It’s been a long time coming and Audi loyalists in India were beginning to lose hope. But it’s here, and it’s called the 2020 Audi A8L, an expanse of a sedan that matches the breadth and depth of anyone who drives it into their garage. It’s built for your comfort against the elements.
Whether it’s an unfavourable road, uptight personalities with excessive perfectionism, or even boredom. It just keeps you so well-grounded to your drive that you melt away in its ample confines. From where Audi has stepped on, one would admit that it's their answer to the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes Benz S Class. It’s what the urban limousine of today should be, and it has its feet firmly planted in the Indian soil to stay here for as long as it pleases.
So, rivals, brace yourselves.
When you meet the eyes of the A8L, you’ll quickly squint to focus on the ginormous grille and wide air inlets at the front. The chrome slats give the car its stately personality, also creating an Illusion of broadness. Audi has been generous with the chrome to accent various parts of the front façade, including the fog lamp surrounds.
Then we head to the rear, which, in the aforementioned stately avatar, seems slightly underwhelming. But the OLED light show on the rear lights more than makes up for it.
The interiors of the A8L is phenomenal. From the tech to the cockpit and even the luxurious materials. The front seats are large and comfortable and the rear ditches the bench for two ultra-comfortable seats that recline so far behind that you could stretch your legs quite a bit. The long wheelbase of the car is to be credited for this. The seats pamper you with effective massaging features as well as heating and cooling. The incredible luxury extends to the back of the front seats, which have a foot massaging pad for rear occupants, and boy, do these make you forget that you’re navigating through the grunt of city traffic.
The absence of the bench has made room for a centre console with cupholders, a removable touchscreen tablet to control the luxury features of the car, and a wireless charger. You can also access the mini-fridge in the boot, where your Chardonnay awaits your parched throat. Audi seems to have made an educated guess that the A8L will be driven by chauffeurs in most cases, which is why the focus of luxury is largely around the rear occupants. The vents stylishly show up when you touch the sensor. Everything
is piano-black and glossy and sleek. It’s like the counter of an uber-luxurious bar.
The MMI infotainment system sits up front and spoils the driver for the choicest comfort and communication options. The dual-touch screen with haptic feedback doesn’t demand too much of your attention as you control it while driving. In addition to helping you manage your media, calls, navigation, driving, and in-car controls, the intuitive system also learns about your driving styles and preferences, putting your favourites on an easily accessible panel.
Audi has installed its Godzilla 3D surround system in this one to keep you thoroughly enthralled. Built with Bang & Olufsen, the sound is full and makes the interiors seem even larger than they are. There are 23 speakers, made by an Italian firm, ASK.
Each of the four doors houses the woofers, with a large sub-woofer in the rear. A car isn’t where an audiophile would find himself too often, especially not in a stately sedan like this one. But that hasn’t stopped Audi from going one better and feature a Fraunhofer Symphonia 2.0 3D algorithm that will ensure that the A8L sounds better than any Audi before it.
The tech influences the driving experience greatly. Especially, since the Indian variant offers a 55 TFSI turbocharged petrol V6 engine. When you’re on a 350hp machine that drives 500Nm torque and is controlled by an 8-speed automatic transmission, there’s not a lot to complain about. It packs the Q8’s all-wheel drive among other things but is 0.2 seconds quicker than it in a 0-100 kmph dash, clocking 5.7 seconds. The car moves like a charm, even on pothole-strewn roads, thanks to phenomenal suspension and great balance. And lest we forget, the 19-inch alloy wheels, which could receive a 20-inch update soon. Even around turns, you feel firmly grounded. The Comfort Mode takes care of the harshest terrains, whereas the Dynamic Mode helps the A8L flex its intelligence and basks in your well-earned trust. It was quite impressive though.
When you head to the website to play around with your prospective car, you will be pleasantly surprised by the variety of customisations available. You can choose your preferred colour, upholstery, wheels, and trims. In the world of cars, the 2020 Audi A8L is a car that is best enjoyed by those with an acquired taste for luxury. It’s a car that makes you feel like you’re in a private jet, but without even the slightest jitter and G-Force.
It’s a better ride than it is a drive and that’s what makes it not-everyone's-favourite. It was built for a purpose and that purpose is power.
Engine: 2995cc, V6 Petrol
Transmission: 8 Speed automatic AWD
Power: 335 bhp @ 5000 rpm / 500 Nm @ 1370 rpm
Top speed: 250 kmph
0 to 100 kmph: 5.7 seconds
Price: Rs1.56 crore