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The Top Gear car review: Audi A8
Running costs and reliability
The A8 offers much safety for your £70k or thereabouts – and more than 40 driver assistance systems. The excellent HUD, lane-departure warning and ‘Pre-sense’ suite of technologies are all standard, but others will be made available when the AI kit comes online next year.
With the right boxes checked, if the A8 detects another car approaching at speed from the side, it’ll jack-up the affected side so it’s the super-strong sill that gets hit in the ensuing T-Bone, not the middle of the doors. There’s even a feature to keep you from dooring cyclists – if you try and open one of the doors with a cyclist approaching from behind, it’ll keep the door from unlatching for a second or two to alert the occupant/give the cyclist a chance to pass. Clever.
But even attempting to buy an A8 of course means you need to confront and master Audi’s new naming strategy – something we have yet to do. Audi used to use the size and type of engine, for example 3.0-litre TDI, as its identifier. But no more. Now each model gets a two-digit number that corresponds to the amount of power the engine produces in kW. 30 (for cars with between 81 and 96kW) is the lowest and 70 (for models more than 400kW) the highest – A8s go from 50 to 60. The base diesel is the 50 TDI (210kW – 282bhp), the base petrol (choice) the 55 TFSI (250kW – 335bhp) and when it arrives the big, V8 diesel will be the 60 TDI (320kW – 429bhp). Like S and RS models, the W12 keeps it name because REASONS.
All A8s are pretty eco – the V6 diesel delivers 50.4mpg and 145g/km of CO2, and the V6 petrol 37.7mpg and 171g/km – but none are more eco than the e-tron PHEV. With a full charge its batteries store enough energy for 31-miles of electric running, and you can charge wirelessly by parking it over a special pad you’ll need to have installed in your garage. It arrives next year.
There is no eco penalty for going LWB, but it adds nearly £4k to the asking price. At launch prices start at £69,100 for the V6 diesel SWB and £71,000 for the petrol equivalent. Comparable with rivals. Orders open late October, and the first cars will start to come through from Germany just before the end of this year.