The Audi A8, like most Audis, rides best on standard wheels and suspension. Although we can see some benefit to the handling if you choose a combination of sports suspension and bigger alloys (and to the styling), the first priority of any car in this class should be to provide occupants with a superlative ride quality, which, especially in Sport trim, the A8 does not.
But we need some perspective here. Even in this trim, the A8 does not ride badly and there has been a clear improvement over the mediocre standards set by its predecessor, but what remains is still not what we’d have hoped for from a car like this.
Like other air-suspended cars, the A8 pitter-patters its way around town, and even when you’re fully up to speed there is a determinedly firm edge to your progress. And that is even with the suspension in its Comfort setting. Unless you are really pressing on, Dynamic is best avoided.
One benefit of this is that primary ride quality – the car’s ability to maintain its ride height on difficult roads – is actually very good. This attribute couples with precise steering (which we prefer when left in its Comfort setting) and exceptional grip and traction to make the A8 indecently fast point to point for such a large and luxurious car.
But that does not make the A8 a fun car to drive. The steering may be accurate, but so too is it lifeless, meaning that even driven hard the A8 fails to interact with the driver in the same way as a Jaguar XJ does on the smallest journey. Its handling appears as something to be admired from a distance, not savoured as an integral part of the driving experience.