In-depth reviews

Audi A8 (2002-2009) review

Classy A8 is a worthy Audi range flagship

Overall Auto Express Rating

2.0 out of 5

Price
£71,745 to £105,850

Driving The big Audi luxury car has an amazing range of engines. Even the 207bhp 2.8-litre V6 copes reasonably well, as the all-aluminium A8 is impressively light weight for such a large motor. This means the pace of the V8 versions is searing – particularly the amazing 4.2-litre TDI, which storms to 60mph in 6.1 seconds, yet still returns reasonable economy. Quattro four-wheel-drive for most models means the power can be deployed without fuss as well. There are two choices of automatic gearbox, CVT or conventional auto, though the latter can be a little jerky at times. Superb air suspension provides extremely assured road manners, while the steering is light and direct. The ride can be pattery at times, though.

Marketplace Audi’s sophisticated flagship boasts the clean lines and elegance of design the marque is famous for. Offered in standard and long-wheelbase guise, it has the looks to successfully compete with the BMW 7-Series and Mercedes S-Class, particularly following a series of detail revisions in 2007. There are two trims, SE and Sport, with the latter offering more focused suspension and wheel options, plus racier (but still elegant) trims inside.

Owning No two ways about it, the A8 is exceedingly refined. Revisions in 2007 introduced enhanced sound deadening, making an already hushed cabin even quieter – and what an interior it is! No rival offers build and quality standards this impressive, and comfort for driver and passengers is unquestionable. The long-wheelbase versions add vast rear legroom to the mix, too, while the boot is also good. Equipment levels befit the car’s luxury status and the options list is bulging – if your pockets are deep enough. Luckily, the car’s decent residuals help retain a good proportion of this outlay, particularly if you’re wise and select the 3.0-litre TDI or 4.2-litre TDI; the former also returns over 33mpg, though all A8s are economical, thanks to a combination of light weight and very well-sorted aerodynamics.

Engines, performance and drive

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MPG, CO2 and Running Costs

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Interior, design and technology

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Practicality, comfort and boot space

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Reliability and Safety

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Next Steps

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    50 TDI Quattro Sport 4dr Tiptronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £71,745

Most Economical

  • Name
    50 TDI Quattro Sport 4dr Tiptronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £71,745

Fastest

  • Name
    55 TFSI Quattro Sport 4dr Tiptronic [C+S]
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £75,365

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