- Tech & Gadgets
- BRW. lounge
Published 18 August 2011 05:01, Updated 23 November 2011 11:37
The Audi A8 L 4.2 TDI Quattro takes the “creature” out of “creature comforts” and flicks it at other road users. But it does it in a very subtle way – most people don’t know they are looking at a quarter of a million dollars-plus in motor vehicle so they don’t know how jealous to get.
Being the conservative patriarch of the Audi family, it just does not attract attention on the road because it looks like an A4 or A6, just a bit bigger.
This luxury limousine should be popular among A-listers who keep a chauffeur on call and once you’re closeted in its refined insides, it’s like being in the waiting room of a five-star spa – there is nothing to ruffle the serenity. It is so quiet you can hear your fingernails growing.
But while the luxury touches are sublime, with a mix of the alcantara composite (the shiny stuff on the dashboard etc), leather, wood and both polished and brushed aluminium, the standout feature is not the fancy tricks and interior fittings but its beating heart – the engine.
It has one of the most outstanding pieces of engineering under the bonnet you are likely to find in the motoring industry today.
The huge powerplant is smooth as satin underpants and very quick.
It’s a big vehicle with the heart of a sports car. Putting out 258kW (350bhp) of power and peak torque of 800Nm, the 4.2 litre diesel V8 can get you from 0 to 100km/h in just 5.6 seconds – faster than the base model 2011 Audi TTS – yet it sucks up only 7.8l of fuel per 100km averaged over city and open-road driving. And it meets the highest environmental standards.
Its exhaust gasses are filtered three times then treated with a water and urea solution – you know, the stuff that’s in urine – to reduce nitrous oxide emissions and cut CO2output to just 204 g/km.
That’s as much as a petrol-driven Mazda 6 puts out and is far better than the best of the vehicles at the top end of the four-wheel-drive market with similar sized diesel engines.
Audi teams this extraordinary engine with an eight-speed sequential automatic gearbox bedded into a lightweight, high-strength aluminium frame and all-wheel drive.
For a car that is long and wide and weights 2 tonnes it can still get you gripping the steering wheel. The car has such a wide torque band that heaps of awesome power is there whenever you need it. Of course, your passengers will be too comfortable to notice.
The pop-up control screen
For your $250,000-ish you get a list of features that includes a multi-media interface with a retractable colour screen – not a touch screen – that controls the navigation system, Bose surround sound system, including SD card and SIM card integration, TV, telephone and reversing camera. But for an iPod, you will need to buy a special Audi connector.
There’s plenty of room inside
Such is the level of detail that it has decent size air-conditioned glove box to keep your cucumber sandwiches cool on the drive between your city digs and the country estate.
Then there’s a very intuitive touch panel above the gear shift on which to write your destination with your finger for the navigation system or to flick to one of six preset radio stations. Left-handers have an advantage with this.
The best part of the navigation system for me is the fact the graphical instructions are displayed between the virtual dials on the dashboard so you don’t have to look across at the main screen to see your next turn.
The front seats can be adjusted 18 ways, with a four-way lumbar and memory function for two drivers, so finding a really comfortable position is just a few adjustments away. The premium package gives you 22-way heated and cooled massage seats.
Of course the 510 litre boot is big enough to take a saddle and the jockey to put on it.
The comfort and sophistication of the interior sets a high standard for others to follow and it drives magnificently with outstanding steering and braking. In fact, so much development and thought have been put into the car that there’s not a hair out of place. This is sensible, conservative luxury, darhlink.
Off we go to the beach house then, James.