Our 2008 Audi A8 is just one in a long convoy that whisks through Karlsfeld, a small suburb about 50 klicks outside Munich. It's just after dawn on a Thursday morning and the small town is cloaked in thick fog. Twenty sets of xenon headlights cut through the haze and the bicycle commuters stop to watch our cavalcade roar across the cobblestone streets.
They probably assume that our big sedans with tinted windows must contain important political figures or high-ranking members of the Russian mafia. Whatever, because their open-mouthed reaction testifies to the 2008 Audi A8's presence on the road.
It proves that the A8 commands every bit as much shock and awe as the BMW 750Li or Mercedes-Benz S550, particularly in a small town where most of the cars on the streets could fit inside the trunk of our A8.
But It Doesn't Feel Big Out of town and rocketing down a narrow, twisting German B-road, the 2008 Audi A8 has a way of feeling smaller than it actually is. This is a monumental achievement when you consider we're talking about one of the largest four-door sedans on the road. In "L" trim, the A8 checks in at a monumental 204.4 inches long and 74.6 inches wide, not counting the mirrors. This is a half-inch longer than a BMW 750Li and the same length as two Smart Fortwos placed end to end.
Maybe the feeling of compact maneuverability comes down to the precise steering, which seems telepathic thanks to the quicker-ratio steering rack from the current-generation S8 (a feature that every model of the new A8 will have). The newfound steering response allows you to precisely place the big A8 right between the fir trees at the edge of the road and the oncoming bread vans without making Mr. Baker-man cover his face and say his prayers when you zip through the gap.
The 2008 A8 also gets a revised air-spring suspension, which Audi calls "more responsive to minor irregularities in the road surface." Great, although we hadn't noticed the previous system was in need of improvement. As before, the suspension offers four driver-selected suspension modes that determine the firmness of body control as well as overall ride height.
The Grass Is Greener on the Other Side No matter how good the steering and suspension might be, there's nothing like standing on the loud pedal and letting 'er rip. The 4.2-liter V8's eight cylinders hammer hard, while twin turbochargers help sink your skull back into the headrest with the swell of torque starting from just 1,600 rpm.
Wait, cancel that. It turns out that the twin-turbo diesel — the best of the A8's engine packages with 322 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque — isn't available on our side of the Atlantic. You'd never believe that a diesel could deliver such performance. Trust us, the grass actually is greener with Audi's twin-turbo V8 diesel.
But we're not doing too badly, as the U.S.-specification A8 will continue to be offered with the 4.2-liter V8 with direct injection, and the innovative 6.0 W12 will also be part of the program. And the S8 will continue to feature the 450-hp 5.0-liter V10 yanked from the Lamborghini Gallardo.
Opt for the 350-hp V8 and you'll find yourself 10 hp shy of the output of the BMW 750Li's 5.0-liter V8 and a full 32 hp down on a Mercedes-Benz S550's 5.5-liter V8. On the other hand, your Audi A8 is still hundreds of pounds lighter than either of those cars, despite the added weight of all-wheel drive.
If you're feeling inadequate, you can always check the box for the W12, which combines 450 hp with 428 lb-ft of torque for a surge of power in a luxuriously effortless whoosh. Plus, you seem like someone who has better things to do than drag race from stoplight to stoplight anyway.
Pick the Lambo V10-powered S8, on the other hand, and your 2-ton luxury car will roar with a soul that could drown out James Brown at a Baptist church on Easter morning.
Coddled and Quiet When we tested the A8 L W12 back in 2005, we said it made us feel more at home in its well-appointed cabin than the BMW 7 Series or Mercedes-Benz S-Class. We still can't think of a better way to describe the feeling. The top-notch interior of the 2008 Audi A8 feels warm and welcoming, despite its size.
Solving problems that don't exist seems to be one of Audi's specialties. To this end, the new A8 is even quieter than before — it's now the quietest car in its class. The new bragging rights are thanks largely to new fiber-type materials and textile surfaces that reduce ambient noise without adding weight.
Technical Wizardry For 2008 the A8's plush interior receives a few more gizmos. A vibrating steering wheel, for example. Using Audi's MMI control interface, you can adjust the vibration in three levels of intensity. It's not some newfangled European massage system but instead, part of Audi's lane-departure warning system. Set the system to its most aggressive warning profile (there are three sensitivity levels) and the steering wheel will jiggle like Rip Van Winkle on speed in order to shake you awake.
The 2008 A8 can also be equipped with Audi's blind-spot warning technology, which illuminates yellow LEDs in the outside rearview mirrors when it senses a vehicle in your blind spot. If the system is triggered and you maneuver toward the hidden vehicle, the lights get brighter and flash repeatedly. According to the engineers at Audi, "It is virtually impossible to overlook this impulse because the human eye is highly sensitive to changes in contrast in the peripheral field of vision."
Both these gizmos come as a package that'll run you $1,400.
Nip, Tuck and a Few More Bucks All but the automotive elite will be hard-pressed to distinguish a 2008 Audi A8 from the old one, as the fundamental sculpture remains largely unchanged. There's a minor face-lift with a one-piece grille treatment, blinkers in the outside mirrors and LED-style taillights, but that's about it.
As you might expect, the people at Ingolstadt have raised the prices for the various A8 models, and the regular A8 4.2 starts at $70,690, a $1,790 premium over last year's car. The same additional price premium goes for the long-wheelbase A8 L, which now runs $74,690. Meanwhile, the S8 jumps $1,900 to $93,900. But if you splurge for the A8 L W12, the price jump amounts to just $750 for a total of $120,875.
The 2008 Audi A8 isn't cheap, but we've said it before and we'll say it again: The Audi A8 is as good as cars get.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
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Save up to $300 on one of 5 used 2008 Audi A8s for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $8900 as of Mar 20, 2018, based on data from 5 dealers and 1 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 1 to 1 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 2008 Audi A8 trim styles:
The used 2008 Audi A8 L quattro is priced around $11949 with average odometer reading of 111497 miles.
The used 2008 Audi A8 quattro is priced around $12398 with average odometer reading of 93195 miles.
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What options are available on the 2008 Audi A8?
Available Audi A8 2008 Submodel Types: Sedan, Diesel
Available Audi A8 2008 Trims: L 3.0T quattro, L 4.0T quattro, L 4.2 quattro, 3.0T quattro, 4.2 quattro, 4.0T quattro, L quattro, L 4.0T Sport quattro, L TDI quattro, L W12 6.3 quattro, L W12 quattro, quattro
Exterior Colors: Phantom Black Pearl Effect, Florett Silver Metallic, Moonlight Blue Metallic, Night Blue Pearl Effect, Glacier White Metallic, Ibis White, Oolong Grey Metallic, Quartz Gray Metallic, Brilliant Black, Emerald Black Metallic, Ice Silver Metallic, Light Silver Metallic, Oyster Gray Metallic, Cherry Black Pearl Effect, Havanna Black Metallic, Mythos Black Metallic, Northern Blue Pearl Effect, Savana Beige Pearl Effect
Interior Colors: Nougat Brown premium leather, Black leather, Velvet Beige premium leather, Black premium leather, Titanium Grey premium leather, Balao Brown premium leather, Black, Light Gray premium leather, Beige, Cardamom Beige premium leather, Espresso Brown premium leather, Havanna Brown premium leather, Platinum, Platinum leather, Sand Beige leather, Velvet Beige w/Black Carpeting premium leather
Popular Features: Aux Audio Inputs, USB Inputs, Pre-collision safety system, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Back-up camera, Parking sensors, Mobile Internet, Blind Spot Monitoring, Cooled Seats, Lane Departure Warning, 360-degree camera, Adaptive Cruise Control, Heads up display, Keyless Entry/Start, Automatic Emergency Braking, AWD/4WD, Alarm, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Auto Climate Control, Bluetooth, Electronic Folding Mirrors, Heated seats, Leather Seats, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Navigation, Post-collision safety system, Power Driver Seat, Rear Bench Seats, Stability Control, Sunroof/Moonroof, Tire Pressure Warning, Trip Computer, Upgraded Headlights, Upgraded Stereo, Rear Entertainment System, 2nd Row Bucket Seats
Engine/Mechanics: 6, 8, 12 cylinders
Fuel Types: premium unleaded (required), diesel
Drivetrains: all wheel drive
used 2008 Audi A8 Overview
The used 2008 Audi A8 is offered in the following submodels: Sedan. Available styles include L quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6A), quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6A), and L W12 quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (6.0L 12cyl 6A). Pre-owned A8 models are available with a 0-liter gas engine, with output up to 0 hp, depending on engine type. The used 2008 A8 comes with all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic.