2014 Audi A8 L TDI – Review and Road Test

By Dan Collins on 18 August 2013
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The Audi A8 was not the first large German luxury sedan, but for a time,P1030098 it was somewhat of a “best kept secret” for executives in snowy climates and foreign heads of state seeking more discretion than a Mercedes S-Class could provide. Twenty years later, the A8 is quite recognizable, and the 2014 model year is available with a diesel under the hood.

The A8 was completely revamped for the 2011 model year, and like its predecessor, the new generation heralded advancements in both technology and engineering. Our test car was the extended-wheelbase A8 L TDI, and it was quite striking in its appearance.  The car’s white exterior contrasted the black, panoramic moonroof and its soft brown leather seats, all of this behind Audi’s signature bright white LED daytime running lights, which have quickly become commonplace throughout the industry.

In the cabin, pressing the start button, in addition to executing the expected engine start, made the navigation screen rise from the dash, while two Bang & Olufsen speakers emerged from the corners of the dashboard. The action was theatrical and just a hint of things to come.


Despite being, at least on paper, P1030102the slowest of the five available motors available in the U.S., the A8 L TDI was not only a pleasure to drive straight, around corners, and both short distances and long, but it was more than enough to cause trouble as well. The 3.0-liter V6 turbo diesel was mated to an 8-speed automatic, and growled quite pleasurably when given the chance. The 240 horsepower engine produces 406 pound-feet of torque, and while a run from 0-60 took 6.4 seconds, the torque was available and in tune with what most of these cars see in U.S.-suburban driving.  However, this car has strong roots as a true driver’s car, so it may have you taking the long way home.

I drove the A8 more than 1,300 miles on every imaginable type of road in Florida and South Georgia, from rural highways to Central Florida’s awful interstate, to the country club, and in stop-and-go traffic. The words smooth and well-mannered don’t do this car justice – the cabin is well-enough isolated from the world outside and the luxurious German pedigree is evident, P1030119since it felt that I and my passengers were going significantly slower than we actually were.

Indeed, the A8 was actually quite engaging to drive. The steering was heavy in at low speeds, largely due to it being variable power assist – which is a more than welcome alternative for this driver when compared to the rest of the automotive industry’s adoption of the eco-friendly electric power steering that removes any steering feel. The old-school steering and diesel torque made the car feel simply glorious tearing around a long curve on a gleaming new “mixing-bowl” interchange, a few miles per hour faster than the highway patrol probably would have appreciated. During its stay, the Audi Drive Select stayed mostly in Dynamic mode but regardless of the mode I was in, the roll and bounce that is usually the hallmark of an air-suspension was never noticeable.

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