By BRENWIN NAIDU
THE Audi A8 has enjoyed its fair share of appearances on the big screen. It has been made famous by featuring as the vehicle of choice in car chases and daring driving antics. When I first saw the previous generation Audi A8 in the film, Ronin, I was smitten: it was a sleek, elegant saloon – slightly menacing, it looked like a formiddable machine. Then the A8 starred along the suave, muscular Jason Statham in the Transporter 2.
It suited him perfectly, building on his image of a slick, skilled driver seen in the first Transporter, where his chariot of choice was the BMW 7-Series – which he used to evade the police, in one of his endeavours to transport his nefarious clients with “no questions”.
The second instalment of the film series was a lot more exciting, however, and I believe that it could have something to do with the car – which might have shadowed the star, just a little bit. Statham’s character comandeered the graceful A8 through many prickly situations, some stunts were unbelievable, but induced awe despite: like in the scene when he flips the car over, and uses the hook of a crane to remove the bomb placed on the undercarriage. Things got crazier in the Transporter 3, where he submerged his A8 in a lake – yet he still managed to start it up, and save the damsel in distress, once he fished the car from below the surface.
Those with the means to park an A8 in their garage would be advised to live out their Transporter fantasies through the television only: it would be a shame to destroy a motoring bearing such handsome looks – and a handsome price-tag to match. For 2011, three other engine choices were added to the A8 range, joining the 4,2-litre V8 petrol engined derivative, which was the only option available when the fourth-generation A8 hit the streets in July of last year.
Now, there is a V8 turbo-diesel, a V6 turbo-diesel, as well as a V6 supercharged petrol engine. The 3.0 TFSI, which uses a supercharger, produces 213 kilowatts and 420 Newton metres of torque. With its four-wheel drive quattro system, the 3.0 TFSI promises to take the A8 from 0-100km/h in 6,1 seconds.
Then there’s the 3.0 TDI, with 184 kilowatts and 550 Newton metres of torque. The 3.0 TDI features that stop-start system becoming more and more common in cars these days, which shuts off the engine when you’re stopped, then starts up again when you’re ready to move off.
According to Audi’s press release, this new V6 engine weighs 23 kilograms less than its predecessors – the weight loss being attributed to measures such as a lighter crankcase, and using aluminium rather than steel for bolts and water pipes. Finally, there’s the 4.2 TDI, bringing 258 kilowatts and 800 Newton metres of torque to the party. And yes, you read right – 800 Newton metres. This translates to a 0-100km/h time of 5.5 seconds. An eight-speed tiptronic transmission is employed across the range.
The Audi A8 is a stylish looking brute, with its bulky proportions giving it a serious presence. The front-end, in my opinion, is the best part of any Audi – they’re all so striking, from the sexy R8 supercar, even to the little A1. The A8 is no different, you see its face and you know it means business. It’s a luxury car, so naturally, you would expect a decent helping of standard features on the Audi A8’s spec sheet. On the list there’s stuff like electric front seats with heating, keyless entry, an electric sun-shade for the rear window, a Bose sound system, Audi’s MMI infotainment system and Climatronic four-zone climate control. If you’re crazy about your tunes, a Bang & Olufsen sound system with 19 speakers is also available.