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A Big Techno Sports Sedan
2004 Audi A8L
By Alain Gayot

In short: An outstanding—and pricey—road car issued out of years of technical engineering and innovation.

A few aluminum cars are hitting the market these days and the A8L surely feels light on the open road and on city streets—despite its hard, German-style ride. As well, you can adjust the suspension mode and even raise the car to get more ground clearance while inspecting the vineyard. It reminds us of the oleo-pneumatic system found on Citroëns. Yes, it is a great light and agile car, not like what you'd expect a big sedan of its type to be.

In fact, we admire the roominess for passengers especially in the back. That coupled with a huge trunk makes this a great sport sedan, as well as an outstanding limousine and a pretty nice family car.

Everyone gets their climate-controlled space, in-door light and fully adjustable heated seats and sunblinds. We respect the placement of the CD-changer in the glove box, rather than in the trunk and, of course, the onboard computer (MMI—Multi Media Interface) would put the space shuttle to shame. As with any electronically powered system, you do have a learning curve, but once mastered it is a marvelous delight to use.

The quattro permanent all-wheel drive system coupled with enhanced braking and an armada of safety sensors and airbags make this a very safe car in which you'll feel cocooned.

A few observations on the downside: The small dual arm rests that double up as storage units are too small for storage and a bit tricky to use. Very annoying is the third brake light that reflects inside the rear window at night. Only the driver can read the digital clock deeply recessed in the gauges.

Warranty/Service: Covered by the Audi Advantage program, which includes a Four-year/50,000-mile no-charge scheduled maintenance, a Four-year/50,000-mile limited new vehicle warranty, a 12-year limited warranty against corrosion perforation and 24-hour Roadside Assistance for four years.

Price as tested: $75,040

Technical Specifications

Performance Data

- 4.2 litre, DOHC aluminum-alloy V8, 330 horsepower, 5-valve per cylinder
6-speed automatic with Tiptronic®
Quattro IV permanent all-wheel drive system with EDL (Electronic Differential Lock)
Front, driver and passenger airbags. Two front and two rear seat-mounted side airbags. Inflatable side curtain and two front knee airbags.

Top Speed: 130 mph (electronically governed)

Acceleration: 0-60 mph
6.3 sec.

Braking 70-0 mph: 167 ft

Fuel Economy:
17/city, 24/highway

Adaptive Air Suspension

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Photography: AlphaMedia

  (Updated 07/22/08 HC)