The A8 continues as the flagship vehicle in 2013 for the Audi model lineup.
It retains luxury and technological amenities from last year and adds several significant changes, including new engines (the first ever V-6 gasoline and TDI variants), innovative efficiency technologies, top and corner view cameras, LED headlights with high beam assistant, and luxurious paint finishes.
For the 2013, the A8 model line expands from two to five models. Gone is the old 4.2 liter V-8 engine, replaced by a new 3.0T supercharged V-6 (18/28 mpg) and equally new 4.0T twin-turbo V-8 engines (17/28 mpg) that are faster and have excellent driving characteristics. The V-6 produces 333 hp and 325 pounds-feet of torque and clocks 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds. The all-new 4.0-liter TSFI biturbo V-8 produces 420 hp and 444 pounds-feet of torque and races from 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. If you want even more speed, the all-new Audi S8 accelerates from 0-60 in just 3.9 seconds.
All engines are mated to an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission with the confidence-inspiring Audi quattro allwheel drive system.
To improve fuel economy in the A-8, Audi has implemented cylinder on demand technology for the big V-8 engine and start-stop technology for the V-6. The cylinder-on-demand technology allows the A8 to operate in four-cylinder mode during highway driving conditions. When power is needed from all eight cylinders, the other four cylinders automatically and instantaneously reignite.
The start-stop technology of the 3.0T uses the same idea as turning a light switch on and off — if you leave a room and don’t need the light, you turn it off. While the car is at a prolonged idle with the driver’s foot on the brake pedal, such as stopped at a red traffic light, the engine temporarily turns off, then re-starts as the driver releases his foot from the brake pedal.
Audi dynamic steering, which varies the effort as well as the steering ratio, and Audi drive select are featured in the A8. Audi drive select allows drivers to adjust throttle response and transmission settings, as well as configure vehicle driving characteristics to their liking with a choice of Comfort, Auto, Dynamic or Individual settings.
The 500 horsepower W12, powered by the 6.0 liter W12 engine, represents the top of the A8 model line with an available Executive Rear Seat package that makes traveling by car seem like the finest business class air travel complete with reclining seat, footrest and heated and cooled — as well as massage — seat functions. Two rear LCD screens that operate independently are available for rear seat passengers to use with Bluetooth headphones to enjoy watching DVDs or listening to music.
Base pricing on the 2013 Audi A8 ranges from $72,200 to $134,500.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com