Flagship luxury sedans sell in small numbers and are easily outpaced by mainstay midsize sedans and crossovers. Yet, these opulent models remain important to each manufacturer as they set the tone for the remainder of the product line.

The Audi A8 is one such full-size luxury sedan, battling with Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, BMW, and Lexus to serve a very discriminating market. Audi offers only the long-wheelbase version in the US market, thus this model is officially known as the Audi A8 L. Although available as an all-wheel drive model only, Audi’s largest sedan weighs less than the competition thanks to an all-aluminum body and frame.

Pricing and Equipment

Audi A8

Two trims are available in the 2017 Audi A8 L: 3.0 TFSI and 4.0 TFSI Sport. A high-performance variant, dubbed S8 plus, is marketed separately.

The standard model is powered by a 3-liter supercharged V6 engine making 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. This model has a 0-to-60 mph time of 5.5 seconds and gets an estimated 19 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

The upper trim is powered by a 4-liter twin-turbo V8 engine making 450 horsepower and 444 pound-feet of torque. This model has a 0-to-60 mph time of 4.4 seconds and gets an estimated 18 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The two 2017 Audi A8 L trims are priced as follows: 3.0 TFSI ($82,500) and 4.0 TFSI Sport ($91,500).

Various packages and options are available, depending on the trim. For instance, the standard model offers an Executive package ($6,900) featuring a panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats with massage function, heated rear seats, a head-up display, and multiple driver assist safety upgrades.

Audi A8

A Luxury package ($2,800) brings in upgraded leather seating and an Alcantara headliner. Other packages include Rear Seat Comfort ($2,500), Driver Assistance ($2,250), and Dynamic ($2,500), the latter bringing in a sport differential and dynamic steering. Black Optic and 21-inch wheel packages add $1,000 and $1,200, respectively.

The top trim level has its own packages, including Balao Brown and Vermont Brown interior design collections, $5,900 each. The Rear Seat Comfort ($2,500), Driver Assistance ($2,250), Dynamic ($2,500), and wheel packages ($1,000-$1,200) remain available.

Individual options include a Bang & Olufsen sound system ($6,300), night vision ($2,300), and a rear-seat entertainment system ($3,000).

Package prices may vary according to trim and are subject to change. Vehicle prices do not reflect a $950 destination charge.

Performance Pros

Audi A8
  • The supercharged V6 may be the only engine you need. It offers sufficient kick when you need it and does so without the added cost of the twin-turbo V8.
  • For customers wanting optimum performance, it's hard to overlook the beefy V8. The sedan’s performance rivals that of sport coupes, and yet it achieves above average-highway fuel economy.

Performance Cons

  • Due to emissions concerns, the efficient turbodiesel engine is no longer offered. No fix has been devised yet, so the two gasoline engines as your only choices this year.

Interior Pros

Audi A8
  • The front seats are nothing short of magnificent, offering outstanding comfort supplemented by up to 22 ways to adjust the seats.
  • Opt for the available Bang & Olufsen audio package and enjoy symphony hall-like quality. It also does an admirable job of offsetting tire noise.
  • The available two-panel panoramic sunroof brightens the interior and makes it seem even larger than it already is. Importantly, the sunroof has no adverse effect on headroom.

Interior Cons

  • The Audi’s trunk measures 13.2 cubic feet, and that’s smaller than the midsize A6's. On the plus side, its long lid provides a wide opening for ease of access.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

The rear seat compartment offers excellent room thanks to the extended wheelbase. The prize, however, is found in the adjustable seats, including the right-side position with a foot rest. Sit on the left side and you’ll enjoy both recline and massage functions.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

The standard or short wheelbase version of the Audi A8 is no longer available. Audi’s chief competitors offer standard and extended choices, but Audi customers are now limited to the longer offering only.

The Bottom Line

As flagships go, the Audi A8 L holds the brand banner high. If you opt for the top trim as well as each of the many package choices offered, your final price will top $115,000. While price isn't a major concern for buyers shopping in this league, significant savings can be achieved by sticking with the standard supercharged V6 engine and completing your sedan from there.