2022 Audi A8L Price, Performance, Features, Technical Review and Road Test

The updated luxury flagship limo gets more chrome and new tech, but is it any more attractive now?

A flashy Audi is almost an oxymoron, even more so when it comes to the A8L, which is the brand’s flagship sedan and which has advocated subtlety throughout all its generations. However, now in 2022, where the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has upped its game inside and out, and the new BMW 7 Series has just undergone a series of sweeping design changes, Audi couldn’t just sit back and relax. This A8L is just an update and not a completely new model, but this time around it relies a lot more on chrome, its cutting-edge lighting and a bit more tech underneath to really wow you. But will that be enough?

2022 Audi A8L: Exterior Design Updates

On the outside, Audi has been bold with the use of chrome on the massive grille. Look closer, though, and the chrome studs on the grille take on a more rounded look, which is a different take on Audi’s usual treatment of sharpness and edginess. There’s more chrome under the grille, spanning the width of the chin and surrounding the air intakes, giving it better presence and a commanding front end. And how not to mention the headlights of an Audi – the redesigned adaptive LED units have enough technology to impress Nambi Narayanan. But then again, it had to be since it is an optional extra of Rs 10 lakh.

The front is loaded with chrome accents

Matrix “digital” headlights are not only fantastic in terms of lighting, they are also equipped with smart features. Each headlight has around 1.3 million micromirrors that break the light down into tiny pixels, and there’s also an ‘orientation light’, which essentially acts as a carpet of light in your lane that’s brighter and better lit. The lights also adjust the LEDs so that the lights detect oncoming traffic and adjust the beam so as not to blind drivers. Everything is superbly intelligent and perfectly integrated. And, of course, if you want to show off a bit, there are several dynamic visual coming home/leaving home hints that are sure to bring out some “ooohs” from your friends.

From the side, the dimensions are intact, so it gets a familiar silhouette with the distinctive, strong shoulder line. However, chrome strips have also been added here, running the length of the car. The 19-inch alloy wheels don’t look small, but their design is a little too simple and safe; something bolder would have given the A8 some much-needed flair.

OLED MATRIX taillights can change the details of the lights

At the rear, the updated A8L gets digital OLED taillights fitted with a proximity sensor, so if other road users approach within two meters of the rear of an A8 stationary, all OLED segments are activated automatically. And they also change their internal graphic pattern when switched to dynamic mode; pretty nifty stuff.

2022 Audi A8L: Interior and Feature Updates

Inside, it’s an Audi par excellence with a minimalist design. However, up front, thanks to Audi’s seamless interior design in its new range, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything that separates it from an A6. Yes, the panel of slim AC vents the engine opens up is unique to the A8, but the dual-screen setup, virtual cockpit digital dials, center console switchgear and overall layout seem be the same, which if you’re paying more than double the price, it’s kind of disappointing. That said, Audi offers a huge range of customization options that allow you to play around and create a specific style to suit your choice. This ensures that no two A8Ls are the same, and that’s important.

Personal customization can make it stand out

However, like all other luxury limos, the rear is where the A8L really shines. With a wheelbase over three meters long, space is abundant. But if you want more room to stretch out, opt for the relaxation pack which turns the boss’s seat (the seat behind the front passenger seat) into one of the most comfortable places to sit. With the press of a button (which, annoyingly, you have to hold down throughout the process), the front seat moves all the way forward, folds into the backrest for more space, tilts the screen rear entertainment area at an optimal angle and lowers the footrest as well. Make yourself comfortable here and it would take a bit of convincing to pull through.

Massage options are available not only in the seats, but also in a panel at the back of that front passenger seat, for the ‘boss’ to get a foot massage; a true luxury experience. There’s a tablet in the center console that acts as a control panel for everything from sun blinds, music and infotainment, cabin lights and more. The rear screens can also be connected to WiFi and stream Netflix, among other features.

Better seat in the car especially when you opt for the relaxation package

It’s the seat you’ll be buying the whole car for, so the experience should give you what you pay for; And that’s the case. Imagine reclining in the back seat, stretched out with your feet and back gently massaged, blinds cocooning you from the chaos outside, a 17-speaker Bang and Olufsen sound system (a 23-speaker setup is optional) playing soft jazz, mood lighting that bathes the cabin in purple hues, and if you opt for a mini-fridge behind the center armrest, even a chilled bottle of champagne. It’s quite the way home from work.

Audi A8L 2022: engine, gearbox and performance

After this description, it is safe to assume that the driver’s seat will rarely be used by the owner of this car. However, on the rare days when you feel like driving, you won’t really miss your driver. Under the long bonnet is the sole offering of a 3.0-litre V6 turbo petrol engine producing 340bhp and 500Nm mated to an 8-speed automatic gearbox. 0-62 mph is probably the most useless stat here for this car, but the fact that it takes just 5.7 seconds means the engine gets a serious boost. Hauling so many cars so fast is impressive, and behind the wheel you feel the thrust. It’s linear, but the gearbox is a tad too forgiving. In Dynamic the experience is a bit more aggressive, but at no point does the car shrink around you or feel nimble. It handles well thanks to the adaptive air suspension and optional rear-wheel steering, but understandably there isn’t much in the way of driver engagement. That said, rear-wheel steering is an option worth checking off; It makes a big difference in everyday driving and your private driver would appreciate it. What’s a little odd is the lack of ADAS functionality, especially since Audi offers it in other markets and the A8L is a CBU import.

The 3.0-liter V6 is creamy and packs a punch, too

Audi A8L 2022: driving comfort and handling

The A8L’s standard ride height on its air suspension (in conjunction with that long wheelbase) is just too low for our road conditions, and every speed bump needs to be patiently navigated. Yes, the ride height can be raised but the process is tedious. You have to go into the ‘Drive Mode’ selection screen on the touchscreen, as that’s where the function is, and there’s no physical shortcut button.

Comfort Plus mode for Predictive Active Suspension

That aside, the facelift added a new dimension to air suspension functionality. You now get an optional ‘Predictive Active Suspension’ package which, just like the headlights, comes at a price – Rs 15 lakh to be precise. In automatic mode, the predictive suspension scans the road using a camera and processes the image in real time, modifying the suspension accordingly. However, speed bumps are not taken into account, so this will not lift the car automatically; your driver will have to do this manually.

The active suspension can raise or lower the body up to 85 millimeters from its center position at all four corners in five tenths of a second. It’s quite fast, but as soon as the speed exceeds 40 km/h, the car goes down again, and you have to be careful of the road ahead.

A8L rides too low for Indian road conditions

It’s the A8L’s only ride quality retarder though, pun intended. In fact, a neat trick that comes with the predictive hang option is that once you open the door, the car automatically quickly gets up to help with exit and entry.

And then there’s the level of comfort, which is just amazing. The car stays flat and calm through changes in elevation or road camber, and high-speed stability is excellent. The adaptive suspension shields you from ripples and cracks in the road without feeling too floaty or stiff, and all the high-tech wizardry is worth the extra cost of this option.

Predictive air suspension is available on the Technology version

Audi A8L 2022: price and verdict

The updated A8L is available in two versions. A ‘Celebration Edition’ priced at Rs 1.29 crore (ex-showroom) which gets less kit, and comes with a five-seat layout, and the premium ‘Technology’ trim priced at Rs 1.57 crore, before we start specifying it goes up. Incidentally, the premium variant matches the price of the locally assembled S-Class despite being a CBU import.

The digital MATRIX LED lights on the Technology trim are packed with technology

So, did the updates actually update the A8L? Not hugely, but that’s fine. After all, it’s only a facelift and not a generational change, but it still had the basics in place, and that hasn’t changed. The backseat comfort is nearly flawless, you have all the features you would want there (the foot massager is something really unique), the ride is superb, the cabin construction is just stellar and the design, now thanks to the chrome treatment, has that typical big expensive car look. Sure, it might not have the cabin wow factor of the S-Class, and yes, there will even be those in that segment who would have liked a diesel engine, but other than that the A8L has plenty to display. What sets it apart is that it has its own identity – one of high technology and modernity – which was only reinforced after the facelift.

Also see

Presentation video of the Audi A8 L 2022

2022 Audi A8 L launched at Rs 1.29 crore in India

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