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A8Q test drive

Last Saturday I dropped by Pass & Weisz (local Audi dealer) on
the chance that the A8s would still be around. The FWD was out
front, looked very elegant. I mentioned to the salesman that a
test drive of the 4.2 Quattro would be rather nice. He showed
me their appointment book - totally booked out for the next 3-4
days, then it went back. However, at that point the current test
drive returned and the next one wasn't around, so the salesman
gave me the keys and effectively said "go have fifteen minutes
of fun" :-)

Wow, what a car. Big but very sleek design, and a wonder to drive
even compared to the S6. That V8 and exhaust produce wonderful
sounds and a great flow of power. It jumps of the line very fast
(quicker than the S6) and then just keeps surging forward with
almost imperceptible gear shifts. No big kick in the back like
the turbo engine, just constant acceleration. The steering is
very precise and responsive, handling is beautiful for such a
big car (lifting off hard in the middle of a tight highway onramp
had very little effect, and as soon as I got back on the throttle
the car just squatted down and went). The brakes are superb, very
similar feel to the A4 except not quite as highly boosted.
Not a rattle or noise anywhere. And the suspension for all its
high performance also completely soaks up bumps, ridges, potholes etc.
Maybe the aluminium construction helps here.

Didn't have time to play with all the gadgets. EVERYTHING in this
car seems to be electronically actuated eg. lumbar support, headrest,
seatbelt height....
Didn't really have time to play with the Tiptronic either. Not sure
that I would use it around town, the auto is so good. But on a
twisty mountain road I can see the Tiptronic being quite fun.

I haven't driven the main competition to the A8 but I can't imagine
anything beating it, at least as far as on the road performance is
concerned. So if you are in this market, rush out and order one now!

For me, it's too big with too many gadgets and no manual shift. And
too expensive.
But a wonderful car nevertheless.
I mean, I wouldn't refuse one if I won it in a raffle !!!

The nice thing is that some of its technology should eventually
flow through in the next A6/S6, especially the suspenion bits.

Chris Palmer (1995 S6 Wagon)                "Ashes to ashes,
Data General Corporation                     dust to dust,
Enterprise Solutions Engineering Division    If Lillee don't get yer,
chris_palmer@dg.com                          Thommo must!"