I got behind the wheel of Audi’s new flagship luxury sedan at the Audi/Klout event in San Francisco. While I’m no super car geek like some tech journalists I know, I have taken to reading car magazines for fun (I used to read tech blogs for fun – now it’s work!) and have been known to take the long way home in our hand-me-down ’95 C280 now and again. So I guess you could call me a junior car geek.
At any rate, the ’11 A8 oozes technology. From the lightweight aluminum spaceframe to the signature Audi LED running/headlights to the interior LED ambient lighting and power everything, the A8 is souped-up and then some when it comes to gadgets and gizmos to make driving – and riding – in the car a better experience. Or so the PR folk say, anyway.
Does all of that tech make driving any better? That’s an interesting one to debate, for sure.
How’d the A8 drive? I only got to take it on city streets, and at rush hour at that (the freeway was jammed), but the ride was smooth and comfy, and the one time I floored the throttle the sedan responded quickly – though without any sense of sporty “oomph” or throw-me-back-in-my-chair thrust. This car was made for cruising at speed and in style, and while its V8 is underpowered compared to the Benzes, Bimmers, and Jags in its segment, it’s still good for 0-60 in 5.7 seconds while clocking an EPA 21mpg combined city/highway. Audi says that bests the A8’s competition, save the Mercedes S-Class hybrid, which is on par with the 8.
I’d love to get some more time behind the wheel of the big Audi, though frankly I think I’d personally be more interested in the “clean diesel” A3 TDI or, you know, an RS5 or R8. Not that I’ve got the chops to handle either of the latter, but if I had an $80,000 Audi gift card to spend, I think I’d go sporty instead of pure luxe (the base A8 clocks in around $78k before options). But Audi’s PR folk don’t have to know that when I call them up for another test drive, right?
Thanks to IntoMobile’s Will Park for the tech tip at the end of the video.