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Review: Audi A8 L 4.2 TDi

Driven October 2012

Review: Audi A8 L 4.2 TDi

Fancy a yacht that’s personalised to cater to your every whim? Heated swimming pool, jacuzzi, massage chair, personal entertainment system programmed to play your favourite music?

Sure, if you’re a member of the rich list, this is a weekend’s entertainment. Now imagine if this yacht got you from your penthouse in the heart of the city to your holiday home by the beach some 150km away in less than an hour?

This brings us to what the guys at Audi have been up to this month. They’ve taken their super-luxury limousine and mated it to a 4.2-litre diesel block that powers the biggest Q, the Q7. While this one has no heated swimming pool or jacuzzi, it does have massage seats and individual media systems for each of the four passengers. And if you ask for more comfort at the back, you can have relaxation seats that recline to whatever angle you’d want. Just as in the first-class  of the Boeing 777.

The cabin is private jet-class, with its elegant lighting and buttons positioned so you use no more than three muscles to operate anything in the car. From changing the angle of the screen and popping the sunroof to selecting the position and the intensity of the massage you want, it’s all there, just pick a button.

For the two days that we’ve had the A8, it felt as if the municipality had flattened out most of the potholes in and around Mumbai. Yes, we admit the really sharp and deep ones do make it to your spine through the A8’s adaptive air suspension. And when you go over large undulations, the car tends to pitch and bounce around a bit.

For all those times when you want to get behind the wheel and rush to close a multi-million dollar deal in record time, there’s an engine that puts out 350bhp. We know that’s not much, but the 800Nm of torque certainly is. While Audi claims it can hit a ton is 5.6 seconds, we gave it a go and saw the quattro work its wonders in the wet, sending the car to 100 in just 5.16 seconds.

On the expressway, open the throttle and let the V8 growl to its redline, and the steering gets stiffer and responses crisper. And before you can sign off the third cheque, it’s hit its electronically limited top speed of 250kph. Throw it around bends in Dynamic mode, and it nicely controls its weight without letting you know you're driving around a small house.

If you choose to cruise along country roads, the 8-speed dual-clutch transmission will keep the revs as low as 1100 even at 140kph. And while you do that, it’ll stay rather frugal, returning 9kpl. With a light right foot in the city, it gives 6.5kpl, which is definitely not bad for a car this size.

Most people won’t see why their chauffeurs should get the reins to all this power, but there will certainly be a few who won’t mind giving the chauffeur a break and taking the long route to work.

The numbers
8cyl, 4134cc, V8, diesel, AWD, 350bhp, 800Nm, 0-100kph – 5.16 seconds, 80-0kph – 2.44s, 24.19m, 7.8kpl, 250kph, Rs 1.07 crore (ex-Maharashtra)

The verdict
Cross-breeding of engines and body styles has yielded best of both worlds. Blisteringly quick, loads of kit. Impeccable finish makes it the option to have if you don’t want a Rolls.

Agasti Kaulgi

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