On the move though, despite its power deficit, the A8 feels the more eager. Where the Centennial has an effortless, laid back acceleration the Audi’s 3-litre V6 feels punchy and more edgy, with more of a kick when delivering its 286bhp. There’s a palpable sense of drama when you flatten the accelerator, as if the Audi is actually striving for something rather than merely obeying a command. Although it gives away the best part of 150bhp, the A8 gives a very good impression of being the quicker car.
It handles better as well. The steering is meaty and direct, and the chassis feels stiffer and more composed. It’s much more adept at changing directions, with none of the lurching that first accompanies turn in from the Hyundai. Clever adaptive dynamics let you put the Audi into Dynamic or Comfort mode, the former of which heightens all the car’s senses, feeling more agile and nimble on the throttle. The downside to this sportiness, however, is that even in Comfort mode, the ride quality suffers, with less of a sting being taken out of potholes and speed bumps. Which would I rather sit in the back of on a long motorway journey? Incredible as it may seem, I’d take the wafting Hyundai. It’s got a bigger boot, too.
So here’s the thing. The Audi is undoubtedly the better car. It has more of a sense of upmarket sophistication, dynamic competence and overall class, as well as a sportier character. For the crankandpiston reader, it’s the obvious choice of this pair.
But. The Hyundai is really rather impressive too. It’s got a more comfortable ride at a cruise, and every gadget we can think of. True, the interior doesn’t quite have the sophistication of the Audi, it looks too much like a knock-off of an S-Class and dynamically it’s not really a patch on the German effort, but in this kind of car, are you really looking for the ability to thrash through the corners? If you are, head to Ingolstadt and be happy.
But if you want comfort and luxury, and you’re not a badge snob, take a really good look at the Centennial. Because for the money you’ll pay, you get a hell of a lot of car and a hell of a lot of kit inside it. Keeping that in mind, it’s not surprising some of the big boys don’t want to play.
|V8 / 5038cc
|424bhp @ 6400rpm
|365lb ft @ 5000rpm
|Eight-speed automatic gearbox / rear-wheel drive / ESP
|245/50 R19 front and rear
|V6 / 2995cc / supercharged
|286bhp @ 4850-6500rpm
|310lb ft @ 2500-4850rpm
|Eight-speed tiptronic, all-wheel drive / self-locking centre diff / ESP
|235/60 R17 front and rear