Looking beyond the increasingly macho exterior designs and recent heavy marketing emphasis on quattro all-wheel drive, Audi’s core appeal has traditionally been the way it quietly innovates, and in this respect the fourth-generation A8 feels something of a return to form.

From the manner in which this plugin hybrid derivative expertly marshals its two sources of power to the complexity of the chassis electronics and the AI that monitors the environment and prompts the driver to make better decisions, it conveys an all-knowing and reassuring competence that’s impossible to miss. Paired with perceived quality that borders on the extravagant, there are obvious reasons why you might fall for this Audi’s colder flavour of charm.

Technically impressive, but not as cosseting as a limo ought to be

Equally, there is one significant reason why you might instead direct your attention to Stuttgart, and the Mercedes S-Class. The fact is that even in standard form, the A8 is prone to labouring poorer road surfaces, and the additional mass of the 60 TFSIe’s battery pack exacerbates this problem.

Simply, it fails to isolate and cosset its occupants as well as a world-class limousine should and therefore fails to earn our recommendation.