2012 Audi A8 Long Term Road Test - Interior

2012 Audi A8 Long Term Road Test

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2012 Audi A8L: Rear Head Restraints

October 15, 2012

The Audi A8's rear head restraints are enormous, which is nice for the heads resting upon them, but not so great for visibility. It would be nice if they could flop back onto the parcel shelf in some way.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor

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2012 Audi A8L: Spa on wheels

October 11, 2012

Yesterday morning, for no reason other than the inestimable number of people all trying to occupy the same space, it took me 3 hours to commute from home to work (a mere 41 miles). That was in our Jaguar XF and I wish I had been driving the Audi A8L instead. It's year with us is nearing an end, and last night was my first and perhaps last drive in the spa on wheels. Whoa, what an escape pod: Heated, massaging seats, multi-mode suspension/trans/steering (I selected Comfort), amazing audio system, and a hushed cabin. Now I understand why this car is never available by the time my name comes up on the sign-out. I wouldn't give it back either.

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2012 Audi A8L: So, did the bike fit?

October 11, 2012

I'm not indicting anybody here -- no harm; no foul -- but we never heard if the bike fit or not.

Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 12,234 miles

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2012 Audi A8L: Molding Mishap

October 8, 2012

This weather seal came off the A8 over the weekend. Not a big deal as it went back into place with little effort. Doesn't seem to be anything holding it in place except a (once) tight interference fit with the door itself. We'll see if it holds.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2012 Audi A8L: Fine Leather

October 5, 2012

It's not like you asked or anything, but here are three things I love about the leather found in our A8:

1) Its texture. The leather is perforated, and to my eyes, this helps give it a finish that's simultaneously modern and vintage.

2) Its color. That lighter, soft shade of brown helps give the skin a sophisticated and expensive appearance.

3) Its durability. With over 20,000 miles on the odometer, the hide in our A8 looks a good as new.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2012 Audi A8L: Sunshades Are A Hot-Weather Essential

October 1, 2012

As you might have imagined, you don't have to be sitting in the back seat to benefit from the rear sunshades featured in our A8.

They've done a great job of keeping the cabin relatively cool over the past few days, despite the scorching temperatures brought on by our current heatwave. Makes me wish that sunshades were more widely available across all vehicle segments.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2012 Audi A8 L: It's Seat Heater Season

September 27, 2012

Oh yes, just when you thought you were safe from my ramblings on seat heaters, autumn has arrived. Mwah-ha-ha.

It's still sunny and warm during the day in L.A. but the nights are getting a bit nippy. The seat heaters in our Audi A8L get very hot on level 3. They dial themselves back down to 2 after a little while, leaving a nice glowing warmth.

They will automatically come on when you start the car again. So, when you share a car like we do, I need to remember to turn them off.

I love the fall.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 Audi A8 L: Spillage

August 21, 2012


This morning I came a little too close to spilling a cup of coffee in the A8's center console. The cup didn't fit well in the Audi's smallish cupholders, and when I hit the brakes, it tipped forward.

Lucky for me, there wasn't much coffee left in the cup, and therefore, no actual mess was made. But I got that cup outta there asap, didn't wait to take a pic first.

It got me thinking, though. What's the worst thing you've ever spilled in your car?

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 19,442 miles

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2012 Audi A8L: Not Consistent

August 06, 2012


When I exit the Audi A8, it lifts the steering wheel to make it easier for me to get out. And usually when I get back in, it lowers it back into place.

But not always. I was wondering if I was doing something differently each time. Maybe I pressed the unlock button once instead of twice. Or twice instead of once. I haven't changed any personal settings so I don't know what's up with it.

We'll investigate.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 18,949 miles

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2012 Audi A8L: Let The Door Hit You

July 17, 2012

audi a8 door.jpg

Wow. Now that's a door.

Everything about it is so wonderfully big and heavy and rich. Solid. And that imitation suede insert just south of the wood panel is pretty soft to the touch.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2012 Audi A8L: A Little Extra in Back

July 10, 2012


So this what you get in a six figure luxury sedan. That's right, wood trim on the seat back.

A nice touch? Or simply out of place? I'm not sure. I noticed it while sitting in the back seat admiring the furnishings and thought it looked odd at first. I mean, why do you need trim on the back of the front seat? 

Of course, you don't, but Audi figured it classed things up a bit. I can't think of another car that has this, but I checked the Rolls-Royce Phantom and noted that it doesn't include any such trim. Neither does the Mercedes S600, although its fold out trays are made of wood. 

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line

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2012 Audi A8L: Emphasis on the L

June 26, 2012

Audi A8 at Hollywood Highland.jpg

"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 ...

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2012 Audi A8L: Rolling Big For 900 Miles

April 02, 2012

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Taking our longterm 2012 Audi A8L up to Sonoma for my LeMons race a couple weekends ago was a big change. I usually take a truck or, lately, something less, well, grand.

You might not be stunned to read that the A8L is supremely well-suited for long-distance driving. Or maybe you are. In any case, it's a genuine mile-eater. It's quiet, and feels totally unflustered by high speeds. 

But it's not some smothery cushmobile. Its ride is actually quite well-snubbed, meaning it acknowledges bumps and simply dispatches them. No float here, so the A8L feels sure-footed and stable at high speeds. It makes 100+ seem like 40. The variable-ratio steering that find bizarre at parking lot speeds really comes into its own on the open road, too.

Plus, the billion-way-adjustable seats are amazingly comfortable. Not a hint of road butt even after five hours in the saddle. And that's without using the massage function, which I forgot all about until late in the trip. 

Let's see, downsides. I, too, am not a fan of the silly console shifter (mentioned by Ed, Erin and Josh). Too many times I selected R instead of P, or N instead of D. Argh.

Will compile the roadtrip fuel economy in a followup post.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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2012 Audi A8L: Question Of The Day

March 29, 2012


This morning as I was driving to work it occured to me how striking these buttons are. Yes, that thought actually crossed my mind. They're buttons. Not a steering wheel. Not a shifter. Not a seat.


They look and feel like they're made of aluminum. They're elegant, purposeful, embossed and provide a sense of symmetry to the dash. They're even satisfying to push. So the only question, then, is...

Are they really aluminum?

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2012 Audi A8L: The Eight-Pound Ashtray

March 23, 2012


I don't smoke. But if I did, oh boy, this would be the car. I mean, really, just look at that thing. All cast aluminum and solidly built. Nothing gives a deadly addiction a sense of purpose like lifting the lid on this baby. Nothing, I say.

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2012 Audi A8L: Seat Cushion Length Adjustment -- Good Range

March 22, 2012


Yesterday Donna posted about the A8's highly adjustable driver's seat. Specifically, she mentioned the seat cushion length as being highly adjustable. Well, it is. Here's a shot of the cusion in its fully retracted position.

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2012 Audi A8L: 18-Way Adjustable Front Seats

March 21, 2012


There are many ways to adjust the driver seat in the new 2012 Audi A8. Besides having the usual fore and aft, up and down, and angle of the backrest, the multi-function lever allows you to personalize your seat in many ways. You can lengthen or shorten the seat cushion, raise or lower the seat belt, add or decrease lumbar support, adjust the bolsters, and of course, get a 10-minute massage.

When I signed out our A8 for the night, it was obvious that a very tall person had been driving it before me. The seat was low to the floor, far away from the steering wheel and reclining very far back. Easy enough to adjust those condition in most cars. But the Audi's seat cushion was also too long for my short legs. It was very uncomfortable and made it difficult for me to safely reach the pedals. With the multi-function lever I was able to shorten the cushion to suit my frame. And I'm sure the taller driver was happy to be able to get the extra support when he needed it.

Very accommodating.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 Audi A8L: Radio Preset Buttons

March 19, 2012

audi a8 pref.jpg

From an aesthetic standpoint, radio preset buttons are usually just kinda... there. But in the A8, they actually look pretty stylish.

Just one more piece of eye candy in a cabin that's loaded with it. 

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2012 Audi A8 L: Like The Interior Design

March 01, 2012


It's too bad I can't just sit in our A8 L all day and work. It's certainly a lot more pleasant than my office chair.

Not surprisingly, the A8 has a lovely interior. But perhaps you'd like some details as to why. So I've taken some pictures of the details I like most.

First of all, I like the look of the overall dashboard and center stack design. There's a definite "cockpit" feel to it, particularly if you're resting your right hand/wrist on the gear selector. You don't experience this is many other cars.

I also really like the interior color selection of our car. The dark brown for the leather and wood trim is really attractive and certainly more interesting than if we just had the typical black.

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2012 Audi A8L: Needle Need

February 22, 2012


Driving west in the morning or driving east in the evening. That's when the sun has a tendency to wash out gauges and nav screens. In the case of our Audi A8L, it's a few gauges.

So here's the question I needed an answer for this morning: "how much gas do I have?"

Instead of using a traditional needle to indicate fuel levels, Audi opted for some segmented LEDs. That's fine at night and in most daytime conditions, but when the sun hits it, here's no telling until you get it in some shade.

Call me old-fashioned, but this is one example of, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 9,888 miles

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2012 Audi A8L: Chunky Monkey

February 07, 2012

audi a8 SW.jpg

There's a long list of things to get excited about within the swanky confines of our impeccably crafted A8, but one of my favorite things about the cabin is its handsome, well-designed steering wheel.

I like the grip circumference of it; it's easy to wrap your fingers around yet has a chunkiness about it that conveys just how substantial this car is. The steering wheel is one part of the car that the driver is always in contact with, and with the A8, it's interpreted in a way that's a pleasure to look at and to use.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2012 Audi A8L: Taking a Backseat

February 06, 2012

sky room audi1.jpg

I had our buxom A8 for the weekend because my in-laws were in town and the two coupes in our household were not going to be roomy enough for squiring the Texas Tornados around town, particularly to a festive dinner and brunch to celebrate their 28th anniversary.

On the night that we went to Sky Room, a deco-style rooftop restaurant in Long Beach, we rolled in what I've always heard called Jersey Style, meaning guys in front, girls in back. It cemented for me the fact that the A8L is really meant to be a chauffeur-driven vehicle.

It goes without saying that it's not nearly as much fun to ride in the A8 as it is to drive it, but it is a pretty luxurious perch back there. There are untold amounts of legroom, seat heaters, reading lights, nicely placed speakers, power rear privacy shades that let you "keep out natural and social elements" as the Audi brochure so delicately puts it. There's also some nice horseshoe-shaped burl wood trim on the back of the front seats upon which to meditate while James or Jane or whoever your driver is takes you to your destination. My mother-in-law and I were tempted to practice our QEII wave to the hoi polloi as we purred by. 

As discussed in our intro, we didn't even spring for the full backseat package. You can see some of its elements below, as described in an Audi brochure: 10" viewing screens, worktables -- everything you need to be a mobile captain of industry.

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2012 Audi A8L: I Like this Car, But ...

December 08, 2011


I volunteered to pick our A8 up from the body shop yesterday. I wasn't terribly busy and I could think of worse things to do than spend an hour driving back from Burbank in the A8.

I'll cut right to the chase, I like this car. I like this car a lot, and not just because it's $100,000 and has all the bells and whistles. I'll begin listing things now.

The interior is just spectacular. You can't really appreciate in pictures the attention to detail and the quality that goes into this cabin. Whereas Audi is credited with improving Bentley, I think the A8 shows that interior development goes both ways. It may not be as elegant and overtly luxurious as a Mercedes S-Class or a Jaguar XJ in appearance, but when you really look closely at the craftsmanship, the A8 is second to none in its class.

And that's just the cabin. It drives brilliantly. Audi has really nailed its driver-selected drive settings in a way that BMW can really learn from. The A8 (and other Audis) allows you to individually set the umpteen different dynamic settings so that if you want meaty steering in sport (far better than the hyper quick darty set-up of the A4's "Sport" setting) and the more comfortable suspension you can do it. Even with full sport on, it doesn't transmit that artificial sense of aggressiveness It also maintains your preferred settings when you turn the car back on. Regardless of settings, you really feel connected to the A8 compared to the isolation I felt in our old 7 Series. The way the A8 remains composed over the most pockmarked and undulating strips of pavement is truly impressive. You really need to remember that there's 20 feet of German limousine behind you since it drives much smaller than it is.

I could go on, but there's a whole year for that. I really like the A8, but ... and you know it was coming. I mean, I put it in the headline. I really like the A8, but I wouldn't buy it. It looks like an A4, and I don't even particularly like the A4. Seriously, from the rear, they are completely indistinguishable. The A8 has a bolder face, but the entire car is so conservative it makes Sean Hannity look like a mohawked Occupy New York tattoo enthusiast.

If you could somehow get the craftsmanship and engineering of the A8 with the the flair of the Jaguar XJ, you'd probably have the perfect car. Maybe the Mercedes CLS comes closest to that, but I can only hope that in the future Audi can apply some of the visual interest of its coupes to its sedans.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor

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2012 Audi A8L: Aw, I Miss It

November 18, 2011


We had our 2012 Audi A8L for merely a week or so before it had to go to the body shop after a little mishap. And I only got to drive it twice, luxuriated over its interior materials, sigh, but am jonesing to get back in it.

With Thanksgiving around the corner, we had hoped it would be ready for a holiday road trip but unfortunately it's not looking good.

In any case, I've been Googling the car to feel closer to it (unfortunately it doesn't have a Facebook page), enjoying its commercials (aw, Goodnight, Moon), a video of an A8's lighting sequence and got sidetracked into watching Top Gear. After all that, what's the first thing I want to do when it gets back?

Have someone take me for a nice, long road trip somewheres while I sit in the back, heh.

But, seriously, what would you like us to blog about it upon its return? I know we're overdue for driving impressions. Anything else?

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2012 Audi A8L: Endless Features

November 03, 2011


I'm going to sit down this weekend and go through the owner's manual of our A8. Yes, really. This car has so many features, I'm sure you want to know everything it does.

There was a soft chime that went off a few times on my drive to work this morning. No cars were around me so it wasn't the proximity sensors. I've experienced them and they are not soft. Quite the opposite. I don't know what the chime was trying to tell me. At first I thought it was part of my music. No warning lights flashed, no messages. So, I'll have to RTM. (I'm trying to cut all swearing out of my life so I left out the F.)

I found this small storage compartment (pictured above) inside the door armrest this morning. Here it is closed:

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2012 Audi A8L: Starting Video

November 03, 2011


A few of you asked for a video of the Audi A8 starting so you could see the navigation screen and the tweeters pop up. I shot this in two different locations in case you can see better in one than the other.

Video after the jump...

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2012 Audi A8L: Interior Video Tour

November 02, 2011


Video after the jump...

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 Audi A8L: A Macro Look at Interior Materials

November 01, 2011


Well, first, I can't believe our brand-new 2012 Audi A8L was available to me last night. Jumping in its driver seat and hitting the start button, I was taken back to that moment in childhood when I was floating in that boat in the "It's a Small World" ride in Disneyland. You know that moment toward the end of the ride when all the kids from all over the world are singing together and there's so much to look at? In the A8 the nav screen popped out of the dash, the sound system tweeters rose at the corners of the greenhouse near the A-pillars and the steering wheel moved toward me. Neato! Donna will have a video of this soon.

Anyway, back to the interior materials of this ultra-lux Audi. Alcantara, leather, highly polished inlay, polished wood. It's all so gorgeous. I just sat in the car and enjoyed its new car smell for five minutes before starting the car. For the record, I shot these close-up shots with my iPhone 4S and not my regular T3i.

What do you think? Does this look like the interior of a $100K+ car?

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