SOTW: Audi A8


The Audi A8 was not Ingolstadt's first attempt at barge-scale motoring, but it was the first time that Audi had (how shall we put this politely) put some proper effort into creating a proper luxury car.

Audi went its own route, though, vorsprung durch technik-ing its way to an aluminium monocoque (Audi Space Frame in Ingolstadt-speak) for its first proper assault on the luxury car market (and making a moderately light car in the process, at 1750kg).

And this unusual approach was rewarded with decent sales figures - while its steel-bodied predecessor, the Audi V8, only trickled into the UK in tiny numbers, you'll find plenty of 'D2' generation A8s around.


It's a good thing there are so many around, we reckon, because the A8 is a rather attractive thing to behold. Yes, it looks essentially like an overgrown A4 of the same vintage, but the flowing curves seem to suit the larger proportions. It is (to the eyes of most of the PH office at least) a handsome, sophisticated-looking car.

They are now increasingly dipping into SOTW territory now, too. Mind you, as with their peers the BMW 7-series and (to a lesser extent, perhaps) the Mercedes S-class, many have fallen victim to drug-dealer chic and have been 'pimped up' with grossly inappropriate alloys and the like.


This particular A8 has thus far avoided that particular ignominy (though given that it's advertised on Gumtree, rather than a more 'enthusiast-focused' site, unless one of you lot buys it that is probably the fate which awaits it), and is all the better for it.

You also get a lot of thump for your money with this one - it's the 4.2 V8, so you've got almost 300bhp at your disposal (and Quattro 4wd, of course). You won't get bored while you're surging along on a wave of V8 poke, either - because this car has kit coming out of its (metaphorical) ears, including dual-zone climate control, heated, electrically adjustable memory seats (front and rear), a six-disc multichanger, double glazing. You name it, this A8 will stop you getting bored on the motorway with it.


You'll hopefully be able to stop effectively too, as the vendor says the front brakes have been replaced (though quite what a 'caloper' is, we're not sure).

All in all it's a heck of a lot of car for £950, especially considering there's tax on it until December and an MOT won't need doing until March (and with an aluminium body you won't have to worry about rust). The only thing that worries us is that the mileage isn't mentioned. Still, unless the odo reads intergalactic numbers you've got to admit that this big Audi is a tempting proposition...

Advert is reproduced below

AUDI A8 QUATRO 4.2 (1997)
£950 North Lanarkshire


THIS IS STILL A LOVLY LOOKING CAR IN SIDE AND OUT FOR A 1997 MODLE, APART FROM AGE RELAITED MARKS THE WORSED BEING A SMALL DENT ON THE FRONT GRILL AND ONE JUST UNDER THE REG PLATE AT THE BOOT, THE CAR IS STILL IN LOVELY CONDITION, THE SPEC OF THIS CAR IS HUGE AND HAS LITERALLY EVERY EXTRA FITTED WHICH IS DUAL ZONE CLIMATE CONTROL, CRUISE CONTROL, ABS, ELECTRIC WINDOWS, ELECTRIC SUNROOF, ELECTRIC FRONT AND REAR SEATS WITH THE DRIVERS SEAT HAVING A 4 WAY MEMORY, ELECTRIC AND HEATED SIDE MIRRORS, HEATED FRONT AND REAR SEATS, FULL CLIMATE PACK INCLUDING ELECTRIC REAR BLIND WITH PULL UP SIDE SCREENS, DOUBLE GLAZED WINDOWS, MULTI 6 DISC PLAYER, FRONT ARM REST, ELECTRIC ADJUSTABLE STEERING COLUM, HEAD LAMP WASHERS.
AS YOU CAN SEE A REALLY WELL EQUIPPED CAR, THE ONE FAULT IS THE REMOTE CONTROL FOR THE DOORS HAS STOPPED WORKING. AS FOR DRIVING THIS IS A JOY TO DRIVE, ALL THE BRAKES HAVE ALL JUST BEEN REPLACED WITH NEW FRONT DISCS AND A NEW CALOPER WITH THE OTHERS BEING SERVICED WHICH IS A REASSURING FEELING GIVIN THE POWER THIS CAR HAS.
THE CAR WAS SERVICED IN MARCH AT THE SAME TIME AS THE MOT WAS RENEWED.
ANY VEIWING IS WELCOME
M.O.TED TILL MARCH 17th 2012
ROAD TAXED TILL DECEMBER 2011

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (202) Join the discussion on the forum

  • XB70 20 Sep 2011

    I keep coming back to this thinking....do I make the leap to an A8...and unfortunately I am not filled with confidence.

    I think I may stick with the W140's

  • confused_buyer 20 Sep 2011

    ITech said:
    Exactly this ^^^^

    If the ATF has been changed every 30k miles since new, then possibly the box may last a bit longer. But, as has been previously said, a fluid change is not in the service schedule, so now, it is clearly not going to be easy, to find a car that has been maintained this way. Basically, the box is not up to the job on the bigger engine cars.
    My experience too. Combination of auto box working near its tolerance, big V8 engine and 4wd just seems to wear the internals out. No fluid changes are going to put friction material back on the drums. There are about 8 different versions over a 5 year period of 5-speed auto box in the same A8 models which says it all.....

    I like the A8 a lot but the driving is very much old school early 90's Audi which means very little steering feel, an overly hard ride and competent but not very inspiring handling.

  • ITech 20 Sep 2011

    carreauchompeur said:
    So sadly it's a matter of poor design, the problem I was given to understand is that the power output of the engine was too near to the max tolerance of the box so there was little room for manouevre.
    Exactly this ^^^^

    If the ATF has been changed every 30k miles since new, then possibly the box may last a bit longer. But, as has been previously said, a fluid change is not in the service schedule, so now, it is clearly not going to be easy, to find a car that has been maintained this way. Basically, the box is not up to the job on the bigger engine cars.


  • carreauchompeur 20 Sep 2011

    Anecdotally, from an A8 forum I used to frequent, the oil changes would only help if they were done religiously from new every 20-30k.

    Coming to an 80-90k box which might never have had it done, changing the fluid is a risky business since, again anecdotally, many would fail soon afterwards- Possibly through the dislodging of gunk.

    And one of the members had the box rebuilt which promptly failed a year later!

    So sadly it's a matter of poor design, the problem I was given to understand is that the power output of the engine was too near to the max tolerance of the box so there was little room for manouevre.

    An AA warranty was found to be useful by at least one member, contributing £1000 towards a box rebuild. However you'd need to have a car within the age/mileage limits.

  • BT52 20 Sep 2011

    Well on my drives the extra 200kg of the 7 over the A8 really told. The ride was much better, but the downside was soggy body roll and poor damping.
    The V8s were all a bit rough for my liking also, to the extent that I would have prefered a straight-six 728, which had a lovely smmoth delivery, but was painfully slow.

    Whereas the V6 2.8 A8 is fast enough but rough and the V8s are much better. (Although the lovely V8 Jag engine blows them all away IMO).

    Sure the A8 is a bit dull, but IMO everything this size is. I had an X350 XJR and that wasn't exactly fun to hussle either.

    The other thing with the various 7s I tried was that they all suffered from a multitude of problems and some had even started to get body rust, which obviously isn't going to happen to an A8

    Research suggested that those A8s that had the non-recommended transmission oil change didn't suffer the failures. That would be the main thing I would look out for.

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