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2015 Audi A8 4.2 TDI - Brief Test Drive Review

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I took out out a 2015 Audi A8 4.2 TDI today at the local Audi dealers.

(random image taken from the www)

AudiA842TDI0910(2)_794_529_70.jpg

 

STYLING

Well, its rather plain and will not offend anyone but, you will certainly not be wanting to have a quick look through your home or office window at it.

INTERIOR

The materials used throughout the cabin, from the door panels, dash top, gear lever, consoles, switch gear, pillars etc are of good quality.  This provides a nice environment in which to be in and things are nice to the touch. All the switch gear and command centre operate silently.  You can definitely see that Audi has gone to some length to create a quality cabin where things are intuitive despite all the modern tech with refined operation of all controls. All the toys and more are there. mainly operated by the intuitive driver command console. The seats whilst not looking like anything exceptionally spectacular, have a lovely leather finish to them with consistent padding that just supports your posture very well.  On the road, all the support is there without any areas supporting you more than another.  Its been a while since I've been pleasantly impressed with car seats.  With the front seat in my drivers position, I can jump in the rear with leg room to spare.

Whilst the overall car looks low and wide, there's a lot of head room inside. In the drivers or passenger seats upfront, you are not squished in with panels and trim touching you or having to bend your limbs to accommodate transmission tunnels or other stuff.  Another point I noted on the drive was that the car has good visibility that is not impaired by oversized pillars or small ridiculous windows that cause unnecessary blind spots for styling sake.  You also retain good awareness of kerbs etc around you.

The dash is lovely, its not trying to re-invent the dash or make it anything that a dash should not be.  Excellently finished, speedo, rev counter, with a fuel and temp gauge either side and all the modern information we are used to smack bang in the middle in a clear manner. This is what every dash should be like.  Even the modern info LCD stuff is classy. (see attachment for a randomly sourced picture)

 

RIDE & HANDLING

I have been in many new cars and generally found them to be horrid for road noise from tyres, general noise finding its way in through the body etc etc. The bumps in the roads are ironed out and the body remains composed when reacting to them without any jitters or shakes.  The ride is cosseting and plush, you can see that this was deliberate rather than trying to make it more dynamic. Whilst it doesn't get it wrong through the country lane corners (remembering its a large executive saloon) better progressive body control would be very welcome.  There's not much communication through the steering wheel when pushing on so this is worth bearing in mind if you are a keen driver.  Size and weight of the car are noticed through the slower/tighter turns of country lanes but, overall it remains stable, smooth and sure footed.

 Any mechanical noises from the drive train, tyres etc, all remain distant (more like non existent), even when executing swift overtakes on country lanes reaching big numbers.  

Its also an easy car to drive at fully road legal speeds, 20/30/40/50/60/70mph without feeling like to you need to be going faster or risking speeding penalties every time you drive it.

ENGINE & GEARBOX

This is the A8 4.2's party piece.  

345bhp, 590 lb/ft between 1,750rpm-2750rpm.  RPM at 70mph - approximately 1,200/1,300.  8 Speed Automatic Gearbox.

The engine is quiet from cold as diesel's go and inside the car you really don't hear it regardless of what you do with the accelerator.  The torque from at the bottom end is surprising, you expect it to be fast but its rather refined working in the slickest harmony with that amazingly responsive and sublime gearbox.  Getting upto 70mph, doing all the mid range runs/overtakes are not only instantaneous, effortless not even requiring 1/2 throttle but, very sublime and peaceful at the same time.  Everything happens without fuss.  I recall some time ago some road testers whinged about the short stubby gear lever but, its as simple as an automatic gear lever operation can be.  If anything I find the lever operation in modern Merc's, Masterati's and BMWs fiddly if one is not used to them.  This Audi doesn't try and over complicate anything, someone whose never driven a modern car will be able to jump in and go without spending a few minutes cursing and swearing.  

If you give it the full beans, whilst the engine and gearbox are very sharp to react to your demands, it still remains a very sublime and quiet operation.  I did notice that once over 90mph the rate of acceleration is more of a strong, refined surge upwards (think Bently Continental W12) rather than a number crunching frenzy.  I personally did a few runs and felt a little disappointed with the rate of acceleration above 90mph for such a wonderful engine and gearbox combination. At this point, I treated it like the big cruiser it is and did a few part throttle runs from 90mph and those performed well ensuring this car will always be a peachy motorway cruiser and bruiser.

It's definitely a car that's made it onto my potential next car list.

a8int.jpg

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