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Audi A8 comes of age with Edition 21 special edition

Audi UK celebrates 21 years of the original, aluminium luxury saloon

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.

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