2018 Audi A8

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MSRP: $82,500 - 115,900

2018 Audi A8 Review

The 2018 Audi A8 ranks well among super luxury cars, thanks to its athletic performance and sumptuous interior. Where the A8 falls short is with its outdated infotainment system and small trunk.

8.6

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.8
Performance: 9.1
Interior: 8.7
Safety: N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

 

  • Very comfortable seats and loads of rear-seat legroom
  • Refined, quiet interior
  • Powerful, fuel-efficient base engine 

 

 

  • Tiny trunk for a car this size
  • Outdated infotainment system with some hard-to-reach controls

 

Is the Audi A8 a Good Car?

The Audi A8 is one of the best luxury sedans on the market. It boasts sporty performance and a lavish interior, which is a rare combination even in this pricey segment. It also delivers good fuel efficiency for a super luxury car.

Should I Buy the Audi A8?

For those seeking an exhilarating driving experience and an opulent interior, the Audi A8 is a great choice. That said, it isn't the only worthy contender. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has the nicest interior in the class, and it offers silky-smooth ride comfort. The BMW 7 Series has good performance and a nice interior like the A8, but the BMW boasts more advanced tech features.

If you’re set on the A8, you may want to wait a year. Audi is expected to redesign the A8 for 2019. There's already a lot of buzz about the new version's cutting-edge technology. It will offer semiautonomous driving functionality.

Compare the A8, 7 Series, and S-Class »

Should I Buy a New or Used Audi A8?

Audi didn't make any major changes to the A8 for 2018. If you're open to driving a used car, you should consider shopping for a nearly identical 2017 model to save money. Higher-priced cars like the A8 tend to depreciate faster than less expensive cars, so your savings could be greater if you look at even older models. The A8 received a restyled front end, available lane keep assist, and an available head-up display for 2015. Yearly changes since then have only served to trim the A8’s lineup. The long-wheelbase model was made standard for 2016, and 2017 saw the elimination of the W12 engine and the TDI diesel powertrain.

To research some other models in this generation, check out our reviews of the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Audi A8. If you decide an older model is right for you, see our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Audi A8 »

We Did the Research for You: 53 Reviews Analyzed

Instead of navigating through multiple websites, you can find everything you need to know in our Audi A8 review. In addition to vital specs such as fuel economy, safety features, and reliability scores, our overview includes viewpoints from more than 53 professional evaluations. This 2018 Audi A8 review incorporates applicable research for all model years in this generation, which spans the 2011 through 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

Our Best Cars team is part of U.S. News & World Report, a company that's been in business since 1933 and is renowned for popular rankings like the Best Hospitals and Best Colleges. To ensure our recommendations are impartial, we have a third party handle our advertising, and we decline any expensive gifts from automakers. 

How Much Does the Audi A8 Cost?

The Audi A8's starting price of $82,500 (with the V6 engine) falls right in the middle of the super luxury car segment. For the larger V8 engine, retail prices start at $92,000. Audi also offers a performance-tuned edition badged as the S8 Plus, which rings in at $115,900.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Audi dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Audi deals page.

Audi A8 Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Audi A8 or Mercedes-Benz S-Class?

The Mercedes S-Class has a more powerful engine lineup than the Audi, and the S-Class sets the standard for what a refined luxury cabin should be. It is noticeably more high-tech than the A8, with standard features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (neither are available in the A8). It also has more standard advanced safety equipment, including lane keep assist and blind spot monitoring. Keep in mind, however, that the S-Class costs over $7,000 more than the A8.

Which Is Better: Audi A8 or BMW 7 Series?

The Audi A8 and BMW 7 Series have similar starting prices along with comparable performance and interior refinement. However, the Audi has a dated infotainment system with frustrating controls. Meanwhile, the BMW's infotainment system is innovative and user friendly. The 7 Series has available gesture controls, allowing you to do things like decline a call by swiping your hand in front of the screen. The 7 Series also has a larger trunk (18.2 cubic feet versus the Audi’s 14.2 cubic feet). Both offer muscular and refined powertrains. Nonetheless, the 7 Series is the superior super luxury car overall.

Which Is Better: Audi A8 or Lexus LS?

The Lexus LS isn’t as fun to drive as the athletic A8. As long as you’re OK with that, the LS is the better buy. It starts at about $7,500 less than the A8 and provides a softer ride quality over rough pavement. It also offers superior fuel economy, without sacrificing engine performance. The Lexus packs a longer list of standard convenience and safety features, such as adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning, and it rates higher for predicted reliability. Go with the LS.

Compare the A8, S-Class, and LS »

A8 Interior

How Many People Does the A8 Seat?

The A8 seats five people, treating every occupant to a relaxing, spacious environment. Both rows offer lots of room to stretch out, and the long-wheelbase design of the A8 grants extra legroom to rear-seat passengers. It is worth noting that the standard A8 carries the A8 L designation, while the S8 Plus has a shorter wheelbase that is no longer offered in the standard A8 configuration.

Heated front seats with 18-way power adjustments are standard, and you can select from available indulgences like premium leather seats, a heated steering wheel, and ventilation and massage (available for both front and rear seats).

A8 and Car Seats

The A8's long-wheelbase design is also a blessing if you are using child safety seats, as there's plenty of room to fit bulky rear-facing seats without moving the front seats forward. The LATCH hardware – located on the outboard seats – isn't as agreeable. The lower anchors are deeply recessed in the cushions, and the plastic covers on the tether anchors are flimsy.

A8 Interior Quality

Inside, the A8 is about as high-class as they come. Materials are of the utmost quality and include supple leather, real wood trim, aluminum accents, and suede inlays. Even better, Audi offers an extravagant selection of options, especially for the range-topping S8 Plus.

A8 Cargo Space

In spite of the A8's imposing size, its trunk is quite small. In the back, you get 14.2 cubic feet of room. The rear seats don't fold, which means you can't expand this space when you need to transport large items. In comparison, the BMW 7 Series has an 18.2-cubic-foot trunk. The A8 comes standard with a hands-free trunk lid, which is a nice touch when your arms are full.

A8 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The A8 gets points for an infotainment system that’s easy to use, but not state of the art. That's a little surprising when you see the advanced technology that comes in a few other Audi sedans. If you don't mind technology that's a little on the stale side (including the lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), the interface should work just fine for you. It features a navigation system with beautiful graphics, a touchpad that recognizes handwriting, and a 14-speaker Bose audio system.

Read more about interior »

A8 Performance

A8 Engine: Fast … and Faster

It doesn't matter which version of the A8 you climb into; you'll be rewarded with brisk acceleration. Your choices include a more-than-adequate supercharged base V6 (A8 3.0), a 450-horsepower turbocharged V8 (A8 4.0), and a blisteringly fast V8 with 605 horsepower (S8 Plus). All are paired with a polished, eight-speed automatic transmission. You'll be fine if you can't afford more than the base engine, but those yearning for a robust V8 will be delighted by the A8 4.0 (which costs about $24,000 less than the S8 Plus).

A8 Gas Mileage: Built for Road Trips

The A8 3.0 seems preordained for open road cruising, thanks to its class-leading fuel economy of 29 mpg on the highway (only the BMW 7 Series matches this rating). It gets 19 mpg in the city, which is a touch above average. The A8 4.0 and S8 Plus are less efficient: 16/26 mpg and 14/24 mpg, respectively.

A8 Ride and Handling: Both Athletic and Comfortable

Even the most discerning of drivers will enjoy the A8. Much of this vehicle's handling prowess is owed to the standard air suspension system, which curtails body lean, neutralizes uneven pavement, and still grants some sportiness. Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system is also included.

Read more about performance »

A8 Reliability

Is the Audi A8 Reliable?

The 2018 A8 has an above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Audi A8 Warranty

Audi covers the new A8 with a four-year/50,000-mile warranty.

Read more about reliability »

A8 Safety

A8 Crash Test Results

The A8, like many other high-end models, doesn't undergo crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

A8 Safety Features

The only advanced safety features included on the A8 are a rearview camera and front and rear parking sensors. A few other technologies are available, including a bird's-eye view camera system, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go abilities, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, a head-up display, Audi Pre Sense (forward collision warning), and a night vision assistant.

Read more about safety »

Which Audi A8 Model Is Right for Me?

There are two different A8 sedans to choose from: the A8 L 3.0 and the A8 L 4.0. Each comes with a different engine and slightly different packages. Also available is the Audi S8 Plus, the range-topping edition with a potent V8 engine and a shorter wheelbase than the standard model. Included with every model is an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

We go into more detail on each trim level below, but if you're looking for the best blend of performance and refinement, we think the A8 L 4.0 is a good buy. It has more interior accoutrements than either the A8 3.0 or the S8 Plus, pampering travelers with luxuries like massaging front seats and a panoramic sunroof. Unleash its V8 engine – which is rated at 450 horsepower – and you're rewarded with thrilling acceleration.

Audi A8 L 3.0

The A8 L 3.0 ($82,500) is the base trim level, but there's nothing entry-level about it. It comes outfitted with leather upholstery, heated front seats with 18 adjustments, four-zone automatic climate control, a 14-speaker Bose audio system, a sunroof, a navigation system, a rearview camera, and front and rear parking sensors. It's powered by a supercharged 3.0-liter V6. A few different packages are available, the principal being the Executive package. This has a net cost of $2,000 when you factor in the applicable package credit, and adds niceties like massaging front seats, heated rear seats, and a panoramic sunroof. It also includes numerous safety features like a top-view camera system, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capabilities, and Pre Sense Plus (which activates braking and seat belt tensioners if it senses an impending collision).

Audi A8 L 4.0

The A8 L 4.0 ($92,000) features a 4.0-liter V8, a panoramic sunroof, an Alcantara headliner, upgraded leather upholstery, and front seats that include ventilation, massage, and 22-way power adjustments. Among the available packages is the Executive Plus package. Ringing in at $1,750 when you subtract the applicable credit, this package adds ventilation and massage to the rear seats, along with safety features like active lane assist and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality.

Audi S8 Plus

The S8 Plus ($115,900) is the top-of-the-line edition in this fleet. Its 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine is more powerful than the version in the A8 4.0, and it also has a sport exhaust system. Otherwise, its standard features list closely mirrors that of the A8 3.0. However, Audi offers far more packages and options on the S8 Plus than on its A8 trim levels, including several design selections, a suite of advanced safety features, night vision assistant, and an upgraded Bang & Olufsen sound system. The S8 Plus is the only model in the A8 line to feature the shorter, standard wheelbase configuration, which is no longer offered in the standard model.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Audi dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Audi deals page.

See 2018 Audi A8 specs and trims »

The Final Call

When you're spending $80,000 or more for a new vehicle, you expect nothing less than the best. The cabin of the A8 meets this expectation with flying colors, and you'll hear no complaints of discomfort from anyone aboard. The A8 also delivers beautiful performance, thanks to its selection of potent engines and well-tuned air suspension system. Whether or not its drawbacks – including older infotainment technology and a small trunk – translate to a deal breaker for you depends mostly on your lifestyle and personal preferences.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "Audis have long nailed a fine balance between comfort and performance, all while showcasing the brand's tenacious quattro all-wheel-drive system and futuristic technology. These characteristics remain true of the 2018 A8 even as it enters its final year of production before an all-new version arrives. The high-performance S8, meanwhile, takes all this and adds over 600 horsepower to the recipe. While 2018 marks the last of this current-gen A8, Audi's flagship still has a lot to offer those seeking a posh and polished German luxury sedan." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Audi's flagship sedan, the A8 scores very high in our luxury-car lineup, alongside the Lexus LS and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Its powerful engine provides effortless thrust, yet attains commendable fuel economy – even with the standard AWD. It also handles crisply, cornering eagerly and holding the road tenaciously. The sumptuous and tasteful cabin has nearly every comfort feature known, and a long list of high-tech safety features puts this car on the leading edge of safety engineering." -- Consumer Reports (2017)
  • "From its exquisitely detailed interior to its choice of powerful yet well-mannered engines, this A8 continues to hold its own among the world's best. Throw in unusually responsive handling and you've got an enduringly appealing automobile, regardless of the gee-whiz advancements that next year will surely bring." -- Edmunds (2017)
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