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2014 Audi A8 L TDI First Impressions

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Monticello, NY - The diesel debate rages on in North America. It has been a topic of contention for quite a while, and although stories on the subject pop up regularly, expect the number to continue to rise.

The stigmas surrounding diesel fuel are numerous and one of them is that it is a “lesser” form of energy, a dirty alternative reserved for trucks, and filthy people… Farther from the truth this could not be. Audi is here to demonstrate how plush (even refined) the technology now is.

The 2014 Audi A8 L TDI is the posh-est of A8s - the best of the lot - behind only the S8. The TDI is exceptionally smooth, quiet and powerful, perfectly matched to the A8’s raison d’être. Everything else about this car is near perfection, as Audi has made us come to expect.

What is an Audi A8 L TDI?
The A8 is Audi’s flagship sedan. As the brand’s executive super limo, it stands and stretches head and tail above the rest of Audi’s luxury lineup.

Audi (like Mercedes, for example) caters to those searching for power and prestige with the A8. The V6 TDI now lines up with the supercharged 3.0L V6, twin-turbo 4.0L V8 and nearly obnoxious 6.3L W12. The TDI may be destined more for luxury limo fleets, but should not be overlooked so quickly.

Other world markets are entitled to a 2.0T hybrid and 627 lb-ft 4.2L V8 TDI, both of which will doubtfully ever make it to North America.

2014 Audi A8 L TDI Price and Specs
The 2014 Audi A8 tips the pricing scale at $90,700 for starters. The TDI option tacks on $3,200 and the L, a further $7,500. The $101,400 total can be built upon with numerous options, easily pushing the price beyond the $120,000 mark.

The newly added 3.0L TDI engine boast 240 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. For those diesel non-believers, consider that this V6 is only 38 torques down from the turbo V8… An 8-speed automatic transmission differs the grunt to Audi’s legendary Quattro AWD system with a self-locking centre differential.

A start-stop system, adaptive air suspension and Servotronic speed sensitive power steering are standard.

Driving the 2014 Audi A8 L TDI
If it was up to me, the V8 turbo would be relegated to the S8 - this is how good both the TDI and supercharged V6 are. Both are powerful and extremely efficient, but I would (on every occasion) select the TDI.

Initial throttle tip is met with some delayed response, but once the torque gets going from 1,750 rpm, the big A8 will reach 100 km/hr in only 6.5 seconds. Quick as it may be, the V6 TDI feels just as at home roving about town quietly as it does flying far into its 4,750 rpm redline.

This is not how the 2014 Audi A8 L TDI is supposed to be driven. “Silken” is the word. The 8-speed box glides from one gear to another imperceptibly as the V6 doles out its power. Whether on country roads, in town or merging on the highway, the TDI will never disappoint.

Although generally not a consideration for those capable of spending six figures on a car, the TDI also relishes in less fuel consumption. An 8L/100 km average is very possible, matching or besting many midsize sedans.

On the road, the 2014 Audi A8’s air suspension masks surface irregularities with skill. The car’s dynamic steering firms up beautifully at speed, however, I would have liked more feedback. The brakes are surprisingly strong and capable of dealing with the car’s overall girth.

Inside and Out of the 2014 Audi A8 L TDI
The “L” in the 2014 Audi A8 L’s name designates this particular car as sporting the longer wheelbase -- 13cm to be exact -- literally making it a glorified limousine.

For the 2014 model year, the A8 received a number of physical upgrades, especially up front. The revised bonnet, front grille, and bumper were sharpened somewhat and the final product remains one of the most attractive full-size sedans on the market. The jury’s hung on Tesla’s Model S as to whether or not it’s better looking or not…

The 2014 A8’s cabin is as sumptuous as any Audi, and more. The Valetta leather-clad seats are incredibly good and comfortable. Finding a perfect driving position occurs in moments thanks to the multiple adjustments.

Within the sumptuous woods and leathers is a well laid-out dash that requires some time to tame, but it all works wonderfully well after a short period.

The key to the “L” is the vast amounts of space reserved exclusively for the occupants. The rear seat is designed to cajole two passengers to the fullest and with the right options, it can and does.

Comparing the 2014 Audi A8 L TDI
The 2014 Audi A8 L plays hardball with the new Mercedes S-Class, the BMW 7 Series and Lexus LS. At this moment, the aforementioned Tesla Model S has proven to be the entire category’s worst nightmare.

The A8 does benefit from being a “new money” purchase, and is considered a far hipper whip than the others - except for the Model S.
 

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