The 2017 Audi A8 is something of a "lame duck" candidate among full-size luxury sedans, what with a full redesign waiting in the wings for 2018. But cars in this class are engineered to an incredibly exacting standard, and our analogy can only be applied so far. From its exquisitely detailed interior to its choice of powerful yet well-mannered engines, this A8 continues to hold its own among the world's best. Throw in unusually responsive handling and you've got an enduringly appealing automobile, regardless of the gee-whiz advancements that next year will surely bring.
The A8 switched to a standard long-wheelbase layout last year, matching its rivals from Mercedes-Benz and BMW, so the most significant change for 2017 is the deletion of two engines: the diesel-fueled V6 TDI (a casualty of the as-yet-unsettled VW/Audi diesel controversy) and the exotic W12. The 12-cylinder beast was certainly something to brag about on Twitter, but with low sales numbers and the impending arrival of a new model, Audi elected to remove it from this year's mix. Happily, the "3.0T" V6 (333 horsepower) and "4.0T" V8 (450 hp) models provide ample performance in conjunction with the standard Quattro all-wheel-drive system.
Despite the A8's consistent excellence over the years, the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class remain the favorites in this segment. Although the A8 feels more nimble from behind the wheel, the BMW and Mercedes offer a wider range of features (including standard USB connectivity) and arguably a stronger statement at the valet stand. If the A8's sportiness intrigues you, we'd also recommend the Porsche Panamera, which is the top athlete in the class. And if you want a little more character, the Jaguar XJ offers distinctive styling and available supercharged V8 power. But the 2017 Audi A8 is still a notable contender if you're looking for an executive sedan that can do it all.
Standard safety features for all 2017 Audi A8 models include antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front and rear side airbags, front knee airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, a rearview camera and Audi's Pre Sense system that pretensions seatbelts and closes the sunroof and windows if it detects heavy braking.
Models equipped with the adaptive cruise control option also come with Pre Sense Plus, which alerts the driver to imminent frontal collisions and, in certain situations, intervenes with maximum braking. Also included is Pre Sense Rear, which reacts to imminent rear-end collisions by tensioning seatbelts, closing windows and adjusting the seats for optimal protection. Other available features include a side- and top-view camera system, a night vision system (with pedestrian and animal detection), a lane keeping assist system and a blind-spot monitoring system.
In Edmunds brake testing, A8 models equipped with summer tires have routinely come to a stop from 60 mph in less than 110 feet, which is exceptional for a large, heavy sedan. An A8 4.0T with all-season tires recorded a 114-foot stopping distance, which is still laudable.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Audi A8 is a large luxury sedan offered in a single, long-wheelbase "L" body style. The lineup consists of the six-cylinder 3.0T and the eight-cylinder 4.0T Sport.
The 3.0T is equipped with 19-inch wheels, LED headlights and taillights, sport-style bumpers and side sills, a sunroof, dual-pane acoustic glass, heated and power-folding exterior mirrors, auto-dimming mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, power door closers, a power trunklid (with a foot sensor for keyless access), an adaptive air suspension, keyless entry and ignition, four-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery (with extended leather on the doors, dash and console), 14-way power-adjustable and heated front seats (with four-way power lumbar), front seat memory functions, a power-adjustable steering wheel, wood interior trim and power sunshades for both the rear glass and rear side windows.
Standard electronic features on the 3.0T include in-car 4G LTE Wi-Fi, an 8-inch display screen, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, Audi's MMI infotainment interface, a navigation system, voice controls, a rearview camera and a 14-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system with a CD/DVD player, Audi's proprietary digital music port with a Lightning cable (but no USB ports) and satellite radio.
The 4.0T Sport adds 20-inch wheels, additional sport-themed styling tweaks, a panoramic sunroof, diamond-stitched leather upholstery with a simulated suede headliner, 18-way multicontour front seats (with four-way lumbar, ventilation and massage), a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, a rear cargo pass-through, side- and top-view cameras, a blind-spot monitoring system, a head-up display and interior active noise cancellation.
The Executive package for the 3.0T bundles most of the upgraded amenities from the 4.0T Sport, and it continues to be offered as a credit option for the 2017 model year. The Rear Seat Comfort package provides front-passenger seat adjustment from the rear compartment and power rear outboard seats with power lumbar and ventilation. The Driver Assistance package includes adaptive cruise control, a frontal collision warning system (Audi Pre Sense Plus), lane keeping assist and automatic high-beam control.
Numerous wheel designs are also available. Furthermore, you can order up a sport rear differential that improves handling (it's part of the Dynamic package that includes variable-ratio steering). Other notable add-ons include a Black Optic appearance package and, on the 4.0T Sport only, a night vision system, a rear-seat entertainment system (with dual 10-inch screens) and a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen surround-sound audio system.
All A8 models come with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The 2017 A8 3.0T is motivated by a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that produces 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. In Edmunds testing, this model reached 60 mph in an impressive 5.3 seconds.
As capable as the base V6 engine is, we're suckers for the seemingly endless power and torque of the 4.0T Sport's V8.
The 2017 Audi A8 4.0T Sport receives a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine that makes 450 hp and 444 lb-ft of torque. In our testing, an earlier 2013 A8 4.0T with 30 fewer horsepower sprinted to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds.
With its seemingly endless power and surprisingly good fuel economy, the V8-equipped 4.0T Sport is our favorite in the 2017 Audi A8 lineup. Of course, the supercharged V6 in the A8 3.0T provides brisk response in pretty much any driving situation, but the V8 model gets up to speed with such grace and confidence that we're pretty sure you'll be smitten with it. Indeed, it's thrilling enough to stand in for the pricier S8 performance model, unless you simply must have the fastest A8 variant.
Although a standard-length wheelbase is no longer offered, the stretched 2017 A8 remains athletic and composed on winding roads.
Standard all-wheel drive provides sure-footed roadholding all year round, while the well-tuned suspension and intuitive steering response allow this big sedan to go around tight turns like a smaller car. Drivers with high expectations for performance and handling should be quite happy with the Audi A8. What's more, the A8 still delivers the superb ride comfort expected of an elite luxury sedan. The standard air suspension smooths out rough pavement with ease, and the cabin remains quiet as a crypt.
For shoppers in this exclusive segment, cabin design and quality can certainly be a deciding factor. The 2017 Audi A8 rises to the occasion with excellent materials, smart styling and an abundance of high-tech features. Many Audis are notable for their businesslike, austere interiors, but the A8 is decidedly opulent in its execution, with an abundance of rich wood inlays and supple leather surfaces.
There's no shortage of comfort inside the A8, even with the standard 14-way adjustable front seats. Upgrading to the optional 18-way adjustable ventilated seats only enhances passenger satisfaction, and the massage functions are more pampering still (although most competitors also offer them). That same level of decadence can also be enjoyed in the rear seats by upgrading to the Rear Seat Comfort package. Even without that option, rear passengers enjoy a wealth of space and amenities.
Audi's MMI infotainment interface features an 8-inch central screen and a dial-type controller on the console surrounded by useful shortcut buttons. There's also a small touchpad on which you can trace letters and numbers with your fingertip to enter addresses or search for phone numbers and music. Although MMI responds quickly to inputs, we've found that it generally isn't as easy to operate as rival systems. It's also starting to feel a bit dated from the standpoint of overall functionality, as BMW and Mercedes have rolled out next-generation interfaces with pinch-and-swipe capability that supports deeper integration for smartphone users.
Cargo capacity is a weak spot for the A8, as its trunk measures a humble 14.2 cubic feet. Some compact economy sedans can match that.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.