August 15, 2003
Text and pictures courtesy of Audi of America
Big, bold and beautiful — the all-new 2004 Audi A8 L envelops an extraordinary interior providing unparalleled luxury, while a technologically advanced drive train with a more powerful V8 engine, a sporting six-speed Tiptronic® automatic transmission with manual-shift capabilities and a state-of-the-art suspension system all combine to deliver unsurpassed sport performance in the large sedan segment. Additionally, the 2004 A8 L features an Audi innovation for onboard electronics control, the Audi Multi Media Interface (MMI), that is fast becoming the industry benchmark.
With a powerful 4.2 liter, 330 horsepower V8 engine beating at its heart, the A8 L appears as sculpted art with its flowing wedge-shaped body, short front overhang and high belt line. Wrapped over an all-new aluminum space frame — a highly rigid, yet lightweight structure that bonds the vehicle into one cohesive unit — the 2004 Audi A8 L affords drivers absolute control with rock-like stability.
The clean, classic design of the car’s interior was planned for both luxury and comfort, with seats that adjust 16 ways and offer memory settings for four different drivers.
The front seats are heated, with rear seat heating optional, as is a leather-covered steering wheel. The instrument panel uses electroluminescent light, which can adjust its brightness according to the amount of ambient light that is present — another pleasant and welcome detail that did not escape the attention of Audi designers.
The A8 L is available in North America in only a long-wheelbase version that is nearly 17 feet in overall length and approximately five inches longer compared to the standard length model available in Europe. At $68,500 (MSRP), the A8 L is a modern interpretation of the understated elegance that is a hallmark of Audi.
With German precision in construction and artistry in coachwork, the all-aluminum body of the 2004 Audi A8 L becomes one of the most flawless automobile surfaces ever produced. Graceful and good-looking, the low-slung A8 L features a sleek front end that heightens a subtly rising shoulder and belt line front-to-rear. An artful arc of roofline adds to the effect of uninterrupted flow from the hood to the trunk lip-spoiler. Extra-large wheels and tires add to the overall look of power and confidence.
With a long wheelbase, the 2004 A8 L incorporates rear doors that are five inches longer compared to the standard model currently sold in Europe. The extra-large rear doors make for convenient entry and exit to the spacious passenger cabin. Interior volume is increased nearly three cubic feet over the previous model. Front and rear passenger headroom and shoulder room are increased as well, and rear seat legroom is increased over two inches.
All five passengers in a 2004 Audi A8 L enjoy unequaled seating comfort. Driver and front passenger are enveloped in ergonomic seats designed for superior body contouring. Front seat heating and cooling, electrically adjusting lumbar support and massage functions are optional while the rear seats can be optioned with electrically adjusting lumbar support and a recline feature.
An automatic four-zone heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system offering separate front- and rear-seat controls is optional. The HVAC system incorporates indirect ventilation that provides a continuous exchange of cabin air yet prevents drafts. To be certain all this climate-controlled comfort is delivered efficiently and unobtrusively, the HVAC operating system itself has been engineered with refined acoustic properties.
Between the front seats is the first of two main components of the Audi Multi Media Interface. MMI is an intuitive onboard electronics control center that consists of a turn-and-push selector knob surrounded by eight function keys. Audi MMI provides operation, adjustment and control of onboard electronics — everything from the sound system to the driver-selected suspension set up.
The MMI command center is set in the center console just aft of the shift selector and forward of the center armrest within easy, comfortable reach. Atop the center console near the dash is a seven-inch “Hide-away” color monitor for easy reference of MMI operations. A three-inch monitor in the center of the instrument panel displays basic operating information. (Please refer to the MMI release for complete details.)
Audi engineers have given the all-new 2004 A8 L a suspension system that resolves the classic conflict between luxury and sport suspensions — luxury being too soft for sport, and sport too stiff for luxury. A first-in-class, fully pneumatic suspension system gives the A8 L an unrivaled combination of ride and handling performance.
The Adaptive Air Suspension system starts with an aluminum four-link front axle layout and a trapezoidal-link rear axle for responsive handling and precise steering. Air spring struts at all four wheels, with sensors to continually monitor and infinitely adjust the air strut damping, instantly and perfectly match the suspension response to ever-changing road conditions.
The Audi Adaptive Air Suspension system also affords driver selection of varying ground clearance and damping rate to match the suspension set-up to road conditions and driving style. A self-leveling feature helps keep the new A8 L in steady equilibrium regardless of load. (Please refer to the Adaptive Air Suspension release for complete details.)