The 2011 Audi A8 ranks 3 out of 10 Super Luxury Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of 32 published reviews and test drives of the Audi A8, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.
The automotive press loves the 2011 Audi A8’s good fuel economy, excellent suspension, standard Quattro all-wheel drive and opulent, tech-heavy interior. Autoblog writes, “For lack of a better phrase, they’ve put old luxury on notice and infused some very welcome ‘sport’ into its flagship.” Despite these attributes, the A8 lacks the power of some rivals and has a trunk that’s on the small side among super luxury cars.
If you’re looking for a sumptuous interior with impressive cabin tech, decent fuel economy and handling that walks the line between the comfortable Lexus LS and the nimble Porsche Panamera, the 2011 Audi A8 might fit the bill. It ties the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Hybrid and the V6-powered Porsche Panamera in terms of fuel economy, but it’s more powerful than either and features standard all-wheel drive. Still, the A8 is not the horsepower king of super luxury cars — the class is full of V8-powered rivals that could easily beat the A8 in a drag race.
Sit inside the A8, however, and you might not be in a hurry to go anywhere. Many reviewers say that Audi offers some of the highest quality interiors available today, and as the company’s flagship the 2011 Audi A8 features the automaker’s best materials and available cabin tech. The interior has an almost nautical theme; its large console features a wide shift-lever designed to resemble the throttle from a motor yacht. Reviewers like the design, but say that the shifter is tricky to get into gear. You have to nudge it carefully up or down into the perfect spot, otherwise you’ll overshoot your selection.
Audi’s MMI electronics interface has also garnered positive reviews. It still features a control dial to navigate through on-screen menus, but Audi has also added a touchpad that can recognize handwriting. Reviewers say that it’s easy to trace letters and numbers on its surface while driving, and the touchpad can be used to select audio and navigation settings. Still, one reviewer says the MMI interface has to control too many vehicle functions. Another writes that the navigation system could provide better directions when traffic jams up, and lacked data seen on competing systems such as gas price and weather information.
Passenger space is ample. The backseat has plenty of room in the regular A8, and even more so in the extended-wheelbase A8 L. The seats are comfortable at all four corners, and heated front seats in both models can be upgraded to feature more adjustability, massage and ventilation. Heated rear seats can also be added to the A8, but the A8 L is also adds the option for rear seats that recline, and have heat, ventilation and massage settings.
Despite all this interior room and comfort, reviewers say that the trunk of the Audi A8 is lacking. At just 13.2 cubic feet, the A8’s cargo hold is small, not only compared to other super luxury cars, but also compared to the 15.9 cubic feet in the smaller Audi A6. Rivals like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the BMW 7-Series have 16.4 and 14 cubic feet of trunk space, respectively.If you’re looking for a car with an equally luxurious interior, and are willing to trade some of the A8’s sporty performance characteristics for a lower base price, the Lexus LS might be a good choice. Starting at about $66,000, the base LS is nearly $12,000 cheaper than the A8. However, the A8 comes with Quattro as standard equipment. To match the A8’s grip, you’ll pay about $9,500 less for an all-wheel drive LS. Like the A8, the LS is also available with an extended wheelbase. Those models start at about $72,000 and $74,000 for two- and all-wheel drive, respectively — which is still a savings compared to the $84,000 A8 L.
However, there are a few things to consider. The LS has an extremely comfortable ride, but isn’t as nimble as the A8 on winding roads. The LS also can’t match the A8’s fuel economy. According to the EPA, the base LS gets 16 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway, which is less impressive than the A8’s 17/27 mpg city/highway.If the LS doesn’t fit the bill, the BMW 7-Series might. It’s nimbler than the A8, and is available in regular or long-wheelbase body styles with multiple drivetrain configurations. While the bottom-rung 740i is about $8,000 less than the A8, it doesn’t have all-wheel drive, and its twin-turbo six-cylinder engine can’t match the Audi’s power. The more powerful, 750i