facebook twitter pinterest instagram You Tube

Car of the Year 2011: No. 8 Audi A8L

Robert Ross and Paul Dean

Laudable Designs
Ask any auto designer—off the record and after a couple of drinks—which marques he or she most admires and chances are Audi will be mentioned. Audi has long been regarded as a designer’s car, in the best sense of the term. Across the model line the exterior and interior plans are understated and impeccably executed. At the head of the Audi-sedan hierarchy is the A8, a taut four-door that is as satisfying to drive as it is to experience from any seat in the capacious cabin. The extended-wheelbase L model, which our Car of the Year judges drove, offers even more rear-passenger legroom, and ultimately it will have more potent engine options supplying extra performance that is unnecessary but always welcome. —Robert Ross

 

A-OK
The restyled, reengineered, technology-laden A8 is poised to revise its standing as the somewhat dour, status quo flagship lagging in prestige and popularity behind the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the BMW 7 Series. This Audi is a risk taker. Its new lines have a contemporary flow, its engine is more powerful and more fuel efficient, and the cabin’s wood paneling and leather lining will only bolster Audi’s reputation as a luxury-class leader. Whether all its wizardry—including Internet access for the driver and front-seat passenger (a forthcoming option not included on the A8L Car of the Year vehicle)—will evolve into necessities and become industry standards remains to be seen. But if a satin-shifting 8-speed transmission, ergonomics designed primarily to coddle, and high value for a relatively low price matter, then a new order might be looming for Germany’s luxury lineup. —Paul Dean

SPECIFICATIONS
Configuration Front-engine, all-wheel-drive sedan Engine 4.2-liter V-8 Transmission 8-speed automatic Power 372 hp at 6,800 rpm Torque 328 ft lbs at 3,500 rpm Curb weight 4,453 pounds Zero to 60 5.7 seconds Top speed 130 mph Base price $84,000 Audi, www.audiusa.com

Read Next Article >>
The Sealy, Texas, tuning shop that created the Hennessey Venom GT —the...
Photo by Scott Williamson/ www.PhotoDesignStudios.com
The 507 roadster was one of the most beautiful cars of the postwar era and...
The folklore and religious figures depicted in the Lüftlmalerei , the...
The motorsports manufacturer Polaris—known for its off-road vehicles and...
As fuel prices and climate-change concerns continue to rise, so too does...
Photo by Rod Foster
The Fast Toys Club , a new members-only automotive program based in...
Photo courtesy of TRG-AMR North America
Hundreds of racing enthusiasts will gather this month in Monterey, Calif...
Maserati is marking its centennial with concours, rallies, and events...
By all rights, Ducati should have crested the horizon and become a...
Modena, Italy—home to supercar makers including Ferrari, Maserati, and...