I bought this car used with 50000 miles on it from the original owners. I was originally shopping for a used Mercedes 'e' class, like an e420.
I drove a few e420 Mercedes, and yes, they are big, luxurious, handle great etc. But they are so perfect they are no fun- you feel silly driving one fast.. It's like the mercedes E should be my mom's car, not mine.
So I tried the a8 I saw in the paper, since I already own an a6 and love it.
The a8 is as some have described elsewhere sort of skitz-o-frenic. It can be driven sedately and not wake up the sleeping child in the back, or you can prentend you're in a car chase and really haul. Thing is, you don't feel like an idiot driving the a8 hard, it seems to like it.
The five speed automatic transmission draws some complaints from some- for the very reason I like it so much. Many automatic transmissions upshift all the way to the top gear when you release the throttle, causing you to speed up or at least not have engine braking while approaching a situation where you just wanted to slow down a little. Conversely, most automatics I've driven downshift way too easily, making the car shift frequently on hilly roads for example.
This transmission seems to try to guess what you are up to and stay in the gear it's in when in doubt. As a result, when you really do want to pass someone and make the transmission down shift, you have to punch the accelerator a pretty good bit. It's easy to get used to. In traffic I leave it in 4 instead of D and it seems to respond better with less indecision. Newer models use the tiptronic transmission so you can shift yourself if you want.
The a8 is rare enough that it seems exotic. A drawback to this is the insurance is a little high for it. I believe that is because it is made of aluminum and only a few body shops can repair it right. I hope I never have to find out.
I have found that the car handles best with 40 psi of pressure in the tires. The goodyear guy thought I was nuts, but it is within the range posted in the filler flap, and it rides fine.
So far the repairs have been easy, two cables in the drivers seat had to be adjusted, the plastic coolant overflow bottle cracked, the fuel guage sending unit was recalled and replaced. All audi had to have the sending unit recall.
I'm very pleased with the car, and so is my wife- she's so pleased with it I think she's trying to take it from me-
she keeps leaving her breifcase in there and her hands-free cell phone rig in it. That's fine- I've still got the a6 biturbo..
Amount Paid (US$):
1997Model and Options:
Audi A8 4.2Liter Quattro