About That Shifter... - 2012 Audi A8 Long-Term Road Test

2012 Audi A8 Long Term Road Test

2012 Audi A8L: About That Shifter...

October 28, 2011


Can I be the first to complain about our new A8? Yes? Oh good then because the shifter in this thing drives me nuts.

As you can see it's a beautifully crafted piece. It fits in your hand nicely, the button is in the right place and it's short so it doesn't get in the way. But the way it works is terrible.

Check out the shift pattern, looks pretty standard eh? It is, but the shifter itself doesn't move that way, it only moves down and up one notch. So when you're in park you pull it down and you're in reverse right? Not quite, depends how hard you pull. Sometimes you get reverse, sometimes you get neutral. Pull real hard and you get drive, how quaint.

The real problem is when you need to go between drive and reverse, like when you're parking. Unless you're staring right at the shifter, you have no idea what gear you're in. Most of the time I find myself falling into neutral at some point, which leads to plenty of engine revving and not very much movement.

Some might say, "Don't worry, you'll get used to it." But really, should you have to get used to something as simple as an automatic transmission shifter? Uh, let me answer that for you, no.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line

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