2012 Audi A8L: Emphasis on the L
June 26, 2012
"Hey Mike, I have some family coming this week and I'll be playing tour guide. Could I get one of our big and fancy cars?"
This was my request to Master of Keys Mike Schmidt and he was kind enough to sign me out for the biggest and fanciest of our cars. As a fancy car, it has certainly not disappointed. As a big car, though ...
Obviously the back seat is enormous, but to be truthful, it's overkill for my aunt and cousin who are both under 5-foot-7. Surprisingly, the trunk is actually not that enormous and I was surprised that my cousin's huge suitcase just barely fit lengthwise (the seat also doesn't fold flat). Had we had the A8 two years ago when I drove with three others to Vancouver for the Olympics, the trunk would not have been enough despite being the hands-down choice given its cabin space, all-wheel drive and the fact it's an A8.
And then there's the matter of driving such an enormous car. When I drove another A8 recently down to San Diego for the weekend, it couldn't have been better over a few hundred miles of open-road driving. This weekend, however, it's been a giant pain in the butt as I've been crisscrossing Los Angeles city streets, maneuvering through tight parking lots and finding street parking spots big enough to house the SS Audi. I couldn't imagine driving this car every day in the city and I really couldn't imagine doing it without the backup camera and front parking sensors -- when a car is this long you need to be as far in as possible. At least its suspension can raise the car to prevent scraping against the sort of abrupt angles found in many parking garages. I've practically been in high rider mode all week.
So in retrospect, I guess I should've just made sure I didn't get the FR-S, Wrangler or MiEV.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor