C&D Preview - 2005 Audi A8L 6.0 Quattro

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, May 11, 2004.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Audi social-climbs into the rarefied air of BMW and Mercedes—and finds its parent, VW, already there.

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    BY DANIEL PUND
    May 2004

    Last year in the U.S., 12-cylinder luxury sedans racked up fewer than 2000 sales. BMW's 760Li, which sells for a cool $119,195, accounted for about 700 of them. Owing to monster muscle (493 horsepower) and its ultimate upscale image, Mercedes made tidy profits on more than 900 S600s, which start at $126,620.

    That VW/Audi will add two players (the $120,000 Audi A8L 6.0 Quattro shown here and the $95,000 VW Phaeton W-12) to this tiny niche—where they will compete with each other—can only be attributed to the mystifying ambitions of former VW major-domo Ferdinand Piëch.

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    Audi expects it will sell only 150 examples a year here of this super-double-throw-down, 400-plus-hp big kahuna. That conservative sales estimate recognizes the fact that when swells with $100,000-plus in their pockets go knocking for a new sedan, an Audi door is not often at the top of their lists.
    Nonetheless, Audi has endeavored for more than a decade to elevate its image up there with the lofty likes of Mercedes and BMW and has, in recent years, sought to match them class for class. And now, with the introduction of the A8L 6.0, which goes on sale late this year, Audi has a grand car it hopes will be favorably received as an equal of the competition at the pinnacle of the luxury-sedan heap, where the air is thin, the profit margins are plump, and image is almost everything.

    Audis may not have yet achieved the high snob appeal of BMWs and Mercedes, but the 6.0-liter engine, at least, has the requisite cylinder count.

    The W-12 was another of Piëch's ideas, and not an easy one to turn into reality. The "W" part of the engine's name is misleading. It's more accurately described as a "double-V." We've covered the W engines of Volkswagen before, but if you were napping, think of it as two narrow-angle (15 degree) VR6 engines connected at the crankshaft and splayed at 72 degrees. The arrangement creates all sorts of complications for intake and exhaust runners, the angle on the piston tops, and other head scratchers. But the reward is 450 horsepower in Europe (the equivalent of 444 by U.S. standards).

    Audi has not yet determined precisely what horsepower the American cars will have. If the 12-cylinder does appear with 444 horsepower, it will have bested the BMW 760Li by just six ponies. The force-fed Benz S600 motor whups 'em both, by 49 and 55 horsepower, respectively. As if to prove that the VW empire is still willing to give Audi a luxury advantage now and again, the W-12 motor in the VW Phaeton makes less horsepower, 420 precisely. The Audi motor gets a larger throttle body, lighter reciprocating parts, and a freer-flowing exhaust. And it makes 428 pound-feet of torque, 16 less than the BMW 760Li and 162 less than the twin-turbo Mercedes S600.

    The W configuration boasts no advantage in power or smoothness compared with a V-12. Nor is it smoother than Audi's V-8. The only genuine benefit of the W configuration over a V is that it's shorter in length than a V-12, allowing for easier packaging of the standard all-wheel-drive components.

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    The 6.0-liter model, which will be available in the U.S. only in long-wheelbase form (121.0 inches), will accelerate to 60 mph in five seconds flat, says Audi, between the BMW (5.1 seconds) and the Mercedes (4.3) and about 1.5 seconds faster than the A8L model that is powered by a lesser V-8.

    Engine size and configuration aside, the 12-cylinder model is little changed from the V-8 A8L. It's the same size overall, stretching 204.4 inches in length. It uses the same six-speed automatic transmission as the plebeian A8L (and the Phaeton, the BMW 7-series, and others), but with lower gearing for quick acceleration. The 6.0-liter version rides on the same air springs and electronically controlled shocks as the V-8 model.

    Our test drive was less than ideal, offered as it was in Salzburg, Austria, in the dead of winter—a time and place when skiing is more pleasurable than driving. So we spent about 20 minutes of our one-and-a-half-hour-long drive at the tail end of a line of cars stuck behind a snowplow clearing the previous night's accumulation. A V-8, or possibly even a large motorcycle engine, would have sufficed. What we might expect in ride quality was further clouded by the big car's knobby snow tires. Like its V-8-powered brother, though, the 6.0 has firm dampers that tightly control body motion. This characteristic is part of Audi's attempt to make a sportier full-size sedan than the established offerings. Problem is, the BMW and the Mercedes have excellent handling, and the 7-series in particular has none of the coarseness of the Audi's ride.

    Weather did not prevent us from enjoying all the electronic doodads the interior of a car in this class invariably offers. To the A8L's long list of standard features, the 6.0 adds 19-inch wheels (dubs are optional), heated and ventilated front seats that also massage your back, heated rear seats, vanity mirrors for rear-seat passengers, and power side and rear sunshades. And the ceiling is covered with Alcantara, the synthetic suede that has become a totem of upscale in Germany.

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    The design of the interior remains basically unchanged from the graceful, bright, cosseting cockpit of the V-8 model. There's a new four-spoke steering wheel with a big, fat center hub that's intended to mimic the trapezoidal shape of the front grille. A four-seat configuration, which replaces the rear bench of the five-seater with two power bucket seats separated by a wide console, is a no-cost option. Either way, rear legroom is limo generous. But in the four-seat model, the power rear seats are mounted high, leaving scant headroom for those long of torso.

    We're proud to say we've made it this far without mentioning the 6.0 Quattro's nose. Audi calls it a "single-frame grille," and we'd all better get accustomed to this big schnoz because it will be a mainstay on most future Audis. Even to a man who's dated a series of women with unusual noses, this one fails to entice.

    But only 150 people in this country will have to like the grille enough to buy the $120,000 car it's attached to. That price is a jaw-dropping $45,310 more than for the V-8 A8L we tested last December. That's about how much extra it costs to step up from a V-8 BMW or Benz to the V-12 models. So at least in price, Audi seems to have found parity with BMW and Mercedes.

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    2005 AUDI A8L 6.0 QUATTRO

    Vehicle type: front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 4- or 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
    Estimated base price: $120,000
    Engine type: DOHC 48-valve W-12, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection
    Displacement: 366 cu in, 5998cc
    Power (SAE net): 444 bhp @ 6200 rpm
    Torque (SAE net): 428 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm

    Transmission: 6-speed automatic
    Wheelbase: 121.0 in
    Length/width/height: 204.4/74.6/57.3 in
    Curb weight: 4400 lb

    C/D-estimated performance:
    Zero to 60 mph: 5.0 sec
    Zero to 100 mph: 11.5 sec
    Standing 1/4-mile: 13.4 sec
    Top speed (governor limited): 155 mph


    Estimated fuel economy:
    EPA city driving: 15 mpg
    EPA highway driving: 23 mpg

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  2. Welsh0913

    Welsh0913 OT Supporter

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    Sexy car. :eek3:
     
  3. LEGbEND

    LEGbEND .

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    does it come with that bish in the back? :x:
     
  4. Ivandrago

    Ivandrago I must break you.

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    Put a 6sp in there and it's mine. :yum: :drool:
     
  5. Blindsight

    Blindsight Guest

    fucking hell

    i want that engine :drool:
     
  6. NFS7

    NFS7 Shit, it burns!

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    does she come complimentary with the car and offer IDB and head to high class passengers? :bigthumb:
     
  7. Mugatu

    Mugatu Ask me about market research. OT Supporter

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    Her hair is so big that when I first scrolled by I thought it was someone from the original Planet of the Apes
     
  8. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    The interior is close to perfect, better than the 7 and S-Class IMO.
     
  9. Kelvin96GSR

    Kelvin96GSR OEM>YOU

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    too fucking expensive $120,000 you gotta be kidding me.
     
  10. assclown

    assclown Active Member

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    That V12 would be a nice daily driver, with the same HP as my Honda ;)
     
  11. bokhan

    bokhan i love you

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    frumunda cheese~!
    niiiiiccceee
     
  12. abortedkatfetus

    abortedkatfetus Trolling AE

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  13. RenaultFreak

    RenaultFreak OMG

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    I'd buy that over a S600

    :eek3:

    shocking huh? :eek3:
     
  14. abortedkatfetus

    abortedkatfetus Trolling AE

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