Audi’s full-size luxury sedan returns for 2006 with several enhancements. The A8 is again available in three trims, base, L, and L W12.

  • 2006 Audi A8: Review
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    6.0L W12
  • Transmission:
    6-automatic with manual mode
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
  • Torque @ RPM:
  • 0-60 time:
    5 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph
  • body style:

Standard Equipment}0}
4.2-liter V8 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission w/manual-shift capability, all-wheel drive, traction control, limited-slip front and rear differentials
dual front airbags, front and rear side airbags, curtain side airbags, front knee airbags, antilock 4-wheel disc brakes, brake assist, antiskid system, front-seat active head restraints, tire-pressure monitor, emergency inside trunk release, daytime running lights
•Comfort and Convenience Features
air conditioning w/dual-zone automatic climate controls, interior air filter, power steering, power tilt/telescope leather-wrapped steering wheel w/radio controls, cruise control, leather upholstery, 16-way power front seats w/power lumbar adjustment and headrests, memory system (driver seat, mirrors, steering wheel), center console, cupholders, wood interior trim, heated power mirrors w/automatic day/night and passenger-side tilt-down back-up aid, power windows, power door locks, remote keyless entry, power sunroof, Bose AM/FM radio, 6-disc CD changer, digital clock, tachometer, navigation system, hands-free cell phone link, trip computer, illuminated visor mirrors, automatic day/night rearview mirror, outside-temperature indicator, universal garage-door opener, rain-sensing variable-intermittent wipers w/heated nozzles, map lights, trunk-closing assist, rear defogger, automatic headlights, floormats
• Appearance and Miscellaneous
theft-deterrent system, steering-linked adaptive bi-xenon headlights w/washers, front and rear fog lights, adjustable load-leveling air suspension, full-size spare tire, 255/45HR18 tires, alloy wheels

L adds to Base:
• Comfort and Convenience Features
manual side sunshades
• Appearance and Miscellaneous
5-inch-longer wheelbase

W12 adds to L:
• Powertrain
6.0-liter W12 engine
• Safety
front- and rear-obstacle-detection system
• Comfort and Convenience Features
rear dual-zone climate controls, heated front and rear seats, massaging and ventilated front seats, power rear bucket seats w/lumbar adjustment, alcantara interior trim, wood/leather-wrapped steering wheel, voice control for navigation and radio, keyless access and starting, door-closing assist, power open/close trunk, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, rear illuminated visor mirrors, power rear and side sunshades, trunk pass-through w/ski sack
• Appearance and Miscellaneous
security glass, cornering lights, 255/40YR19 tires


At first glance, the A8 has crisp, uncluttered lines with aggressively swept back headlights and roofline. Filling the wheelwells is a choice of wheel designs and sizes ranging from sedate to sporty. All in all, this is an understated, handsome sedan that doesn’t shout, "I’ve got money," yet still exudes class.

A spacious and beautifully finished interior greets the driver and passengers. Audi has a strong reputation for having what many consider the best cabins in the business, and the A8 maintains that lofty standard. Regardless of cost, there’s nary a car that could top the top-shelf materials and design flair of the A8’s inner sanctum. Audi’s Multi-Media Interface (MMI) handles everything from the navigation and audio systems to the adjustment of the driver-selectable air suspension. MMI features a 7-inch monitor that automatically glides (and hides) into the dash when not in use. Mounted in the console and operated via a simple twist-and-press knob and four large buttons that surround the knob, Audi’s MMI may draw comparisons to BMW’s iDrive system. But unlike iDrive, MMI is simple and intuitive to operate.

Under the hood you’ll find one of two engines. For starters, there’s a refined 4.2-liter, 40-valve V8 that makes a scintillating 335 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque. If that’s not enough, consider the 6.0-liter W12 power plant, which provides 450 hp, 428 lb-ft of torque and a 5.8-second 0-to-60-mph time. In either case, a six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission sends the power to all four wheels through Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system.

Under the A8’s aluminum skin, Audi employs an aluminum alloy space frame that is stronger and lighter than a comparable steel structure. This architecture has 20-percent fewer parts than the previous-generation A8, yet boasts considerably greater (60 percent) torsional rigidity.

Audi’s engineers are especially proud of the A8’s air suspension, claiming it provides the handling of a sports car with the ride of a luxury sedan, and based on our experience, they’re not too far off. The adaptive air suspension adjusts itself to road and driving conditions, automatically firming up when the car is pressed through the curves and softening when cruising down the interstate. The driver can select one of four settings for the adaptive system: dynamic (lowest ride height and firm damping), automatic, comfort and lift (raises the car up for travel on rough roads).

With its polished demeanor, spacious and luxurious cabin and capable road manners, the A8 leaves little to be desired. And at a price tag thousands less than its chief rivals, we would strongly suggest visiting the dealer of the four rings before putting down your big money.

Body Styles, Trim Levels and Options:

Three versions of the A8 are offered: a standard-wheelbase V8 sedan, the long-wheelbase V8 L sedan for those who need maximum rear legroom, and a W12 version of the L. The question with this car isn’t what’s standard, it’s what isn’t. A DVD-based navigation system, 16-way power front seats and HID headlights are on the roster, as is a 12-speaker Bose audio system (with a glovebox-mounted CD changer) designed exclusively for the A8. The elite W12 adds keyless startup, power door closers, four-zone climate control, ventilated/massaging front seats, seat heaters and four-way lumbar for all passengers, an Alcantara headliner and a wood steering wheel; these features are optional on other A8s. Other options include adaptive cruise control, a personal refrigerator and a sport package for V8 models that includes a sport-tuned suspension, 19-inch wheels and steering wheel shift paddles. An available Audi Exclusive package, available in Red and Anis Yellow, includes Valcona leather seats with contrasting piping (and floor mats to match) and unique wood trim.

Powertrains and Performance:

Standard A8 and A8 L models come with a 4.2-liter, 40-valve V8 that generates 335 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque. Named after the engine that makes it special, the W12 model has a 6.0-liter, 12-cylinder engine that make 450 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque. The engine consists of two narrow-angle, 15-degree V6 engines joined at the crankshaft, a more compact design than a conventional V12. Both engines are matched to a six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission that drives all four wheels through Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system.


Peace-of-mind features include stability control, 10 airbags (including four side, front knee and full-length head curtain) and a first aid kit in the rear center armrest.

Interior Design and Special Features:

Whether you sit in the pilot’s seat or stretch out (and with 42 inches of rear legroom in the L, we mean stretch out) in back, everything you see and touch in the A8 bespeaks the highest quality. Generous fillets of dark or light wood, suede trim and aluminum accents are arranged attractively. With 16-way power adjustment (including upper seatback angle for the shoulders) and a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, finding a comfortable driving position is easy for short and tall folk alike.

Driving Impressions:

Throttle response is gratifying with either engine. Whether taking off from a stoplight or jetting up to cruising speed on the freeway, a solid rush of power is always on tap. The main difference is that the W12 simply has more power on reserve. Powerfully reassuring brakes that are easily modulated have no problem reining in the A8. The air suspension is well sorted; left in automatic mode the system works just fine providing a soft but not mushy ride and solid composure through the twisty bits. And when used in the dynamic setting, body lean is kept to an absolute minimum, making the A8 feel more like a compact sedan rather than a large flagship sedan.


Next winter, if you want a good quality present for yourself, I suggest that you write to Santa for an Audi A8 L.
I know that I will!
You may ask me why. But you will have my answer before you do:

It’s not so much that I like the exterior design – although I do, and I consider it to quite easily be the most beautiful of all big sedans in the market today. The torque-laden V8 is a nice feature, but in reality I already have the same powerplant in my S4. The innovative Aluminum Space Frame is cool in an I-can’t-touch-it-but-know-it’s-a-big-differentiator kind of way; I’m really focused on things more tangible.
What kinds of things? If you allow me to start at a baseline whereby the A8 L is indeed a very well designed, capably powered, safe and luxurious automobile then we instead need to talk about the special goodies Audi has thoughtfully thrown into the mix. From the company that prides itself on having Vorsprung durch Technik literally flowing through its veins, it is unsurprising to see the confluence of technology and common-sense functionality which is pervasive throughout the vehicle.
Here are the top ten things which push the A8 L over the top (in no particular order):

- Advanced Key Intelligent Security System
- Adaptive Lighting (in conjunction with bi-xenon headlights)
- Unmatched Audi Interior
- Bluetooth Integration
- Long Wheelbase
- Alcantara Inserts and Headliner
- Audi’s MMI (Multi Media Interface)
- Self-Retracting Video Screen
- Starter Button
- Adaptive Suspension

Have I made my case? The A8 L brings so much to bear to the world of large luxury sedans that it becomes impossible to dismiss when searching for a combination of features and price. Ultimately pricing in this segment is probably not the deciding factor anyway, meaning that potential owners would be looking at the types of features discussed here with great interest.

So in conclusion: „Please momma, tell Santa that I want an Audi A8 L for Christmas!”

What do you think?
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