The Audi A8: W12 quattro
The twelve-cylinder, the epitome of automotive grandeur: particularly in the premium segment of first-class saloons, the Audi A8 demonstrates its uniqueness as a top athlete and luxury saloon rolled into one. It achieves this in two ways: the A8 W12 represents the dynamic saloon for the ambitious driver, and the long-wheelbase version is a supreme chauffeur-driven car with opulent comfort and convenience equipment.
The Audi A8 W12 fuses the performance of a powerful sports car with an ambience of luxury and sportiness. Subtle differences in detail distinguish it visually from the six and eight-cylinder versions never obtrusive, but instantly recognisable by the automotive connoissseur. For instance, the highly polished black single-frame grille features vertical double chrome applications. At the rear, trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes integrated in the bumper identify the top model in the Audi A8 model line.
The LED daytime running lights at the front of the Audi A8 W12 provide a distinctive accent. Located in a cloverleaf-shaped reflector and each comprising five white light-emitting diodes, the daytime running lights consume a minimum, barely perceptible, amount of energy. Each diode has an output of just one watt conventional dipped headlights have an output of up to 300 watts. This white colour of this light, which is similar to daylight, not only illuminates the road ahead, it also makes the drivers own car immediately visible to all other road users.
One of the quietest saloons in the world
Furthermore, the A8 W12 benefits from the consistent development of the model range, subtle modifications to the timeless design and the extended range of colours and equipment.
With the innovative soundproofing package to insulate the vehicle from road, rolling and ambient noise and the standard, new kind of insulating glass, the A8 W12 is further strengthening its position as the quietest saloon in the world. Moreover, with its more direct steering and retuned suspension it is proof of how successful the synthesis of fascinating agility and superlative ride comfort can be.
Under the engine compartment lid is a powerplant that is unparalleled in modern-day engine construction. The W-shaped twelve-cylinder unit offers an inestimable advantage: despite the larger number of cylinder units and despite a substantially higher displacement the W12 is as compact as a V-eight-cylinder engine and considerably smaller than a conventional V-shaped 12-cylinder powerplant.
Thanks to its unusually short length of 513 millimetres together with a width of 690 millimetres, this engine can be paired with quattro four-wheel drive. Significant competitor models with twelve-cylinder units installed at the front can merely drive both rear wheels in this case there is not enough space under the bonnet for additional front-wheel drive components.
High performance and low weight
A further advantage of this compact design and the materials used aluminium and magnesium is the very low weight of the twelve-cylinder unit. This in turn contributes towards the low total vehicle weight of 1960 kilograms an achievement unrivalled by competitors. One horsepower on the Audi A8 W12 quattro has to accelerate just 4.35 kilograms a figure that is on a par with a high-performance sports car.
With a maximum output of 331 kW / 450 bhp the engine delivers excellent torque: a remarkable 560 Newton-metres at least is always on tap between 2,300 and 5,300 rpm. The powerpack has an impressively direct response and spontaneously translates the slightest movement of the throttle into acceleration.
The long-wheelbase version of the A8 W12 sprints from zero to 100 in only 5.2 seconds; the governed top speed of 250 km/h is a mere formality. In this context the standardised consumption of 13.9 litres is relatively modest.
Discreet but highly sporty sound
The special fascination of a successful twelve-cylinder engine is largely due to its characteristic sound. This means that nothing can be heard initially extremely low-vibration idling at the most, free from low-frequency vibration. For full-load acceleration, however, Audis acoustics engineers have composed a highly sporty sound pattern for the engine powerful, but never loud, of course. This unmistakable sound design is a further example of the overall character of the twelve-cylinder Audi A8 emotional and dynamic but with maximum acoustic quality.
The counterpart to the potent engine, as it were, is the high-performance brake system on the Audi A8 W12, with its generous proportions and double-piston brake callipers at the front. Yet this, too, can be enhanced: as an option on the top model, Audi offers brake discs made of carbon-fibre-reinforced ceramic. They are lighter and more durable than steel discs but, most importantly, are absolutely fade-resistant, even under extreme loads.
The ratios of the six-speed tiptronic with dynamic shift programme DSP and additional Sport programme have been adapted to the sporty character of the A8 W12 quattro. Thanks to the six-speed concept, the engine’s output and torque are always unleashed with such precision that spontaneous sprints are accomplished effortlessly in any speed range.
Sporty self-drive model, comfortable chauffeur-driven car
This is where the differentiation between the standard and long-wheelbase versions begins: with the self-drive sports saloon the final drive ratio is lower and the response more spontaneous than on the chauffeur-driven model. In addition, the suspension settings and front seats are different:
The A8 W12 quattro is equipped with adaptive air suspension sport, whereas the long-wheelbase version of the W12 features the standard suspension with more emphasis on comfort. The driver of the A8 W12 enjoys the good lateral support of the sports seats, whereas the comfort seats in the long-wheelbase version appeal on account of their particularly soft upholstery.
The difference is even greater when it comes to equipment. Beyond the luxurious level of the A8, standard items include Bose Surround Sound, for example, noise-reducing insulating glass, extended leather trim and the navigation system. On the twelve-cylinder A8L the standard package also incorporates the Bluetooth car telephone with cordless handset, Audi parking system advanced with rear-view camera and four-zone deluxe automatic air conditioning.
The equipment, data and prices stated here refer to the model range offered for sale in Germany. We reserve the right to make changes. Errors and omissions excepted.