Make us your home page
Instagram
The Daily Drivers | By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek, Times Staff Writers

The Daily Drivers: 2011 Audi A8 L a worthy competitor among German luxury sedans

Sometimes you latch on to one feature that seems to define a car to the exclusion of all others, and that's the case with Audi's impressive flagship, the stately A8 sedan. We loved — loved — the car's massaging seats. It's trivial when compared with the impressive engineering on display in the A8, but this is a luxury car, after all.

Appearance: In a word, big. Our tester was the "L," or long-wheelbase model, which is 207.4 inches in length, about an inch more than a Mercedes S Class sedan. The understated body is elegant, with subtle curves and chrome accents around the windows and along the skirt. Like all Audis, there is the oversized chrome-trimmed grille with the familiar four rings, and Xenon headlamps that are bordered by LED "eyeliner" daylight running lights. The 10-spoke alloy wheels add a dash of sportiness.

Performance: To cut down on weight, Audi introduced aluminum construction to the A8, which tips the scales at 4,453 pounds. Still, the sedan, which has a 372-horsepower V-8, manages a respectable 0-to-60 time of 5.7 seconds. We were impressed with the smooth-shifting 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, which also helps boost the gas-mileage estimates for the big car: 17 mpg in the city and 27 on the highway. The A8 comes with Audi's standard quattro all-wheel-drive system, which keeps it planted and contributes to crisp handling. The speed-sensitive steering sometimes makes the car almost too easy to turn — you never feel like you're driving a luxury liner. There also are several driving modes — comfort, dynamic, auto and individual — as well as adjustable air suspension that make for a supple ride.

Interior: In a word, luxurious. Did we mention the massaging (and heated) seats for both driver and passenger? Try the variable percussion settings — "knocking," anyone? Add to that the comfortable, perforated leather seats and you have a great way to unwind after a stressful day. The dash and gauges (white on black) are easy to read, and the leather-wrapped steering wheel feels relaxing to the touch. The cabin is loaded with technology that's anchored by Audi's Multi Media Interface (MMI) system, the focal point of which is a crisp, 8-inch retractable LCD screen. It's easy to control with a touchpad, soft keys and buttons. A nice touch for our Florida heat: retractable rear and side-window sunscreens. A few nits: Peter didn't like the short T-shaped shift lever, which seemed to naturally want to skip to neutral instead of reverse when taking it out of park. Also, there were a few plastic pieces that didn't seem to fit the luxury trim, such as the paddle shifters.

Our 3 favorites

Peter Couture

Lighting: The interior LED strip lights are both practical and a design element.

MMI: From the display of driving modes to the navigation maps, it's impressive.

Drivability: It's a big car that doesn't feel like one.

Lyra Solochek

Massaging seats: Give yourself a treat during commutes with multiple modes, plus some heat.

Eyeliner: The LED daylight running lights look sharp.

Exterior: Elegantly understated design.

The bottom line: The A8 may not carry the same prestige as its other German competitors, but this third-generation model should be considered their equal. If you are in the market for a luxury sedan, you shouldn't overlook it.









2011

Audi A8 L

Price: $86,875 as tested

Powertrain: 4.2-liter V-8, 8-speed Tiptronic transmission with paddles, quattro all-wheel drive

Horsepower: 372 at 6,800 rpm

Torque: 328 pound-feet at 3,500 rpm

0-60: 5.7 seconds

Seats: 5

Curb weight: 4,453 pounds

Dimensions

in inches:

Wheelbase, 122.9

Length, 207.4

Width, 83.1

Fuel economy:

17 miles per gallon city, 27 mpg highway

Fuel type:

Premium unleaded

Options worth considering: Premium package with massaging seats, 22-way climate-controlled front seats; Driver's Assistance package, which includes pre sense, adaptive cruise control, lane assist; solar sunroof; night vision assistant with pedestrian detection and warning

Website: models.audiusa.com/a8

The Daily Drivers: 2011 Audi A8 L a worthy competitor among German luxury sedans 05/06/11 [Last modified: Friday, May 6, 2011 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa man pleads guilty to forging check for fake investment

    Personal Finance

    A Tampa resident was convicted Thursday for forging a check for a fake investment. The Florida Office of Financial Regulation said that Eric Franz Peer pleaded guilty. He served 11 months in jail and will have to pay $18,000.

  2. Minority business accelerator launch by Tampa chamber to aid black, Hispanic businesses

    Business

    A "minority business accelerator" program was launched Thursday by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce geared toward helping black and Hispanic business owners identify and overcome barriers to grow their companies. The accelerator, known as MBA, will provide participants with business tools to cultivate opportunities …

    Bemetra Simmons is a senior private banker at Wells Fargo, The Private Bank. She is also chair of the new minority business accelerator program for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. [Photo, LinkedIn]
  3. Terrier Tri brings unique triathlon training to South Tampa

    Business

    Over a decade ago, Robert Pennino traded late nights in the music studio for early mornings in the Terrier Tri cycle studio.

    Terrier Tri, a cycling studio in South Tampa celebrates a grand opening on June 27. Photo courtesy of Tess Hipp.
  4. New bistro hopes to serve as 'adult Chuck E. Cheese'

    Business

    YBOR CITY — Inside Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy, a new restaurant opening in Ybor City, customers will find a mix of family recipes, games and secrecy.

    Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy readies to open in Ybor City. Photo courtesy of Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy.
  5. Ramadan having an economic impact on local charities, businesses

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Dodging the rain, a few families and customers gathered inside Petra Restaurant on Busch Boulevard. Around 8:30 p.m., the adham (or call to prayer) music begins, signaling Iftar, the end of the daily fast. Customers grabbed a plate to dig into the feast.

    Baha Abdullah, 35, the owner of the Sultan Market makes kataif, a common dessert that is eaten during the month long celebration of Ramadan in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]