October 27, 2011
Hardly anyone knew our new long-term 2012 Audi A8L was on its way by the time an e-mail went out announcing its arrival. Sure enough, the relentless clicking of keyboards suddenly stopped as we read the message. Window stickers were downloaded and audible gasps were heard. The price tag topped $100,000.
Clearly, it was loaded and clearly it would become a highly sought after road trip car. In fact, not 10 minutes after it arrived, the first request was in. This was going to be a comfortable and feature-laden 20,000 miles.
What We Got
To say that our new long-termer is loaded would be to grossly underestimate how much stuff a car can actually hold. For starters, the 2012 Audi A8L comes standard with *deep breath* a 372-horsepower 4.2-liter V8, eight-speed automatic transmission, Quattro all-wheel drive, 19-inch wheels, adaptive suspension, cruise control, a power glass sunroof, adaptive xenon headlights, headlight washers, LED running lights and taillights, 18-way heated power seats, automatic climate control, power rear sunshades, keyless entry and start, Audi parking system, power soft-close doors, automatic trunk, MMI with retractable color screen, Bose surround sound and an iPod cable. To get this, you only need to find $85,575 in your bank account.
The Driver Assistance package costs $3,000 and adds adaptive cruise with stop-and-go capability, Audi pre sense plus, lane assist and side assist. The Drive Select Plus package runs $2,300 and includes a Quattro sport differential and dynamic steering. The Premium package ups the number of seat adjustments from 18 to 22 and includes a massage function; Audi thinks this is worth $2,000. LED headlights are $1,600 and the Cold Weather package heats the rear seats and the steering wheel for $800. And then there was the Bang & Olufsen sound system that runs $6,300.
We intentionally skipped out on the 20-inch wheels with summer tire package to get a bit of sidewall and a better ride. Plus, aren't 19s big enough?
Total cost: $101,575.
If you think that's bad, though, here is a quick list of options we could have picked up: full leather pack with Alcantara headliner: $6,400; rear-seat comfort pack: $3,200; Audi night vision: $2,300; $4,000 Audi Design Selection package that mandates the $12,500 Executive Rear Seating package. Tick the right boxes and it's easy to push this car to over $130,000. Without opting for the W12.
Why We Got It
Audi has been a second-class citizen in the luxury segment for decades now. Some of the lesser models have made inroads with customers, but the A8 has always been nearly invisible. In our full test of a 2011 Audi A8 we pointed out that despite its being a fine car, the last A8 had about 2 percent of the full-size luxury car marketplace, while the S-Class and the 7 Series each had about 30 percent.
This latest A8 was once again designed to put Audi on equal footing. It has every last feature imaginable, along with a tasteful design and plenty of power. For the next 12 months we're going to pile up the miles to see if this new A8 would get our nod were we shopping in this category. Follow along on our Long-Term Road Test blog to see if it finally measures up.
Current Odometer: 1,856
Best Fuel Economy: 25.7
Worst Fuel Economy: 17.3
Average Fuel Economy (over the life of the vehicle): 20.6
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.