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Audi A8L Mild Hybrid Singapore Review 2022 - 4.0 TFSI qu Tip (A)

The Audi A8L Mild Hybrid is the long wheelbase version of the regular Audi A8 and goes up against the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series. Armed with all wheel steering, Quattro all wheel drive, adaptive air suspension, and a potent 3-litre V6 engine, the A8 is quick, comfortable, and easier to drive around town than ever before.

My very first introduction to the Audi A8 came courtesy of the Transporter 2 movie, in which Jason Statham drives a completely badass, black Audi A8 with the finesse of a stunt driver, the car reciprocating the driving talent with 450 bhp from a 6.0 litre W12 power unit. The year was 2005, and at the time, luxury sedans were mostly seen as giant, comfortable, rolling beasts, instead of the performance luxury sedan that Mr Frank Martin (Statham) pushes it to be. These days, the W12 is gone, but in place stands a 4.0 litre turbocharged V8 of some repute - powering some of VAG's most desirable cars. Elsewhere around the car, the A8L is a treasure trove of technology and features, and is a serious luxury sedan - which is perhaps where it adds the most value to its buyer on a day to day basis.

On first impressions, the A8L is a massive car and a sight to behold, measuring and weighing in at 5.3m and just over 2 tonnes. Compared to a standard A8, the A8L packs an additional 13cm in its wheelbase, which surprisingly, feels like a lot in a car that is already pretty long to begin with. Because the A8 is as much a luxury car to be driven in as it is to drive, this additional legroom seems to be the main point of the car, and really does make a significant difference to the rear passenger, although it must be pointed out that the nifty rear screens through which you can watch Netflix via screen mirroring to your phone, does protrude out quite far from the back of the front seat from which it is mounted. Admittedly, there is some aesthetic derived from this rather dramatic design, but I think a screen mount that fits closer to the seat mount would have been more practical.

When you try to analyse the exterior design of the A8L, its length and overall size do make for a very robust and imposing stance. It isn't the most handsome car in its class though, with the S-Class sporting a grander design, and the 7 series sporting a more futuristic design in my opinion. For those looking for a strong looking luxury sedan that looks mature with a level of subtlety and discretion, the A8L's slightly boring demeanour will prove to be a good choice - but for those looking for a sense of occasion and grandeur, I'm afraid the A8L may just look a tad too similar to the A6 for it to illicit a response from onlookers.

That said, the luxury sedan segment is one that is usually won or lost on the inside, and in that regard, the A8L boasts a top notch cabin that proficiently balances the opulence often required in these sort of cars, with the technology and modernity expected of Audi's flagship sedan. Between the beautiful roof ambient lights, dedicated seat adjustment controls, fully controllable all-round blinds, ventilated seats, and the cool looking rear screens, my favourite has got to be the in-built massage functions, which are easy to operate, a really cool party trick, and also legitimately useful to somebody like me who is constantly nursing a bad back.

Despite a remarkably well built cabin that is littered with practical pieces of technology, the essence of the A8L has got to be its on road performance and road feel. For a humungous car, the 4.0L V8 makes light work of its weight, and it glides through city roads with ease and elegance, doing 0-100km/h in a brisk 4.5 seconds - also helped along by the A8L's new mild hybrid drivetrain. Around town, rear wheel steering in the A8L help make the car as manoeuvrable as possible, and actually makes it a rather pleasant car to drive around tighter spaces. I tried this first hand, when I took the A8L through the narrow and tight confines of the Gleneagles Hospital carpark during my test drive period where the car passed with flying colours.

Combine the effortless power of the V8, the pleasant manoeuvrability in town, and a huge amount of technology, and it seems like the story cannot get any better - but it does. The ride quality of the A8L is astonishingly good, and the air suspension soaks up almost anything you could throw at the car, providing one of the most cloud-like rides I have experienced in recent years. The car is so composed, that at 90lm/h, the A8L feels like it is crawling along at 50km/h - a quality that seems to be lost even on the best luxury electric cars today, with the BMW IX proving the closest in terms of ride comfort so far.

There were many things to marvel at during my test of the Audi A8L - but for me, the most memorable thing about the car is just how pleasant it was to be plonked down in the rear of the car, legs fully outstretched, gliding down the expressway. If the car were electric, I'd have purchased some popcorn, sat in the rear, turned on the massage seats, and watched a movie until I fell asleep. Therefore, I'd imagine that the buying considerations surrounding a car like that would be more aligned toward comfort - which leads me to say that the 3.0 litre version is probably the one to buy, as it costs aa proper amount less to buy than the 4.0 litre version that we tested. On the flip side, if the A8 is the kind of format that you like your performance cars, then perhaps considering an Audi S8 might work better, as the car doesn't cost a whole lot more than the 4.0 litre A8L, and delivers RS level types of performance, albeit without the extra legroom found in the A8L.


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