Audi first brought its four-door behemoth luxo-cruiser A8 to the U.K. a scant 21 years ago, and in celebration, it’ll offer British customers a new, limited-run iteration called the Edition 21. Available in both standard- and long-wheelbase variants, the A8 Edition 21 offers as standard a variety of features found on the options list of the regular A8, enhancing both the exterior and interior with even more luxury, prestige and comfort. Only 121 total will be produced and it’ll only be sold in the U.K.

The car is simply packed to the brim with extras, and customers are sure to feel coddled. However, there isn’t much that the Edition 21 can offer over a well-optioned, standard-issue A8. A few swipes of the pen are all that’s needed to get, more or less, the same result.

So then, what makes this A8 stand out from the rest? Read on the find out.

Continue reading to learn more about the Audi A8 Edition 21.

  • 2016 Audi A8 Edition 21
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V6
  • Transmission:
    8-speed tiptronic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    258
  • Torque @ RPM:
    427 @ 1750
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    6.1 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph
  • Price:
    72525
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Audi A8 Edition 21 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 637820

Traditionally a platform for Audi’s latest technological advancements, the A8 was the world’s first series production car to offer a unitary aluminum body. The latest version, including the Edition 21, incorporates the Audi Space Frame (ASF) architecture to save weight, utilizing a blend of aluminum and high-strength steel to offer a body that weighs just 231 kg (509 pounds). Audi says that the same body made from steel would be roughly 40 percent heavier.

The bumpers add a bit of aggression, thanks to harder lines and more pronounced aero elements, while the side skirts, normally reserved for the standard-wheelbase A8, complement the car’s already sinewy shoulder line.

And that’s good, because the 2016 A8 is positively massive. Even with that lightened body, the car still weighs upwards of 4,800 pounds. Chalk it up to all the luxury, technology and complex drivetrain components stuffed under the body panels, not to mention the sheer size of the thing (the long-wheelbase version is 207.4 inches long, 76.7 inches wide and 57.9 inches tall).

Those substantial dimensions give the A8 a lot of road presence, a trait enhanced on the Edition 21 thanks to the inclusion of the SE trim level as standard. This incorporates the recently introduced Sport styling package, which seeks to recreate the aesthetics of the flagship S8 model with a redesigned bumper both fore and aft, as well as more pronounced side skirts. The bumpers add a bit of aggression thanks to harder lines and more pronounced aero elements, while the side skirts, normally reserved for the standard wheelbase A8, complement the car’s already sinewy shoulder line. The result is subtle, but noticeable. However, you still get the same chiseled lines, handsome proportions and mammoth single-piece front grille as before.

For lighting, Audi installed its adaptive Matrix LED headlights as standard. They come with swiveling xenon lamps and LED daytime running lights, and are also capable of reacting to data received by the navigation system. These units first debuted as an option on the latest-generation A8 as the first fully digital LED headlights on a series production car. Joining them are LED lights in the rear and dynamic indicators front to back.

Other features include rear fog lights, heated windscreen washer jets, twin exhaust tips, aluminum window trim and body-colored mirrors and door handles.

In the corners, customers will enjoy attractive 20-inch, double-spoke alloy wheels finished in a titanium look. These look good against each of the four exterior paint options, which now include the Daytona grey pearl effect hue originally reserved for the high-powered S8. Privacy glass is installed from the B-pillar rearwards as standard.

Interior

2016 Audi A8 Edition 21 High Resolution Interior
- image 637821
2016 Audi A8 Edition 21 High Resolution Interior
- image 637822
2016 Audi A8 Edition 21 High Resolution Interior
- image 637824

So then, the A8 Edition 21 is big, heavy, class act. Audi continues the luxury-laden theme by offering the SE Executive specification (not to be confused with the SE specification) as a standard feature of the Edition 21, normally an available option on the regular A8.

The package comes in two color combinations, including cognac brown with black contrasting stitching and black leather with red contrasting stitching (I like the black and red).

The package comes in two color combinations, including cognac brown with black contrasting stitching and black leather with red contrasting stitching (I like the black and red). Backside coddling comes courtesy of comfort sport seats in the front with a memory function, heating and variable temperature settings, and 22-way adjustability with integrated pneumatic lumbar and side bolster support, all as standard features.

Above is a black-cloth headliner, while drivers grip a three-spoke multi-function steering wheel. The doorsills illuminate with an “Edition 21” emblem for proof of exclusivity.

For infotainment and driver assistance, each A8 Edition 21 comes with Audi’s connect portfolio of phone and internet-based services, complementing the standard HDD-based satellite.

There’s also a surround-sound stereo system from Bose, Audi’s parking system with reversing camera, a power-operated trunk lid, hands-free electric door opening and closure, an MMI touch interface, a 7-inch high-resolution color screen, brushed aluminum trim, keyless entry and go, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and LED ambient lighting.

Drivetrain

Audi will equip the A8 Edition 21 with only a single engine option: an EU6-compliant 3.0-liter V-6 TDI oil burner good for 258 horsepower and 428 pound-feet of torque between 1,750 and 2,500 rpm.

Unfortunately, customers won’t get the chance to get the massive 6.3-liter W-12 engine available with the regular LWB A8.

Output is fed into an eight-speed tiptronic transmission hooked up to Audi’s legendary quattro permanent AWD system, giving a run from 0-to-60 in 5.9 seconds for standard-wheelbase variants. The longer iteration is a bit slower, hitting 60 mph in 6.1 seconds. Both have an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.

In terms of fuel consumption and environmental impact, the standard-wheelbase version returns up to 47.9 mpg combined, with 155 g/km from the tailpipes. The long-wheelbase is slightly less economical, with 47.1 mpg combined and 159 g/km in emissions.

Unfortunately, customers won’t get a chance to get the massive 6.3-liter W-12 engine available with the regular LWB A8. However, the choice of the 3.0-liter V-6 TDI unit makes sense, given the fact it’s the best-selling powerplant for the A8 in the U.K.

Other features include energy regeneration and automatic start/stop functionality.

Mounted to the 20-inch wheels are tires measured at 265/40R20, while the adaptive air suspension offers four settings selectable via the MMI interface (Auto, Dynamic, Comfort and Lift). Drivers can also choose between four selectable drive modes (Auto, Dynamic, Comfort and Efficiency) for further refinement.

Prices

Audi says it will produce only 121 examples of the A8 Edition 21, with the standard-wheelbase version priced at £72,525 ($112,494) and the long-wheelbase version priced at £76,490 ($118,644).

Audi is taking orders now, and first deliveries are expected to begin in November.

Competition

2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class High Resolution Exterior
- image 506371

Arriving in its sixth-generation in 2013, the S-Class has been a staple of high-priced luxury sedans for decades. It’s big, powerful, and absolutely chock-full of the latest technology, and comes available in both standard- and long-wheelbase iterations. The exterior is sleek and sporty-looking, with chrome trim, LED headlights, and 19-inch alloy wheels, while inside, passengers get to enjoy dual 12.3-inch TFT screens, and leather upholstery with Black Poplar wood trim. Air suspension is used for adjustable driving modes, while under the hood is a variety of engine options, including a top-of-the-line, twin-turbo V-12.

Read our full review here.

2016 BMW 7 Series

2016 BMW 7 Series High Resolution Exterior
- image 633577

BMW just unveiled the sixth-generation 7 Series at its headquarters in Munich, and it’s the first passenger vehicle to be based on the automaker’s modular CLAR (cluster architecture) platform. Bimmer focused heavily on reducing the car’s weight, using materials like high-tensile steel, aluminum and carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP). The adjustable suspension is composed of air springs and electronic shocks, while the powerplant lineup includes two 3.0-liter inline-sixes (in gas and diesel forms), a 4.4-liter V-8 and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder hooked up to a hybrid system. An eight-speed automatic transmission routes the power. Tech features abound, including an automatic parking system controllable via a digital key fob.

Read our full review here.

Conclusion

2016 Audi A8 Edition 21 High Resolution Interior
- image 637823

Limited editions are tricky things. Automakers create them in order to build up hype around a certain model, and sometimes they offer a variety of unique features, while other times all you get is maybe a new color and some fancy interior trim.

Sure, it’s not much more than a well-optioned A8, but the features it brings to the table create a well-rounded package.

The A8 Edition 21 seems to fall in the middle. Sure, it’s not much more than a well-optioned A8, but the features it brings to the table create a well-rounded package. It’s pretty much everything you’d expect and need, and for a reasonable price as well.

The real key here is that feeling of being special. In this market segment, exclusivity is as important as just about anyything else, and considering only 121 A8 Edition 21s will be created, whoever purchases one will surely feel like he is driving something distinct. Whether or not it really is all that different hardly matters, especially when considering all the similarities the A8 shares with its other German rivals.

And while I’d really like to have seen Audi throw in that W-12 engine as an option, it probably would have bumped up the price way too much. That’s not a deal-breaker though, as the V-6 TDI is still a solid engine choice.

At the end of the day, this car is for those executives who want something premium and unique right out of the box, and frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if those limited supplies are already dwindling.

  • Leave it
    • Wanted to see the W-12 engine as an available option
    • Not terribly unique
    • Plenty of competing rivals

Press Release

A little over two decades have passed since the groundbreaking Audi A8 was first introduced, and Audi UK is celebrating the enduring appeal of its luxury saloon with a bespoke model – the Edition 21. Incorporating a choice blend of the latest developments in design, technology and luxury from the recently revised A8 range, many of which are fitted as standard exclusively to this version, the A8 Edition 21 will be available in standard and Long Wheelbase formats priced at £72,525 OTR and £76,490 OTR. A limited run of just 121 cars is now available to order, and customers can expect first deliveries to begin in November.

2016 Audi A8 Edition 21 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 637820

A tailored selection of interior and exterior styling enhancements sets this special model apart, starting with the recently introduced Sport styling package. Creating a look that references the flagship S8 model, it comprises redesigned front and rear bumpers as well as pronounced side sills, and is normally reserved for standard wheelbase A8 models. Adaptive Audi Matrix LED headlights – which debuted as an option for the new generation A8 and were the first ever fully digital LED headlights on a series production car – are also fitted as standard in conjunction with LED rear lights and dynamic indicators fore and aft.

Also unique to this model are 20-inch double spoke alloy wheels with a titanium-look finish that complement the four exterior colour options, which include the Daytona grey pearl effect shade that is only normally available for the 520 PS S8. Privacy glass from the B-pillar rearwards is also standard.

Sumptuous surroundings

Building on the already extensive SE Executive specification which was recently further enhanced for A8 models, the Edition 21 creates an even more rarefied atmosphere through a special interior design package from the Audi exclusive selection. Uniquely fitted as standard to this version, the package is available in two striking colour combinations; cognac brown with black contrasting stitching or black leather with red contrasting stitching. Comfort front sports seats with memory function, 22-way adjustability and integrated pneumatic lumbar and side bolster support are fitted as standard. A black cloth headlining and three-spoke multi-function steering wheel complete the interior enhancements. Illuminated door sill plates bearing the ‘Edition 21’ emblem add another degree of exclusivity.

2016 Audi A8 Edition 21 High Resolution Interior
- image 637821

In terms of infotainment and assistance systems, all Edition 21 models also gain access to the Audi connect portfolio of telephone and internet-based services to complement their HDD-based satellite navigation, plus a BOSE surround sound system in addition to the standard items fitted to SE Executive models. These include the Audi parking system advanced with reversing camera, a power-operated boot lid with hands-free opening and powered door closure.

Propelling the A8 Edition 21 is an EU6-compliant 3.0-litre V6 TDI engine which produces 262PS and 580Nm of torque between 1,750 and 2,500 rpm. Power is channelled to the road via an 8-speed tiptronic transmission linked to quattro permanent all-wheel drive, and acceleration to 62 mph takes a mere 5.9 seconds. For long-wheelbase models, this increases slightly to 6.1 seconds, and both are capable of reaching an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. Combined fuel consumption and emissions stand at up to 47.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 155 g/km in the standard wheelbase, rising to 159g/km and 47.1mpg for long wheelbase models.

Over 20 years of trailblazing technology

The Audi A8 has consistently been at the forefront of the brand’s technological progression since its introduction, and was the platform for the revolutionary Audi Space Frame, making it the world’s first series production car with a unitary aluminium body. The same principle is employed to this day. Thanks to its ASF architecture and an intelligent blend of aluminium and high-strength steel, the latest Audi A8 body weighs just 231 kilograms. The same body made entirely from steel would be around 40 per cent heavier.

Another highlight in the A8’s 21-year lineage was the 6.0-litre W12 model of 2001, which at the time was the world’s most powerful production saloon and the first ever saloon to feature a 12-cylinder engine in combination with all-wheel drive. A new 6.3-litre version of this engine featuring Cylinder-on-Demand technology continues to deliver 500PS with sublime refinement in the current A8 range.

2016 Audi A8 Edition 21 High Resolution Interior
- image 637822

More recently, the all-LED Matrix headlights fitted to every A8 Edition 21 and Sport model are the latest in a long line of trailblazing lighting innovations introduced in the A8. They include adaptive ‘swivelling’ xenon lamps, which debuted in the 2003 model, LED daytime running lights in 2004 and headlights capable of reacting to data received by the navigation system, which arrived in 2010.

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