12-cylinder Audi A8 L Share Comments Audi proudly presents its new flagship model: the 12-cylinder A8. The brand with the four-ring badge yet again defines the benchmark for dynamic performance in the very top automotive bracket. Because the launching of the A8 L 6.0 quattro marks the appearance of a vehicle full of superlatives – the most sporty luxury saloon car in the world. Twelve cylinders, 331 kW (450 bhp) and 580 Newton-metres of torque – a gain of 30 bhp and 20 Nm on the predecessor model – make this a supremely excellent car. The A8 6.0 L quattro sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds, and it accelerates from 0 to 200 in a mere 17.4 seconds. The twelve-cylinder model reaches its electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h after scarcely 30 seconds. The most impressive thing about it is just how spontaneously the six-litre engine translates every adjustment of the throttle into acceleration, and just how smoothly it can rev right up to the rated speed of 6,200 rpm if desired. At the same time more than 95 percent of the engine’s peak torque is available between 2,300 and 5,300 rpm; the ideal basis for supreme pulling power in every velocity range. The torque characteristic of this large-capacity naturally aspirated engine is without comparison. The six-speed automatic transmission with tiptronic function makes sure that exactly the right amount of power is always available. And it additionally offers the driver the chance to intervene actively in the tiptronic gearshift gate. The automatic transmission’s Sport program waits for higher engine speeds before shifting up, and shifts down sooner, allowing the full revving ability of the twelve-cylinder engine to be utilised. In conjunction with the low weight of the aluminium body built using the Audi Space Frame (ASF) principle, the engine and transmission turn in an excellent performance coupled with exemplary economy. quattro permanent four-wheel drive remains unequalled in the luxury segment. It translates engine performance into superbly effective propulsion and lateral support. The aluminium chassis with air suspension as standard is a feature found only on the new A8 L 6.0 quattro, a system that delivers the right characteristic for every situation: by means of the continuously variable damper settings, the adaptive air suspension reduces body movements, while optimising roadholding and ride comfort. The driver can choose between four predefined settings via the MMI, for a suspension characteristic spanning the full range from overtly sporty to ultra-comfortable. The A8 L 6.0 quattro is recognisable at first glance as the top model in the range. Its front end is distinguished by the new formal idiom of Audi design. Its central element is the striking single-frame radiator grille, the outer chrome ring of which surrounds the painted grey fins of the grille with horizontal chrome strips. The W12 badge provides a visual indication of the vehicle’s potential. The clear glass headlight covers visibly display the technology that they protect: the 12-cylinder A8 is the first car in the world to be equipped with the new lighting technology of adaptive light with LED daytime driving lights, whose distinctive 5-star lighting elements also have a dual function as new design features for the vehicle’s front end. A revolutionary technology: because the A8 L 6.0 quattro is the first vehicle in the world on which the use of daytime driving lights has virtually no effect on fuel consumption – a clear safety advantage, as the car is more easily spotted whatever the light conditions. This advance has been made possible by the use of LED units, the energy consumption of which is only a fraction of that of conventional bulbs. The interior affords an atmosphere of superb luxury. The top quality of the materials and finish, visible and palpable down to the smallest detail, perfectly complements the spaciousness and perfected ergonomic layout. The driver and passengers alike can savour an ambience, the style, exclusivity and functionality of which are remarkable, even in the luxury car bracket. All these characteristics highlight the sheer technological calibre of this luxury saloon and – in conjunction with the superlative drive train and suspension – create a unique vehicle: the Audi A8 6.0 L quattro. The new Audi flagship model can be ordered from December 8, 2003; delivery commencing February 2004. The price of the Audi A8 L 6.0 quattro in Germany is €117,000. For more discussion on this story, click on the link to our discussion forums to the left. For more photos of the car in this story, click on the link to our gallery at the right.