats if you purchase the Rear Seat Package.
The A8 is a quiet place to watch films thanks to its exceptional refinement. Although you can hear some road noise, it is not as loud as a Bentley or Rolls-Royce. The S-Class is the best, however.
It is a shame that some elements don’t mesh with the overall opulence of the A8, such as the plastic footrests, sharp edges at the interior door handles, and clunky rear storage bin. These little details are acceptable on a PS30,000 car, but they really do count for luxury limousines.
The ride is another reservation. The standard air suspension transmits too much bump-thump when we tested it on the A8 PHEV. It rides quite calmly on German roads with 19in wheels. Although it isn’t perfect, it’s not perfect. On 21in wheels, it could be an entirely different story.
The rest of the driving experience is, however, mostly convincing. The steering can be disconcertingly sloppy in Comfort mode, but it is fine in all sharper modes. This allows the A8 to become surprisingly agile for such an enormous car. For that, four-wheel steering is the answer.
It’s also very fast, with a total output of 455 bhp. It’s important that a luxury car never feels strained. This is something that lesser PHEVs can experience when their tiny petrol engines work hard.
The A8 is not prone to such drama. The A8 is quiet from the rear. You can often tell whether the engine is running. When the V6 revs, the engine emits a soft but deliberate growl. It may not be as distinctive as a V8’s, but it is still pleasant. There is plenty of power even with a low battery. Although we were not able to test the 36-mile range of the electric motor in the real world for power, it is possible that the high-20s are the most likely.
Do I need one?
The starting price for the A8 PHEV is PS86,960, while the LWB version starts at PS95,690. This is about halfway between the Mercedes S580eL and BMW 745Le. However, the overwhelming amount of options makes it unlikely that this will be the deciding factor when people shop in this segment.
The S580e’s 63-mile range is more than the 36 mile ranges of the 745Le or A8. This is still sufficient for the 12% BIK tax range, so it’s not hard to go wrong with this class.