Power and luxury is an unbeatable combo if you’re talking limousines. And this one here, the refreshed Audi A8L, is not for the faint-hearted. It’s the ultimate offering from Audi’s stable if you want a mix of first-class travel and extreme briskness.
What makes it so fleet-footed is the 4.0-litre petrol V8 heart that sits under the long hood of this flagship limo. Not just that, it’s got a turbo to assist it, so it belts out a massive 414bhp and 600Nm of pulling power. A tiny dab of the throttle is enough to establish the fact that this motor has more than enough power to lug this heavy limo around. How quick is it? Well, it’ll crack a ton before you can to count to five – in 4.6 seconds, to be precise.
If you’re expecting a loud roar from this engine, you’ll be disappointed. Instead, what you get is a muted grunt that seeps into the well-insulated cabin. Audi’s quattro system ensures that no power is wasted in burning rubber on the tarmac, and that all of it is transformed into acceleration. That’s done via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It’s not a dual-clutch unit, but a conventional torque converter. Nevertheless, it’s pretty swift, and sees to it that you’re kept in the best-suited gear at all times.
Once you’re done driving this super-quick sedan, and wish to get in the back seat, you’re not going to be disheartened with the sort of comfort and luxury the A8L offers. You’ve got massage options, a fridge to chill your drink, reclining seats and obviously, a four-zone aircon and personal entertainment system. What also comes as standard with the extended wheelbase is acres of room to stretch your legs.
The A8L is much sportier than the Mercedes S-Class, but that handling doesn’t warrant a harsh ride. It takes good care of the potholes and undulations on the road, but it does pitch more than you’d like. However, the 3.1-metre long wheelbase gives it superb high-speed stability.
The new A8 is loaded with tech – its space-age headlamps that offer great illumination to the driver and cut out glare for oncoming traffic are a fine example of that. Along with that, it’s got a smart night-vision camera, which detects pedestrians on the road and orders the headlamps to flash the lights thrice at the individual before alerting the driver.
This 4.0-litre turbocharged petrol A8L rivals the S500 and the BMW 760Li. These are the fastest stock super-luxury sedans that these companies sell. The 4.0TFSI is the quickest A8 available, and the most expensive too – the base model (without any additional options) will cost you ₹1.26 crore (ex-showroom, Mumbai). That’s five lakh more than the most expensive oil-burning variant, the 4.2TDI V8.
The A8 might be a notch below the S-Class in terms of luxury and the feel-good factor, but if you want a bit of sportiness with comfort and technology, the Audi is the better option.
3,993cc, V8, turbo-petrol, 414bhp, 600Nm, 8A, AWD, 0-100kph: 4.6sec, top speed: 250kph (claimed), ₹1.26 crore (ex-showroom, Mumbai)
Blisteringly fast and sportier than most other limousines. The 4.0-litre V8 is a gem of an engine