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Big Birthday Surprise on Saturday Night...

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Big Birthday Surprise on Saturday Night...

 
Old 03-27-2011, 07:37 PM
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Smile Big Birthday Surprise on Saturday Night...

My wife threw me a surprise Birthday party on Saturday night, and when we arrived at the restaurant our friends from the dealership, surrounded by all our other friends, were there holding the keys to our new A8L which was sitting curbside in front of the restaurant---Let me remind everyone that this is the same car that I've been waiting for to clear the port of entry these last few weeks. The car actually came in 2 weeks ago, but my wife had everyone at the dealership hide the car from me---and what a successful job they did!!! Just another one of the many reasons why I'm lucky to be married to this woman :^)

Anyhow, it got pretty cold outside the restaurant, and besides we all were partying too hard to really want/attempt to go to the trouble of swapping the license plates from our D3 to the new car. Our salesman and his girlfriend were really great and were kind enough to take the car back to the dealership on their way home, and then give up their Sunday to drive it to our house and officially go through the demonstration and delivery process.

Happy to report that on our 101 mile road trip back into the city tonight everything worked perfectly. The Active Cruise Control's performance in stop-and-go traffic really impressed me, as did the way the Audi Drive Select rear sports differential enhances the car's cornering stability . The car is simply awesome. Here's a terrible phone pic taken this afternoon. I'll post some better shots next weekend.
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Old 03-27-2011, 09:17 PM
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A nice intro indeed to your new 8. Enjoy!
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Old 03-28-2011, 07:53 AM
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Default HA! You were dupped. But in a good way!

Happy Birthday and congrats on the new A8. I'll be really interested to know all your thoughts on it. Maybe that will keep me occupied while I wait for mine to come in.
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Old 03-28-2011, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by V10_MAN View Post
Happy Birthday and congrats on the new A8. I'll be really interested to know all your thoughts on it. Maybe that will keep me occupied while I wait for mine to come in.
Thanks V10 MAN! My impressions following yesterday's 101 mile "maiden" voyage are:

1. Visual Exterior Impressions- IMO anyone taking the attitude that the car looks like an overgrown A4 after seeing it in person is absolutely off-base. The A4's physical presence simply does not come anywhere near the A8---and especially the A8L. The A8's sheer mass and especially rear quarter panel integration into the rear fender generates a uniquely powerful slope that cannot be matched by the A4, nor the new C7 A6. While I agree that the rear lighting design's similarity between the A4, A6 and A8 could confuse the uninitiated, the fact is there are distinctly different design cues/elements that differentiate each of the platforms.

2. Interior Comfort - Visually, it does appear that the prior D3 A8L's rear cabin might actually be a bit roomier when viewed next to the D4 A8L. Having said that, once you seat yourself in the new model the feeling is much more intimate, and there is certainly plenty of legroom, even with the front seat pulled back in the extreme---this even with the rear seat placed in the lounge position (my car has the Rear Comfort Package). The D4's seats are a vast improvement over the D3 (compaision made to D3/D4 ventilated seats w/perforated leather surfaces)---outside of the additional adjustments that can be made, the D4 Comfort Seats are, well, signifcantly better padded and, in my initial 2-hour plus drive impression, provide improved support over the D3's Comfort Seats. My wife could never get comfortable in our D3, but she immediately commented on how much more comfortable the D4's front passenger seat felt. The 3 level controls for seat heating and ventilation work exceptionally well in terms of butt warming and cooling. In the D4, the ventilated seats' cooling power is now quite noticable---it's no longer a subtle feature that's bearly present, but very apparent, even at the middle and lowest settings.

3. Ride Comfort/Driveability- While giving nothing up in the driving control/stability department, the D4's suspension is noticeably improved: much more pliable over potholes and bumps---and there are plently of them on my route into Manhattan at the 59th Street Bridge approach! To be sure, the added approximate half-inch tire profile height on the 19-inch wheels (from 255x40 to 255x45) adds to the road cushioning affect at each wheel. The increased body rigidity is also apparent, with less flexing noticed when going over bumps, dips and potholes. The car feels "bulletproof." Cornering is near flat, and the Audi Drive Select Plus rear sports differential (which my car has) makes taking tight corners a thing of beauty---with the big car's rear end holding tight and in place even with the standard all-season rubber...and yes, I did make it a point to take a sharp corner at speed to check it out). :^)

Very key to the car's handling improvement is a)the ability to make individual ride/performance selection settings through the MMI. I settled on keeping everything in the AUTO mode, with the exception of steering control which I set to DYNAMIC. Actually I always set the air suspension to DYNAMIC mode while doing highway driving---yesterday was no exception, and the ride quality in DYNAMIC is also much improved...clearly better dampened and calmer compared with the D3; and b)with the A8's engine moved slightly farther back in relation to the front axle, thus improving front-end balance (in addition to moving much of the car's electronics to the rear, this is also part of the reason why trunk space was reduced, since they needed to make up for the loss of platform geography after shifting everything back a bit to accomodate the more rearward engine placement---something had to give without making the car even longer, or having to reduce cabin volume). Any excessive nose-heavy feeling one might have experienced in the D3 A8 is greatly reduced (dare I say virtually eliminated?) in the D4.

4. MMI, etc - The improvement in MMI graphics and availability of more feature controls is quite good and remains highly intuitive. I haven't gone through all the possible settings and adjustment options yet, so I can't really provide any further impressions in this area. I can say that the addition of a setting to fold up the sideview mirrors when locking the car is a nice feature for street parking and parking lots. Traffic updates focused on your route or location are readily available through the NAV system (even when not in NAV mode) by hitting the INFO button on the MMI screen. The touchpad actually works very well, and is a snap to get used to. The shift lever works exceptionally well in positioning your arm/hand to use the MMI controls---something I didn't overtly notice until I was already working the MMI; it just happens.

4. Driver Assit Package - The only reason I ordered this was to get the Side Assist feature---which works very well I might add. Having said that, I've become a big fan of the Adaptive Cruise Control in this car. It's easy to use, does a great job of holding the pre-set distance, and the car's ability to self brake in stop & go situations on the Long Island Expressway made me an instant fan (however, I probably shouldn't rely on the ACC for this application, but even still it's really useful for my Expressway trips). The stay in lane feature is OK, but can be annoying at times.

5. Engine/Transmission - Even with the engine being tight at this point (since it needs some break-in time), it's very quiet and smooth---perhaps more so than the 4.2 V8 on the D3 I just left. It is very quick and linear, and while I didn't floor it since I'm within the initial break-in cycle, it feels more rocket-like. I'm certain the new 8-speed tranny comes into play here in a big way. If the A8 does get a 4.0 turbocharged V8, all I can say is they better also provide the car with a flight suit ;^). As is, this engine/tranny config provides all the power and G-force fun I need. So far, I didn't experience any abrupt shifting or torque converter/quattro clunking that I'd experienced in the '08 D3. BTW, the new electronic shifter isn't nearly as tempermental or quirky as has been reported---perhaps they really did make an on-the-fly production improvement. It does, however, require a somewhat lighter touch to get you into gear properly the first time.

6. Night Vision Assist - I can see where the Night Vision Assist will be good to have in both poor weather and dark/low visability situations---I played with it a bit even with the car facing into a tough sunset condition, and the system caught all the heat signatures from all the cars on the road in front of me. It should certainly work very well in its intended function of identifying pedestrians (and large animals).

There are just too many bells & whistles to go through, a good number of which I still need to get into. The bottom line is that, this A8 is an exceptional car. While the D3 still is a great car also, the model's evolution has made a giant leap forward in the D4. Interestingly, this is something that I didn't really get or appreciate in my test drive. But after only a couple of hours in the car's cockpit, the D4 can truly be called a game changer for Audi.

I can tell you, your wait will be very well worth the grueling anticipation :^)

Derf

Last edited by derfA8L; 03-28-2011 at 01:52 PM.
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Old 03-28-2011, 01:58 PM
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Default WOW, thanks for that detailed report

I ordered mine with drive select plus and 20" summer shoes - here's hoping the ride doesn't suffer to much from yours. I vacillated for quite some time on whether to get the Rear Comfort Package and finally decided not to since I'm not sitting back there. Hope I don't regret that decision.

I am a huge fan of ACC and enjoyed it very much on an 07 Q7. The ACC in the A8 is vastly improved and an absolute joy to use when stuck in stop and go traffic.

Keep us posted.
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Old 03-28-2011, 05:01 PM
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Congratulations. On the great choice in a wife and a car. It appears that you are as happy as I am, I drove by a Panamera today and thought of you, it is unsightly.

Happy driving.
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Old 03-28-2011, 05:16 PM
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Old 03-28-2011, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by clembo View Post
Congratulations. On the great choice in a wife and a car. It appears that you are as happy as I am, I drove by a Panamera today and thought of you, it is unsightly.

Happy driving.
Thanks Clembo. Marrying my wife continues to be the singular best move of my life, hands down. The whole car issue for me between the A8 and the Panamera involved a practical Plan A/Plan B scenario...

...The management of the NYC garage I park at is good enough to reserve a hydraulic lift space for my car, which obviously keeps it safe from all kinds of potential garage damage. My LWB D3 fit the pan of the lift with about 5 inches to spare, but the D4 LWB with the higher profile tires uses up approximately 3 inches of that safety margin. I wasn't certain that the new A8 would actually fit safely, so the Porsche was my Plan B---my dealer sells both Audi and Porsche, and over the years I've developed a strong relationship with the folks there and switching dealers was never an option for me. Right up to the day my wife surprised me with the A8, I was still thinking that Plan B was the safest bet and might win out; the Pan 4S had actually grown on me and its interior is quite a nice place to be in.

Long story short---After talking to our contacts in the sales and service departments at the dealer, my wife was convinced that I wouldn't be happy with the Panamera, and that the A8 would fit safely on the lift pan (and I know she was fed up with having been dragged onto the "Crazytown Express"). So in the end she did her thing and kind of forced the decision---of course, she was right: the A8 does fit on the lift, and fits our needs better than the Panamera. So the A8 and the wife are indeed keepers, just not necessarily in that order :^))
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Old 03-29-2011, 01:34 AM
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I would still go back and get a Porsche from your dealer, I have a 911S that I drive in the summer. The best Porsches only have two doors.

Actually my wife wants a Cayenne but I refuse to get a Porsche SUV, I am a bit of a stubborn purist.

It is funny, I like the ride better on the D4 than the D3 but I didn't realize that the tires had a different profile, until I read your notes. When I first got my car and noticed that it had Conti's, I was actually disappointed as I was not impressed with Conti's on a couple of other cars I used to own. It is amazing how much of a differnce it makes, I am sure that Audi also softened the Dynamic mode a bit as well but it is great compared to the old car.
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Old 03-29-2011, 05:31 AM
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Originally Posted by clembo View Post
I would still go back and get a Porsche from your dealer, I have a 911S that I drive in the summer. The best Porsches only have two doors.

That's pretty funny---my wife said the same thing about getting a "real" Porsche.

Originally Posted by clembo View Post
It is funny, I like the ride better on the D4 than the D3 but I didn't realize that the tires had a different profile, until I read your notes. When I first got my car and noticed that it had Conti's, I was actually disappointed as I was not impressed with Conti's on a couple of other cars I used to own. It is amazing how much of a differnce it makes, I am sure that Audi also softened the Dynamic mode a bit as well but it is great compared to the old car.
Yup, the extra 5% of the tire width added to the height profile does make a difference. With the lower profile tires I kept the cold air pressure at 39psi to safeguard against pothole blowouts, but that added to the hard ride. With the 45 profile tires you don't need that musch pressure, so that also adds to a more compliant ride.
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