LUX­URY AT A PRICE

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Looklocal - Peter Barn­well

THE oper­a­tive num­ber here is 5.9…. litres per 100km and seconds from 0100km/h.

It ap­plies to the new Audi A8 3.0TDi limo that forms part of a three-model line-up.

It's the ‘en­try level’ A8 run­ning a 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6 en­gine and eight-speed tip­tronic auto that sells for $195,000.

You can step up to a long wheel­base ver­sion of the same car for an ad­di­tional $12,000; the only long wheel­base A8 in the range.

Re­cently re­vised, the new model gains more stan­dard kit, almost to a ridicu­lous level, but more im­por­tant is the driver as­sist stuff that in­cludes adap­tive cruise con­trol, ac­tive lane as­sist, side as­sist, park as­sist, 360-de­gree rev­ers­ing cam­era, pre-sense crash prepa­ra­tion, stop-and-go func­tion, and power-as­sisted door close and boot op­er­a­tion.

It's a solid base to start from in new tech­nol­ogy terms.

Plenty more is avail­able at ex­tra cost.

The A8 is a big five-seater ‘sa­loon’ car with plenty of room inside for all and a large boot for their lug­gage.

Th­ese lucky souls will en­joy the com­fort of adap­tive air sus­pen­sion, leather up­hol­stery, pre­mium Bose audio and a multi-me­dia Audi Con­nect sys­tem in­clud­ing a Wi-Fi hotspot. The front seat oc­cu­pants even get heated/ven­ti­lated seats.

Drive Se­lect al­lows the driver to choose how the A8 be­haves in a range from com­fort to sport. There’s an auto mode that cov­ers all bases.

It has in­cred­i­ble LED head­lights with auto high beam. The mul­ti­fac­eted lights il­lu­mi­nate au­to­mat­i­cally in cer­tain pat­terns to al­low for the ve­hi­cle's speed, am­bi­ent light­ing and other ve­hi­cles; from the driver's seat it's like sit­ting be­hind a light show.

They went to great lengths with light­ing else­where in the car with about the funki­est in­te­rior il­lu­mi­na­tion sys­tem on the mar­ket. Disco springs to mind.

Some­thing to re­mem­ber is the A8's quat­tro all-wheel drive, the only car in this seg­ment with such a sys­tem that in­creases grip and safety lev­els.

Though large, the A8 is ‘only’ 1880kg, light for the seg­ment, thanks to its alu­minium space frame con­struc­tion.

It rolls on 19-inch al­loys, but from the rear looks too much like smaller Audis, apart from the strik­ing se­quen­tial LED blink­ers.

From the side, you get a full ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the A8's size. It looks im­pos­ing.

In terms of drive feel, it has plenty to of­fer – com­fort to a lux­ury level or sharp sporty re­sponses at the touch of a but­ton.

The en­gine has plenty of kick and achieves some 190kW/580Nm out­put. Sounds OK for a diesel too. It's all you re­ally need in a car this size.

The trans­mis­sion is im­per­cep­ti­ble de­spite hav­ing eight cogs and there's a pad­dle shift to play with if you have the urge.

Ver­dict: Awe­some car, goes beau­ti­fully, sump­tu­ous lux­ury, safe, eco­nom­i­cal, fast, silent (most of the time).

Good look­ing too.

The Audi A8 TDi... big, lux­u­ri­ous and ev­ery­thing else.

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