Audi A8 gains Sport trim, brawnier diesel

Audi’s flagship revised for the 2016 model year with updated equipment and engines

The Audi A8’s understated styling – and its aesthetic similarity to the smaller A6 – mean you probably can’t recall the last time you saw one.

But they’re out there, and Audi has seen value in updating it for this year with improved equipment levels and tweaks to the familiar 3.0 V6 TDI power unit.

That engine sees a power increase from 254bhp to 258bhp. The modest improvement is matched by a small drop in CO2 from 155 to 149g/km (with the standard 18-inch wheels), for combined economy of 49.6mpg.

If those figures aren’t quite enough, Audi still offers a 4.2-litre V8 TDI in the A8, with 380bhp and 627lb ft of torque. With a standard wheelbase (both diesels come in standard and long wheelbase format) it’ll launch to 62mph in 4.7sec and, if you don’t make too much use of its sprinting ability, hit 39.2mpg. CO2 drops to 189g/km from 194g/km.

The punchy power units are complemented by a new Sport trim line, limited to standard wheelbase cars. This replaces the previous Sport Executive trim line – a moniker which conjures images of finely-tailored CEOs wearing tennis shoes – and sits alongside SE and SE Executive trim levels.

These are visually distinguished by a ‘dynamic exterior package’ with front and rear elements inspired by the S8, with side skirts and 19-inch alloy wheels. MatrixBeam adaptive LED headlights anda  600-watt Bose sound system are also standard on Sport A8s.

Leather upholstery, double glazing and a 180-watt audio system are standard whichever A8 the buyer chooses, as are full LED headlights, satellite navigation and Audi’s MMI Touch infotainment system. Quattro all-wheel drive and adaptive air suspension are also standard.

Diesel-haters will rejoice at the news that W12 and S8 models are still available, and both can be almost endlessly specified to the buyer’s requirements.

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