2014 Audi A8L TDI Review

Diving into Diesel

2014 Audi A8L TDI Review

While most automakers are just dipping their toes in the diesel pool, Audi is diving right in with a range of new models for 2014.

FAST FACTS

Engine: 3.0 liter turbodiesel V6 makes 240 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque.

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic.

Fuel Economy: 24 MPG city, 36 MPG highway, 28.3 MPG observed.

Price: $83,395 up to $119,845.

Joining the Q7, which has offered diesel power since 2009, are new diesel versions of the Q5, A6, A7 and their flagship sedan, the stretched-wheelbase A8L. With diesel variants of the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S-Class still a year away (confirmed for the Bimmer, rumored for the Benz), the A8 is the only large luxury sedan to offer a diesel power – for now, at least.

One Engine Size Fits All

Open the hood and you’ll find the same 240-hp 3.0-liter turbo diesel V6 employed in Audi’s other diesel models, though the A8’s version produces less torque (406 lb-ft vs 428 lb-ft). From the flywheel back, the powertrain is identical to the rest of the A8 lineup, with an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic and Quattro all-wheel drive, though the A8 TDI’s final-drive ratio is taller (2.642:1 vs. 3.204:1).

2014 Audi A8L TDI Review engine

On paper, the TDI is the slowest member of the A8 family, if you can call 0-60 in 6.4 seconds slow. For comparison, the A8L 3.0T, with a 333 hp supercharged V6, makes the run in 5.5 seconds. But as we’ve said before, numbers don’t tell the whole story when you’re talking about diesels.

With a broad, flat torque curve that stays high through most of the rev range, the TDI engine delivers an even flow of power whenever you demand it. The torque comes on in a surge that’s a perfect match for the A8’s air suspension and smooth-shifting automatic transmission. Even the acoustics are right: the diesel makes a muted roar under power that is authoritative but not intrusive. We are struck by how perfectly the TDI engine matched the A8’s genteel demeanor.

Subtle Hustle

2014 Audi A8L TDI Review front 3

Though the A8 is designed to deliver a comfortable ride, it’s still an Audi and that means it can hustle through the curves with skill and grace. An optional ($3,500) Sport Plus Package adds a Dynamic mode for the air suspension, which firms up the ride. The Quattro all-wheel drive system bumps up the grip by a notch or two, and as with most Audis, gentle understeer awaits anyone who probes the limits of its handling. We made only a cursory exploration because the A8 really isn’t that sort of car. We spent most of our time cruising at just above the legal limit.

The one thing that really surprised us was the fuel economy. EPA estimates suggest 24 MPG city and 36 MPG highway. Even so, we were shocked at the end of our test week when the trip computer showed 28.3 MPG, just a tick above the EPA combined figure. That’s an incredible number for a car the size of a river barge. How can you not love diesel?

Bittersweet

2014 Audi A8L TDI Review dash

That said, there are a few things about the A8 that we aren’t gushing over. Though we’ve yet to meet an Audi interior we didn’t like, the A8’s is our least favorite, with its secondary controls (including climate, stereo and the MultiMedia Interface (MMI) dial that controls navigation, Bluetooth phone, and various other functions) all crammed into a small space behind the tricky-to-use ratchet-style shifter. Other Audi models we’ve driven make better use of the real estate on the center console.

2014 Audi A8 L TDI Review front seatsWe certainly won’t complain about the leather-upholstered front seats in our test car with forced-air cooling and a massaging function. They come as part of a $4,000 Premium Package that also includes LED headlights and a blind-spot monitoring system, a curious combination of options if we’ve ever seen one.

Comfortable as it is the A8L also provides good all-around visibility, which makes parking easier. Not that it matters if your option an A8L like our test car, which is festooned with concealed parking cameras that cover the front, back, sides and corners of the A8, allowing us to dock this baby as if we’d had years of practice. The cameras are included in the $3,250 Driver Assistance Package, along with automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning. Our car also had the weapons-grade Band & Olufsen stereo that adds a staggering $6,300 to the price (but no extra charge for the resulting tinnitus).

Legroom For Days

2014 Audi A8L TDI Review rear 1

It’s the back-seaters who get the best deal. The “L” in the A8L’s name denotes a wheelbase stretch of 5.1 inches, 4.2 of which is added directly to rear-seat legroom to provide enough stretch-out space for the NBA’s finest. Audi offers a $3,500 Rear Seat Comfort Package that adds heated and power adjustable rear seats with lumbar support, two additional climate control zones for the rear seats and the ability to remotely slide the front passenger seat forward. Obviously, the A8L is intended for people who want to be driven rather than driving themselves.

2014 Audi A8L TDI Review rear 3Pricing for the A8L TDI starts at $83,395 (including $895 for shipping and handling) and ranges up to $119,845 with all the options. That’s a $3,700 increase over the gasoline-powered A8L, a hefty price premium to make up. Using national average fuel prices for April, 2014, and EPA combined estimates, the diesel saves about 4.8 cents per mile over the gas V6, which puts the break-even point just past 77,000 miles. Keep in mind that gasoline-powered Audis require high-octane fuel, so the price difference at the pump isn’t as steep as with most cars. Diesel fuel is also less prone to sudden price spikes than gasoline. The diesel is restricted to the long-wheelbase A8L model, which leads us to believe there was some commercial element in the A8’s product planning. That makes sense: If you take people to the airport for a living, the TDI engine could save you some serious dough over the long haul.

It’s a bit of a shame that the diesel isn’t offered in the regular-length A8 but then again, maybe it isn’t. If you prefer to drive yourself, it might be better to buy an A6 or A7, both of which are offered in TDI form. Both cars are smaller and easier to handle, plus they have a better interior layout. The A6 TDI offers plenty of rear seat space and is significantly cheaper than the A8 at $58,395. The A7 TDI costs another $9,400 over the A6 and gives up back seat headroom, but man oh man, is it ever a gorgeous car – and it’s still less expensive than the A8L.

2014 Audi A8L TDI Review front 2

THE VERDICT

Though the A8L might not be our first choice, we’d definitely consider one of the Audi TDI models. No matter which car it accompanies, Audi’s turbo diesel V6 provides thrust appropriate for a modern sport sedan and the fuel economy we expect from a small Toyota. We’re glad Audi is diving into diesel and we’re happy to join them, because the water is fine.

« Back
SWEEPSTAKES – OFFICIAL RULES, TERMS AND CONDITIONS

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.

1. NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES. AGE/RESIDENCY RESTRICTIONS, VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked