Audi India has hit the headlights again by introducing the armored version of A8 saloon in the country. The event took place at the 2016 Delhi Auto Expo, which happened earlier this month. As per the company’s claims, this new product is the most secure Audi ever built. It promises advanced security and protection to the occupants inside with its armored suit. This bullet-proof machine is powered by a 6-litre W12 engine, whose transmission duties are handled by an Automatic 8 speed gearbox. Not only with regards to the security, but the interiors of this saloon too are of top class with affluent features. With elegant cabin and high-end amenities, this latest release redefines its class.
Styling-wise, the A8L Extended is identical to the production A8 from the nose to the A-pillar and from the D-pillar to the rear fascia. In other words, Audi crafted an entirely new center section that features six doors instead of four, redesigned side windows, and character lines altered to suit the extra length of the car. Speaking of length, the A8L Extended is 42.9 inches longer than the standard A8, all of which has gone into the wheelbase. The overall length is 250.39 inches, while the wheelbase measures 166.14 inches.
Audi says the limousine also received extended side sills and center tunnel, meaning that the car should also be wider than the standard A8. Other details that set it apart are the small side marker lights in the headlamps and taillights, which are required by law for vehicles of this length. The model shown here is finished in Moonlight Blue, but customers should be able to choose other colors from Audi’s standard and optional palette as well.
On the inside too, the changes are quite minimal yet the sense of freshness and appeal isn’t lacking, the big Audi’s cabin having space aplenty with the interior oozing a sense of quality and luxury. There is a good blend of aluminium, wood and leather throughout the confines of the cabin and that works very well to make occupants in the A8 feel special. We also love the interior lightning theme and the way the dashboard has a retro touch with that analogue Audi watch adorning the top of the centre console.
The A8L gets the option of a rear seat executive package, which went no ends to bowl us over on our test car. You get two individual rear seats, split by a large console in between which houses a fridge, plenty of buttons and pop out tables. The seats themselves recline and are multiple way adjustable, offered with an electrically operated foot rest. There is a massage function too and individual LCD screens for the rear occupants. You can adjust your own seat in multiple ways while the left rear seat occupant can also adjust the front co-passenger seat with a touch of a button.
You can also control the sun blinds, panoramic roof, MMI and almost every possible feature from the comfort of the rear seat. There are plenty of small and neat storage bins, including on the doors. Plenty of features makes it a very loaded car but quite a lot of equipment is part of the option list, including the Bang & Olfsen sound system, panoramic/solar sunroof, Matrix lights, automatic parking, Dynamic steering, front and rear cameras, Night Vision, massage seats and heads-up display. There is also an overdose of buttons throughout the cabin.
Audi has launched the A8L with the 4.2 Litre V8 FSI engine while in other countries there is also an option of the 3 Litre Tdi 6 cylinders and the amazing 6litre W12 engine which has 12 cylinders. Both of which would be soon launched on the A8 soon for India by Audi.The Audi A8L gets its power from the 4163cc V8 FSI engine that makes 372 hp @ 6800rpm and 445 Nm of torque @ 3500 rpm. This eight cylinder engine has 4 valves per cylinder that is at 90 degrees angle. The FSI engines have become a benchmark in direct injection technology with Audi incorporating it across the entire lineup. This 4.2 FSI engine has gone six kilograms lighter as the crankcase is now made up of high-strength cast iron alloy thus benefiting in weight reduction.
The monstrous V8 is mated to an 8 speed automatic gearbox that has tiptronic with DSP and sports programme . The gear ratios spread out nicely all across the power band. The Audi A8L is Audis’ flagship model and comes with the renowned quattro technology. The A8’s quattro distributes power in ratio of 40:60 to the front and rear wheels. On detection of slip, majority of the power gets transferred to the other axle automatically. You can leave the Audi A8 to automatically shift gears or take the shifting controls in your hands using the paddle shifter behind the steering. The eight gears are very well spaced and you can actually drive on the 8th gear at as low as 80kmph.
The Audi A8L feels responsive in any gear. Audi claims that this new ZF transmission gets the best efficiency from the engine and also helps in lower frictional losses. Rev the engine and you can hear the grunt it makes. You immediately think of the movie Transporter in which the Audi A8 played an important role. The engine is very rev friendly and the peak torque is experienced somewhere after the 6k rpm. Driving around in the Audi A8L is super fun with so many settings and gadgets at your service to play with. You can set the adaptive air suspension according to your liking and terrain and also raise or lower the car. The default setting raises the Audi A8L after it crosses the 80kmph speed automatically. The ride quality is well composed when the suspension is set in Comfort or Auto mode; at cruising speeds though the ride is suppler and smoother on Auto.
RIDE AND HANDLING ;
Incorporated with Discs on both front and rear wheels, and accompanied with ABS, its braking performance remains exceptional. Adding to this, there are number of traction control programs, which aids in enhancing the stability and handling quality of the car. There is hardly any body roll, thanks to the adaptive suspension on both front and rear axles. This efficient suspension also aids in enhancing the comforts inside.
BRAKING AND SAFETY ;
The braking power of A8L is brilliant. This model is engineered with quality brakes that allow users to control the speed at different levels. It is loaded with front knee, dual front, full-sized and rear Curtain airbags. In addition to these safety features, this car is packed with additional options like an active lane assist technology that works as an alarm for the driver. This function can steer the car gently to back. It has a pre-sense feature that detects obstacles lied in front of the car and encourage the A8L to mitigate the severity.
The Audi A8 till now was somewhat sober and composed model as compared to the Mercedes S Class and the BMW 7 series now with the latest generation Audi A8 in the long wheel base form gives Audi the perfect chance to hit back at its rivals and get a firm foothold in the Luxury sedan segment. Best in class rear seat comfort and a never ending list of goodies and gadgets combined with the unique business class like rear seat makes the Audi A8 L 4.2 FSI the new contender for the title in the segment.