The sedan may be something of a dying breed in North America, where automakers are pouring resources into satisfying this continent’s seemingly insatiable demand for crossovers and SUVs.
Despite that evolutionary shift in buying habits, upscale auto manufacturers still believe there’s a market for big, posh sedans like Audi’s A8 L. The only recognition here that sedans aren’t getting the attention they once did is that, like the standard-wheelbase A8, the A8 L is unchanged for 2018.
As the ne plus ultra of Audi models, this big, handsome car that skips the standard-wheelbase model’s V6 engine and goes straight for the turbocharged 4.0L V8 that’s optional in that smaller variant. It’s a 450 hp machine that also boasts 444 lb-ft of torque and comes mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and Audi’s Quattro AWD system.
It’s worth noting that in Europe, the A8 L can be had with an even more potent 12-cylinder (W12) engine, an option that disappeared from Canadian option sheets years ago, despite the fact the A8 L’s German competitors still offer V12 power.. But that’s just as well, because this car’s extensive use of aluminum to lighten things up means the V8 has more than enough juice to move this car the way one with a six-figure price should.
As always, while we appreciate Audi’s penchant for understated styling, we have to think there are a number of shoppers in this budget bracket who pass over the A8 L in favour of the showier Mercedes-Benz S-Class or BMW 7 Series.
But Audi buyers need not worry they’re missing out on upscale features. Every A8L comes standard with 20-inch wheels, 18-way comfort sport seats, power-adjustable steering column, piano black and brushed aluminum interior inlays, LED headlights, daytime running lights and tail lights, 360-degree camera views with front and rear parking sensors, heated front and rear seats and heated steering wheel, four-zone automatic climate control, powered rear side window sun shades, blind spot monitoring, power trunk open/close with movement activation, navigation, 14-speaker stereo, power-folding side mirrors, Audi MMI Touch with handwriting recognition, Valcona leather seating front front seat ventilation and massage function, panoramic sunroof and rear-seat reading lights and vanity mirrors.
Options include a sport package that brings unique wheels with performance tires, sport differential and dynamic steering. There’s also a driver assistance package that bundles active safety items including head-up display, automatic high beams, active lane assist, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and pre-sense plus.
Finally, a rear seat comfort package that’s exclusive to the A8 L adds power-adjustable rear outboard seats with ventilation, massage and four-way lumbar, plus controls to adjust the front passenger seat (when unoccupied) from the rear.
Fuel consumption estimates, according to Natural Resources Canada, are 13.1/8.3 L/100 km (city/highway).
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed