There’s an all-new A8 on the way, but it’ll be hard to beat the current version of this high-luxe limo, blogs Road Test Editor Howard Walker.
It’s no secret that Audi will be pulling the silk off an all-new A8 flagship next month. Word has it that not only will the car have a polarizing, love-it-or-hate-it new design, but it’ll pack more computing power than a Google server farm, allowing it to move one step closer to fully automated driving.
One of its multitude of ground-breaking features will be its new Traffic Jam Pilot function that’ll enable the car to legally pilot itself at speeds up to 35 mph in freeway stop-start traffic. Look Ma, no hands. Behind-the-wheel texters, tweeters and Subway foot-long sandwich-eaters, prepare to rejoice!
As someone who regularly beats his head against the dashboard trying to master the complexities of modern-day automotive technologies, the thought of an even-more complex Audi is, to me, about as thrilling as a computer virus. To ready myself for this all-new A8 however, and put its upcoming tech into perspective, I just spent a deliriously joyful week behind the wheel of the out-going A8, in this case a 2017 A8 L 3.0T quattro.
You gotta love a car that lets you enter an address into its nav system by simply scribbling it with your finger on a small touch-pad on the center console. This current version has been around since 2010, so design-wise it’s about as youthful and fresh-faced as Nick Nolte in a police mugshot!
Yet with its stretched, limo-like wheelbase, huge grille and honking 20-inch alloys, it still has a tremendous elegance and huge on-the-road gravitas. Valet parkers will fall over themselves to find a primo spot for it outside the front door.
And to drive it is to love it. The A8L comes with a choice of two engines; a potent 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 good for 450-horsepower, or a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 cranking out 333-horsepower. Want horsepower nirvana? There’s a short-wheelbase S8 Plus with a thundering 605-horsepower version of the big 4.0 V8, though that’s simply a speeding ticket waiting to happen!
Trust me, no one will be disappointed with the performance of the supercharged V6. It’s super-quiet and refined and has no shortage of muscle to punch the lightweight A8 off the line, or surge past slower traffic on a two-lane back road. Part of its eagerness is down to the A8’s magical eight-speed Tiptronic transmission. It responds instantly to calls for kickdown, and shifts from one gear to the next with all the smoothness of hot molasses flowing from a jar.
Through the curves, the car’s standard all-wheel drive quattro setup, shuffles drive between each wheel to ensure optimal traction. The feeling for the driver is one of sublime poise and balance with real agility. It’s arguably the sportiest-feeling big sedan in its class.
While the ride is a little on the firm side for a car so focused on delivering sublime comfort for those inside, it’s in keeping with the car’s driver-focused image. Yet who wants to drive when you can luxuriate in the car’s amazing rear seats? The A8L is five inches longer than a standard-wheelbase S8, with those extra inches going into the back to provide true stretch-out space.
I know, the analogy with biz-jets is a bit over-used, but that’s exactly what sitting in the back of an A8L feels like. Power-up the massage function, recline the rear backrest, crank-up the 630-watt Bose surround sound system, and chill.
This being the flagship of the Audi range, you’d expect quality. But the A8 goes above and beyond, with its glove-soft diamond-stitched leather, a gorgeous mix of satin-and-varnished timber, Alcantara headliner and brushed metal detailing. The base price of a 2017 model year A8L 3.0T is $82,500, but nicely-loaded you’ll pay closer to $93,000. Though I expect that with an all-new A8 landing at dealers towards the end of the year, there’ll be good deals to be had on leftovers.
For more information about the latest luxury-performance vehicles from Audi, please visit https://www.audiusa.com/models#
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Reigning Formula One World Champion Nico Rosberg will be among the motor racing stars at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed (June 29 – July 2). He will be roaring up the famous Goodwood Hill on Sunday July 2 in his 2014 Mercedes F1 W05 Hybrid, while Russian Grand Prix winner Valtteri Bottas will take …
Yamaha has announced new colourschemes will be available for the Yamaha YZF-R3 and the MT-03 from August 2017.
The Yamaha YZF-R3 was introduced in 2015, with a 321cc twin-cylinder engine. Putting out 42hp, it’s suitable for those on an A2 motorcycle licence (those aged 19 and above) in the UK. And for anyone who fancies a smaller supersports bike with a 112mph top speed, a 167kg weight and a 780mm seat height. And it also comes with ABS, for a recommended price of £5,199.
And this year it’ll come in two colour options. You’ll get the choice of the Yamaha Race Blu and Power Black. Both of which will help to match the larger R6, which is also available in Race Blue, and Tech Black. The new paint is certainly an improvement on the current Race Blu design, and as much as we like matt paint, the current Matt Grey doesn’t necessarily do the current bike any favours.
There are also new colours for the Yamaha MT-03. The naked commuter version of the same Yamaha engine and chassis also keeps the same seat height. But gives you a more upright riding position. Currently it’s available in Race Blu and Midnight Black. But from August, you’ll get the choice of the existing Black paint scheme, plus the new Yamaha Blue and Night Fluo options.
Again, updating the paint scheme means that the smaller A2-friendly bike keeps up to date with the larger motorcycles in the range – in this case the MT-07. And the MT-03 is a fairly practical choice for those wanting something to commute with, or go for short blasts, coming in at £4899.
Pretty simple so far. Although we did spot the R3 images are labelled as 2017, and the MT-03 photos are apparently the 2018 model.
The new colours for the Yamaha YZF-R3 definitely get a thumbs up. And you can’t go too far wrong with plain black for the naked Yamaha MT-03. The Night Fluo always looks better with someone on it. But I really can’t decide if I like the Race Blue or not. The wheels are fine, but the tank and frame combo, plus the sides of the radiator? It’s just a couple of anodised bar ends away from an early-90s streetfighter. Which isn’t always a bad thing, I guess.
It’ll be interested to get some of your opinions in the comments. Especially as I left the 19-23 A2 age group quite a while ago.
2017 Yamaha YZF-R3 New Colours Gallery:
2018 Yamaha MT-03 New Colours Gallery
Project 8 delivers Supercar performance and dynamics in a four-door sedan. It’s the most powerful road legal Jaguar in history.
Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) today announced it will produce the most powerful, agile and extreme performance Jaguar ever – the new Jaguar XE SV Project 8. Targeted for sale in 2018, the XE SV Project 8 will be the second Collectors’ Edition vehicle from SVO, following the successful launch of Jaguar F-TYPE Project 7 in 2014.
The heart of the all-wheel drive XE SV Project 8 will be anewly tuned version of Jaguar Land Rover’s supercharged 5.0-liter V8, producing an estimated 600PS. No more than 300 cars, all hand-assembled at SVO’s Technical Center in Coventry, will be created for sale worldwide.
John Edwards, Managing Director of Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations said: “The time is right for SVO to produce the most extreme performance road car in the history of Jaguar. The SVO team is possessed by the spirit of performance and committed to creating the most thrilling driving experience imaginable.”
“Our clients worldwide were thrilled by the F-TYPE Project 7. The new XE SV Project 8 takes aerodynamics and performance engineering to another level – it’s conceived for enthusiasts and the most discerning collectors. The price for such an extreme performance sports car available in strictly limited numbers will reflect that.”
Additional details of the Jaguar XE SV Project 8 will be revealed June 28, 2017, ahead of its world dynamic debut at Goodwood Festival of Speed on June 30. Check out the Project 8 undergoing testing at the grueling Nürburgring Nordschleife,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaueNhjL9Ng&feature=youtu.be
For more information about the latest performance-luxury vehicles from Jaguar, please visit http://www.jaguarusa.com/all-models/xe/index.html
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