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Audi A8 L

Driven February 2011

Audi A8 L

You know how it goes. Make a car really long, extend the wheelbase to its extreme limit, provide full-sized recliner seats with some rotors inside them that massage your back, embellish the cabin with the finest of chopped forests and cattle hide and the car is good to be transport for power-brokers, king-makers and kings themselves.

The A8L seems like one of those. It’s insanely luxurious, wards off road and external noise like an attack-trained Rottweiler keeps off intruders. And the back-seat is the next best thing. It could easily be the fourth most comfortable place after a spa, a first-class seat and a Rolls-Royce. But when you are spending close to a crore, you want it to do more. Not because you want to, but just because you know like the knowledge that if you wished to, you could.

Here is where the A8L delivers. Firstly, it’s that awesome 8-speed gearbox that combines the best traits of a manual, a fully automatic and paddle-shifters. In fact, the gearbox is as intuitive as the human mind. Then there’s the Drive Select suspension. In Comfort, the suspension is forgiving and the steering’s lighter than a housefly. Dynamic tightens the steering feel and the suspension by a bit. But the best part is the new ‘Individual’ setting where you can, for instance, keep the suspension at its softest setting and the steering at its firmest. Best of both worlds. Almost.

What Audi could improve on are the looks. Apart from the daytime headlights and the grille, the rest of the car is one bland sheet of metal. But then, you do have a car that’s sumptuously luxurious and rather sporty without upsetting your spinal chord. Suits us.

 



Sriram Narayanan

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