2011 Audi A8 Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2011 Audi A8 Sedan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Audi A8 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.2 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 8-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 372 hp @ 6800 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 17/27 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation Yes
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2011 Audi A8

  • The redesigned 2011 Audi A8 is bigger than the previous model and comes loaded with plenty of technological wizardry. It also promises to be the most driver-focused luxury sedan in the segment.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Luxurious and handsome cabin; cutting-edge technology features; excellent driving dynamics; standard all-wheel drive.

  • Cons

    Prestige factor not quite equal to chief rivals; limited engine choice.

  • What's New for 2011

    The 2011 Audi A8 has been fully redesigned.

Full 2011 Audi A8 Review

What's New for 2011

The 2011 Audi A8 has been fully redesigned.


As luxury sedan go, the Audi A8 is hardly a household name. It's long lived in the shadow of its more popular rivals from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. But that doesn't mean it's been a bad choice. Lightweight aluminum construction, standard all-wheel drive and impeccably trimmed cabin have made the A8 our favorite alternative pick in this segment. But for the third-generation example of this car, Audi seems determined to move the A8 from indie status to full-on blockbuster.

Longer, lower and wider than before, the 2011 Audi A8 -- at least in its "L" long-wheelbase form -- can now lay claim to being the biggest luxury sedan. Of course, the A8 still weighs less than most of its luxury sedan rivals; aluminum construction is once again a key technology here. This year, the A8's 4.2-liter direct-injected V8 is tweaked for more output and cranks out a respectable 372 horsepower. It's matched to a new eight-speed automatic transmission that not only helps boost performance but also notably improves fuel economy as well.

Audi promises sportier driving dynamics for the 2011 A8 thanks to the all-wheel-drive system's decidedly rear-biased power split; the idea here is to provide more of the feel of a rear-drive performance sedan. Under normal driving conditions, power is split 40 percent front/60 percent rear, but up to 80 percent can be sent rearward when needed. For even more athleticism, an optional, torque-vectoring limited-slip differential is available.

This year the A8 is also loaded with enough technological doodads to make even the most jaded of gizmo geeks swoon. A new dynamic steering system can intervene with automatic countersteering in a slide, and can also quicken the steering ratio by 100 percent when parking. There is also adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, automatic emergency braking, and night vision with thermal imaging and pedestrian detection. Audi's MMI electronic interface is still in use but now features an additional touchpad interface that reads fingertip gestures as letters and commands. Google Earth mapping for the navigation system is another A8 exclusive.

Taken as a whole, the 2011 Audi A8 is certainly a keen choice. It has everything we liked about last year's model, but it's now bolder. True, the A8's rivals like the 2011 BMW 7 Series, 2011 Jaguar XJ, 2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class and 2011 Porsche Panamera offer an advantage as far as engine choices, with hybrid as well as gonzo V8 and V12 versions of their flagship sedans. If the latter is a non-issue, the multitalented A8 stands fully competitive among large luxury sedans.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Audi A8 comes in two trims: standard and long-wheelbase L (which provides more room for rear seat passengers).

Both A8 models come standard with 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive air suspension, Audi Drive Select (allows adjustment of suspension, steering and engine/transmission response), xenon headlights, a sunroof, Audi's Multi Media Interface (MMI) system with a touchpad that can interpret fingertip gestures, a navigation system, cruise control, a power-adjustable steering wheel, leather upholstery, 12-way power front seats, heated front and rear seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power rear sunshade, Bluetooth and a Bose surround-sound audio system (with HD and satellite radio, iPod connectivity, a 20GB music server and a CD changer). The L adds park assist (with rearview camera), keyless ignition/entry, power-closing doors, power rear side sunshades and a power-operated trunk.

Option highlights for the A8 include 20-inch wheels, keyless ignition/entry, a night vision camera (an infrared camera to detect animals and pedestrians up to 1,000 feet away), a solar-powered venting sunroof, faux-suede interior trim, various wood accents, a four-zone climate control and a premium Bang & Olufsen audio system.

There are also several packages available. The Premium package includes 22-way power front seats (with ventilation and massaging functions). The Cold Weather package includes heated steering wheel/rear seats and a rear-seat pass-through (with ski sack). The Rear Seat Comfort package adds power lumbar/recline and ventilation, rear vanity mirrors and four-zone climate control. The Driver Assistance package includes adaptive cruise control, a blind-spot monitor, a lane-departure warning system and a pre-braking system. The Sport package (regular A8 only) includes 20-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, a torque-vectoring rear differential, upgraded leather upholstery and the 22-way power front seats.

The A8 L also offers the option of the Executive Rear Seating package, which includes power-adjustable individual rear seats with a center console, footrests, upgraded leather upholstery, a refrigerator and a dual-screen DVD entertainment system. The entertainment system is also offered on the regular A8.

Powertrains and Performance

Both the standard and L models come with a 4.2-liter V8 that makes 372 hp and 328 pound-feet of torque. It comes matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission that drives all four wheels.

Despite its substantial size, this is a quick luxury sedan. In Edmunds testing, a standard A8 did the 0-60-mph sprint in 6.2 seconds with traction control engaged and went through the quarter-mile in 13.8 seconds (it's even quicker with traction control disengaged). Fuel economy ratings are impressive for such a large, powerful luxury sedan, as both A8 versions rate 17 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined.


Standard on all 2011 Audi A8s are antilock brakes, stability and traction control, full-length side curtain airbags, front- and rear-seat side airbags and active front headrests. The optional Driver Assistance package also includes a blind spot monitor, lane-departure warning system (which alerts the driver if the car strays outside of traffic lanes) and Audi Pre-Sense Plus (monitors traffic and alerts the driver if a potential collision is detected.)

In Edmunds brake testing, an A8 equipped with the optional 20-inch wheels and summer tires came to a stop from 60 mph in an incredibly short 106 feet.

Interior Design and Special Features

The interior of the A8 provides first-class comfort, especially in the L version, which boasts a limolike 42.9 inches of rear legroom. In typical Audi fashion, the fit and finish is superb, with generous amounts of wood, faux suede and aluminum accents lending a luxurious ambience.

With the available 22-way power-adjustable front seats (including upper seatback angle) and standard power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, finding a comfortable driving position is easy for folks of all body types.

The dash is uncluttered by buttons thanks to Audi's MMI, which handles everything from the navigation and audio systems to the adjustment of the driver-selectable air suspension. The latter is advanced this year via a touchpad interface that has the ability to recognize handwritten gestures.

Driving Impressions

Whether taking off from a stoplight or jetting up to cruising speed on the freeway, the 2011 Audi A8 always keeps a solid rush of power on tap. Moreover, the powerful and easily modulated brakes have no problem reining in this luxury liner.

With its rearward-biased all-wheel drive, automatic air suspension and crisp steering response, the A8 handles like a smaller, lighter sport sedan. Yet over broken pavement the Audi flagship delivers a compliant, composed ride fully in keeping with its luxury sedan status.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

2 of 7 people found this review helpful

Audi company

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Audi A8 4.2 quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (4.2L 8cyl 8A)

I have owned a 2011 A8 and 2012 A6 and the basic cars work very well. But I am very disappointed in Audi Company in their technical service department and also with the National sales team. My A8 was having a electrical /mechanical issue with the relay that controls the power brake system. My understanding is that Audi technical support instructed the local Audi Mechanic to wrap insulation around the relay so I would not hear the relay closing and opening. The next item was to relocated the relay to another spot in the car so I would not hear the relay. Both of this approaches did not address the core issue of the problem why is the relay started working that way. Instead it appears that Audi was trying to mask the issue hope the owner would go away. This is very serious problem with this car and I would not aspect Audi would try to cover up of the issue. The next point is that I ask the local sales manager to see what Audi would do for a trade value on my car towards a newer one. The answer he give was that Audi would not help out in this matter besides not fixing the issue. Needless to say that the way Audi has handle this matter is very disappointing for a company that is trying to make inroads in the high end market.

33 of 75 people found this review helpful

2011 audi a8l - awesome

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Audi A8 L 4.2 quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (4.2L 8cyl 8A)

I took delivery of my 2011 A8L earlier this week. I live in the midwest where we received several inches of snow, which turned to ice covering most roads. I had my A8L only one day when I was able to test it in these conditions. I love this car. It handles great in the snow. Prior to my purchase I tested a Benz S550 and a BMW 750LiX drive turbo. Hands down the Audi is the best value for the money. The instruments are a bit complicated, but once you get used to them you appreciate all the car can do. The Audi A8L is very understated, which is one of the reasons why I chose it. I have the Bang and Olufsen sound system and it is amazing.

Talk About The 2011 A8

2011 Audi A8 Discussions See all Started By

You can lease a $80,000 7 series for 1050-1100 mo. It's tough to lease an $80,000 A8 for under 1300/mo. Once again, the A8 might be a better car, but the US market is so "deal" driven, peo...

Read more about the 2011 Audi A8

Gas Mileage


  • 17
  • cty
  • 27
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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