And, a further advantage, the unmistakable sporty aura of the Audi A8 design has thus also been retained in the top-of-the-range version, where perhaps it is most expected.

As a gesture of respect to its particularly high performance, Audi's W12 engine has dry sump lubrication. In contrast to conventional wet sump lubrication, the oil pumps supplies the engine with oil from a separate oil tank. This in turn can be optimised in terms of design compared with a conventional oil sump.

This is a system usually only found in motor racing and on top-class off-road vehicles. It is rarely used for production vehicles, in just a few high-performance sports cars. The greatest advantage of dry sump lubrication is that it allows an optimum supply of oil to the engine even at high lateral acceleration levels.

Double overhead camshafts per cylinder bank are responsible for the valve gear. Driven by a single chain, they operate two inlet and two exhaust valves per cylinder via low-friction roller cam followers: a principle which helps not least to reduce fuel consumption noticeably. The camshafts can be adjusted variably - by 52 degrees at the inlet valves and 22 degrees at the exhaust valves - which means that the optimum valve timing can be realised across the entire engine-speed range. It is thus possible to achieve good idle-speed quality, low crude emissions and ample torque across the speed range.

Just a few features suffice to visually identify the twelve-cylinder version: viewed from the front, these include the original radiator grille which is differentiated from the Audi S8 by the vertical, polished stainless steel bars. "W12" emblems are located on the radiator grille, on the side rubbing strips and inside the car, above the glove box. At the rear of the car, the model inscription A8 L 6.0 quattro and the original design of the twin tailpipes indicate that you are looking at the flagship of the Audi model range. 18-inch forged aluminium wheels of 10-hole design and with 245/55 ZR 18 tyres point to the new Audi's dynamic potential.

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