Refinement, looks, dual personality
New Car Review | Audi A8 60 Luxury TFSI e
Good Stuff 👍
Bad Stuff 👎
Other PHEVs do further in EV mode in this class.
What is the Audi A8 TFSI e?
Audi’s flagship PHEV
The Audi A8 has always been the slightly left-field choice in the luxury car segment in Ireland and largely been replaced by luxury SUVs, the more preferred choice of the well-heeled these days. Those that do want a luxury saloon are now choosing EVs. In 2022 Audi sold 72 e-tron GT models compared to just 9 A8s, and 90% of those A8s were dealer demos. Meanwhile, rivals Mercedes-Benz shifted 68 EQS models and 66 S-Class models, and BMW sold 40 7-Series. So where does the A8 fit into all of this? The A8 has probably suffered from being perceived as not unique enough, because Audi tended to adopt a Russian-doll approach to styling. Park an A4, A6 and A8 of the same colour, a car park and size apart you’ll have to pay close attention to tell them. Not really what you want when buying the ultimate Audi saloon and especially when the e-tron GT is incredibly striking. One would imagine that at some stage, the A8 will become an EV, and there is certainly enough space for batteries. Park in any car park, and you will find your A8 quickly enough, as it’s the one peeking out thanks to its almost 5.2m length. For now, Audi has ‘electrified’ the A8 using a combination of their 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine, which itself has 340hp and twinned it with a 17.9 kWh battery (14.4 kWh usable) to offer up the potential for 462hp and 700Nm of torque (of course you’ll need a full battery for that). It makes the A8 better in terms of fuel economy, and there is a claimed 2.1 l/100km on the WLTP cycle, which in reality is highly unlikely.
How about the looks of the Audi A8?
Discreet, if discreet is what you want.
The A8 is easily the most discrete luxury car on the market. While Audi’s design team have been let loose on their e-tron range, particularly the e-tron GT, the A4, A6 and A8 have been criticised of late for not offering much differentiation between them. For anyone who vomits when they see current BMW designs and doesn’t like the vibe of a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the A8 might be just the thing. Most people assume it is an A6 until they see its noticeable size difference; the A8 is 251mm longer than the A6 but a little broader and taller. Our test car was fitted with some pretty expensive options to make it prettier, including a €1,745 S-Line Exterior, €770 20” Audi Sport 5-V-spoke star design alloy wheel, a black styling pack for €1,282 and €629 privacy glass. As someone who likes a discreet luxury car, this was right for me regarding looks. It was stealthy, and I loved that. A 2022 redesign sharpened the front and rear design.
Paddy Comyn Head of Communications
“For anyone who vomits when they see current BMW designs and doesn’t like the vibe of a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the A8 might be just the thing”
What is the inside of the Audi A8 TFSI e like?
Nice mixture of traditional luxury and modern tech touches.
Audi is well-known for their interiors, and the quality of the A8, as you might expect, is exceptional, with a genuinely excellent fit and finish that feels more like a luxury hotel room than a car. There is a nice mix in the A8 of traditional wood (piano black in this case), and Audi has taken a different approach to the new norm of a vast flatscreen TV in the centre console, instead opting for something much more subtle. The MMI touch response operating concept in the Audi A8 relies on two displays (10.1” and 8.6”) and natural voice operation, which you can start by calling “Hey Audi”. The digital Audi virtual cockpit, with the heads-up display fitted to our car, provides the driver with important information directly in their line of sight. MMI Navigation plus is standard on the A8, supported by the third-generation modular infotainment toolkit.
What is the Audi A8 like to drive?
A real dual personality
The A8 was always regarded as a slightly sporty luxury car. A CEO in running shoes, with those that wanted the whole beans opting for the rare but wonderful S8. While the S8 has 571hp and a staggering 800Nm of torque thanks to a 4.0-litre V8, a 0-100km/h time of 3.8 seconds and emissions of 259g/km, this TFSI e uses a 3.0-litre V6 combined with a 14.1 kWh battery to offer up the potential for a not-far-off 462hp and 700Nm of torque and a 0-100km/h sprint just 1.1 seconds slower than the S8. Crucially though, it does it with emissions of 45g/km, so €140 annual motor tax compared to the S8’s €2,400 (yes, not a typo) yearly motor tax. Oh, and the TFSIe is €96,000 cheaper, FYI. So this TFSI e is almost as quick (when the battery is full) but costs a fraction to run and is about half the price. This is now the ‘cheapest’ A8 you can get your hands on, too, thanks to the low VRT.
Most of the time you will spend in the A8 involves a lot of wafting. As a 46-year-old man, I don’t feel the need to be in a hurry anymore and gliding along in the A8 feels immensely satisfying, a dare I say, a little smug.
In the interests of motoring journalism, though, I popped the car into the Dynamic model, threw the car’s considerable bulk at some corners, and was pleasantly surprised that it responded remarkably well, belying its size. With quattro underneath you and Audi not sparing the €s on the tyres on our press car, it dug into the tarmac like a 3-year-old having a tantrum. This is fun to drive too.
Which Audi A8 should I buy?
If you want an A8, this is the one to get.
For the reasons mentioned above, the TFSI e model is the cheapest to buy, most affordable to run and the 2ndfastest, so if an A8 is your thing, then it’s a bit of a no-brainer to get this one if you are one of the few A8 customers. The thing is that this feels and drives much better than the large luxury SUVs that people spend this sort of money on, so it’s a little bit of a mystery that nobody does buy them anymore. If you do want an A8, the price and running cost mean that is really the only one to consider.
Is the Audi A8 safe?
40 driver assist systems in the flagship Audi.
The latest A8 has about 40 driver assistance systems available, making it one of the safest cars you can drive in terms of preventing a collision in the first place. On this car, you can have innumerable ways to not crash into something or scrape your expensive luxury saloon.
The A8 with this new refresh feels very competent, and the addition of PHEV technology makes it less expensive to buy and run. We’d like to have seen a bigger battery added to bring the EV range closer to 100km to make it truly useful, but that aside, this is a really nice place to be. As good as a Mercedes S-Class? Probably not and even with the Audi range is hard to buy given the e-tron GT is so excellent.
Spec Check ⚙️
Audi A8 Luxury 60 TFSI e quattro
2,995cc 6-cylinder 340PS petrol engine / 17.9 kWh battery (14.4 kWh net)
462 hp @5,000-6,400 rpm
250 km/h (limited) / 135 km/h in EV mode
Annual Motor Tax
Price as tested