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2019 Audi A8 Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.9

The 2019 Audi A8 prioritizes comfort and composure over thrilling performance. Its turbocharged V6 engine is powerful, but its throttle response can be slow. The handling isn't particularly engaging, either. The A8 also gets so-so fuel economy.  

  • "At least the Audi A8 is pleasant in motion, thanks to its breezy drivetrain, a rather well-isolated chassis, and competent, bump-soaking suspension. Though laden with a trove of technological bells and whistles, the dynamic fundamentals are sound, if a bit understated, for the first variant to hit the U.S. market: a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 producing 335 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, mating to a ZF-sourced 8-speed." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "While adjustable drive mode settings change the drivetrain, suspension and steering settings, don't expect the A8 to transform into an R8 at the touch of a button: the changes are subtle, with an overall bias towards smoothness and comfort over outright performance. There's decent power on tap, but passing slow-moving rental cars along Highway 1 requires some planning; don't expect explosive forward motion, but rather a linear escalation of speed and nearly imperceptible gear changes." -- Autoblog
  • "Driving the A8 is all creamy-smooth and serene from the controls, the switchgear, the steering feel, the noise-blanketing double-glazed side glass all the way to the low noise of the tires over poor pavement." -- New York Daily News

Acceleration and Power

The 2019 A8 comes standard with a 3.0-liter, turbocharged V6 engine that produces 335 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are also standard. The A8 gets 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, which is below average for the class. The V6 engine delivers solid power from a stop and when accelerating to high speeds, but its throttle response is a little lackluster.

  • "Acceleration is fairly rapid, with 60 mph arriving in 5.6 seconds. Throttle response is a wee bit pokey until I dial up dynamic mode, and then the V6 is eager to rev and sounds good doing it -- quite an improvement over the previous A8’s supercharged V6. Dynamic mode also makes for quicker gear changes." -- Autoweek
  • "For the near term, the only engine that will be available is the turbocharged V6 that produces 335 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. It's enough power to move the big sedan on flat ground, but you'll want more when the road gets hilly or when you've got a full load of passengers and luggage. Helping out the V6 is an integrated starter-generator system. It provides a seamless stop-start experience and helps boost up initial torque when leaving a stop to smooth out acceleration. It's an odd choice to bring a flagship sedan but only have the base engine available, so we're looking forward to the 460-hp turbocharged V8 that will provide more legitimate flagship-sedan performance." -- Edmunds
  • "The powertrain feels strong but a tad sleepy. In Dynamic mode, the 4,288-pound sedan hauls it from zero to 60 in 5.6 seconds and builds solid mid-range torque for a confident around-town feel. However, it's possible to catch the turbocharger or gearbox sleeping in stop-and-go traffic, resulting in occasionally poor tip-in throttle responsiveness in the Comfort and Eco settings. That's not the end of the world, the big tends itself towards a relaxed driving style anyway." -- CNET

Handling and Braking

The Audi A8 comes standard with all-wheel drive. It has poised handling around corners, but its large size hinders maneuverability. The A8’s ride is comfortable and composed over most surfaces.

  • "Surprisingly, the A8 handles curves pretty well. It's no R8, but in Dynamic mode, it's more nimble than you'd expect a 17-foot, 4,700-pound luxury sedan to be. Does it understeer at the limit? Probably. But if you plan to take corners fast enough to find out, full-size luxury sedans probably aren't for you." -- Motor Trend
  • "We weaved the A8 up a road more appropriate for a Mazda Miata and were impressed with the big Audi’s grip and manners, although no one is pretending a car this large has any business attacking roads that tight. Steering feel, despite efforts to improve its feedback, remains as it is in most other Audis: laser-sight precise, but mostly numb. If Audi could elevate its steering system’s feedback to match its accuracy, it would possess the magic bullet sought by energetic pilots of every executive sedan." -- Car and Driver
  • "Ride quality is pleasant, and miles easily tick by. … The A8 is available with all-wheel steering, which uses a rear-steering module than can turn the rear wheels up to five degrees and a front-steering module that reduces steering effort. This combination makes the A8 more agile when cornering, and also greatly improves the turning circle, bringing it from 42.2 feet down to 38.7 feet -- comparable to that of an Audi A4. We observed this turning dexterity in a hands-on demonstration through a tight go kart course: Without all-wheel steering, there were turns the A8 couldn’t finish without doing a 3-point turn that we got through in one try with all-wheel steering, and it took fewer turns of the wheel as we drove through the course." -- Kelley Blue Book
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