This year marks 21 years since the first Audi A8 went on sale, and Audi UK is celebrating the milestone with a special Edition 21 model of the flagship saloon.
21 years is a long time in the automotive industry – enough time for three full model cycles to pass and for modern technology to make predecessors seem archaic.
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It’s a credit to Audi that the original A8’s influence can still be felt in the latest car – from its aluminium architecture to the simple, clean-cut lines of the bodywork. And while modern technology has indeed deposed that of the original – the new car is cleaner, faster, safer and filled with gadgets – they are very much cars from the same lineage.
The Edition 21’s equipment roster sets it apart from other A8s. A Sport styling package gives a nod to the looks of the high-performance S8, with redesigned front and rear bumpers and deeper side sills. Ordinarily available on standard wheelbase cars, the appearance package will also see service on long-wheelbase versions of the Edition 21.
Audi Matrix LED headlights also join the kit list, as do LED rear lights, and 20-inch double spoke alloy wheels in a titanium-look finish. Daytona grey pearl paintwork is available, a colour normally reserved for the S8.
Inside, the Edition 21 features a special design package from the Audi exclusive range, available in two colour combinations – cognac brown with black stitching, or black with red stitching. Equipment levels are otherwise similar to cars in SE Executive trim – though naturally, the Edition 21’s special positioning extends to illuminated, logo’d sill plates.
Just one engine is available, appropriate to the UK market: A 3.0 V6 TDI with 258bhp and 428lb ft of torque. The headline figure here is economy rather than performance – at 47.9mpg for standard wheelbase cars – but a 5.9-second 0-62mph sprint makes it quicker than the original S8 of 1996. An 8-speed automatic transmission is standard, as is quattro all-wheel drive.
Production is limited to 121 units for UK customers, with deliveries beginning in November. The Edition 21 starts from £72,525 on the road, £76,490 for the long wheelbase car.