Regarding luxury, comfort and performance, the Audi A8 is in a league of its own. It is the ultimate all-rounder and everything you could need in a luxury limo. I’ve had the D3 Audi A8 for many years; it has been in my family for over a decade. I took it off my dad, who, funnily enough, traded up for a D4 A8, but I’ve decided to hold onto and keep the previous generation before that. This article will look into the honest world overview of what it’s like to live with and daily an Audi A8.
As with any vehicle, they require constant maintenance, looking after and the occasional repair work and upkeep. The more expensive and luxurious a car and brand are, the more expensive it is to maintain; to some accounts, this is true and applicable to the D3 A8. Unfortunately, they are as beautiful as they are costly to maintain. Thankfully, I’ve managed to keep that cost down by sourcing my own VW and Audi original parts and doing most of the maintenance work and repairs myself. If you know what you are doing, and even if you don’t, working on the D3 A8 is pretty straightforward. It was first released in 2003, so there are a lot of forums, sites, handbooks, guides and even videos on how to maintain and look after them. The model variant I have is the 2010 facelift version D3 with the bi-xenon led headlights, led taillights, and its got the S8 body kit and sport-looking exterior. The chrome adds a lovely luxury appearance, and even though it is a 12-year-old car that’s almost 180k miles, it still looks stunning, elegant and a timeless classic. Talking from personal experience working on your own on the D3 A8 is pretty straightforward, so far I’ve replaced the entire front suspension, the air struts, the rear taillights, front headlights and the headlights bulbs several times, not to mention yearly service, changing oil, filters, pumps etc. and brakes. If you have an OBD reader toolkit, you can reset the service interval, remove codes, and maintain the car. One thing I would say is don’t be intimidated because it’s an A8; it’s a lot simpler to work on than you might think; take it slow, don’t tug or pull, and if something isn’t going your way, take a step back and look around.
The performance and engine are, without a doubt, more than enough; my A8 may only have the 3.0 litre V6 TDI engine, but with 233 bhp and over 450 Nm of torque, it’s more than enough to get you anywhere and even outperform most modern cars on the roads as well. Sure 0-62 mph can take a sluggish 7 seconds or so, but it’s sufficient, and if you stage 1 tune the car, it can hit 60 mph in the low 6 seconds, maybe quicker depending on the tune. If performance is what you want in a D3 A8, the 4.2 V8 TDI is a beast, but they also did a V10 version on the S8, which came from a Lamborghini or the luxury W12 engine. The V10 and W12 require a lot of specialist care and maintenance. The 3.0 Litre V6 might not be all that, but it’s simple, easy, and a diesel engine powerhouse. As I mentioned, it’s done nearly 180k miles and still feels smooth, perfect and tight as a drum. Fuel economy isn’t bad either; on the motorway, you can get anywhere between 34 to 37 mpg, though driving around the city can be horrendous. The lowest I’ve seen was seven mpg in stop-start traffic; depending on how and where you drive it, the A8 D3 can be economical and cost-effective.
The exterior is just as gorgeous as the engineering that went into it; it has an absolute timeless classic look. The A8 was also the first to be made entirely out of aluminium and the legendary Audi Space Frame, making the car lighter, stiffer and safer. The elegant Daytona grey pearl paint job adds a sense of uniqueness and luxury, and the rotary 19-inch aluminium rims give the whole car presence. Since the A8 is made of aluminium, it won’t rust as long as the body is kept in check, regularly washed, waxed, ceramic coated etc. It will sparkle and last forever; later on, I will write another article about how to maintain your car on a budget given the cost of living crisis and how to maintain and look after your car’s paintwork properly.
As with any car interior, they will never be future-proof and will be dated quickly. The D3 A8 also falls victim to this; the interior is nice and lovely, and the black and white two-tone leather sports seats make it a genuinely nice place to be in. However, the wood panelling, in my opinion, is a bit tacky and dated. If you wrap or change the inlays, say for piano black, Damascus or even carbon, it will make the interior pop even more. The one thing I love most is the infotainment screen, modern screens are fixed and stuck and look so ridiculous on some cars, but in the D3 A8, it hides behind the inlays and makes the interior look sleeker and neater.
In a nutshell, the D3 Audi A8 is the ideal luxury family car; a big boot of over 500 litres, plenty of room and space inside, enough grunt to get you anywhere, and the bonus of air suspension, which raises the car by several inches also makes it quite useful both on and off-road, coupled with a complete and proper Quattro system; no matter the weather it will traverse them all. I’ve had the A8 for nearly a decade in the family, and we’ve driven to almost every European country. It has been an ideal companion that took us where we needed to go and kept us warm, relaxed, safe and comfortable. They are not cheap, and they certainly are not cheap to run or maintain, but if you have the time, energy and resources, they are a super car that will also take care of you.
Images: all pictures are credited to their original authors