Buyer's Guide

2021 Audi A8
Select a Different Model (3 Available): L 55 quattro Sedan
Fuel Economy $ 17 / 26 mpg
Horsepower 335@5,000
Torque 369@1,370
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  • Astoundingly comfortable
  • Quiet as the depths of space
  • Brilliant attention to detail


  • Anonymous styling
  • Quick but unexciting
  • Driver-assist features need work

Even as Audi's focus shifts to crossovers, the A8 remains its flagship. On its debut in 1994, this large luxury sedan showcased new technologies and lightweight aluminum construction. The current fourth-generation A8 went on sale for 2019 and continues to be a tech powerhouse and understated performer. A sporty S8 model and plug-in hybrid both return for 2021.

What's New

All models:

  • Heated and ventilated power-adjustable front seats
  • 360-degree view parking camera system
  • Cell phone signal enhancer

A8 L 60 TFSI Quattro:

  • Sport exterior styling
  • Premium LED headlights
  • Premium leather upholstery

S8 L Quattro:

  • 21-inch wheels
  • Heated front armrests

What We Think

Whereas some vehicles aim to provide excitement and involvement, the Audi A8 seems instead to be a rolling sensory deprivation chamber.

In this case, that's not a bad thing—the A8 is incredibly smooth and quiet. Comfort is further enhanced by the interior's ample passenger space and sumptuous materials. Technology is a focus, with features like several feet of digital display space, an incredible sound system, and available predictive suspension. When the executive rear seat option is chosen, the A8 is worthy of chauffeur duty. Some of its driver-assist features could use refinement, though.

As coddling as the A8 is, more excitement would be appreciated. The standard V-6 engine is quick but not eager, and the steering provides little feedback. Despite advancing to the finalist round of our 2019 Car of the Year competition, we critiqued the A8 as being soulless. That should be remedied by the S8, which adds a huge dose of power and other go-fast hardware.

In any case, the 2021 Audi A8 is among the most luxurious and relaxing cars available, no matter which seat you're buckled into.

What Does the "L" Stand for in Audi A8L?

In the large luxury sedan segment, rear-seat legroom is of utmost importance. Audi previously made the A8 in two lengths: standard wheelbase, for tighter handling and ease of parking, or long wheelbase, which added second-row space. Back then, an "L" badge was applied to long-wheelbase models only. Today the L still means long, but all variants have the same wheelbase length. Audi still includes it to draw attention to its flagship sedan's generous rear-seat legroom.

Performance and Fuel Economy

Regardless of engine choice, all A8 models use an eight-speed automatic transmission and Audi's Quattro AWD system. The A8's standard engine, found in 55 TFSI models, is a mild-hybrid turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 producing 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. In MotorTrend testing, this A8 accelerated from 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds. EPA-rated fuel economy is 17/26 mpg city/highway.

Note that there are two A8 models badged 60 TFSI. One is the A8 plug-in hybrid, which is designated E Quattro. It also uses the 55 TFSI's 3.0-liter V-6, but it is supplemented by a 14.1-kWh lithium-ion battery and electric motor integrated into the transmission. Output rises to 443 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque combined. Audi estimates the A8 E Quattro's 0-60 mph time at 4.9 seconds. The EPA rates fuel economy on the 2020 model at 23 mpg and 54 mpg-e combined, with up to 17 miles of all-electric driving range.

The other A8 60 TFSI features a mild-hybrid twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 producing 453 hp and 487 lb-ft of torque. 0-60 mph acceleration drops to an Audi-estimated 4.5 seconds.

At the top of the range is the S8, which also uses a hybridized twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8. Here it's tuned to produce 563 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque, which brings the 0-60 mph time to an Audi-estimated 3.8 seconds.


All A8 models include nine airbags. Forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, and lane departure warning are standard features. Adaptive cruise control with traffic sign recognition, lane keep assist, side and rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring are optional.

Cargo Space and Interior Room

Trunk space in standard A8 and S8 models measures 12.5 cubic feet. However, in the A8 plug-in hybrid, the battery pack reduces cargo space to 10.4 cubic feet. The second-row seats do not fold down.

Front-row headroom measures 38.3 inches in the A8, which compares to 39.9 inches in the BMW 7 Series. Second-row headroom is 38.5 inches in the A8, a bit less than 38.9 inches in the 7 Series. Legroom in the front row is close, at 41.5 inches in the Audi and 41.4 in the BMW. Second-row legroom is also similar, measuring 44.3 inches in the A8 and 44.4 inches in the 7 Series.

The A8 seats five passengers as standard or four when the Executive Rear Seat Package is added. This option brings power-adjustable heated and ventilated massaging rear seats, as well as a massaging extendable footrest for the right-side rear passenger. Other niceties include heated armrests, a leather-wrapped center console, and folding tray tables.


Every A8 is equipped standard with a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster display, which Audi calls Virtual Cockpit Plus. A dual-touchscreen infotainment system, comprising 10.1-inch upper and 8.6-inch lower displays, is also standard. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, and cell phone signal enhancement are among the A8's included features. A rear seat entertainment package adds displays to each front seatback and a DVD player. Two front-row USB ports are included; two more can optionally be added to the second row. For 2021, a 360-degree view camera setup becomes standard. Technology options include a wireless device charger, head-up display, and night vision camera. All models include a 17-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, but a 23-speaker premium setup is available.

Trim Levels

2021 Audi A8 L 55 TFSI Quattro

Exterior: 19-inch wheels, LED headlights and taillights, auto-dimming power-folding heated side mirrors, panoramic sunroof,

Interior: Leather seating upholstery, heated and ventilated power-adjustable front seats, dual-touchscreen infotainment, digital gauge display, power rear sunshades, ambient lighting, wood trim

Convenience: Power soft-close doors, power-operated trunk, hands-free keyless entry, four-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, 360-degree view parking camera system

2021 Audi A8 L 60 TFSI E Quattro (Plug-In Hybrid)

Exterior: Model-specific LED accent lights

2021 Audi A8 L 60 TFSI Quattro

Exterior: 20-inch alloy wheels, sport style bumpers, black trim and brake calipers, premium LED headlights

Interior: Premium leather upholstery

2021 Audi S8 L Quattro

Exterior: 21-inch wheels, sport style bumpers, quad exhaust tips, metallic side mirror caps

Interior: Sport front seats, carbon trim, heated front armrests

Performance: Active adaptive sport suspension, four-wheel steering, sport rear differential, sport brakes

Key Competitors:

Engine Name
Engine: V6 Turbo 3.0 Liter TFSI®
Transmission Name
Transmission, Tiptronic® 8 Speed Automatic Mode Select with Manual Mode
L 55 quattro Sedan
Luxury Passenger Car
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Unleaded Premium
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Amount Description Expiry Date
$0 1.49% Financing available for varying term lengths : 36, 48, 60 Months - Audi announces APR rates on select models. 01-04-2021
$0 1.99% Financing for a maximum term of 66 Months - Audi announces APR rates on select models. 01-04-2021
$0 2.49% Financing for a maximum term of 72 Months - Audi announces APR rates on select models. 01-04-2021
$0 2.99% Financing for a maximum term of 75 Months - Audi announces APR rates on select models. 01-04-2021