The 2013 Audi A8 L is the kind of car you’d choose for a trip across the country, so this is exactly what we did. Right now we’re ignoring the lack of a “Q” in its designation, as we’re using all 207 inches (5.27m) of it to navigate our way through the desert
. All we’ve done is release a bit of air from the tires and the car seems to be just fine with driving on the paths the camels created in the sand.
The dunes look menacing, but we’re not straying from our line and the car feels extremely balanced. The air suspension is doing a great job down there and everybody in the car, including the driver, is relaxed. This is the ultimate test for the Audi A8 L’s comfort and it’s been passed with flying colors. Even the coffee in our cups has decided to stay inside.
We’ve had the suspension in Comfort mode, but now we’re back on the road and we can tell you that it’s best to leave it in Auto. The same goes for the steering, which only gains artificial weight if switched into Sport.
Despite its elongated nature, the car is surprisingly keen on the turn in. You really don’t feel that you’re driving the Long model, as the vehicle stays planted through the corners. This is just the kind of dynamics such a vehicle needs. As long as you stay within certain limits, the Audi A8 L is pleasantly responsive.
Of course, if you drive it past seven or eight tenths, you’ll feel the understeer that’s been planted within the setup. You’ll also want some extra feedback from the steering
Speaking of limits, if you didn’t like the 155 mph (250 km/h) Gentleman’s Agreement in Germany, you should know that the US legislation puts an annoying 130 mph (210 km/h) leash on this car.
We spent our test drive with the entry-level engine, but the 3.0 TFSI supercharged V6 offers more than enough grunt for going past the aforementioned limit. It doesn’t take an IQ above average to figure out that is this engine is enough for the Audi S4, it will do in the A8, with or without the L part.
Nevertheless, it’s admirable to see the V6 at work. It may be a bit short on power compared to the naturally-aspirated 4.2-liter V8 it replaces, but it more than makes up for this through the meaty low-end torque. From 2,000 rpm onwards you feel like you’re walking a pretty mean dog.
And the relaxed nature of its linear power deliver means that the 3.0 TFSI fits the Audi A8 L perfectly. You should only opt for a bigger engine if you’re the kind that asks himself in-gear acceleration questions on the way to the office.
And we’re not the only ones that appreciate this unit. The eight-speed automatic Tiptronic gearbox also likes it - otherwise it wouldn’t it do such a good job at channeling its power.
The shifts are seamless and, if you’re in a hurry (read: full-throttle shifting), the transmission sends a little shock when upshifting just to let you know it’s got the picture.
The powertrain has the technical elegance to allow you to also drive it in Sport mode all day long if that’s what you want. The engine and gearbox modes are the only ones we liked to handle on our own and these really make a difference. For example, the Sport mode allows the engine to clearly change its voice, not a bad treat at all.
Since we’re downsizing here, we must also talk fuel efficiency and, to put it shortly, the change is worth it. Driving in a manner that won’t upset the people in the back does allow you to stick to the 21 mpg combined (11.2 liters per 100 km) EPA figure. We, however, had a little problem with our ankle and thus we averaged 17 mpg (13.8 liters per 100 km).
The Audi A8 L may be designed to bring pleasure for those using its back seats, but if you have a driver, you may want to fire him, as this is the kind of luxury sedan you’ll want to drive yourself.Continue reading
Hold on, Mary would like to say something...
Finally, you've brought me a long wheelbase model. This is a special opportunity, one that I've been looking forward to for a long time. The Audi A8 L is great, because, as you well know, long cars are appreciated in China, which brings me to the subject of the day - my new Chinese boyfriend.
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