2019 Audi A8: A top pick for fantasy road trip

The redesigned 2019 Audi A8 is beginning to arrive at U.S. dealerships. The flagship sedan, at launch in the U.S., is powered by a 3.0-liter aluminum turbo V-6, which produces 335 hp and 369 pound-feet of torque. It also features a 48-volt electric system to improve fuel economy and help power all the technology under the hood and in the cabin. Here are snippets of A8 reviews.

"In a straight line, the turbo V6-powered A8 is not in any way slow; the blanket of serenity masks the progress, which officially puts the A8 to 60 mph from a dead stop in just 5.6 seconds. Perhaps when a V8 model and, potentially, an S8 model from Audi Sport debut, the hot rodder A8 buyer might be satiated.

"Though the 4,751-pound A8 can be hustled around a twisty back road or two, it's a reluctant hustle. Even equipped with optional 4-wheel steering (at $1,950), which does raise the agility bar by slightly turning the rear wheels out-of-phase (opposite direction) to the fronts at low speed and in-phase (or the same direction) with the fronts at higher speeds, catting around is clearly not its core mission. Oh, it'll do it, and I forced it to and remarkably, the brakes never whimpered once, even though they had every right to."

-- Jim Resnick, New York Daily News

"At least the Audi A8 is pleasant in motion, thanks to its breezy drivetrain, a rather well-isolated chassis, and competent, bump-soaking suspension. Though laden with a trove of technological bells and whistles, the dynamic fundamentals are sound, if a bit understated, for the first variant to hit the U.S. market: a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 producing 335 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, mating to a ZF-sourced 8-speed. A 48-volt mild hybrid system that uses a 10Ah lithium-ion battery with energy recuperation has been integrated with the 'plant to support accessories and driver assistance systems.

"Smoothness and silence predominate the driving experience, of which the A8's nearly imperceptible styling is an excellent metaphor. While double-glazed glass aids the remarkably quiet interior, it's worth noting that the overall focus lies more in creating a luxe but minimalist, spa-like environment than it does an agile, autobahn-storming screamer -- at least in this V-6 version. While a subsequent S variant will invariably wield more oomph, the six-cylinder A8 has gained 250 pounds over its predecessor due to all the added equipment, bringing total curb weight to a hefty 4,751 lb."

-- Basem Wasef, Automobile

"For starters, the driving position is excellent, and the front buckets are superb. Acceleration is fairly rapid, with 60 mph arriving in 5.6 seconds. Throttle response is a wee bit pokey until I dial up dynamic mode, and then the V6 is eager to rev and sounds good doing it -- quite an improvement over the previous A8's supercharged V6. Dynamic mode also makes for quicker gear changes.

"It goes down the road silently and effortlessly pretty much no matter the mode, always with a plush, composed ride and light but accurate steering. When I do get a chance to leg it some, there's a little body roll in comfort mode, but not much. Overall the ride/handling mix is quite good for a car this big.

"The cars equipped with four-wheel steering feel especially agile. The system turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction as the fronts (better in parking lots) and in the same direction above about 35 mph. High-speed handling is helped a lot: Lane changes are quicker, while Hwy 1's sweepers are dispatched with ease, quick going in and quick on exit. Frankly, the car's drama-free agility surprises me."

-- Wes Raynal, Autoweek

"Surprisingly, the A8 handles curves pretty well. It's no R8, but in Dynamic mode, it's more nimble than you'd expect a 17-foot, 4,700-pound luxury sedan to be. Does it understeer at the limit? Probably. But if you plan to take corners fast enough to find out, full-size luxury sedans probably aren't for you.

"On the highway, the A8 is impressively quiet, almost keeping road, wind, and tire noise out of the cabin entirely. Add in comfortable seats with an excellent massage function, a smooth ride, a high-quality Bang & Olufsen sound system, and a 21.7-gallon gas tank, and you have a recipe for a truly fantastic road trip car."

-- Collin Woodard, Motor Trend

"The A8 is not, however, a pleasantly quick car. Audi will launch a V8-powered A8 in the future, but it's launching for 2019 with nothing more than a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6, good for 335 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Getting to 60 miles per hour takes 5.6 seconds, a number we'd categorize as 'leisurely' for a flagship luxury sedan. An all-wheel-drive BMW 740i -- a car with only 320 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque -- takes just 5.1 seconds to hit 60, while the Mercedes-Benz S450 4Matic (362 hp and 369 lb-ft) does the deed in 5.4 seconds.

"Executing passing maneuvers in the Pacific Coast Highway's few passing zones required more planning than it should in a vehicle of this stature. The eight-speed automatic downshifted quickly, which made the A8 feel deceptively quick at the start of a passing maneuver, but as speeds climbed the engine started to run out of steam. The V6-powered A8 simply doesn't have the staying power it needs.

"Aside from these passing situations, though, this remains a likable combination. The 3.0-liter V6 is quiet in everyday conditions, but it sounds pleasant and refined when pushed. And the eight-speed auto is charming. It's composed and relaxed when puttering around town, but in Dynamic mode, it's an easy transmission to have fun with. Kick it into the sportiest setting and work the wheel-mounted paddles, and (along with DAWS) the A8 starts feeling far sportier and engaging than it has any right to."

-- Brandon Turkus, Motor1

"The powertrain feels strong but a tad sleepy. In Dynamic mode, the 4,288-pound sedan hauls it from zero to 60 in 5.6 seconds and builds solid mid-range torque for a confident around-town feel. However, it's possible to catch the turbocharger or gearbox sleeping in stop-and-go traffic, resulting in occasionally poor tip-in throttle responsiveness in the Comfort and Eco settings. That's not the end of the world, the big [car] tends itself toward a relaxed driving style anyway."

-- Antuan Goodwin, Roadshow by CNET

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