The Audi A8 has been completely redesigned and re-engineered for 2004. Fast, smooth, and sophisticated, the 2004 A8 L may be the new leader among the high-end luxury sedans. It feels smoother and more refined than the Mercedes S-Class and it's easier to operate and better looking than the BMW 7 Series. Audi's A8 L boasts a powerful 4.2-liter V8 engine, revised to produce more power for 2004. It comes with a new six-speed Tiptronic automatic that replaces the previous five-speed transmission. Together, they deliver instantaneous responses to the driver wishes. Quattro all-wheel drive and a new adaptable air suspension offer a seemingly ideal balance between handling and ride quality. It's all wrapped in a new aluminum space frame, a lightweight, highly rigid structure that bonds the car into one cohesive unit, giving drivers a supreme sense of control with Gibraltar-like stability. The A8's redesigned cabin is elegant, comfortable, and easy to operate. It makes its occupants feel rich and sophisticated, but not bogged down with gadgetry that requires intense study of the owner's manual. This is Audi's largest sedan and it's a big car. Its wheelbase has been stretched even longer than last year's A8 L, providing even more room and greater comfort for rear passengers. As the company's flagship, the A8 L is designed to be the ultimate sedan. It competes with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series, both of which are superb though not perfect luxury sedans. The newness of the Audi gives it an advantage, particularly over the Mercedes. From a pricing standpoint, the long-wheelbase, all-wheel-drive A8 L ($68,500) compares favorably with the long-wheelbase BMW 745Li ($72,500) and standard-wheelbase 745i ($68,500), both rear-wheel drive, and it's less expensive than the rear-drive Mercedes S430 ($72,600) or S500 ($81,000) or the all-wheel-drive S430 4Matic ($75,500).