Tested: Audi A8 L 3.0 TDI Quattro
Executive Decision… So, you’ve spent your whole career clamouring to the top of the food chain and now that you’ve arrived you’re not going to waste it eating vegetables. To show you’re a man (or woman) of great potency you must drive an executive limousine, but not just any limousine; it must be a long wheelbase version. How does the Audi A8 L fare at the highest reaches of the food chain?
Sure, its long but aesthetically there’s more subtlety to the A8 than first meets the eye. There’s definite Bauhaus inspiration at the front end with the strong horizontal lines of the grille and (R38 180 – optional) futuristic LED Matrix headlights. The rear lights are LED; as are the turn signals with a fluid flow of LED lamps to the outside of the car as you indicate. What a great motivator to keep any Audi driver signalling at every opportunity. Light show aside, most of the visual appeal comes courtesy of the L’s extra 13cm in length; all of which you’ll find between the wheels. In a nutshell, you won’t want to be hopping any railway crossings at the last minute as the booms start to go down.
Climbing inside, one is immediately welcomed by (uncharacteristically for an Audi) open pore wood on the centre console and dash. Very nice. You’ll welcome it right up until you see it’s a R130 879 Audi Design Selection option. That’s the equivalent price of a Chevy Utility bakkie. The cabin is luxurious though and while the switchgear doesn’t feel particularly exclusive, the A8 L is gifted an abundance of space in the rear quarters. It’s time for a chauffeur drive to soak up the rear ambiance. Immediately, the Audi hits a snag by not having adjustment on the rear seats. Surely a large oversight in a car tailored for rear passengers? You do get independent air conditioning, heated seats, and two television screens with individual sets of headphones though. For a six-footer like me, sitting in the back, you sit with your head nestled snuggly up against the headlining. I couldn’t help but feel a little motion sick at times in the back, arching my head down to have a clear view out the Audi.