2012 Audi A8 Long Term Road Test

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2012 Audi A8L: Goodbye Big Friend

October 16, 2012

Our Audi A8 said goodbye yesterday and I was honored to enjoy our last weekend with it. As always, it was supremely comfortable, capable and impeccable. The seats are astonishing, the engine is potent and the adjustable drive settings are an example for other makes (cough, BMW, cough). It remained a handful in tight spots, though, and I'm still not sold on its anonymous styling.

Still, it was a good year.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 21,738 miles

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2012 Audi A8L: Protective Parking

October 11, 2012

Sure, door dings are a fact of life, but it can be fun to try and come up with ways to beat the system. Carroll certainly had the right idea in this post. But in my experience, even when you park on the far, deserted end of a parking lot, chances are you'll return from your shopping or whatever to find that some other driver has ignored the 2 billion other empty parking spaces to park right next to you. And he's probably dinged your door.

That's why I do a happy dance inside whenever I nab parking spaces like the one shown above. Wall on the left, column on the right. Virtually ding-proof.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2012 Audi A8L: Good Guy Door Locks

October 8, 2012

Those of you following these blogs for any significant period of time will know I'm fairly particular about thigh support and the way door locks work. Specifically, I hate auto-lock.

Well, a new door-lock-related problem has crept up recently and it doesn't seem to be going away. Here's what's happening....

So here's what I do: I get out of the car and I open the back door or the trunk based on where my gym/work bag is and then, with the door still open, I attempt to lock the door. Why? Because in about 3 seconds I'm going to have both hands full and want to get the locking out of the way while I still can. (Or let's say your girlfriend is incredibly slow at getting out of the car, but a very fast walker so you want to lock the door while she's half out and you're halfway down the driveway.)

It's a solid plan. I've been driving for some decade-and-a-half and I've never locked my keys in the car. Ever.

Now, let's say you try to do that in our Camry or our Impreza (and I think our Lexus GS and the FR-S/BRZ and the Mazda 3) or a number of other cars with truly keyless proximity systems. No dice, friend. The car simply beeps a panicky beep that says "Oh noes! You're going to lock your keys in there! Careful. BEEEEP. BEEEP. CAREFUL."

Our Audi doesn't do that. It trusts you. You want to lock the doors with all of the doors open? No problem. Trunk? Fine!

It's nice to have a car do what you want it to do and not what some team of lawyers and development guys think it should do.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor

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2012 Audi A8L: Family Affair

October 8, 2012

I'll let you in on a little secret: The very same parking structure that houses the Edmunds fleet is also used by a nearby Audi dealer as a storage facility.

Our A8 was desperate to connect with some long-lost family members, so I obliged the stately sedan with a spin through that far corner of the garage, and took a photo to commemorate the event.

That walk through Audi-land reminded me that I'd really, really like to get some seat time in the A6.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2012 Audi A8L: Rubber

September 26, 2012

It's not easy being the most luxurious car in the Edmunds fleet, and maybe the strain is beginning to get to the A8. After its most recent trip to the car wash, I noticed a bit of loose, dangling rubber on our luxo-barge's driver-side door. A cry for help? Perhaps. In any case, it's definitely not a good look.

Was it a simple problem to fix?

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2012 Audi A8L: Maybe We Can Get This Next

September 24, 2012

Our Audi A8L has been in the fleet almost a year. It only makes sense to progress to the next step by getting an S8 next. That's my thinking, anyway. Are you listening Audi?

I happened to catch this new-ish "Suspect" S8 ad last night while watching football. Hence the inspiration. Oh, and now I want to watch Ronin and Heat again, too.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2012 Audi A8L: She Wants to Be Alone

September 18, 2012

Our Audi is a bit of a diva, swanning about in grand style and demanding extra room to accommodate her imposing dimensions.

I took La Audi to Bristol Farms yesterday afternoon and the thought of shopping carts and door dings put me into a cold sweat. I parked her far, far away. And brought her some macarons. Chocolate ones, to match the interior.

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @20,364 miles

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2012 Audi A8L: August Sales

September 5, 2012

Photo by Scott Jacobs

August sales were kind of meh for the A8; with 470 units sold, the model showed a mediocre 0.4 percent increase year-over-year. Across all models, though, the manufacturer reported its highest August sales ever. With 11,527 in total new-vehicle sales, Audi's performance last month represents a 13 percent increase over the record set in August of 2011.

Highlights:

- August 2012 ranks as the best August in Audi of America history.

- Audi A4 sales up 21.5% compared to August 2011; YTD sales grew 6.3% compared to previous period.

- Audi A5 sales up 26.9% compared to August 2011; YTD sales grew 9.1% compared to previous period.

- Sales of Audi A6 increased 58.6% compared to August 2011; YTD sales up 112.3% compared to previous period.

- Sales mix for Audi TDI clean diesel models finish the month at 56.2% for the A3 TDI and 19.2% for Q7 TDI.

- For the record-setting month of August 2012, four Audi models recorded year-over-year sales increases of 20% or more, including the Audi A4, the Audi A5, the Audi A6 and the Q7 models.

- Audi Certified pre-owned sales set an all-time record of 3,366 vehicles sold, amounting to the best August in Audi history, despite the reduced inventory of available models for the program.

audiusanews

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2012 Audi A8L: Segment Winner in New Quality Report

August 28, 2012

Turns out we're not the only ones impressed with the flat-out, all-around goodness offered by the Audi A8. Those fancy leathers and woods will get you every time.

A new quality study -- the 2012 Strategic Vision Total Quality Index -- has the A8 ranked ahead of all others in the luxury segment. Rankings were calculated based on feedback from 45,390 buyers who bought 2012 models from September to December 2011.

More on this, plus a look at other segment winners, here.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2012 Audi A8L: Still The One

August 21, 2012

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When the Jaguar XF joined our fleet, I was certain it would be a shoo-in to replace the A8 as my favorite luxury sedan in our lineup (and yes, I know the two models aren't direct competitors).

But it hasn't turned out that way.

While the Jag is more nimble and energetic than the larger A8, it has nothing on the Audi when it comes to sheer opulence. Not the gimmicky opulence that has to do with shiny parts rising up to greet you when you start the engine; I'm talking about the kind of luxury that comes from impeccable materials quality and solid craftsmanship.

Speaking of solid, I also like the tank-like way in which the A8 covers pavement -- so substantial and assured. The XF scores great marks for being eager and engaging, but I love luxury, and on that front, it's still the A8 for me.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2012 Audi A8 L: Spillage

August 21, 2012

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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: How It Compares to 2012 Jaguar XF Supercharged

August 03, 2012

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These cars don't match up really. But a lot of you have been asking for a side-by-side comparison.

Here's how they match up on paper:

2012 Audi A8 L 4.2 quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (4.2L 8cyl 8A) 2012 Jaguar XF Supercharged 4dr Sedan (5.0L 8cyl S/C 6A)
Base engine 4.2 L 5.0 L
Cylinders V8 V8
Drive type All-wheel drive Rear-wheel drive
Fuel tank capacity 23.8 gallons 18.4 gallons
EPA fuel economy (mpg) 18 city /28 hwy / 21 combined 15 city /21 hwy / 17 combined
Editorial observed fuel economy 18.8 mpg overall average 14.1 overall average
Horsepower 372 hp @ 6,800 rpm 470 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 328 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm 424 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm
Transmission Eight-speed automatic Six-speed automatic
Front head room (inches) 37.2 37.1
Front leg room (inches) 41.4 41.5
Front shoulder room (inches) 59.1 56.9
Rear head room (inches) 39.1 37.6
Rear leg room (inches) 42.9 36.6
Rear shoulder room (inches) 57.8 56.4
Length (inches) 207.4 195.3
Width (inches) 76.7 73.9
Height (inches) 57.9 57.5
Front track (inches) 64.7 61.4
Rear track (inches) 64.4 61.8
Wheelbase (inches) 122.9 114.5
Curb weight (pounds) 4,453 4,306
Ground clearance (inches) 4.7
Cargo capacity (all seats in place) 13.2 cubic feet 17.7 cubic feet
Maximum cargo capacity 13.2 cubic feet 32.6 cubic feet

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 Audi A8L 4.2 Quattro: Car vs. Bike

August 01, 2012

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No, it's not the age-old "which is faster, a car or a bike" question. But rather, what's better to take to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for MotoGP?

This year I took our Audi A8L, largely because I agreed to go with some friends and, for various reasons, riding bikes was out of the question.

In the past I've always ridden a motorcycle to the MotoGP (formerly World Superbike) weekend at Laguna. And IT WAS AWESOME. Good friends to ride with, and of course we are very lucky to have some of the best two-lane roads between L.A. and Monterey. If you don't mind the trip taking the whole day, that is.

This also meant that by the time we got to our hotel after riding all day on Friday, we were completely wiped out. Sun, heat, wind, usually lugging a heavy backpack, and hard riding have that effect.

This year driving the A8L? I was fresh as a daisy, despite still taking most of the day to get there because we made several sight-seeing stops along the way (something I never did on my motorcycle).

In summation: I definitely missed riding my motorcycle this year, but there's also something to be said for the comfort of a car, too. And not being in a huge rush for once.

Maybe the solution is next year I take all the good back roads I would usually take on my motorcycle, but I do it in a sports car instead.

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 18,826 miles.

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2012 Audi A8L 4.2 Quattro: On The Road Again

July 26, 2012

Audi A8 carwash.jpg

Last weekend it was a rafting trip to northern California in the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8. This weekend it's a road trip to Monterey in the Audi A8L for MotoGP at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Four of us are leaving tonight. The car is washed and ready to go. Can't wait.

And unlike with the GC SRT8, I have no pre-trip reservations about the Audi A8L.

The A8's ride is considerably softer than the GC SRT8's, and the rear seat area of the "L" is gigantic. This might be one of those rare cars where the rear seat is a better place to spend time than the front. We'll see.

The front-seat passenger will have lots of "techery" to fiddle with and I'm looking forward to my own personal massage. From the seat.

So, who is joining me at MotoGP this weekend? There's nothing quite like seeing/hearing a race in person.

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 18.009 miles.

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2012 Audi A8L: What Would You Add to the Options List?

July 12, 2012

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As you can see our A8 has seat heaters for the rear seat passengers. Amenities like this used to qualify a car for ultra-luxury status, but not anymore.

It got me thinking, what does the A8 need in back to seem special to the average person these days?

Does it need extendable foot rests? (They're available for a substantial price)

Dimmable side glass? (This would be instead of its current power sunshades)

Direct TV? A completely translucent roof? What's left? What's left to be invented?

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line

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2012 Audi A8L: Emphasis on the L

June 26, 2012

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"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 A8 L 4.2: Pricing vs Audi A8 L 3.0T

June 12, 2012

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Our long-term Audi A8 L is equipped with the 372-horsepower 4.2-liter V8. Base price: $85,575.

Audi has now released pricing on the 333-hp 2013 A8 L 3.0T. Base price: $79,395.

Would you still spend $6,200 more for the current V8?

Kelly Toepke, News Editor

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2012 Audi A8L: Are We Clear? Crystal.

June 07, 2012

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It was time for our longterm 2012 Audi A8L's windshield to be replaced.

The transaction was smooth and quick -- we gave the dealer a heads up on Monday, so they ordered the part(s). We dropped the luxoship off yesterday and it was ready for pickup later the same day.

Parts were $580, labor $200.

We may not have apprehended the nefarious and rugged offender, but at least the victim was put to rest with dignity intact.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 16,294 miles.

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2012 Audi A8L: Lumos

June 06, 2012

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Yes, I just made a Harry Potter reference.

I live on a dark, curving street. Even the street lamps don't do much to illuminate the block at night. But check out the strength of the Audi A8's headlights. Our long-term car has the LED package which was a $1,600 option. The low beams, daytime running lights, high beams and turn signals all use LED lighting. According to Audi, they consume only 40 watts of power.

(For all of you geeks out there, 40 watts equals 0.053640884 horsepower. That's your superfluous fun fact of the day.)

The Audi's LEDs give a nice clean bright luminosity to my otherwise shadowy block. I hope I didn't disturb my neighbors as I drove down the street last night. Oh wait, I forgot. I do hope I disturbed the neighbors with the Audi's headlights. They deserve it. Now, if only Quietus worked as well as Lumos.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 Audi A8L: 8-Month-Old Windshield Found Dead

June 04, 2012

audi_a8_windshield2.JPG

LOS ANGLES -- The LAPD reported finding a dead windshield on Friday afternoon. Responding to a 911 call at 2012 Inside Line Audi A8L Lane, police found the windshield unresponsive. Official cause of death is said to be blunt trauma.

The only witness, a man later identified as Brent Romans, claims to have seen the assailant.

"I was just there minding my own business driving on I5 near Bakersfield when this rock jumped out of nowhere and attacked the windshield. Poor guy. It was like, bam! Then it was over. The rock took off before I could follow it. I could tell that the windshield was in bad shape. I thought about calling Safelite but within the hour the windshield was hemorrhaging cracks all over. I knew it was going to die. The sad thing is I don't know what the windshield did to deserve it. It seemed so nice."

Police are asking motorists to be on the lookout for a rock described as brown in color and about .75 inch in diameter. It is considered very dangerous. If spotted, the LAPD says to call 911 immediately.

The windshield was eight months old. Donations to the Inside Line A8L repair budget are currently being accepted.

-- AP Wire

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2012 Audi A8L: Der Kofferraum Ist Kaputt (Updated)

June 04, 2012

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The automatic opening trunk lid of our A8L has stopped functioning. Pull on the rear trunk release, push the key fob button or lift up on the interior button release -- none of these work. The only way to retrieve your goods is the old-fashioned way. Yes, a key, which is stowed in the fob.

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2012 Audi A8L: Further Evidence

May 31, 2012

Audi Fam.jpg

That working here doesn't suck. The A5 and A6 only visited for a couple of weeks. That's our Big Bessie on the right.

Although former BMW Guy is now Audi Guy -- faux hawk, gold aviators and too-tight Ed Hardy t-shirt riding bumper in rush hour -- and has soured my impression of the brand, something about that A5 is still money. Not in white necessarily. Also needs the S5's dual exhaust and blacked-out diffuser. Or maybe it just needs to be the S5.

Saving for the Pinterest IPO...

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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2012 Audi A8L: Word Of Mouth For The A8

May 30, 2012

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I'm at the car wash watching other people clean up our A8L. Another patron comes up to me. Middle aged guy, not particularly remarkable. He's wearing jeans and a frumpy shirt. "That your A8?" he asks. Always a tricky question to answer.

I tell him yes, but it's actually a test vehicle for Edmunds.com. He seems interested. He's got a black Mercedes E550 being wiped up a couple cars back from the A8. He starts telling me how he wants to sell the 550 for something else, but that the Mercedes dealership is giving him a runaround on a new one. Says maybe he should get an Audi instead. I tell him the A8 is pretty nice.

He wants to know about it, so I give him a few tidbits. "How much is it?" he then asks. Well, our car is $101,000, I tell him, but it depends on what you get and the options. He doesn't seem fazed. I break out my iPhone and show him the Edmunds app. (He's never heard of Edmunds.) We look at base and option pricing. He still seems interested. Mostly, I think, he likes the styling, though. Says it's "racy." He thanks me and says he's going to go to the Audi dealership today to check it out.

We chat a little more. I ask him what he does for work. "Oh, I don't work," he says. Ah. Well, there's your 1 percent for you.

The Audi is all clean and I'm on my way. Perhaps Audi will be getting some extra business thanks to our long-termer.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2012 Audi A8L: Trying To Look The Part

May 30, 2012

audi_romans.JPG

The odd thing about driving a car like our A8L is that I always feel a little out of place in it. Clothing wise, that is. Typically I'm wearing shorts and a T-shirt. That just doesn't seem right. Well, maybe it would be OK in Silicon Valley. Expected, even. But normally the driver would look professional, just like the car.

As chance would have it, I had to wear a suit a few days ago. I also drove the A8. I thought I'd feel more comfortable this way, tricking myself (or others) that I actually owned the car. Didn't happen. I just felt like a limo driver. But if I was dreaming, I could at least be like Jason Statham as the Transporter.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 15,654 miles

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2012 Audi A8L: Like It More Than the 7 Series

May 28, 2012

Audi_BMW3.jpg

Occasionally when driving our A8 I think back to our 2009 BMW 750i. Same type of car -- premium large luxury sedan -- but I never really warmed up to our 750i. In contrast, I really enjoy driving our A8. I prefer its interior design to the 7's, no question. (And for this class of car, that certainly counts for a lot.) Neither car really floats my boat exterior styling-wise, but I'd still pick the A8 over the BMW for this quality. And there's probably some love-of-the-underdog going on here, too. The 7 and the S-Class are so popular, I like driving the more rare A8 around.

The 750i handled better around corners. But that's about the only thing I truly liked more about it. A8L for me, please.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2012 Audi A8L: Champagne Flight

April 04, 2012

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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, Edmunds.com @ 12,657 miles.

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2012 Audi A8L: Pedals Are Too Close

April 02, 2012

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Over the past couple of days I spent some time with our 2012 Audi A8L. I learned something. These pedals are too close together for my tastes.

I can see the benefit of placing the gas and brake close together when there is a 3rd pedal involved, but not in an automatic. See, I tend to brake with little more than my big toe on the pedal. When the brake is first depressed there is no issue. As the pedal lowers and becomes flush with the accelerator, the outside of my foot make makes contact.

Audis have a brake override, so even with my foot pressing both pedals the car stopped. With practice I was able to retrain my wide soles to manage the close quarters. So this situation only arose a handful of times. Still, it made what should be seamless somewhat awkward.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 12,593 miles

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2012 Audi A8L: Messing With Radar Detectors

March 30, 2012

audia8radar.jpg

Since a couple of teammates wanted to ride in our 2012 Audi A8L when we were driving back to our hotel after Day One of the 24 Hours of Lemons race, I jumped in another car, a Mazda 3. We followed the A8 through the pits and the Valentine radar detector in our car just started going crazy. It wasn't pointing at the Audi but rather bouncing all over the place. Finally, after following the A8 on Highway 37 with all the beeping and lights, the driver couldn't take it anymore and shut it off.

Yup, that was all thanks to the Audi's Side Assist which sends out radar signals at speeds over 18 mph. Now I understand why that speeding Explorer we encountered on I-5 on the way home suddenly slowed wayyy down when we approached even though no CHPs were around. "He must have a radar detector," editor JayKav, who was driving, said.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2012 Audi A8L: Yesterday's Driver

March 30, 2012

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I like to play a little game when I get into a long-term car. I try to guess who was driving it before me. I'm easy to guess because I leave the satellite radio station tuned to the Broadway channel.

When the seat is really far back, my choices narrow to Dan, Ed or James, the over-six-feeters. A certain former employee always brought the car back on fumes, a big no-no around here, so he was an easy guess.

Last night, the seat was further back than I would have it and the seat cushion was extended for longer legs. But my real clue was the radio. I can always tell when I get in a car after Josh because he likes the Pearl Jam station.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

And p.s. after driving the Audi A8 last night, I would add it to my Mega Millions list.

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2012 Audi A8L: Question Of The Day

March 29, 2012

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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.

Buttons.

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: It Ain't Broken. Let's Fix It.

March 28, 2012

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I don't like the A8's gateless shifter. In fact, I don't like the move -- especially among German carmakers -- to eliminate shifters whose position is dependent on the gear selected. This new style shifter always returns to the same central position after selecting a gear.

Besides saving a very small bit of real estate on the center console, I fail to see how this is any better than a traditional gated shifter. And, for me, that reason doesn't justify the other compromises.

Because this shifter always returns to the same position, it's not possible to detect which gear is selected without looking down at the instrument panel or the shifter itself. And that precludes you from slapping between reverse and drive quickly should you ever need to do so. I know, I know. Sounds meaningless.

Unless you actually need to do it.

In that case, finding the right gear quickly becomes a contest between Park and Neutral. And while you're looking down at the shifter to figure out what to do next, traffic is bearing down on you relentlessly. And that dog doesn't hunt here. This is L.A. where meter maids eat their young and eveyone loves to hate a rich guy in a fancy car.

Also, no Rockfords.

Just give me a gated shifter. I promise you won't find me floundering during the critical moments.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2012 Audi A8L: Rear-Seat Climate Control Mystery

March 28, 2012

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For this trip up north to the 24 Hours of Lemons race at Infineon Raceway, we dragged dog Mya along. She's enjoyed seat time in the 2012 Audi A8L before but never for a 800+-mile roadtrip. In any case, yes, it was all plush and cozy back there. Even during the really chilly mornings, I turned on the seat heater for her. Couldn't tell if she liked that but it made me feel good doing something for her.

The only real issue was the fact that we STILL couldn't figure out how to make air come out of the rear-seat vents. The B-pillar vents work just fine, but no luck with the vents tucked behind the front-seat's center armrest.

For what the owner's manual says about it, hit the jump.

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2012 Audi A8L: Looks Richer in a Darker Color

March 22, 2012

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Our Audi A8L, as you know, stickers at over $100,000 (with several option packages that put it over). It has the plush interior to match. Everyone I've had in the car has commented on the interior materials, the roominess, the solid, quality feel of every surface.

But I think the outside looks rather plain in Ice Silver Metallic. I configured a darker one on Audi's Web site. Instead of opting for black, I chose Oolong Gray Metallic and I think it shows off the details of the exterior design much better. The massive grille and fancy LED lights really stand out. It looks more like its $100K price tag.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 Audi A8L: High Rider

March 19, 2012

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The Audi A8 comes standard with an adjustable air suspension that includes two ride height options. Unlike some other systems that automatically raise (Land Rover's low setting) or lower (Lamborghini) when you accelerate past parking lot speeds, the A8 will stick with your desired ride height.

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2012 Audi A8L: And Another Thing

March 16, 2012

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OK, OK, I'm wrong about the A8's trunk being "huge," but I'm sticking with its practicality. Let's say it's merely "sufficient" at only 13.2 cubic feet. Relative to others in its class it is small. The Mercedes-Benz S550 offers 16.4 cubic feet and the BMW 750i offers 14.0 cubic feet.

But there is this: A space-saver spare tire. It's not a full-size spare, but it's also not an inflator kit for run-flat rubber.

Just an FYI.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2012 Audi A8L: Magrath Is A Weirdo

March 13, 2012

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As if you needed more reason to think so, just check out how he drives around. This is how I found the Audi's HVAC set up last night after he had it over the weekend. Don't get me wrong, I'm as big a fan of dual-zone climate control as anyone. But does any couple really need a 17-degree differential between passenger and driver? My wife wears a jacket when it's 70 degrees and I've never seen her do anything this radical when it comes to temperature settings. In fact, sometimes I think my colleagues do this stuff just to test me. Well Magrath, just so you know, I'm paying attention. And you're a weirdo.

More self-defeatism after the jump.

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2012 Audi A8L: An Evening Out

March 06, 2012

audi_a8_nightout.JPG A big German flagship sedan is a usually a good way to impress your friends. So when my wife and I met up with another couple a few nights ago for dinner, generalized store perusing and evening away from kids, I volunteered my chauffeuring services.

The A8L was a hit. Our friends drive a Honda Element and a Toyota Sienna, so the A8 was something they don't normally get to experience. Sitting in back, they were duly impressed by the massive amounts of legroom, the comfortable leather seating and the heated rear seats. They also commented about how smooth the A8 was, yet also stable.

They were smitten. I told them all they needed was $101,575. Or friendly Audi PR people willing to loan them a car for a year.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 10,361 miles

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2012 Audi A8L: Face First

February 28, 2012

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I was looking at the A8 the other day trying to figure out why I find its sheet metal so appealing. Big sedans like this can run the risk of looking like old-man transportation but I never get that sense with the A8, which comes across, to my eyes, as sleek and youthful and modern.

That gargantuan grille helps -- it's so clean and seamless, assertive without being too aggressive. Yeah, I think the grille is probably what seals the deal for me.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2012 Audi A8L: Spotting The Differences

February 27, 2012

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"Hey Brent! Nice Audi A ... umm ...."

This was my friend. I had gone to visit him at his office on Saturday with the A8. He had seen me pull up from his window.

"A8L," I told him. "It's pretty fancy-pants."

My friend knows cars. So his reaction is similar to the point James made in a previous post about the A8's conservative styling and how it doesn't look much different from A4 in back.

For me, I'd agree the styling distinction between Audi's sedans is subtle. The rear, in particular, it's hard to tell what you're looking at. But at a glance it's hard to tell the latest BMW 5 Series from the 7 Series, too, so Audi's hardly alone.

A few A6 and A8 screen grabs from Audi's configurator.

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2012 Audi A8L: 10,000-Mile Milestone

February 23, 2012

Milestone_graphic.jpg Audi_a8_10k.JPG Deep in non-descript California farmland territory, our Audi A8L cleared 10,000 miles yesterday. It's been less than four months (including the month car was out due to body repair), but the odo was obviously helped along when Scott and Scott drove the A8 to Detroit and back.

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2012 Audi A8L: Dog Report

February 20, 2012

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Speaking of President's Day, my dog Mya looks very presidential in the back of the 2012 Audi A8L, don'tcha think? I had to take her to the vet this weekend in our luxury liner but somehow think the plushness of the leather seats and the rear-seat heaters were lost on her.

Many of you are probably cringing at the thought of a pit bull sitting in a fancy car like this but I'll have you know that Mya is well-behaved. When I buckle her in, she just sits/lies down, doesn't lick windows or claw at the seats.

And I know no A8 owner would use their car to transport their dogs but on the off chance that they do...

The seatbelt fasteners are buried into the seat so I couldn't really tuck in her dog blanket and buckle her in too easily.

For rear air there are vents in the back of the front center console and in the B-pillars facing the backseat but for some reason I couldn't figure out how to get air back there just by looking at the controls. Too bad for Mya our car doesn't come with rear-seat controls like the Equus which she also tested.

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2012 Audi A8L: Luxury That Blends in

February 16, 2012

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Last night since I was going to an event at the chichi, members-only Soho House in West Hollywood, I signed up for our 2012 Audi A8L. After all, waiting in a valet line at such a fancy private clubhouse has gotta be the epitome of you-know-what-swinging contests and I just wanted to see what it felt like to play along for once.

But then when I was waiting for my ride to be delivered I observed the mix of Porsche Panameras and Mercedes CLSs and realized our A8 wouldn't turn anyone's head here. I suspect even if it were an R8, no one would give it a second look. Should have taken the NSX for a big swinging effect. As it was the A8 blended in nicely. Thing is, it blends in nicely in most places. Whether you opt for street parking or the mall valet. Not that that's a bad thing...unless you're the type who goes in for you-know-what-swinging contests.

Speaking of which, I'd say the car that snagged the primo spot at this valet won that contest. Hit the jump to see it.

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2012 Audi A8L: Clean Windshield

February 13, 2012

As Jay mentioned earlier today, I'm also a fan of a freshly cleaned windshield and I often use the washers when I get into a long-term car. (Can you tell it rained here today with two wiper posts?)

I have come to like cars that offer a gentle mist that blankets the window. Our Audi A8 is quite the opposite. It shoots a high-powered stream in several places on the window. Seems a little old-school, low-brow for a $100,000+ car. Although to its credit, it doesn't obscure the view out the glass like a full-cover spray.

How do the washers in your car work?

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2012 Audi A8L: Chunky Monkey

February 07, 2012

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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: Heated Steering Wheel

February 02, 2012

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I like heat. Our 2012 Audi A8L has a heated steering wheel. I'm happy.

I'll admit I didn't know our A8 had a heated steering wheel until I RTMed. I never felt it past that large switch for adjusting the position. It was a surprise find. And a good reason to always RTM.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 9,228 miles

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2012 Audi A8 L: It Lost Some Personality

January 30, 2012

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I had planned on liking our 2012 Audi A8 L*, because I really liked the last one.

The second-generation A8 was, and is, a handsome sedan, with a wonderful cabin, and it was one of those cars that just shrank around you and felt deceptively small through corners. Of course, it helped that it was first-in-class with an aluminum unit-body (well, actually, the first-gen A8 was the first big luxury sedans to go that route, but you know what I mean), so it was lighter than its rivals. It was more than that, though. Everything in the second-gen A8, save for maybe the transmission, worked together so nicely -- steering, suspension, brakes -- that it really felt like it wanted to be a sport sedan. It was certainly more of a sport sedan than the flabby A6.

*(Yes, when you drive a car this expensive, you absolutely can park like a jerk across three spaces and get away with it. I just paid off all the parking staff with the money I was otherwise going to burn.)

The third-gen A8 (this car) is still light for this class, though the stunning Jaguar XJ that no one is buying is also very light. But it doesn't have the personality of its predecessor. It certainly doesn't want to be a sport sedan... there's just not enough steering feel for that. Switching up the Drive Select settings to my taste helps some -- for the moment, I've settled on "Dynamic" for the suspension and "Auto" for everything else, but I'm thinking may have to go back to Dynamic for the drivetrain, too.

I don't like thinking about settings. I want the car to feel interesting with everything set to Auto. And the A8 doesn't really, though maybe a long road trip would change my mind about it. Instead, Audi's top sedan just feels big. And it is big. But I want it to lie to me and insist that it's small, like the old one did.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 8,990 miles

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2012 Audi A8L: How I Roll

January 29, 2012

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Yep, seat heater AND seat cooler on at the same time. Like leather-wrapped Icy Hot.

Refreshing.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor, Inside Line

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2012 Audi A8L: 5,000 Mile Road Trip, No Snow

January 25, 2012

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This picture is misleading. That isn't even a road, it's the bottom of a ski trail. After we took this photo we were chased out by security.

Fact is, with the exception of a little rain between Detroit and Memphis on day one of the return trip to L.A., we hit zero weather. No snow. Not even through the highest peaks of Colorado which reached above 10,000 ft. according to the Audi's altimeter.

We were disappointed. Very disappointed.

When I made this same drive a few years ago in a BMW X5 (to Detroit) and a Cadillac CTS (back to L.A.) I hit more snow than I anticipated and loved every minute of it. Well, except for that time I almost got the Caddy stuck in western Michigan, or that time I got it sidways on the interstate on some black ice and would've put it into the guardrail if it weren't for my keen driving skills and catlike reflexes.

With those memories still fresh, I chose the all-wheel drive A8 for this trip months ago. But, ultimately, the Audi's Quattro system, didn't get to prove its foul weather worth. Maybe next time I should drive further up the ski slope in the interest of research.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2012 Audi A8L: 5,000 Mile Road Trip in Photos

January 24, 2012

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As I promised yesterday, we've gathered up all the photos from our Ultimate Audi A8 Road Trip, which covered 5,000 miles from L.A. to Detroit and back, and we've put them together in the Ultimate Audi A8 Road Trip Photo Gallery. There's 190 images, including a few I personally consider embarrassing. Do me a favor a skip over the shot of me sleeping in the Audi's well heated, shaped and massaging passenger seat.

Which is your favorite photo?

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2012 Audi A8L: Hitting 5,000 Miles

January 16, 2012

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When we left Santa Monica for Detroit back on Thursday Jan. 5th the Audi's odometer read 3,246 miles. In other words, we knew this milestone would take place near Topeka, KS on Saturday morning. And it did,

It also marked the end of a trouble free first 5,000 miles for the big, silver sedan.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2012 Audi A8L: L.A. to Detroit and Back

January 05, 2012

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Photographer Scott Jacobs and I are driving our long-term 2012 Audi A8L to Detroit. We left Santa Monica this morning.

If you have to ask why it's time to turn in your Car Guy membership card.

Fact is I had this trip in mind when I speced out our A8 many months ago. I ordered the long-wheelbase and the smaller (19-inch) all-season tires because I was already thinking, "What a great car to drive to Detroit in the middle of winter to attend the auto show."

I did this once before. A few years ago I drove to Detroit (also in January for the auto show) in our long-term BMW X5 and back in our long-term Cadillac CTS. It was a blast.

Jacobs is coming with me because we have a a bit of a road trip history. Twice we've crossed this country in the pursuit of great BBQ. The first time in our long-term Audi R8 and the second time in a Porsche 911 Turbo we nicknamed the Brisket Express. Both times we dined in Texas.

Not this time. This time we'll hit Kansas City and St. Louis. Maybe Memphis on the way home, but honestly I don't think there will be time.

The Audi's Sat Nav says Detroit is 2,400 miles from my house. We will get there Sunday, hit the auto show Monday and Tuesday and I'll drive back solo starting Wednesday morning.

I'll blog all about it when the Audi and I return, but you can follow our progress on Inside Line's Facebook (facebook.com/insideline) page and Twitter (@insideline_com) feed starting right now.

Wish us luck.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2012 Audi A8L: A Look Underneath

January 04, 2012

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This morning photographer Scott Jacobs and I put our long-term Audi A8L up on our 2-post Rotary Lift for a look at its guts and gizzards.

More pictures after the jump.

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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?

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2012 Audi A8L: Back to the Future

December 21, 2011

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We've only had our long-term 2012 Audi A8L a short while (then it spent a whole month in the body shop) but we originally road tested this black A8 more than a year ago. It was so long ago that the editor that wrote the piece, Dan Pund, doesn't even work here anymore. Soon after he reviewed the Audi for us he bailed for bigger bucks at Car and Driver.

Despite that, I thought it would be fun to look back at our road test and see if our first impressions of the big Audi sedan are holding up.

Turns out our impressions from a year ago are holding up very well, but I should point out that the black A8 we tested last year was a short wheelbase model with the 20-inch summer tire option. A much sportier offering than our long-termer, which is the long-wheelbase with the 19-inch all-season rubber. By the way, 90% of A8s sold are long-wheelbase with all-seasons.

Due to the added wieght and less aggressive rubber, there should be a measurable performance difference between the two A8s. When we report the test numbers delivered by our long-termer at the test track (tune in next week) we expect them to be a bit behind the numbers turned by the A8 we tested last year.

Our only real gripe with the car a year ago was its styling, which we dinged for being too similar to an A4. Otherwise we lapped the Audi with high praise. So far our long-termer is just as sweet.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2012 Audi A8L: Back from the Dead (Body Shop)

December 07, 2011

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Remember that 2012 Audi A8L we introduced back in October? You know, the one that vanished to DC Autocraft for body repairs back on November 7. Well, after 30 days it's back. Who guessed it would cost $2,785.82 to repair? Come claim your prize.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 2,490 miles

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2012 Audi A8L: Aw, I Miss It

November 18, 2011

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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: Delivered to the Body Shop

November 09, 2011

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So what happens after your aluminum-bodied 2012 Audi A8 is damaged by freeway debris? It's time to call in the pros. And when you don't own the A8, Audi of America decides which body shop you visit.

DC Autocraft in Burbank received our A8 yesterday. This shop isn't the closest to our offices, but they are certified for aluminum work and they've earned the respect of Audi. That in itself holds some weight. When you find a trusted shop, you stick with them. I wonder what it will cost to repair. Any guesses?

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 2,490 miles

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2012 A8L: Well, That Didn't Take Long

October 31, 2011

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Sometimes, the best intentions end in tears. Ok, that's too dramatic, I wasn't crying (no, really, I just had something in my eye, or something). So there I was, shuttling our brand-spanking new Audi A8 from the test track to an undisclosed location. Then WHAM!

I was on the 60 Freeway, amongst the big rigs and other cars when it happened. I'm guessing a car in front of me ran over something. That something hit the passenger side of the Audi, and hit it hard. It scared the…well, let's just say it startled me. I never saw it coming and never saw it leave. I did, however, catch the F-150 in my mirrors swerve out of the way of whatever it was that clipped the A8.

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2012 Audi A8L: Release the Hounds!

October 28, 2011

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Happy Friday! Something funny before you head out to your weekend. (Who's still at work? Oh, that would be me. Heh.) LOVED this Audi A8 commercial when it first aired in February this year during the Super Bowl. Pretty smart and love the tagline. Did you watch it without laughing once? Come on. Kenny G!

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2012 Audi A8L: Person of Interest

October 28, 2011

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Did you see the CBS show "Person of Interest" last night? The guest stars were Paige Turco... and the 2012 Audi A8L, just like our long-term car! Except the prop car was painted black, way more attractive than our silver test car.

Anyway, Ms. Turco and the show's star Jim Caviezel have a rendezvous with some bad guys, which results in some good old-fashioned Action. Surprisingly, the prop A8 receives some pistol round hits, unlike most shows where the car goes unscathed.

Hit the jump for the fab clip, and stay 'til the end to see the damage on the A8. (Sorry for the embedded ad; that's CBS, not us.)

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

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

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