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2008 Audi A8 Overview

An all-new version of Audi's A8 flagship luxury sedan will reach the market late in 2009. For 2008, Audi made subtle changes to the A8, yet it remains the standard for luxury performance sedans.

The all-aluminum A8 space frame weighs about 300 pounds less than its conventional steel counterpart. With that Audi combines its incomparable quattro all-wheel drive and an electronically adjustable "Adaptive Air Suspension." From the well-appointed comfort of the driver's seat (adjustable 16 ways with a memory feature for four different drivers), the Multi-Media Interface dial controls the suspension. There are four modes: Comfort, Dynamic, Automatic, and Lift. These adjustments set the suspension for effortless highway cruising, canyon carving, carefree travel (letting the A8 make adjustments based on your driving style), or rough road/snow conditions.

Two engine options define the three A8 models (the S8 performance model is treated in a separate review). A 350-hp, 4.2-liter V8 powers the A8 and the A8 L ("L" as in long wheelbase). The A8 rides on a 115.9-inch wheelbase, while the A8 L adds 5.1 inches to both the wheelbase and overall length. A 450-hp, 6.0-liter W12 (two V6s joined at their crankshafts) powers the A8 L W12, which rides on a 121-inch wheelbase. The V8 powered A8 can jump from 0-60 in 5.9 seconds, and Audi claims its big W12 brother can do it in 5.0 seconds.

The cabin of this flagship luxury sedan represents the peak of Audi's vaunted interior design prowess. A wide choice of leathers and wood trims (walnut, sycamore, and birch) with aluminum trim provide enough choice for an individual expression of taste. Front and rear seats are heated, ventilated, and adjustable. There is even a secondary heater in the rear cabin to warm it more quickly. Ambient lighting and automatic window defogging figure among a long list of interior technological innovations. Safety features also abound - from a radar-equipped blind-spot warning system to one of the industry's most sophisticated stability control systems.

Fast, luxurious, and safe, the A8 is an overlooked star in the German luxury performance car firmament.

Updated by Anonymous

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