The top-of-the-range 2012 Audi A8 is Audi's flagship meant to directly compete with the best of German rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Audi's standard A8 comes with a 4.2-liter 374-hp V-8 and, with the addition of Audi's extended version powered by a beefy 6.3-liter, 500-hp W-12, the range is more complete than ever. The 2012 A8's understated styling belies a rich interior loaded to the brim with high-tech features, including a new infotainment system that receives your inputs from a touchpad on the center console. The navigation system also features Google Earth with aerial satellite imagery.
Both engines are paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission that allows for smooth shifts. Features such as available Night Vision Assist use thermal imagery to help detect pedestrians and avoid a possible collision. An automatic emergency brake is also available. With its powerful engines, composed road manners, plush interiors replete with the latest technology, the 2012 Audi A8 should be considered shoppers in this ultra-competitive supreme luxury sedan segment.
Engines: 4.2-liter V-8, 6.3-liter W-12
Transmission: eight-speed automatic
Models: Normal wheelbase, Long wheelbase
All-new to the 2012 Audi A8 family is the 2012 Audi A8L W12. This beast is equipped with a 6.3-liter W-12 producing a very impressive 500 hp. The Audi Design selection package is now an option for all 2012 Audi A8 models, as well as new full leather packages. Also available is Audi connect with Google Earth navigation and Wi-Fi hotspot capability.
Evolution, not revolution, is the mantra of the 2012 Audi A8's styling. Some may find it too conservative, but it can also be seen as subtle and understated. Curvaceous sheet metal and Audi's signature LED lights abound characterize styling of the flagship sedan. A power glass sunroof and 19-inch alloy wheels are standard; 20-inch alloy wheels are an option.
The German automaker has earned a reputation for producing top-notch interiors, and the 2012 Audi A8 is perhaps its best example of this. Audi's new Multi-Media Interface (MMI) utilizes Google Earth on the navigation, with aerial satellite imagery. Fine leather, power front seats and dual-zone automatic climate control are all standard across the range, along with a multi-function steering wheel. Wood trim and heated seats are also standard, ventilated seats are an option. With high-quality materials generously applied throughout the cabin, the A8 delivers a striking, first-rate cabin.
Performance & Handling
Propelled by its standard 4.2-liter 372-hp V-8, or optional 6.3-liter 500-hp W12, power, and a lot of it, is always at the ready. Despite its size, the 2012 Audi A8 powers through corners elegantly thanks to its quattro all-wheel-drive. Much like its competitors, the flagship sedan offers a stately ride in town: quiet, smooth, and obedient. Steering is responsive, and couple with excellent braking ability, the A8 instills a sense of confidence while driving.
Antilock brakes, driver and passenger front airbags are standard, along with side impact thorax bags for front passengers and front and rear head curtain bags. Electronic Stability and traction control are also standard. Optional safety features include a Driver Assistance package with a blind spot monitor and lane-change assist feature. Audi's pre-sense is also optional, and alerts drivers if it sensing a collision may occur.
EPA Fuel Economy
A8 4.2-liter V-8: 18 mpg city/ 28 mpg highway
A8L 6.3-liter W-12: 14 mpg city/ 21 mpg highway
- Great handling
- Powerful engines
- Loaded with technology
- Supreme luxury
- Plush ride
You Won't Like
- Vague steering
- Keeps getting bigger
- Conservative styling
Audi's flagship sedan zeros in on Mercedes and BMW with W12 option
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