We swap the front seat of our Management Fleet Audi A8 L for the rear this month to see just what the driver is missing.[Not a valid template]
|Date acquired:||January 2015|
|Kilometres this month:||1481|
|Costs this month:||$0|
|L/100km this month:||13.8|
Since we’re nothing if not thorough at crankandpiston.com, I’ve actually spent more time in the back of our Audi A8 than the front this month (be so good as to clear those depraved thoughts from your mind before I continue). Indeed, I’m starting to understand why these limousines prove so popular.
Though the slightly too-plastic-to-be-truly-elegant foot rest is a nice addition, it does hinder legroom slightly for the more statuesque members of the team (then again you can just remove it entirely and stow in the gargantuan-sized boot). As do the reclining rear seats when they’re not fully upright, but they prove so comfortable anyway that this is no hardship. There is also seat ventilation, meaning the game we invented in our old Mercedes GL 500 during the height of boredom (by which we try to turn on our fellow passenger’s seat heater without them noticing) can continue unblemished. Which, for those of us angling for the high score, is a relief.
The greatest draw however is the control centre for both the front and rear infotainment system (as part of our model’s Rear Package Plus). Press the ‘Radio’ button and those passengers travelling in the back have control over which station will be played: never again shall One Direction assault our eardrums whilst we’re cruising on the rear bench.
Individual TV screens in the rear are also available should arguments over radio stations prove too much though. It’s a neat system, offering rear passengers access to a DVD player and their own music, courtesy of auxiliary connections for iPods and MP3 players (next time we really have to ask Audi Middle East for an SD card for further options). Once again though, the loftier members of the team may need to watch where they’re throwing their knees around: a couple of occasions we’ve come close to knocking the entire TV housing off its mounting.
Back in the front (like I said, thorough), the only issue we’ve had with the Audi this month is with the power-assisted steering. At low speeds, almost all the weight is taken out of the wheel to aid manoeuvrability. When up to speed, the heft returns for greater stability and greater connection with to the front end. The difference between them however is stark, and has left the team struggling to find any real connection to the driving experience at all. The guts of that 429bhp V8 powerplant though do help us live with such terrible hardship.
And if that fails, then there’s always the back seat.
|Engine:||V8 / 3993cc|
|Power||435bhp @ 5100-6000rpm|
|Torque||442lb ft ft @ 1500-5000rpm|
|Transmission||Eight-speed tiptronic automatic / Quattro all-wheel drive|
|Front suspension||Adaptive air suspension with four selectable modes|
|Rear suspension||Adaptive air suspension with four selectable modes|
|Brakes||Carbon fibre-reinforced ceramic brake discs front and rear|
|Wheels||21” x 9J ‘5-arm Structure’ alloys front and rear|
|Tyres||75/35 R21 front and rear|
|Top speed:||250kph (limited)|
|Price:||$104,500 (base) / $125,200 (test model)|