Champagne Flight - 2012 Audi A8 Long-Term Road Test

2012 Audi A8 Long Term Road Test

2012 Audi A8L: Champagne Flight

April 04, 2012


If you're wondering about what it's like to drive the 2012 Audi A8L, try flying first class. (The irony being that far more people fly first class than ever get to drive an Audi A8.)

And we're not talking some kind of austere business-class ride where bad champagne comes in a plastic glass. We're talking full-on wine glasses and table linen, multi-adjustable seat with leather upholstery, and an entertainment center where you can track your flight across a Google Earth map. You know, like you were in the top deck of the Clipper Ingolstadt, flying in a Boeing 747 during the great days of Pan American Airways.

It's an exhilarating feeling at speed, but when you're in traffic, I have to say it's a little bit like trying to taxi a 747 into the parking lot of a mini-mall to pick up your dry cleaning. 

This is a big car, and you particularly notice that it's a big car if you've been driving small, snappy cars for a couple weeks like I have. You have to stretch your imagination a little further to keep track of the distant corners of very expensive aluminum. (Just how expensive, Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager, can tell you after recent repairs to the A8's sheetmetal.)

In fact, almost everyone initially sets up the A8's chassis a little tighter than it needs to be on the rough concrete freeways of L.A., just because the tauter damping and steering enhance the feeling of control. Once you settle in, though, you dial the settings to comfort, which is where they belong during commute hour.

Sure, it's great to be on the top deck of a real transcontinental machine, but there are times when you feel like you're two stories above the terminal ramp and you wish there were someone with orange paddles on the ground below to guide you into the gate.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, @ 12,657 miles.

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