[A8] Buying a '99 A8

C1UE at prodigy.net C1UE at prodigy.net
Thu Jul 13 19:25:34 EDT 2006

I have both a '99 A8 (2nd hand bought in 2002) and my 
latest '03 S8 (2nd hand bought in 2005).

A8 good points: 

1) highway gas mileage is frankly quite impressive - I 
get anywhere from 24 (long haul) to 22 (high speed).

2) other than the transmission (replaced in 2003, $50 
out of pocket due to warranty purchased at time of 
sale), reliability has been excellent. I'm having 
problems right now with a short causing all my presets 
to reset every time I start, but other than that and 
the transmission, I've had zero problems.

S8 good points:

1) Power - Bringing the car home from Florida, I was 
up to 160 in NM before I decided not to get crazy :)
Probably good for 5 or possibly 15 miles more.

2) Electronics - S8 is far superior in looks and ease 
of use with the driver console. Navigation system is a 
pain to use, but is useful. On-Star has had a use once 
in a while. Built in Moto cell phone is still useable 
and not ridiculously out of date. Built in 6 CD 
changer far more convenient than the A8 in-trunk.

3) Seats - the seats on this car are far superior in 
comfort. Multiple pads comprise the base vs. the 
single cushion to sit on for the A8.

4) MPG much worse - I get at best 21 on the highway 
and sometimes as low as 18. City it gets down to 13 
and I'm a bit of a coaster-type driver (A8 gets 17-19 
under similar circumstances).

5) Awesome light display - A8 was good in its time but 
the S8 has this fighter plane cockpit; majority of 
lights are red except for some speed/RPM indicators; 
reading lights are focussed so that passenger use is 
barely noticeable by driver, red light emanating from 
under rear view mirror is great for brief map checks 
without killing night vision. Probably 25% more 
lighted buttons to push :)

6) Car body - surprisingly, there is a significant 
difference between the A8 and S8. While both look very 
similar from the front or back, from above the S8 
actually tapers in (i.e. like a cup with the mouth 
facing forward) while the A8 is more square. Not sure 
what this does for aerodynamics but it looks way cool 
from my apartment.

7) Electronics - while light displays are cool and new 
stuff is useful, it seems many things are much noisier 
in the S8. CD changer grinds for like 15-30 seconds 
between CDs, but this might be due to age/misuse.

I've been very happy with both cars, but equally 
unhappy with the 3 out of the 4 Audi dealers in my 
area. 2 are completely criminal and worthless, 1 has 
mechanics who are either untrained or incompetent on 
A8s, and the last 1 is ok but friggin' expensive to 
use. Regular mechanics - I have found a few who can 
barely figure out the car, but problems like the 
electrical one above completely confound them.

But, I'm saving up for a 2nd hand RS6 or perhaps W in 
2008 or 2009...
--- Original Message ---
>Message: 1
>Date: Sat, 8 Jul 2006 01:25:27 -0700
>From: "David Giannandrea" 
<david.giannandrea at sbcglobal.net>
>Subject: [A8] re buying an A8
>To: <a8 at audifans.com>
>Message-ID: <014a01c6a268$126894a0$6405a8c0 at HP762N>
>Content-Type: text/plain;	charset="us-ascii"
>Regarding buying an A8, 97 - 2000.
>I have a 97, wish I had a 99 as my buddy has. I would 
stop at 99 as the 2000
>has a lot more weight and complexity. The 99 is the 
real driver's car.
>The 97 was improved in 98-99 with:
>	Improved Engine response
>	Improved Transmission (Tiptronic, better TCM 
>	Added outside dimming mirrors
>	Added intermittent windshield wiper control
>And if you buy a 99 you will still be under 4000 lbs 
(same weight as an A6.)
>And I really think that the transmission problems 
attributed to the A8 come
>from the lousy shifting program in the 97. I am 
almost always shifting
>manually to keep decent RPM. Audi actually had a fix 
where dealers would
>install a new TCM and shift valve for customers that 
complained about the
>shifting. I never new about it in time.

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