I purchased my A8 used w/ 56K. It handles wonderfully for a large sedan and I average about 17/25 on premium fuel. I have found it to be both sophisticated and understated; and if you are looking for such a vehicle, it should be verboten for one not to at least consider the A8. That being said, I have had reliability issues. My thermostat had to be replaced, which required replacing the t and s belts, as well as the water pump, the CV boot tore causing my brake pad light to go off (?), my driver's interior door handle randomly broke and my radio randomly died. I have spent nearly $3,000 in the last yr. on this vehicle.
What an awesome car. After owning an Audi 5000, I never expected to buy another Audi, but renting an A4 in Europe convinced me that Audi has come a long way. The first thing that attracted me to the A8 was the superbly understated styling. Once I drove it I was hooked! It is the finest car I have ever driven. It is luxurious in a subtle way which perfectly suits my style. I like that it is relatively scarce, but surprised it isn't a bigger seller. I especially like the light agile but confident feeling I get from this aluminum bodied all wheel driver.
Great looks, excellent fit and finish, outstanding features, exceptional comfort, great back seat leg room, large trunk, nice night display and lights, quick acceleration and decent gas mileage (despite my heavy right foot).
I've always loved the A8 and was pleased as punch when I finally found mine. But I've had nothing but trouble from this car. A year after purchase the 'check engine' idiot light came high. Audi diagnosed it as a bad tank of gas and reset it. A few months later, same thing. I wanted a true diagnosis. $4300 in diagnostic fees later, it's diagnosed as a broken valve spring requiring the heads be removed. Just this past week (May 2005) the steering started making noise. This diagnosis? An irreplaceable bearing in the electronic steering column -- the entire column needs to be replaced. The cost? Estimated at $2200.... Audi offered blue book on a trade, I declined. I'm turning Japanese.
It's a beautiful car. No other car has the looks of the A8. Absolutely stunning. Performance and comfort are what you expect in the ultra premium segment. If you're in the market for the A8, find one with Audi's extended warranty. Don't consider one without it.
I understand there are lemons -- cars not indicative of the entire marque -- and that's what I believe I purchased. I still love the looks, performance, and comfort of the A8, but will never own another Audi. This car has cost me almost 25% of its purchase price in repairs in two years. Good luck.