Ride and comfort are more important in a car like this than handling precision and fun, and this brief has turned out a car that behaves much as you’d expect. The ride quality feels like an improvement on the old model, which itself wasn’t uncomfortable but was always a little more firm than you’d probably wish for from a luxury saloon. Equally, it isn’t quite up to S-class standards when it comes to flowing over rough surfaces, so the A8 always feels a little more like a high-end private hire vehicle than a proper luxury limousine.
The tradeoff here is that there’s surprisingly good body control despite the near-5.2-metre length and near two-tonne kerbweight. Body roll is kept to a minimum and the A8 tracks quickly and smoothly through most corners, the weight only starting to take its toll when you ask for quicker direction changes, where it takes a little longer to compose itself.
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Audi’s fitment of four-wheel steering helps here too. While the smaller A7 is slightly disappointing with the four-wheel steering setup, it makes a bigger difference to the A8, particularly around tighter corners when the rear wheels turn up to five degrees in the opposite direction to those at the front. It shrinks the car usefully, making it feel almost like the much smaller A4 in certain corners - though like others in this class, the A8’s girth forces you to wind back the pace on tighter and narrower roads.
Grip levels are strong and while you don’t get much indication of what the front wheels are doing through the muted steering, there’s enough accuracy and response that the lack of feel isn’t too concerning.
And the rest of the time, the steering feels ideal for a car of this type - syrupy smooth and weighted well enough to give an impression of stability at speed. The A8 is of course in its element on the motorway, where only a small rustle of wind noise from the mirrors and a hum from the wide tyres disturbs an otherwise peaceful cabin.