March 1, 2004
Text and pictures courtesy of Audi AG
Audi is unveiling the new and most sporty version of its flagship model, the
A8 6.0 quattro. This twelve-cylinder version with standard wheelbase, like the ultra-comfortable, dynamic long-wheelbase version before it, raises the stakes in the luxury car category even higher. The A8 6.0 quattro, a top athlete clad in the custom-made attire of a luxury saloon car, is now moving into the fast lane.
With a displacement of six litres, twelve cylinders, 331 kW (450 bhp) and 580 Newton-metres of torque, it has all the vital ingredients of an out-and-out sprinter. The six speeds of the automatic transmission are much lower-geared than the A8 L 6.0, enabling the large-capacity engine to unleash its potential compellingly.
The A8 6.0 quattro accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in just 5.1 seconds; the speedometer touches 200 km/h in a mere 16.9 seconds and reaches the electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h after less than 29 seconds. The most thrilling thing about it is just how spontaneously the six-litre engine translates every adjustment of the throttle into acceleration, and just how smoothly it can rev right up to the rated speed of 6,200 rpm if desired.
At the same time more than 95 percent of the engine’s peak torque is available between 2,300 and 5,300 rpm – the ideal basis for spontaneous punch and supreme pulling power in every velocity range. The torque characteristic of this large-capacity naturally aspirated engine is utterly unequalled.
In conjunction with the low weight of the aluminium body built using the Audi Space Frame ASF principle, the engine and transmission turn in an excellent performance coupled with exemplary economy.
Even a first glance at the flowing outlines of the new Audi A8 clearly reveals the personality of this 5.06-metre long, 1.89-metre wide and 1.44-metre high saloon: a harmonious combination of clarity and sporting character, grace and elegance.
The pronounced wedge shape of the new A8 6.0 quattro with low front end, a markedly short overhang and a high, powerful tail are the dominating features of its dynamic architecture. The crouched silhouette and the shoulder line rising sharply to the rear accentuate its sportiness.
The A8 6.0 quattro is identifiable at first glance as the top model in the range. Its front end is distinguished by the new formal idiom of Audi design. Its central element is the striking single-frame radiator grille, the outer chrome ring of which surrounds the painted grey fins of the grille with horizontal chrome strips. The W12 badge serves as a visual indication of the engine’s high performance.
The clear glass headlight covers visibly display the technology that they protect:
the 12-cylinder A8 is the first car in the world to be equipped with LED daytime driving lights, the distinctive five lighting elements of which do more than merely add a new visual touch to the vehicle’s front end. This technology is revolutionary: the A8 6.0 quattro is the first vehicle in the world on which the use of daytime driving lights adds virtually nothing to fuel consumption – a clear safety advantage, as the car is more easily spotted whatever the light conditions.
This advance has been made possible by the use of LED units, the energy consumption of which is only a fraction of that of conventional bulbs. When the low-beam headlights are switched on by the standard-fit light and rain sensor, the daytime driving lights remain on but are dimmed to the brightness of side lights. The LED daytime driving lights thus serve as a distinguishing feature both by day and by night.
At the rear end, the trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes integrated into the bumper single out the A8 6.0 quattro as the new Audi flagship model.
19-inch wheels with a 12-spoke design constitute a further typical feature of the 12 cylinder A8 when viewed side-on. The wheelbase of the Audi A8 6.0 quattro is 2,944 mm.
The driver-oriented overall design of the driving area that is a characteristic of all A8 versions is a notable feature of the interior. The central architectural features are the rising centre console – reminiscent of a sports car – incorporating the MMI terminal, with its retractable display in the instrument panel.
The MMI and the absence of a conventional handbrake lever pave the way for the neat, expansive design of both the centre console and the instrument panel.
The smooth transition between the instrument panel and the top shoulder is another feature that is typical of Audi. This line, structured by a two-section trim inlay, continues back into the rear compartment, creating a new ambience. Depending on the choice of materials, the interior can be given a particularly sporty flavour. One exclusive trait of the top version’s driving area is a horizontal aluminium strip running below the wooden inlay.
Another equally visible feature of the 12-cylinder A8 is the new 3-spoke multifunction sports steering wheel with shift paddles. The new generation is distinguished by the visual reference to the single-frame trapezium with the four rings on the central airbag cover. Its oval exterior geometry is likewise a variation on the single-frame shape.
There are perfectly contoured sports seats as standard for both the driver and the front passenger, providing outstanding lateral support when corners are taken swiftly and excellent seating comfort.
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