Car of the Year 2011: No. 8 Audi A8L

  • Photo by Cordero Studios/corderostudios.com
    Photo by Cordero Studios/corderostudios.com
  • Photo by Cordero Studios/corderostudios.com
    Photo by Cordero Studios/corderostudios.com
  • Photo by Cordero Studios/corderostudios.com
  • Photo by Cordero Studios/corderostudios.com
  • 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

From Around the Web...
Richard Petty
The titan of the track discusses why he won, where he competes now, and how he defines luxury…
Robb Report's Car of the Year contest ended in a tie between the Lamborghini Huracán Spyder and the Porsche 911 Turbo S.
The results mark a first in the annual event’s history and bode well for the industry…
Robb Report Car of the Year 2017
During Robb Report’s annual competition to determine which sport or luxury car best deserves to be...
More than 150 Robb Report readers convened in Napa Valley to judge 13 extraordinary automobiles…
Watch video profiles of each of the Car of the Year 2017 contenders...
The Giulia Quadrifoglio, the high-performance variant of Alfa Romeo’s new sedan, went on sale in December with a starting price of $72,000.
The top-of-the-line sedan is powered by a biturbo V-6 that churns out more than 500 hp…
The 2018 Porsche 911 GT3
Next year, the model comes with a new engine, a revised chassis, and plenty of performance…
The 2017 Ruf CTR at the 87th Geneva International Motor Show.
With 700 hp and a top speed of 223 mph, this two-door tears it up…
If the DB11 were less of a looker, it might earn more attention for being the Best-performing, best-handling Aston Martin yet
The company’s first all-new car in 13 years was worth the wait…
The Lexus LC 500 will arrive at U.S. dealerships this spring sporting a bold new look for the brand…