2012 Audi A8 Long Term Road Test


IL Track Tested: 2012 Audi A8L vs. 2011 Audi A8

December 26, 2011

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When we placed the order for our Long-Term 2012 Audi A8L there were two warring factions. One side, let's call them the Reasonables, wanted us to get the 19-inch wheels with the 255/45R19 tires. It's a luxury car, so why compromise the ride with big wheels?

The other side, we'll call them The Crazies, wanted us to get, in lieu of the not-available-on-the-LWB car-Sport package, the 20-inch wheel package with 265/40R20 summer performance tires. They said that 20s would look cooler (they don't) and that the summer rubber would grip better and offer less sidewall flex (it does).

When our 2012 Audi A8L showed up with 19s, half of us cheered and tried to sign it out immediately. The other half groaned and tried to sign it out immediately, but with some grumbling that all-season tires are pointless in L.A. and that valets would laugh at the tiny 19s and that the performance numbers we recorded in a short-term 2011 Audi A8 with the 20-inch wheel and summer tire package would be untouchable by our new car. So we took a look at the numbers: 2012 Audi A8L with all-season 19s vs 2011 Audi A8 with 20-inch summer rubber. Who takes it?

  2012 Audi A8L 2011 Audi A8
0-30 (sec.): 2.3 2.2
0-45 (sec.): 3.7 3.5
0-60 (sec.): 5.5 5.2
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec.): 5.2 5.0
0-75 (sec.): 8.1 7.7
1/4-mile (sec @ mph): 13.8 @ 101.6 13.6 @ 102.5
30-0 (ft): 31 27
60-0 (ft): 121 106
Skid pad lateral accel (g): 0.83 0.87
Slalom 65.1 66.3 (stability on)

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Vehicle: 2012 Audi A8L

Odometer: 1,839
Date: 10/26/2011
Driver: Mike Monticello
Price: $101,575

Specifications:
Drive Type: Longitudinal, front-engine, all-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Eight-speed automatic
Engine Type: Naturally aspirated, direct-injected V8, gasoline
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 4,163 (254)
Redline (rpm): 7,000
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 372 @ 6,800
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 328 @ 3,500
Brake Type (front): 15-inch ventilated discs with 2-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 14-inch ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type(front): Independent multilink, pneumatic springs, driver-adjustable multimode variable dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, pneumatic springs, driver-adjustable multimode variable dampers, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 255/45R19 M+S 104H
Tire Size (rear): 255/45R19 M+S 104H
Tire Brand: Continental
Tire Model: ContiProContact
Tire Type: All season
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,460

Test Results:

Acceleration
0-30 (sec): 2.3 (2.4 w/TC on)
0-45 (sec): 3.7 (4.0 w/TC on)
0-60 (sec): 5.5 (6.0 w/TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 5.2 (5.7 w/TC on)
0-75 (sec): 8.1 (8.6 w/TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 13.8 @ 101.6 (14.1 @ 100.8 w/TC on)

Braking:
30-0 (ft): 31
60-0 (ft): 121

Handling
Slalom (mph): 65.1 ( 64.6 w/TC on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.83 ( 0.83 w/TC on)

Db @ Idle: 44.1
Db @ Full Throttle: 72.1
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 60.9

Acceleration: Awesome grunt off the line. Power braking with transmission in Sport switches the A8L to "Audi quick-shift mode," with super-fast-but-abrupt upshifts, dropping 0-60 time by a half second. Otherwise, transmission shifts very smoothly. Hearty V8 sounds. Button on steering wheel engages Manual mode for the paddle shifters. Will not hold gears to the rev limiter (shifts at 7,000). Blips throttle on downshifts.

Braking: Short stroke, firm pedal, minimal nosedive, zero side-to-side wiggle but lots of ABS commotion. First stop was shortest at 121 feet. Longest was fourth stop (out of six) at 126 feet. No pedal fade.

Handling:

Skid pad: Having the A8L in Dynamic mode gives heavier steering than we usually find in the slow speeds of the skid pad. Reasonable grip, but throttle is rather abrupt, making on/off transitions to adjust understeer more difficult. Still, chassis is surprisingly cooperative to change its attitude. ESC just barely cuts throttle and adds brakes.

Slalom: Soft suspension (even in Dynamic) with plenty of roll, but grip is decent and the A8L is both communicative and forgiving. Steering is, not surprisingly, artificial in its weighting but the A8L goes right where you point it. ESC cannot be fully defeated. The system's limits are pretty high, but there was always some brake intervention by the last couple of cones when really honking along. Seats hold you in place pretty well. And yes, I had the seat coolers on.

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Vehicle: 2011 Audi A8

Odometer: 2,178
Date: 9/21/2010
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $89,625

Specifications:
Drive Type: Longitudinal, front-engine, all-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Eight-speed automatic
Engine Type: Naturally aspirated, direct-injected V8, gasoline
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 4,163 (254)
Redline (rpm): 7,000
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 372 @ 6,800
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 328 @ 3,500
Brake Type (front): 15-inch ventilated discs with 2-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 14-inch ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type(front): Independent multilink, pneumatic springs, driver-adjustable multimode variable dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, pneumatic springs, driver-adjustable multimode variable dampers, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): P265/40R20
Tire Size (rear): P265/40R20
Tire Brand: Goodyear
Tire Model: Eagle F1
Tire Type: Summer Performance
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,336

Test Results:

Acceleration
0-30 (sec): 2.2 (2.5 w/TC on)
0-45 (sec): 3.5 (4.1 w/TC on)
0-60 (sec): 5.2 (6.2 w/TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 5.0 (5.7 w/TC on)
0-75 (sec): 7.7 (8.7 w/TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 13.6 @ 102.5 (14.1 @ 100.9 w/TC on)

Braking:
30-0 (ft): 27
60-0 (ft): 106

Handling
Slalom (mph): 66.3 ( 65.5 w/TC off)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.87 ( 0.82 w/TC on)

Db @ Idle: 45.5
Db @ Full Throttle: 69.4
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 62.7

Acceleration: Slight delay in default Drive/Auto modes. Engine is freakishly quiet and distant. Engine is very smooth; however, in Sport/Dynamic modes all that changes dramatically, especially with brake-torque launch where it leaps off the line and bangs off harsh upshifts. The result? A full second quicker to 60 and another 2 mph in trap speed in the quarter-mile. Deceptively fast.

Braking: Moderately firm pedal throughout seven runs. Started out short and got progressively shorter distances. Near zero dive in dynamic mode and arrow-straight. Powerful, fade-free and trustworthy.

Handling:

Skid pad: Tires are easily tortured with ESC off but chassis does a good job of staying composed with informative (but light) steering. With ESC on I felt the throttle close slightly, so no tire abuse.

Slalom: After realizing how long this car is I eventually found understeer at the limit with ESC off. Rewards slow-in, fast-out technique. Crisp turn-in, plenty of grip and good transitional response. Went faster with ESC on. Couldn't beat the electronics this time. Impressive.

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The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2012 Audi A8 in VA is:

$166 per month*
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