March 2, 2001

Audi Highlights from Geneva Motor Show
By: Jason Teller

Speaking to press colleagues in Geneva, the common outlook regarding the 71st International Geneva Motor Show could easily be described as "underwhelming". While shows in Detroit and Frankfurt continually grow larger and more complex every year, Geneva, by contrast, included relatively few world introductions and rather brief press conferences. To be frank it was refreshing; the cars - some fabulous European-only models included - truly spoke for themselves with voice of the automotive marketing machine diminished.

Audi, too, took a straightforward approach to Geneva. While the booth was impressive and contained essentially the entire model lineup, Audi chose not to hold a press conference surrounding the motor show debuts of the new A8 L 6.0 and A2 1.2 TDI (the so called three-litre Audi). Less is more, and again the cars got the opportunity to speak for themselves.

Audi A8 L 6.0 with W12 Engine

The A8 L 6.0 has accepted the baton as the Audi flagship automobile and is running a strong leg. Starting with the already wildly-popular long-wheelbase A8 (it's selling at a much higher rate than the non-stretched A8), Audi has added a number of features to move this car into the ultra-premium class.

First and foremost is the 420hp W12 engine. Impressive in its own right based on power output alone, Audi is proud that the engine has both smaller dimensions than normal V12 engines and is also considerably lighter. It also pushes the A8 6.0 L from 0-100 k/hr (approximately 0-62 m/hr) is 5.8 seconds, making the large sedan's performance enviable of sports cars.

Indicative of its flagship status, the A8 L 6.0 has received a number of exterior enhancements as well. A new front grille, use of "W12" emblems, new 10-hole design 18-inch wheels and twin tailpipes all set the car apart.

In what has become an Audi trademark, the luxurious fit and finish in the interior of the car is on par with the technology and performance under the hood. The leather used throughout seemed - if this is possible - to be more supple even than that used in the rest of the Audi lineup. Complimenting the leather seats was what appeared to be a suede headliner. Fine wood, of course, was tastefully employed throughout.

Consistent with its "L" moniker (the notion that this car was designed to provide spectacular comfort for rear passengers), other features such as integrated headrest video screens, multimedia control panel, drop down vanity mirrors and an airplane-style drop down work table seem right at home.

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