Its V6 petrol counterpart will be marked out as the first ever luxury saloon to reap the benefits of step-less continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The unique Audi multitronic transmission operates significantly more efficiently than conventional automatics, bringing major gains in performance, fuel economy and emissions and helping to create an exceptional new lead-in model for the A8 range.
The new A8 3.0 TDI quattro features the first of a new generation of Audi TDI engines. Unusually compact at just 440mm in length, the new turbocharged and twin-intercooled 24-valve unit employs common rail injection technology for the first time in an Audi V6 TDI. It develops 233PS at 4,000 rpm and an exceptional maximum torque figure of 450Nm from just 1,400rpm through to 3,250rpm.
This impressive output enables the A8 3.0 TDI to outperform all other comparable diesel-powered saloons, helped by an all-aluminium body shell that is some 50 per cent lighter than an equivalent steel body, and 60 per cent more rigid. An impressive 0-62mph time of 7.8 seconds and a maximum speed of 151mph are achievable without ruling out equally exceptional fuel economy of up to 31.7mpg.
The A8 3.0 TDI quattro sets a new standard as the first and only diesel car in the large luxury class to combine six-speed tiptronic transmission with permanent all-wheel drive, and also to outperform the tough EU4 exhaust emission limits that will apply from 2006.