Audi A8 L named Chauffeur Car of the Year

Audi A8 2013

Exemplary refinement, frugality and the all-weather reassurance of quattro all-wheel-drive have been instrumental in securing the Audi A8 L 3.0 TDI the Chauffeur Car of the Year Award for 2013 from respected specialist magazine Professional Driver.

This latest first class honour for the high-tech, predominantly aluminium-bodied luxury saloon is the result of a rigorous testing process conducted by industry experts, heads of leading chauffeur and private hire firms, experienced chauffeurs and carefully selected motoring journalists.

Professional Driver magazine editor Mark Bursa explained the rationale behind the ranking by writing: “The Audi A8 L edges it on low running costs, excellent manufacturer support thanks to the Audi Chauffeur Programme, and, perhaps crucially, its four-wheel drive ability. This gives the A8 L an edge over its rear-wheel drive competitors, and that could make all the difference in the winter snow.”

As part of the testing process, the Audi A8 L 3.0 TDI quattro SE was reviewed on a circular route taking in a variety of typical road types. Vital chauffeur requirements such as high-end infotainment systems and boot space were considered, and a point-scoring system was used to rate various features of the car, before an overall average score was calculated. Further marks were factored in for the financial aspects of owning and operating each car tested, including purchase price, whole life costs and monthly contract hire prices provided through manufacturer chauffeur or fleet programmes.

The next generation of Audi luxury

The new generation Audi A8, which made its world public debut at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show, improves further upon the high standards set by the award-winning version. It offers a choice of seven petrol and TDI engines, the majority of which have been revised to improve performance and efficiency. All engines comply with the forthcoming Euro 6 emissions standard, helped by friction-reducing measures which reduce fuel consumption by as much as 10 per cent.

The most efficient diesel engine is the updated 3.0 TDI, which now returns up to 47.9 mpg, corresponding to 155 grams of CO2 per kilometre (47.1mpg and 158g/km respectively for the A8 L). It enables the A8 3.0 TDI quattro to reach 62mph from rest in 5.9 seconds (6.1 seconds for long wheelbase models), and to continue to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.

Lightweight Audi Space Frame technology translates into an almost entirely aluminium body for the new generation A8, and quattro permanent all-wheel drive is now standard for every model in the range, excluding the 2.0 TFSI hybrid.

The visual appeal, visibility and active safety of the new generation A8 can also now be enhanced by the advanced new MatrixBeam LED headlights (standard on the S8, Sport Executive and hybrid models), which maintain optimal illumination of the road and surroundings at all times.

The high-beam function in these unique headlights uses 25 individual LEDs per unit that can be switched on and off or dimmed individually depending on the situation. This enables the headlight system to react extremely precisely to other vehicles while always brightly illuminating the road. When the on-board camera detects other vehicles ahead, the Audi MatrixBeam LED headlights mask the relevant sections of the high-beam by dimming or shutting off individual diodes.

The lighting system in the A8 uses predictive route data from the navigation system with MMI Touch to adjust the distribution of light in response to the current driving situation, and can recognise and act on route data, such as corners, road classifications and built-up areas.

Dynamic indicators

Additional features of the new headlights are the new-look daytime running lights and dynamic indicator lights. The indicators use a ‘sweeping’ strip of light, which has the potential to significantly enhance traffic safety by making the fact that the vehicle is turning even clearer to other road users, even at long distances and in poor visibility.

Improvements have also been made to the optional assistance systems. Audi active lane assist, which makes slight steering adjustments when necessary, is new to the A8, as is the park assist system with 360° display, which handles steering when parking, and the head-up display, which projects important data in the driver’s field of vision on the windscreen. The night vision assistant can now also recognise larger animals in addition to pedestrians.

Audi connect is available as a supplement to the HDD-based satellite navigation system. It uses an integrated UMTS module to connect the new A8 to the Internet. Passengers can surf and e-mail freely via a WLAN hotspot. For the driver, the system delivers tailored online services from Audi connect, such as online traffic information, Google Earth, Google Street View and online news, to the car. The audio highlights are the Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System and the Rear Seat Entertainment system which includes two displays, Bluetooth headphones and a DVD player.

The new generation Audi A8 is available to order now and is expected to reach its first UK customers in January 2014. Prices start from £58,800 OTR for the A8 3.0 TDI quattro SE, rising to £79,670 OTR for the potent A8 L 4.2 TDI quattro Sport Executive. The 520 PS, twin-turbo V8-powered Audi S8, featuring cylinder-on-demand technology, is priced from £79,900 OTR.

The Audi Chauffeur Programme

Businesses and professional drivers looking for the most convenient and stress-free route to A8 ownership can take advantage of the Audi Chauffeur Programme, which offers finance, service and maintenance packages designed with professional users in mind. Available for a range of high-end Audi models, including the A6, A7 Sportback, Q7 and A8 L, the programme includes comprehensive servicing and maintenance for the duration of the agreement, as well as an enhanced unlimited mileage Audi warranty for three years, extending to a five-year limited warranty upon request.

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