More, bigger, better. That's the way the luxury car market works. It's why we have cars with night vision, massaging seats that move 75 ways, radar cruise control and more. It's also why we have a glut of 500-plus-horsepower monsters. But the truth is, not every luxury buyer wants or needs that much get-up-and-go.
With that in mind Audi has announced a new "entry-level" A8, the $73,095 2013 A8 3.0T. In the place of the 4.2-liter V8 is a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 cranking out 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. The A8 3.0T comes in some
49 39 hp down on the V8 car, yet returns almost exactly the same fuel economy (17/28 vs 18/28 for the V8).
What does a two-cylinder, 49-horsepower, $6,530 deficit add up to on the track?
Vehicle: 2013 Audi A8 3.0T Quattro
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $73,095 (base price)
Drive Type: Front engine, all-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Eight-speed automatic
Engine Type: Supercharged V6
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 2,995/183
Redline (rpm): 6,400
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 333 @ 5,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 325 @ 2,900
Brake Type (front): 14.0-inch ventilated discs with two-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 13.0-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): 265/40R20 (104Y)
Tire Size (rear): 265/40R20 (104Y)
Tire Brand: Goodyear
Tire Model: Eagle F1
Tire Type: Asymmetrical summer
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,405
0-30 (sec): 2.0 (2.1 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 3.4 (3.7 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 5.3 (5.8 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 5.0 (5.5 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 7.6 (8.2 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 13.6 @ 101.3 (13.9 @ 100.5 w/ TC on)
30-0 (ft): 27
60-0 (ft): 104
Slalom (mph): 64.8 (63.6 w/TC on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.87 (0.84 w/TC on)
Db @ Idle: 42.4
Db @ Full Throttle: 70.5
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 58.4
Acceleration: There's a remarkable difference between the default, Auto drive mode and the Dynamic mode with generous pedal overlap. We found Audi's embedded sport-shift schedule (like in our long-term A4 Avant and our V8-powered 2012 A8L 4.2) to be harsh but very effective. This car is deceptively quick and makes little fuss about it. It lifts the nose on launch and quietly runs a 100-mph quarter-mile. Not bad for a V6-powered limo.
Braking: Super-strong brakes from the first to last stop. Some measurable differences between Comfort and Dynamic mode (about 3 feet), but still shorter stops than anything we've tested in this class. Fade-free and felt like it would do the same stop all day long.
Skid pad: With ESC off, the A8 is very well-balanced between mild understeer and drop-throttle oversteer. Steering weight varies with mode, but remains reasonably talkative. I could sense the AWD routing power because a car this large shouldn't be able to do what it does. With ESC on, it begins to allow the same amount of understeer, but closes throttle shy of howling tires.
Slalom: Once I learned to trust the grip and exploit the AWD, I was shocked at the speed this long-wheelbase car can carry between the cones. Drive it like a rally car (lift to rotate and stab to power out of the slide) and it works. Best run was in "Individual" with Dynamic everything but steering which I put in Comfort because its heavy-for-heavy-sake in Dynamic (lost the syrupy feel but retained precision). Amazing performance for a car of its size.
0-30 (sec.): 2.0 2.3 2.2
0-45 (sec.): 3.4 3.5 3.9
0-60 (sec.): 5.3 5.2 5.8
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec.): 5.0 5.0 5.5
0-75 (sec.): 7.6 7.7 8.4
1/4-mile (sec @ mph): 13.6 @ 101.3 13.8 @ 102.1 14.1 @ 10.1
30-0 (ft): 27 27 27
60-0 (ft): 104 106 109
Skid pad lateral accel (g): 0.87 0.87 0.90
Slalom 64.8 66.3 65.6
See also: 2011 Porsche Panamera V6 Track tested. 0-60: 5.8 seconds. 1/4-mile: 14.0 @ 98.4. 60-0: 110 feet. Slalom: 69.7 mph.