Lately I’ve been thinking about the defining factors that drive a new car purchase. Obviously a lot of rather dull factors like cost and practicality come to mind for the majority of buyers. But, there’s more to it than that thankfully. While not every buyer shares our Hooniversal opinion that your purchase should be fun, there’s the the concept of “image“. I’ve seen dozens of folks on social media pretend that it’s not important. They’re lying. From a $10,000 bought-for-Radwood buy, to a $100,000 luxury sedan, image plays a role in more car purchases than you think. I’ve been driving this 2022 Audi A8 L for a week and it oozes image. Let’s see if there is some substance underneath.
2022 Audi A8 L Overview
If you are looking to spec a long-wheelbase sedan, Audi has you covered. In fact, the largest Audi car in the lineup is now only available in “L” spec. The fourth generation A8 (D5/4N) has been around since the 2019 model year but the 2022 model got a slight refresh. You’ll find a wider grille with black accents and features new air intakes on either side. Out back, you’ll get a
bloomin onion, cool new OLED taillights.
So, the A8 is only available in long-wheelbase and only available with a V6, while the latest Audi S8 is only V8, but only comes with the shorter wheelbase. Did you get all that? The A8 L starts at $86,500 and Audi tacked on a bunch of extras to this loaner.
I’ll let you read through what’s included above but the added extras like the Executive Package ($3,400), Comfort Plus Package ($3,250), and Black Optic Package ($2.750), plus $1,100 for Destination, will get you an out-the-door (pre-ADM) price of $96,995. So, with tax you’re easily into the $100,000+ range. If you’re curious if this is a six-figure experience, keep reading. If not, check out some picturesque A8-on-the-farm pics.
2022 Audi A8 L Inside & Out
On the outside, the Firmament Blue metallic paint (which, magically, is not an optional extra) is stunning. Though the light either dances across it or is completely absorbed into the paint like a black hole. The L, unsurprisingly looks longer than a typical A8. At 208.7 inches in length it’s almost as long as a 2022 Chevy Tahoe.
It’s a handsome car, though my neighbor noted that it had that “murdered out” look with the dark paint and black wheels. Thankfully the wheels are finished in a nice gloss which gives them a bit more style. The front end is typical Audi and aligns with their smaller sedans, I dig the light bar that crosses the entire rear. Overall it’s certainly a stately image, let’s move on to the inside.
Quite simply, the interior is baller, especially at night. There is an LED strip going all the way around the passenger compartment that really pops. Naturally it’s configurable so you can change the color scheme to your liking. The seats are fantastic, with tons of adjustments, heating and ventilation, and…massage.
Like the Q7 Prestige and the S5 Sportback I drove recently, the A8 L featured Audi’s fantastic massage function. Of all the systems I’ve experienced, it’s probably the best. The amount of adjustability is amazing, and I found myself turning it right back on once it ended. My only criticism of the seats comes from the noise the ventilation makes when switched on. It sounds like there is a fan directly behind your head. However, if you choose the lowest speed the system will remember your setting. Every single time, more on that in a bit.
From a tech perspective, it’s unsurprisingly pretty packed. You get a lower 8.6-inch screen for climate control and seat adjustments and a 10.1-inch upper screen for everything else. Audi’s MMI infotainment system is good, but not great, with some odd user-interface choices here and there. Apple CarPlay worked fairly well, but whatever was plugged into the USB kept taking over as the source, even though I chose the wireless connection. However, the Bang & Olufsen system is excellent and provided a great audio experience on my 3-hour drive.
The rear is where you want to spend your time, if you can. The rear window sunshades go up with an additional press of the rear window buttons, which is much better than dealing with the manual method. It wasn’t immediately clear how to put the rear sunshade up unless you were sitting in the back, but I’m sure it’s in the menu somewhere.
With 44.3 inches of legroom in the back, you can stretch out in comfort. Without the fold-down console in place, the rear seems a little spartan. There are some lighted mirrors above each rear passenger, but that’s about it. With the console down, you get an additional set of HVAC controls and some pop-out cupholders. It felt like a little bit of a missed opportunity to have a fold down workspace attached to the front seats, or rear display screens, but the back seat of an A8 L is a first class seat otherwise.
Oh and it held a heck of a lot of BBQ! My brother-in-law turned 40 the weekend I had the A8 L and we picked up many pounds of ribs, pulled pork, potato salad, baked beans, and sauces. Heck, I could have even used the seat warmers to help keep all that food warm if the drive was longer. The 12.5 cu. ft. of space in the trunk isn’t exactly segment leading, but easily held hockey gear and other stuff during our week with it.
2022 Audi A8 L On The Road
Not to be stereotypical, but The A8 is a true Q-ship out on the highway. The notion of a comfortable, yet fast moving, grand tourer becomes more and more attractive the older I get. The only engine is a 3.0L V6 making 340 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. Most of the mags have the A8 hitting 60 mph in a little over 5.0 seconds. The L begs you to do 90, even a 100, not a mere 70 or 80 like some cruisers.
The throttle needs minimal coaxing to get up to speed and the shifter falls right to hand like in the Q7. It aligns perfectly with the center console giving you just the right arm position for long-distance driving. Even the volume knob, which seemed oddly placed at first, ends up being right next to your hand. Just remember, all that metallic finish gets super hot in the summer. Ouchie.
The engine start-stop feature is so smooth you barely notice it. I actually didn’t turn it off like I normally do in most press loaners. That ideally helps with the 19/28 city/highway MPG estimate (22 MPG combined) and combined with the massive fuel tank means you have up to 608 miles of range for long trips.
My favorite part of the driving experience is that it remembers every.single.setting. All the time. It doesn’t matter if it’s the driving mode (I use comfort suspension and sport engine/steering), HVAC setting, seat levels, massage setting, all of it. It’s lovely. As I drove the next loaner, I really started to fully appreciate how Audi keeps everything in place in between drives.
A long-wheelbase sedan is a bit of a niche thing. Audi only sells 2,000 to 3,000 A8 sedans a year, so the demand for a longer version is probably fairly small. It likely makes sense to just sell the “L” version since most buyers won’t balk at the extra space.
So, how does it compare to the competition? Well, for 2022 the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7-Series both have similar rear-seat room compared to the A8 L. Compared to the A8 (44.3 inches) the Benz has 43.8 inches and the BMW has 44.4 inches. So, really the A8 L is comparable in size to the the “non-lengthened” full size luxury competition. It’s priced very competitively though, the A8 L starts at just about the same price as the RWD 740i and the Mercedes S 500 is, well super expensive ($111K to start).
Generally the definition of a grand touring luxury car is effortless speed and comfort that you don’t notice, at least according to James May. This car is incredibly quiet. Probably too quiet for my liking, I’d like the option to hear the horsepower. However, it is incredibly comfortable to drive so if you want a big grand touring car, this is a very good option.