It's not all that much of a coincidence that all of the major luxury manufacturers tend to release all-new or heavily-revised versions of competing cars around the same time. That's just a bonus for us, the enthusiasts, as we have a great new crop of full-size luxury sedans to choose from this year, with the 2011 Audi A8 among them. Combining high-tech and light-weight materials, one of the best interiors in the mainstream marketplace, and Audi's characteristically reserved charm, the new A8 is a solid all-rounder, and MotorAuthority awards it 8 out of 10.
Like any good luxury sedan, even the big ones, the 2011 A8 is fun to drive fast. It's not the most fun to drive fast in the full-size/executive limousine segment, but it's more than able to keep even the most demanding driver entertained. The steering is light but responsive, well-suited to curving highways. Our only complaint is a slight lack of feel.
A healthy 372-horsepower, 4.2-liter V-8 engine offers plenty of spunk despite the long wheelbase and 4,400-pound curb weight, making merges and passes a breeze. The eight-speed automatic transmission backing it up is tuned to near-perfection--smooth, quick, and almost invisible in its action. A W-12 6.3-liter engine rated at 500 horsepower is available if you really feel the need for some speed.
Inside the 2011 A8, the cabin is roomy and comfortable, though like TheCarConnection, we heartily recommend the long-wheelbase A8 L version, which features about five inches extra wheelbase, most of it dedicated to more rear-seat legroom--and when you're talking about full-size, high-end luxury sedans, more is always better, right? In this case, anyway, it is--the roomy seat is a pleasure, and the longer rear doors make entry and exit a lot easier.
It's not just about comfort and space, however. Once you're in and comfy, the A8 has just about everything you could need, from the basics of a compelling business presentation to a fully entertaining movie system for long-distance trips with the kids: dual 10.2-inch rear screens and a. There's also plenty for the driver to play with, including Audi Drive Select, which offers Dynamic, Comfort, Auto, or Individual modes, with the Individual mode programmable to your preferences.
All of those electronics can get a bit over-complex, with what can feel like an airliner cockpit's worth of buttons, but once you figure it all out, amenities like the available Bang & Olufsen Advanced sound system, which packs 19 speakers into the cabin for 1,400 watts of ear-caressing fidelity.
For all of the specifics on the 2011 Audi A8, from its technical specs to its aesthetic cues, read the full review at TheCarConnection.