Ringing in the changes -- nice and quietly
I'LL be sampling it at greater length shortly, please God, but it was nice to get a feel for the revamped luxury Audi A8.
It costs from €92,800 on the road (OTR).
The long wheelbase version I took for a quick drive was sumptuously bedecked with serious rear room. Someone, jokingly of course, said it suited me - the gap between reality and impossibility widens.
It will do so even more when the high-performance - or 'barnstorming' as they put it - 6-litre W12 gets here in April.
This 500bhp powerhouse does 0-100kmh in just 4.6 seconds. Ready for this? It will cost €155,160 OTR and comes only in LWB.
Anyway, back to the changes to the one that is here now. The changes are subtle enough (bonnet, single frame grille, front bumper, LED tail lamps and two rhomboid tail pipes, new high gloss black window surrounds etc). You need to see the old and the new side by side to get a real idea. Length is unchanged at 5,135mm.
But they claim a 'raft' of upgrades to engines and new technology.
For example, full LED headlights are now standard while the engines get more power but emit less.
I remember the first A8 with an aluminium body. It was a sensation then. Now we take it for granted yet the idea has pushed back boundaries. This A8 is based on the Space Frame concept at the heart of aluminium use in the car.
I like the idea of the high-beam function in the new headlamps. They each use 25 individual LEDs and these can be switched on, but maximise illumination.
An on-board camera detects other vehicles ahead and relevant sections of the high-beam are dimmed or shut off.
Most buyers are expected to plump for the 3.0TDI (260bhp - up 10bhp, emissions down to 155g/km or €390 road tax). The 4.2-litre TDI now has 385bhp.
The 8spd Tiptronic automatic transmission was so smooth I never noticed a shift.
And the Drive Select system was also beavering away without me knowing. It adjusts various controls and functions, such as the adaptive air suspension.
And the head-up display, I think from experiencing in other cars, is one of the great unsung safety advances because you can see the relevant information in your line of vision without taking your eyes off the road.