Audi A8 Impresses City Drivers

The new 2013 A8 3.0 TFSI Quattro is the quintessential upward mobility vehicle—particularly for the Philadelphia-area driver.

From behind the wheel, the Audi’s driving dynamics are lush and powerful, smoothly predictable but with surprising agility. My afternoon drive begins with some stop-and-go travel along winding Kelly Drive. Closing in on Center City, the genteel road manners of the A8 are ideal for a mild sprint down the flag-draped Ben Franklin Parkway. Rounding Logan Circle with a head of speed, the car handles the sweeping curve with statesmanlike aplomb and confidence without a hint of body roll, thanks to stability control and a true luxury-sport-tuned suspension.

It’s no surprise given Audi’s pedigree. The German auto brand has a rich heritage dating back to the early twentieth century and today is one of the most respected names in automotive styling, engineering, and performance—not to mention winning the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans for 11 of the past 13 years.

The latest A8 innovates by scaling back from the earlier 4.2 V8 engine to a new 3.0T supercharged V6. With weight reduction and improved fuel efficiency on everyone’s to-do list, this new engine does the trick without compromising driving excitement. Along with a trimmed-down engine, the 3.0 quattro comes with a $6,000 rollback in A8 pricing, to about $72,200.

“The steady refinement and enhancement of the Audi A8—and the entire Audi line-up—is making this the new ‘go-to’ brand for up-market buyers,” says Cherry Hill Audi sales manager Chuck Schaffer. “We’ve seen A8 sales double since last year. The loyalty base of repeat Audi buyers is growing, and so are our conquest sales, winning over Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and other premium luxury performance car buyers.”

The Audi’s driving dynamics are lush and powerful, smoothly predictable but with surprising agility.

In terms of interior appointments and amenities, the A8 is like a spa treatment on wheels. Ensconced in a pod of stitched leather upholstery, high-gloss wood panels, and just enough brushed metal to make the tech-heavy control console seem at home in the 21st century, I felt completely comfortable during the half-hour drive from the suburbs to the city.

Electronics in the standard A8 package include a navigation system, Bluetooth phone, and audio connectivity with a CD player, satellite radio capability, and an iPod interface. An optional Bang & Olufsen sound-system upgrade includes cool high-range speaker nodes that rise up out of the dashboard, distinguishing the $6,300 upgrade from the standard Bose.