2010 Audi A8 Performance

$15,333 - $16,154

2010 Audi A8 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2010 Audi A8 was new.


This model has never been fully tested for performance. As a result, it doesn't have an overall score and cannot be ranked against other super luxury cars.

The 2010 A8 has a distinct performance personality. It’s not the quickest Super Luxury Sedan. Available with just one engine, a 4.2-liter V8, it’s not slow either. But it can’t match the power of some of its more muscular competition. It will, however, outperform them in the corners. Audi’s exceptional Quattro All-Wheel-Drive system gives it extraordinary grip on a dry road, and an added measure of safety on a wet road. This combines with precise, well-weighted steering to make the big car feel smaller than its more than two-ton curb weight. 

  • "Can be a bit too sporty for those seeking pure luxury." -- Car and Driver
  • The A8 "has raised the bar for performance...it rides like a luxury car, yet it's taut and handles like a sports sedan." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "Refined acceleration and polished road manners. Audi's adaptive air suspension handles both freeway cruises and twisty back roads with aplomb, and unlike its main competitors, the A8 features standard all-wheel drive." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

Every 2010 Audi A8 is powered by the same 4.2-Liter V8, which puts out 350 horsepower. The engine ismated to a six-speed automatic transmission that can be shifted manually. This combination moves the big car with authority -- some publications have measured zero-to-sixty times of about six seconds -- but the A8 can’t match the power of competitors with more muscular powerplants. The BMW 7-Series, Mercedes-Benz S600, and Porsche Panamera all offer significantly more powerful engines, and more impressive track-tested speed figures. The A8 offers more than enough acceleration for most drivers’ daily needs, but it gives up bragging rights to many of its competitors.

In previous years, Audi sold the A8 with an optional W12 12-cylinder engine that more effectively competed with those rivals. But the W12, which the automotive press loved, has been discontinued for the 2010 model year.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the A8 should manage16 miles per gallon in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.

  • "A8 L feels strong at any speed. Some of our testers complain of overly sensitive low-speed throttle action. The transmission's performance-oriented Sport mode helps offset somewhat lazy, low-speed downshifts.” -- Consumer Guide
  • The A8 "can be a thrill to drive...delivers powerful acceleration, but its power delivery is sophisticated, not crude." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "Whether taking off from a stoplight or jetting up to cruising speed on the freeway, any version of the 2009 Audi A8 always puts a solid rush of power on tap." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

The A8 is the only Super Luxury Car with standard All-Wheel-Drive -- and the company’s famous Quattro AWD system is the key to the car’s sporty personality. Reviewers say the car has astonishing road grip, combined with taut steering, making it one of the most athletic sedans available. All-Wheel-Drive is available as an option on all of its major competitors, but no competing system can match Quattro’s excellent reputation.

Like most of its competition, it comes with an adjustable air suspension as standard equipment, allowing the driver to choose between several driving modes that offer varying levels of firmness. Reviewers are impressed with the sport settings of the Audi Drive Select suspension, but some say its softest settings are too soft, allowing too much body lean and producing a wallowing sensation over rough roads. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes are well-reviewed, but that’s expected in this price range. 

  • "A8's steering is firm and accurate, though a little light at lower speeds. AWD provides reassuring grip. Fast corners induce moderate body lean unless the driver selects the firmest suspension settings. Braking control is excellent." -- Consumer Guide
  • Steering is "sharp and precise, providing excellent communication between the tires and the driver." -- New Car Test Drive
  • Steering "allows you to precisely place the big A8 right between the fir trees at the edge of the road and the oncoming bread vans without making Mr. Baker-man cover his face and say his prayers when you zip through the gap." -- Edmunds

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