There are varying degrees of luxury in this world. On one side of the spectrum, you have the garish gilded palaces of the well-funded like, say, Donald Trump. On the other side, there is tasteful luxury, the kind that whispers rather than screams, "I am special." The 2013 Audi A8 L is clearly aimed at those who appreciate the latter.
Even with its new 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8, there's a notable level of restraint to the latest Audi A8. Sure, it costs $115 grand and has 420 horsepower, but none of that comes through until you get in and take a drive.
It's blazing fast in a straight line and extremely capable on a twisty road. And yet it does it all with an ease and subtlety that makes it feel as if it's not even trying that hard. That's our kind of luxury.
More Power Than You Think The big story for the 2013 Audi A8 is the new V8 engine. It replaces the previous 4.2-liter V8 and slots in between the recently introduced 3.0-liter 333-hp V6 and the range-topping 500-hp 6.3-liter W12.
For the "midrange" engine it's deceivingly capable. A 0-60-mph sprint takes a scant 4.2 seconds (4.0 seconds with 1 foot of rollout as on a drag strip) — a significant leap from the old 4.2-liter's 5.5 seconds. Given that the base V6 was capable of besting the speed of the previous V8, Audi made sure the new engine was considerably more capable. Clearly it is, but it does make you wonder if the $8,700 premium (from base V8 and V6 models) to make that two-cylinder jump is worth it.
Acceleration from the 4.0-liter V8 is smooth and deliberate. There's a hint of hesitation and turbo lag in the bottom range of the tach, but only if your foot is pressing firmly on the pedal. There's little fanfare to accompany the rush of power, though, as the cabin remains calm and mostly quiet. By contrast, you can feel the V6 working behind the scenes to get the big A8 moving along even if it's hardly what most would call intrusive.
The only serious complaint we have to field on the V8 is the stop-start function that is slow to react off the line. If you're transitioning from a standstill to the throttle with any sort of urgency, you risk rushing the startup and are greeted by an unceremonious lurch forward and back. The good news is that you can disable the system if it's bothersome and you don't mind the mileage hit.
Balanced Performance Making the case for the V8 or V6 will not come down to the driving dynamics. Power notwithstanding, both Audi A8 variants have the same potential for performance, with slalom runs right at the 65-mph mark. The V8 outweighs the V6 by 200 pounds, but weight distribution is essentially identical at 55/45 front and rear. With myriad electronic driver aids and Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive, it really takes more bravery than skill to pilot the A8 with any level of aggression.
Even on rain-slicked mountain roads, the 2013 Audi A8 L shrugs off hairpin turns and careless throttle inputs. It would take the most ham-fisted Neanderthal of a driver to get the car out of sorts, as its sole purpose seems to be dissecting curves with minimal effort behind the wheel. The A8 is as confidence-inspiring and tranquil under high cornering loads as it is when lumbering down swanky boulevards.
And it's with this tidiness that the A8 appeals to both driver and passengers. With the Audi Drive Select set in Comfort mode, the big sedan glides over road imperfections with barely a ripple sent through to the cabin.
Selecting a sportier drive setting isn't likely to elicit any contrary comments from passengers either, as the differences are largely felt by the driver in the form of increased steering weight and driveline response. The suspension stiffens, too, but not to any objectionable degree. In the absence of harshness, the car simply feels more solid and buttoned-down.
The Seat of Power The real conundrum regarding this Audi A8 L may be regarding the preferred seat. With the $11,250 Executive Rear Seat option added to our test vehicle, choosing between driver and passenger does actually become an issue. Comparing these loungelike rear seats to private jets does not do them justice. Private jets are loud and feel claustrophobic by comparison.
The range of seat adjustments allows dignitary passengers to either sit upright or recline to near horizontal. In full dictator mode, the front passenger seat slides forward for ultimate legroom, then a footrest folds out from the seatback.
In addition to all of this space, that passenger has the luxury of selecting a wide variety of comfort features that include the obligatory heating and ventilation, as well as a host of massage styles and entertainment options.
And then there's the cooler box between the rear seats that will keep a bottle of Dom at the perfect temperature for celebrating the latest acquisition or conquest. With all of the climate and refrigerator mechanicals eating up trunk space, though, backseat VIPs will need to travel lighter than usual.
Bold Choices for the Commander Part of leading with authority requires some tough decisions, and the 2013 Audi A8 L is not the only luxury flagship in this realm. In this $100,000 range, one cannot overlook the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Jaguar XJL, Porsche Panamera or BMW 7 Series. All can be similarly appointed at similar enough prices, and none of them is lacking in power or sophistication.
The 2013 Audi A8 L now distinguishes itself with a V8 engine that is both technologically advanced and sufficiently powerful to measure up to anything in the class. Nothing about the way it performs will leave you wanting unless you're looking for a real sport sedan. In that case, you're better off with something smaller.
This A8 is all about heightened performance in a full-size package. It delivers on all counts and does so in a way that's satisfying without being over the top. Trump wouldn't like it, and that's just fine with Audi.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Is the 2013 Audi A8 a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2013 Audi A8 and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2013 A8 featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
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How do people like the 2013 Audi A8? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2013 Audi A8 and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2013 A8 4.6 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2013 A8.
Review I purchased my A8 late spring 2013 and have had no surprises, just pure driving pleasure. This change to Audi was driven by frustration of dealer practices to purchase a new Mercedes S-550/S350 Bluetec at that time a 2012/13 model. I was promised an excellent deal but after almost 4days of back/forth on price and frustration,I went looking for Audi and I'm very happy I did. The only reason for not leaving any sooner I had 4 new Benz's within the last 6yrs from that dealership. Forget about loyalty. Love what you drive. I really do. This big girl has excellent dance moves..Rain or Shine, Curves or Straights it drives like a smaller car begging to show off. Both City/Hwy MPG is impressive. I still love my Audi A8..Im am almost 2 years in on my 2nd one a 2015 A8L..these cars are problem free and the Long wheelbase is just as enjoyable as the short. I really enjoyed my 2013, but my 2015 I love. I did look again at new 2014-15 Mercedes S550 but didn't find enough merit to return to a Benz. It was nice but in my experience not better. I truly enjoy driving my Audi A8L.. What is really impressive is the truly satisfying ownership experience and the technology available for the price. If you find yourself looking for pleasure in your drive...Go experience a Audi for yourself.. I still love what I Drive...
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What options are available on the 2013 Audi A8?
Available Audi A8 2013 Submodel Types: Sedan
Available Trims: L 3.0T quattro, L quattro, L 4.0T quattro, L 4.2 quattro, quattro, 3.0T quattro, L 4.0T Sport quattro, 4.2 quattro, 4.0T quattro, L W12 6.3 quattro
Exterior Colors: Phantom Black Pearl Effect, Brilliant Black, Night Blue Pearl Effect, Glacier White Metallic, Oolong Grey Metallic, Ibis White, Ice Silver Metallic, Moonlight Blue Metallic, Havanna Black Metallic, Quartz Gray Metallic, Northern Blue Pearl Effect, Oyster Gray Metallic, Arctic White, Emerald Black Metallic, Florett Silver Metallic, Light Silver Metallic, Mythos Black Metallic, Savana Beige Pearl Effect, Cherry Black Pearl Effect, Cuvee Silver Metallic, Platinum Beige Pearl Effect
Interior Colors: Black premium leather, Nougat Brown premium leather, Black leather, Velvet Beige premium leather, Beige, Sand Beige leather, Balao Brown premium leather, Espresso Brown premium leather, Titanium Grey premium leather, Velvet Beige leather, Light Gray premium leather, Black, Black/Amaretto leather, Platinum
Popular Features: AWD/4WD, Power Driver Seat, Sunroof/Moonroof, Leather Seats, Rear Bench Seats, Auto Climate Control, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Alarm, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Stability Control, Trip Computer, Upgraded Headlights, Electronic Folding Mirrors, Navigation, Tire Pressure Warning, Bluetooth, Post-collision safety system, Aux Audio Inputs, USB Inputs, Heated seats, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Parking sensors, Pre-collision safety system, Back-up camera, Mobile Internet, Blind Spot Monitoring, Cooled Seats, Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, 360-degree camera, Heads up display, Keyless Entry/Start, Automatic Emergency Braking, Upgraded Stereo, 2nd Row Bucket Seats, Rear Entertainment System