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D4 A8 4.2Tdi Test Drive

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D4 A8 4.2Tdi Test Drive

Post by A8_Tony on Sun May 23, 2010 10:48 am

Just a quick write up of my feelings on the current shape A8. After a fairly swift test drive yesterday Happy

Well where do I start? The outside seems like a good place, as that's the first thing that you'll see.

First off, a summary:
Looking around the car, you become aware of details that you don't pick up from pictures, nor at first glance, but as you walk around you see them. Things like the chrome on the front grille, which when first viewed looks black. Those headlamps, even in Xenon mode look, IMO, very tasty, and as you walk towards the rear, you follow the lines of the car. The bonnet dips, where once it was raised, but this adds to the 'low-slung' appearance that you get of the car.

The brake disks are HUGE, with enormous calipers gripping them. The 19" rims that surround the disks, look quite large (due to their styling), but it would be easy to stick some 22's on there without making the car look silly!

Then there's the controversial back end. Take a look, then another, and keep looking as you take in the details that are the rear lamps. I promise you you'll like them. They look very sweet.

In comparison to the D3, this car looks very modern. The D3 in all of it's incarnations looks dated in comparison. The D2, whilst 14 years old now, still has a look that doesn't look out of place, particularly the FL varieties. The D4, for me at least, rekindled some of the emotion I felt when I first clapped eyes on a D2 A8. This can only be a good sign.

So then you move to the interior, and I'm going to break these down into areas. Maybe not the areas you'd expect but they'll be areas nonetheless.

Ergonomics
The interior of the D4 A8 is a great place to be.
Take the ashtray out of one of the cupholders, but be prepared to eat your spinach first, it's a hefty beast, with a cap made of aluminium. Take the cigarette bits out, and you've got a perfect change holder Smile
The dash-mounted buttons for the rear blinds, and other functions, are all made from aluminium, and they look and feel great. Their function is very solid, and feels like it's doing what it should.

The steering wheel, yes, that all-important element required for driving a car, has a good feel to it. With extensive controls for all of the media, and DIS info, as well as flappy-paddles for the gear changes, it feels solid, but not large.

Additional controls for the rear windows, include the ability, once the window is fully closed, to pull up once more on the window control, and raise the blinds! Cool? Most definitely Very Happy

Seat controls are very extensive. With the ability to adjust the extension pad, the bolsters (in the back and seat), the head rest and central lumbar support, obviously in addition to the height and distance controls, mean that anyone should be able to get comfy. With all controls for the lumbar being represented within the main head unit screen, it's very easy to see what element you're adjusting.

Now let's think about the dash. Yes, that 'floating' dash, that just exudes quality. The DIS between the two binnacles is very wisely used. Offering a significant amount of information to the driver, whilst not confusing him/her. The way the monitor pops out of the dash is very smooth, even smoother than it was on the D3, and even turning the in car entertainment feels good.
The dials and gauges are clear, utilising LED technology to show you levels for the fuel & temp. Very cool, very cool indeed.

In Car Entertainment
It would be wrong to describe the Audi system as merely a 'stereo'. It's so much more than that. With a 20Gb hard disk based system, there is plenty of space to store tracks from your favourite CD's. In theory you could also use a USB turntable if you really wanted, as there is support for USB devices, as well as SD card slots, hidden behind a very convenient panel just above the main console. The display, is incredibly clear, and very concise. Giving control over the entire system, in a very modern, very 'hip' way. Controls and icons being very clear and easy to read.

We had to give the sat nav a bit of a play, as there's been so much written about it. Imagine this; you're heading towards a junction that the car is suggesting you use as part of your route, and you need to turn left. The sat nav system is directly linked to the gearbox management system, so aids in controlling how fast you can accelerate towards that junction. The key being the safety aspect here. The adaptive lighting also works with the satnav to turn left or right and adjust the beam spread, depending on where the car is located! Impressive stuff indeed!!!

With 8 character post code recognition too, you'll be able to get wherever you need to in comfort. Oh, and I'd best not forget the entry system. You can use the dial to select a postcode if you really want, or you can talk to the car. But, a nice new addition is the ability to 'write' the post code of your destination. My only niggle here is that in the UK the control is on the left hand side, and I struggled writing coherently with my left hand, 4's being particularly difficult for the system to recognise. But it recognised everything else without any issues. This is a very good feature, and allows the entry of a post code in a manner that seems quite natural. Particularly if you're on the phone to someone, and want to enter it without them knowing.

Drive
So how does it drive?

First some figures:
4.2 Tdi @ 350bhp with 800nM of torque. This equates to a 0-60 of 5.5 seconds!!!!!!

Does it feel quick? Damned right it does!!!! This thing shifts, like a train!!!
In 'individual' mode, you get the option of defining all of the settings on the car. How does the throttle respond? How should the sports diff react? How should the suspension be set? And a whole host of other settings.
It was driven in this mode, and felt very responsive, without shoving passengers into their seats. Switch to 'dynamic' mode, and the differences are immediately noticeable. The throttle responds very quickly, the gears change more sharply, and the whole ride just seems more 'planted'. Bear in mind that this was only a short test drive, this car felt good.

So, I'm going to summarise it there for now. An extended test drive has been booked, as soon as the dealer get their cars in. After that, I'll put up a much more detailed report. But for now I'll leave you with this question.

Would I buy one?
The D4 is an emotive beast, without question. It made me smile in the same way my D2 does, but there are a number of options available for this vehicle that could price it away from most owners. So I would probably hold off. But then I would anyway.

The D4 A8 is definitely a car to consider if you want something that will allow you to travel in comfort with the ability to drive the nuts off it if you feel the need. It's a great feeling car, with plenty of feedback from the steering. You never felt separated from the car. And the acceleration was out of this world for a luxury car.

So buy one, then the rest of us can buy them in a few years time when the values have dropped Wink

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Re: D4 A8 4.2Tdi Test Drive

Post by AmarB on Mon May 24, 2010 4:21 pm

I didn't like it at all, it did nothing for me. I think it may grow on me like the D3 did, kinda..
That 4.2 TDI engine though sounds amazing, and the the way you can write in sat nav addresses with your finger is quite cool. The headlights also automatically adjust depending on if your in the UK/France to suit.

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Re: D4 A8 4.2Tdi Test Drive

Post by AmarB on Mon May 24, 2010 4:22 pm

Also, did you notice how small the boot was, its 3/4s of the size of the D2s. The new 7 Series feels more special inside and the Jag XJ looks a lot better on the outside they also have decent engines. The only thing the D4 has over them which is important to me is quattro. Otherwise I wouldn't really consider it.

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Re: D4 A8 4.2Tdi Test Drive

Post by A8_Tony on Mon May 31, 2010 1:26 pm

The boot looks smaller, but I am assured it's actually slightly bigger than the previous version.

Also, all the electronics are now situation between the rear seat, and the boot back wall, keeping repair costs down should there be a front end collision.

I'm surprised at your comments regarding the interior. I found that it was a great place to be. Everything where it should be, naturally available to the driver, and all done with a quality of finish that is second-to-none.

For me, the 7-series looks awful from the outside, i've not experienced the interior, but maybe I should make a point of doing so.

The XJ? Well, whilst they have made some major changes/improvements, it's still not comparable to the A8. The new XJ is a world apart from it's roots. Did someone let a BMW designer loose in the Jag offices!?!?! The front end looks like the bar-steward child of Bentley/Aston Martin (Vantage).



A8 all the way for me I'm afraid, and the D4 has definitely tickled me far more readily than the D3 ever did

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Re: D4 A8 4.2Tdi Test Drive

Post by PsYcHe on Tue Jun 01, 2010 3:28 am

If the D4 boot is bigger then it's got to be the biggest in it's class by a large margin. Was chatting with my mate about them (he's a BMW sales manager) and that's his only dislike with the 7-series is that thewheel arches eat into the boot too much.

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