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.
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.
I never owned a car like this but I couldn't resist when I drove it. It feels as roomy as a Town Car but handles like a Porsche. The only quibbles are the one small drink holder and the cheap plastic buttons to open the trunk and set the seat memory. I will own this car forever if I can.