Given its size, the way this Audi gathers speed borders on the ridiculous. Step hard on the throttle, and it picks up momentum not too differently from any of the S models – but you can barely hear the air intake, exhaust and engine.
Ah yes, the engine. Currently the most capacious of all the offerings from Audi, it is truly an impressive unit. Known as the W12 because of its unusual layout, it features four rows of three cylinders, like two V6 motors side-by-side.
Outputs are, as expected, prodigious – 500bhp and 625Nm enable this long-wheelbase A8 to sprint from 0-100km/h in only 4.7 seconds. Fuel economy is surprisingly good, too, at a figure of 8.1km/L.
The 8-speeed gearbox is key to this high efficiency. Made by ZF, it shifts smoothly and quickly – you can even play racecar driver with the steering wheel paddles. And with quattro all-wheel drive plus the sport differential, the A8L 6.3 is quite fun to hustle around bends.
The wide 265/40 R20 tyres grip tenaciously, while the adaptive air suspension, its dampers reacting in milliseconds, controls body roll to make the car corner “flatter” for more stability.
However, this type of “hooligan” behaviour is best reserved for the smaller, more performance-oriented Audis as this saloon is all about comfort and being pampered. (Even more so if you’re one of the lucky rear passengers.)
The space available can only be described as opulent. Between the individual seats is a full-length console, which can be specified with items such as a folding table and a refrigerator. There are even LCDs behind the front headrests.
However, to really enjoy the full “benefits” of being ferried, the reclining seat behind the front passenger is where you should be. It sports a massage function that will knead and press all your aches away.
Looks-wise, the A8L 6.3 sports subtle details that distinguish it from the other models in the range, such as the single-frame grille with high-gloss black paint finish, trapezoidal tailpipes and a couple of W12 badges.
The car’s biggest problem, however, is its price, which is well in excess of $600,000. This is around $250,000 more than the “basic” A8L 3.0, which has many of the same features.
Then again, interested buyers are most probably the sorts who would covet a platinum timepiece over a rose gold one, or a D-coloured diamond over a similar-sized one graded E. They just want the top-of-the-range model, regardless of its price.
Audi A8 W12 6.3 (A)
ENGINE 6299cc, 48-valves, W12, turbocharged
MAX POWER 500bhp at 6200rpm
MAX TORQUE 625Nm at 4750rpm
GEARBOX 8-speed automatic with manual select
0-100KM/H 4.7 seconds
TOP SPEED 250km/h (governed)
CONSUMPTION 8.1km/L (combined)
PRICE INCL. COE $617,011
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