The new Audi A8 is the perfect vehicle for power hungry motorists who prefer spending cash on cars - not fuel. This is because this stunning saloon is available with a 4.2-litre 350PS V8 diesel engine that averages 37.2mpg, and propels the A8 to 62mph in only 5.5 seconds. This combination of performance and frugality is extraordinary for a monstrous machine the size of a politician's ego.
The A8 is also available with a 4.2-litre 372PS petrol engine, but this variant is 0.2 seconds slower to 62mph than its sibling, and averages only 29.7mpg. No performance advantage there, then. There is also the tantalising prospect of the forthcoming 3.0-litre 204PS diesel  which is likely to return a cost-cutting combined average of 43mpg. This model will probably become the range' s best seller.
As well as offering a choice of capable engines the new A8 is fantastic to drive.
It feels smoother than James Bond in a casino and more luxurious than a five-star hotel. One noteworthy system that contributes to these sensations is the Audi Drive Select. This enables the driver to change the throttle, steering, gear-shift, and suspension response to pre-configured settings. These are defined as comfort, automatic, and dynamic and they each have a noticeable affect on the driving characteristics.
So, there we go. Another exceptionally desirable vehicle from this dependable German manufacturer. The kind of saloon that makes BMW executives wriggle uncomfortably in their posh corner offices. The only significant downside to owning this vehicle, apart from needing planning permission to park its vast bulk, is the initial purchase price. The new Audi A8 starts at an eye-watering £ 55,000. Ouch!
By Stephen Turvil
Thu, 13 May 2010