Audi A8 3.0 V6 TDI

Base model is the pick of new executive range

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Meet the best A8 in the new range – so far. This entry-level diesel has more pace than most owners will ever need, yet offers incredible efficiency, too – so it should attract private and business buyers alike. While the fresh look is only evolutionary, the adjustable chassis, stunning interior and raft of kit help compensate. The 3.0 TDI is set to be a worthy best seller.

With muscular V8 petrol and diesel engines from launch, plus a flagship W12 and a sizzling S8 coming, you could be forgiven for overlooking the entry point in Audi’s new A8 range. But that would be a pity – as the 3.0-litre TDI is a brilliant all-rounder, and likely to be the best seller.

It’s more powerful and efficient than its predecessor, with stop-start, plus the same eight-speed automatic box and quattro four-wheel drive as the rest of the new line-up. Plus, at £54,760, it undercuts the BMW 730d SE and Mercedes S350 CDI.

A round of updates has boosted the refined 3.0-litre unit from 227bhp to 247bhp, while torque leaps 100Nm to a massive 550Nm.

On the road, that translates to a 0-62mph time of 6.6 seconds, plus instant in-gear response. Factor in the smooth S tronic box, plus Audi’s Drive Select system – which lets you tweak throttle and gearbox settings – and the A8 can pull away from a VW Golf R one moment, then settle back to a serene cruise the next. It’s also incredibly clean. The combination of an aluminium chassis and an aerodynamic body – with a drag coefficient of 0.26Cd – works in tandem with the stop-start to keep CO2 emissions down to 174g/km. Audi also claims 42.8mpg economy. A front-wheel-drive version, due later this year, promises 159g/km.

On the move, Drive Select lets you adjust the handling, so you can stiffen the air-suspension if there’s a twisty road ahead. Leave it in Auto mode, and it changes the settings for you.

It’s all very secure, agile and yet comfortable. Add in a beautifully constructed interior, and this luxury saloon is well worth considering.

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