Audi A8 saloon (2010-2017) - Engines, drive & performance

All the engines available in the A8 deliver impressive performance

Carbuyer Rating

3.7 out of 5

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Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.2 out of 5

The A8 is a big car, but it's not as heavy as you might think, thanks to lightweight aluminium being used in its construction. Combine this with a powerful engine range and the Audi A8 is actually pretty quick.

Audi A8 diesel engines

Even the most basic A8 model has a 3.0-litre TDI diesel engine that produces 258bhp to get the car from 0-62mph in just 5.9 seconds. With the 380bhp 4.2-litre diesel engine under the bonnet, it’s capable of the same sprint in 4.7 seconds, which is faster than many sports cars.

Petrol engines

Go for a petrol version of the A8 and you get a large saloon car capable of extraordinary straight-line speed. The long-wheelbase 493bhp A8 W12 can do 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds, while the turbocharged 513bhp S8 can manage it in 4.1 seconds. 

The 596bhp S8 Plus will reach 62mph from rest in 3.8 seconds and go on to a top speed of 189mph when the optional Dynamic Pack is specified. This more powerful engine is very refined at normal speeds, but there's a bit of wind whistle on the motorway. The S8 Plus is incredibly quick, but it's quite relaxing in comfort mode, despite having 21-inch wheels.

All A8s come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox that offers quiet, quick and efficient gearshifts and is even hooked up to the sat nav, so it can select the most appropriate gear for the road ahead when in fully automatic mode. All A8s have Audi's quattro four-wheel-drive system, providing extra grip in corners and when the weather’s bad.

Audi's Drive Select system allows you to alter the A8’s suspension, steering and accelerator responses to make the car that little bit sportier or more comfortable, depending on what you need at any given time. The big Audi is a fantastic all-rounder, but the Jaguar XJ is more fun to drive and the suspension on the Mercedes S-Class makes it even smoother on bad roads.

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