More than 90 per cent of the sophisticated 3.2-litre unit’s peak torque output of 330Nm (up from 300Nm in A8 3.0) is available from 2,400rpm through to 5,500rpm, ensuring impressive flexibility and performance figures that are far from ‘entry-level’. Helped by a body shell that is over 40 per cent lighter than the norm thanks to aluminium construction around the aluminium Audi Space Frame (ASF), the A8 3.2 FSI can reach 62mph from rest in 7.7 seconds and cruise at an electronically governed 155mph, where conditions allow.
Thanks to the unique combination of lightweight aluminium construction, fuel-sparing Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) and outstandingly efficient FSI direct petrol injection, fuel economy is virtually on a par with the outgoing A8 3.0 at 28.8mpg (combined), despite the considerable power and torque gains.
The new Audi FSI engines not only bring lower exhaust emissions and improved fuel economy, but also increased power and torque compared with equivalent, conventionally injected petrol engines. In contrast to most of these, the fuel charge is directly injected straight into the cylinders (not as fuel vapour via the conventional inlet manifold) using a high-pressure common rail injection system supplied by a single-piston injection pump.
To coincide with the range-wide adoption of the new Audi corporate look, the 10-model A8 line-up also recently benefited from an upgraded SE equipment specification as standard for V6 and V8 models and a new Sport pack available at extra cost.
Over and above the already lengthy list of A8 equipment, the new SE specification adds DVD-based satellite navigation, light and rain sensors, the Audi Advanced Key system (enabling keyless access and start-up) and voice control technology for vocal operation of radio, CD player, car telephone and navigation system. Additional aluminium interior trim, an enhanced ambient interior lighting system using LED technology and the latest Audi steering wheel design inspired by the single frame grille also add to the overall refinement of the widely acclaimed cabin.
Sport specification upgrades the wheels from 17-inch 7-spoke to 19-inch 12-spoke, and also adds sports seats, sport adaptive air suspension (20mm lower than the standard set-up in each mode), a sports steering wheel with tiptronic gear change paddles and Grey Birch facia inlays. The standard Valcona leather upholstery is also replaced by leather and Alcantara combination upholstery (full Valcona leather can be retained if required). The Sport option carries a premium of £2,500 for V6 models or £1,900 for V8 versions.Published 14 May 2005