Audi interiors are often industry benchmarks, so as you might imagine, the cabin of the flagship 2017 Audi A8L sedan is a very pleasant place to be. From the supportive, massage-capable front seats to the roomy rear seats, this big Audi's accommodations are top-notch. Notably, Audi dropped the regular-length A8 last year, making the previously optional A8L — as in "longer" — the standard model. Much of the L's extra length is in the rear compartment, and it's like a limousine back there; in fact, quite a few Audi A8Ls are used for executive transport. Don't let that fool you into thinking the A8 is slow or disconnected-feeling, however, as Audi's largest sedan offers plenty of refined power and a rewarding driving experience.
Under the hood, the 2017 Audi A8L has two fewer engine choices than last year — the 12-cylinder engine is gone, as is the V6 diesel. That leaves the potent 3.0-liter supercharged V6 (333 horsepower) as the base engine, and if that doesn't impress you, there's also a 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 (450 hp) that'll really get you moving. Want the fastest A8 variant in the stable? That would be the 2017 Audi S8 Plus, which cranks up the turbo V8's boost to a dizzying 605 horses. Just keep in mind that the S8 Plus comes only in standard-wheelbase specification, so you have to choose between maximum legroom and maximum performance.
With all models, the transmission is an eight-speed Tiptronic, coupled with the Quattro all-wheel-drive system that adds an extra measure of safety and control, especially on slick pavement. Surprisingly, the V6 and the V8 both manage an EPA fuel economy rating of 22 mpg combined despite their decidedly different output numbers.
On the road, the A8's cabin benefits from excellent noise insulation. Handling is stellar for such a big car, although this sporty character means the ride is a bit firmer than the norm. The infotainment system includes an 8-inch touchscreen with a dial controller that connects you to an excellent sound system, among many other functions. Some of the controls take a little time to master, but chances are they'll eventually make a lot of sense.
As nicely conceived as the 2017 Audi A8L is, a couple of its central competitors have received full redesigns in the past few years, which is why Audi will introduce a redesigned A8 for 2018. But if you're a fan of the current car — it's hard not to be — Edmunds can help you find the 2017 Audi A8L that fits your needs, at a price that's right for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.