October 21, 2012
By: Kris Hansen
Not all top tier luxury cars are created equally. Sure, most have above average build quality and design, but most are lacking that little hint of madness that makes you want to take the long way home. And then there’s this amazing machine – the A8L W12. We’ve already been spoiled by the 4.2 liter A8L, and with the executive rear seating package, and honestly didn’t expect that it could possibly get any better. When this W12 arrived in our parking lot, we soon realized how much better it could get.
Without question, the Audi A8L’s mission is maximum passenger comfort. Even the most basic version (as if there were such a thing) this car is incredibly luxurious and flawlessly executed, but we discovered that after spending time in an A8L kitted out with all of the features that were added to this example, quite honestly it’s hard to go back to any lesser car, even a “lesser” A8L.
The interior of the Audi A8L is as good as any we’ve ever sampled. From the terraced leather wrapped dash through the perfectly laid out center console- its gear selector doubles as a wrist rest for use while scribing on the MMI system’s touch pad- the driver’s environment is perfectly executed. Our test car had some extra leather finishing, as well as an Audi Exclusive interior package, with a custom color on the seats, door panel and lower dash. It also had a gray Alcantara headliner, further adding to the top shelf and drool worthy status of this car.
The W12 has fitted as standard equipment most of the desirable things anyone would want to outfit their A8L with, such as the ridiculously comfortable 20 way adjustable cooled and heated massaging seats, at all 4 corners. Our particular car also had the executive rear seating option, which deleted the fold up center rear seat, in its place a center console with a full MMI system, housing the controls for the incredible rear seat entertainment system. Thanks to the considerable legroom, and amazingly good audio/video entertainment system, we’d say the back seats were more desirable than the front on long trips. But in this case, being the driver of the A8L W12 was certainly nothing to pout about.
See, the A8L W12 has one serious piece of hardware behind it’s sexy mesh grille – a 6.3 liter W12 (essentially 2 15 degree VR6 engines joined in a true V at a common crank) which effortlessly pumps out 500hp, at a relatively sedate 6200rpm. This is a serious amount of power for any car, even one as large as an A8L.
Big luxury cars are said to “waft” to speed with minimal effort and drama. The A8L W12 wafts with an alacrity bordering on ludicrous, which seemingly defies the laws of physics. A car this large, a car with a refrigerator in the back seats for Pete’s sake, just wouldn’t normally be expected to accelerate to 60 from a standstill in 4.2 seconds, but the W12 does. It’s as if the hand of God has reached out of the heavens to give you a push every time the throttles are opened.
Thanks to the relatively close gear ratios and buttery smooth action of the 8 speed Tiptronic transmission, the massive power rush from the W12 is dealt to the wheels in an uninterrupted and virtually seamless way. Wind and engine noise barely make their way past the double paned glass. Without a glance at the speedometer, your passengers might be hard pressed to know how fast you were traveling in this car. This car will put your passengers back in their seats on full throttle acceleration, and turn the outside world into a complete blur.
As enthusiasts, we were completely blown away by the sheer brute force living under the hood of this amazing car. Compared to most other cars, the W12 requires a bit of time to become accustomed to, thanks to the acceleration that it is capable of. In most other powerful cars, with brute force comes a certain level of drama and noise. Not so the W12. The first time the accelerator is buried in the carpet, the car rears back and explodes down the road completely catching you by surprise the first time.
It’s important to know at this point that the A8L W12 is fitted with quite possibly the biggest and most powerful brakes we’ve ever seen on any Audi sedan. The front rotors are gigantic, and the brakes completely fill the insides of the wheels. With the thrust this car possesses, being able to whoa the car down is critical.
The W12 model handles reasonably well for a car of its considerable size. This is a very large car, both long, and heavy. It is not a car which particularly enjoys being flung about, preferring smooth driving. Thanks to quattro, it is capable of very high cornering loads, but that’s not this car’s area of expertise.
No, the A8L W12 is without a doubt the most comfortable, luxurious and ballistically fast mode of transport to get where you want to go. It is the ultimate highway cruiser. It is a land bound luxury jet for 4. The A8L W12 is the perfect get away car. No matter what (or whom) you want to get away from.
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