Audi introduced a longer version of its flagship sedan in spring 2000, and for the 2001 model year it stretches the basic warranty coverage for all of its models. The warranty increases by one year to four years/50,000 miles, including scheduled maintenance.
The Electronic Stabilization Program, a lateral skid-control system, is now standard instead of optional on the A8, which also gains standard steering-wheel controls for the audio system, telephone and Tiptronic automatic transmission.
Current models use a 4.2-liter V-8 engine with 310 horsepower, but later this model year, Audi will add a high-performance S8 model with a 360-hp version of the V-8.
The stretched body style is called the A8 L, and it is 5 inches longer than the regular A8 in both body and wheelbase at 118.5 and 203 inches, respectively. Most of the extra length shows up in the rear doors.
Most body and suspension parts and the skeletonlike frame for the A8 are made of aluminum, which Audi says makes this car 300 to 500 pounds lighter, stronger and more fuel efficient than rivals built mainly with steel.
The main difference inside the A8 L model is its rear legroom, nearly 3 inches greater than the base models, giving passengers limousinelike accommodations.
The standard leather upholstery comes in a selection of six colors, and two choices of wood inlays are available walnut or sycamore. The steering column has power tilt and telescoping features, and the power front windows have one-touch up and down operation.
An optional Premium comfort package includes heated front and rear seats, and a Warm Weather package features a solar sunroof that powers the ventilation system when the car is parked to cool the interior.
Under the Hood
The A8s 4.2-liter V-8 engine teams with a Porsche Tiptronic five-speed automatic transmission and Audis permanently engaged Quattro all-wheel-drive system. The transmission allows manual gear shifts through steering-wheel-mounted controls.
Audi packs eight airbags into the A8: two front airbags for the driver and front passenger, four door-mounted side-impact airbags for occupants of the outboard seating positions and two curtain-type devices that deploy along the side front and rear windows from the roof lining during a side collision.