Originally introduced in 1994, the Audi A8 has made great strides in becoming not only the German manufacturer’s most luxurious and expensive full-size sedan, but also a world-class car able to hold its head high in a field crowded with its BMW and Mercedes-Benz brethren! With the full-size Audi now in its third generation, it has made great strides in providing both the luxury and performance its buyers expect.
Interestingly, the 2013 models of the Audi A8 will also be offered in a Hybrid configuration in certain markets. It will be fitted with a 245-horsepower four-cylinder engine, supplement with an electric motor for extra kick. The official fuel consumption is an excellent 6.3 liters per 100 kilometers, a figure that will certainly be hard to reach in real-world conditions.
In my opinion, getting a hybrid Audi A8 is more of a statement than anything else, as it requires considerable sacrifice, namely in the form of Audi’s game-changing Quattro all-wheel drive system. In order to both save weight and reduce the power requirements, Audi will not make the Quattro system available to buyers of the hybrid models, which may be a drawback for some – think snow. The Hybrid model will not be significantly more economical than the Audi A8 with the smaller diesel engine, and frankly, talking about fuel economy in an expensive, luxurious, premium luxury sedan feels a little weird.
I know that hybrid cars and traditionally-powered vehicles cannot or should not be compared directly, but buying a car with that level of prestige, luxury and gravitas and being served a four-cylinder engine, shared across the Volkswagen Group no less, would be a little galling.
By all accounts, the hybrid Audi A8 provides a level of performance that will be acceptable to its traditional buyers; acceleration is full, throaty and prompt, and handling is superb for such a large automobile, sans Quattro. In terms of luxury, comfort and trim levels, the hybrid Audi A8 is everything a modern Audi should be: at the top of its class.
Thankfully for all motoring enthusiasts, Audi has not forgotten its most diehard fans. The Audi A8, while being offered with Hybrid and diesel options, nonetheless is still available with a selection of high-performance six-, eight- and twelve-cylinder engines.