Audi A8 50 TDI

quattro tiptronic

Audi A8, front
Audi A8, front, action
Audi A8, rear
Audi A8, interior
Audi A8, 2018, instrument panel
Audi A8, 2018, rear seats

DRIVING more than 500 miles tells you a lot about a car.

But I hadn't covered more than a handful in the new Audi A8 before I began to understand why this car is the holder of the World Luxury Car of the Year 2018 title.

It's a car that eats up the miles in terms of comfort, quietness and performance and really does spoil you.

And if you want the best you have to pay for it. The A8 is hardly cheap at more than £68,000 - with options my test car came out at more than £91,000 - but this is a car which definitely takes you to another level of motoring enjoyment.

The new, fourth generation A8 looks every bit the sleek luxury limousine that it is. Low yet with muscular lines to catch your attention.

At the rear the new tail lights span the whole width of the car so anyone following can't miss what you are doing.

Inside there is now a distinct absence of buttons and switches with almost everything being transferred to two touch screens, both of which are blacked out until you push the starter button.

As you do so four concealed air vents on the dashboard automatically open as the air conditioning kicks into action. If you find the sun a little too intense there are electric sunblinds on the rear door windows and the rear window.

Leather upholstery comes as standard but on the car driven here the front seats had both heating for the winter and ventilation for the summer as well as a superb massaging system, perfect for long distance driving.

And whenever we stopped for a break there was chance to enjoy on the onboard television.

Other luxury touches included power door closing - you just pull the door onto the catch and it closes itself - special comfort rear headrests and a panoramic glass sunroof.

The 286bhp 3.0-litre engine mated to an eight speed tiptronic gearbox makes light work of powering this large car with a real sense of urgency when you need it.

There's the option of switching to Sport for even more performance and you have a choice of five different driving modes ranging from economy to dynamic.

Left in comfort mode I managed to average more than 48 miles per gallon during my week with the car, helped by a 48 volt electric motor now fitted to A8s to make them mild hybrids.

With four-wheel-drive and all-wheel-steer - the latter being a £2,000 optional extra - the big Audi has superb manners when it comes to fast bends and corners and is surprisingly agile. On the motorway it rides like it's on rails nibbling away effortlessly at the miles and cosseting its passengers in a superb double glazed cocoon.

A head-up display lets you keep a wary eye on your speed and with the quietness and power of this engine you need to unless you want to see a flashing blue light in your mirror.

FAST FACTS

Audi A8 50 TDI quattro tiptronic

Price: £68,215

Mechanical: 286bhp, 2,967cc, 6cyl diesel engine driving all wheels via eight speed tiptronic automatic gearbox.

Max Speed: 155 mph

0-62mph: 5.9 secs

Combined MPG: 50.4

Insurance Group: 44

C02 emissions:152 g/km

Bik rating: 32%

Warranty: 3 yrs/60,000 miles

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