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Audi A8 4.2 TDI

Diesel engines have traditionally not been associated with performance. And nor have they been known for their refinement. But things have changed, and diesel technology has caught up with the times.

autos Updated: Dec 05, 2012 13:36 IST
Ameya Dandekar
Diesel engines
Audi-A8-4-2-TDI

Diesel engines have traditionally not been associated with performance. And nor have they been known for their refinement. But things have changed, and diesel technology has caught up with the times. Off-late we have seen a good number of diesel cars doing very well on both these fronts. And the new Audi A8, with its 4.2-litre diesel engine, takes diesels into a whole different territory.

First up, its psychotic performance. A sub-10-second run to 100kph can be considered relatively quick. But the A8 manages to hit the three-figure mark in almost half the time, and this while maintaining a serene environment inside the cabin. What’s even more astonishing is the way it keeps gaining speed and hits the wrong side of 200kph on the speedo in quick time. The engine is also one of the smoothest diesels that we have ever seen. In fact, it can fool you into thinking it was a petrol, so easily you may soon see this motor in a Bentley. The eight-speed automatic gearbox plays its part too, shifting smoothly, and the famed Quattro system sends all the pulling power to all four wheels, giving the car great traction – this car will leave most sports cars running for cover.

What’s even better is that when you aren’t playing 'Speed Racer', the car feels absolutely relaxed and it's capable of punting around in the city like a ‘regular’ car. When the need to overtake arises, all the car needs is a gentle prod on the accelerator to cover ground. It is also very comfortable thanks to the air suspension, which can change character at the touch of a button. We found the ‘Dynamic’ mode best to keep the car level, and the ride flat, on broken roads. On curving roads, it maintains its poise and is quite enjoyable.

Since it's a luxury car, it comes loaded to the gills with equipment. There's four-zone climate control, swathes of leather, a refrigerator to keep drinks chilled, reclining rear seats with a massage function, paddle-shifters to change gears, a hard drive to store your music, and full LED headlamps.

There are, however, a few downsides too. First, it doesn’t look any different from the smaller 3.0-litre diesel car – only the badging on the boot lid tells it apart. Next, for all its luxury and build quality, it still doesn’t feel as solidly put-together as the Mercedes S-class. Then, there's the price – at Rs 1.01 crore it is nearly Rs 13 lakh more than the similarly well-equipped, smaller-engined car, which has more than enough performance for most conditions. But if you can afford the A8 4.2 TDI, we say go right ahead and get one.


BOX
Engine size 4.2 (D)
Price from Rs 1.01 crore
Power 350bhp
0-100kph 5.15sec
Top speed 250kph*
20-80kph in 3rd 4.30sec
*LIMITED