What is it?
Assessing Audi’s plutocratic flagship from the driver’s seat is a little like summarising the RMS Queen Mary 2 after a tour of the engine room, but it’s worth taking the helm of this enormously expensive long-wheelbase model just to experience the quilted bludgeon wedged beneath its bonnet.
Audi has gone to the trouble of boring out its W12 engine to 6.3 litres and equipping each of the 12 cylinders with direct fuel injection. The result is a 49bhp increase in output to 493bhp and a 460lb ft wave of torque at 3250rpm via an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
What's it like?
Those figures would be news to anyone who has driven the car at normal speeds. The vast petrol powerplant is intended to be neither seen nor heard, and it goes about its business with the noiseless industry of a good valet. However, should the mood take you, there’s sufficient poke at the end of the accelerator to crack 62mph in a preposterous 4.7sec.
Of course, the A8 never feels quite that quick. Instead, it feels like Audi has gone to the vast expense of having the earth pulled rapidly from beneath you while you hold a steering wheel in the aural equivalent of a church vestry. The feeling of disconnect from your surroundings is brought hammering home when it comes to the unpleasant job of stopping and turning this 2055kg gin palace.