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WELCOME TO HYUNDAI’S HAPPINESS MACHINE
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Interior

What is it like on the inside?

Oh, it’s nice in here. Audi does good interiors almost across the board, from the A1 through to the R8, but the A8 is its best. In the A4 or Q5 you can find cheap plastics if you look hard enough. Not in the A8, which is relentlessly solid and expensive-feeling. More so than an S-Class Mercedes, we reckon. That said, the S-Class’s interior is more immediately welcoming than the S8’s, which is very straight-edged and arguably a bit cold. Better spec some fancy coloured leather to liven proceedings up.

The interface is touch-based with much space on the centre console given over to twin landscape touchscreens, but it’s certainly not as dominant as something like Merc’s Hyperscreen. Here the top one (10.1 inches) does navigation, media and so on, while the bottom one (8.6 inches) looks after the climate controls, and serves as a keyboard or trackpad for entering destinations into the GPS. 

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DOES IT WORK?

While not as user-friendly as, y’know, a load of buttons, Audi’s setup is clearer, more coherent and more responsive than Jaguar Land Rover’s, which also does the twin-screen thing – it's easier to navigate your way through and learn your way around. You can set it to respond to a tap and give no haptic/audible feedback, or require a firmer push (think force touch on an iPhone) and ‘click’. We like the latter, especially when you’re using it on the move. 

A third screen acts as your instrumentation – Audi’s ‘Virtual Cockpit’ is still the best implementation of screen-based dials out there and is more customisable than most people will need.

Differences from the normal A8? Better seats up front, a thicker-rimmed steering wheel, carbon/piano black trim wherever you look, much Alcantara, stainless-steel pedals, a red-ringed engine start button and red seatbelts if you so wish. Ooooh. Space in the back continues to be 'enormous', though the three-seat rear bench is fixed with no reclining functions for those in the back. Shorthand for 'this is a driver's limo', we guess. A £3,000 ‘rear comfort pack’ does add TV screens back there though. 

Other markets get the option of a long-wheelbase S8, but in the UK we’re limited to the miniscule 5.19m long iteration. Think we’ll manage somehow, don’t you? The boot on our standard version will still swallow 505 litres of golfing equipment too.

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