Audi A8 hybrid interior, dashboard & comfort
Plush materials, top-tier technology and acres of space make the Audi A8 TFSI e one of the most luxurious saloons around
The Audi A8’s entire reason for being is luxury: it’s got to fly the flag for the German brand’s technological prowess while also offering a level of sophistication and comfort that its typically VIP users will expect.
The leader in this department is the Mercedes S-Class – a serious rival for the Audi in plug-in hybrid S 560 e guise – but the A8 does the best job yet of getting close to that car’s superlative comfort and refinement. Travelling inside the A8 is a serene and fairly silent experience, especially sitting in the optional power-adjustable rear seats, but the Mercedes just pips it for outright ride quality.
The BMW 7 Series – the other main contender in this class – manages to be marginally more comfortable while being far more driver-focused. However, this won’t matter to many. The BMW is a match for the Audi in the interior stakes, too, and we prefer its infotainment system.
Audi A8 hybrid dashboard
Modern Audi interiors are slick, sculptural affairs. It’s a style that looks great in the A8 and everything is solidly put together as you’d expect, but you’ll have to really like shiny black piano-effect plastic – we found that while it looks good, it tends to attract fingerprints and dust.
There’s a distinct lack of buttons to play with, as a number of major functions are controlled by the lower touchscreen. The A8 does without the ergonomic infotainment controls of its Mercedes and BMW rivals, so it pays to be prepared to accept some smudges on your screens.
Equipment, options & accessories
As well as the choice of standard or long-wheelbase versions of the plug-in A8, both are offered with a choice of three trim levels: Sport, S line or Black Edition for the standard-wheelbase model, and Sport, S line or Vorsprung if you go for the long wheelbase. The short-wheelbase A8 60 TFSI e in Sport trim starts from just under £86,000; opting for the long wheelbase adds about £3,000 to the price tag.
As standard, Sport gets LED headlights, adaptive air suspension, 19-inch alloys, Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive, a powered tailgate, heated front ‘comfort contour’ seats plus the three-screen infotainment setup – comprising a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display, 10.1-inch central infotainment touchscreen and a smaller 8.6-inch screen reserved for the climate controls.
Upgrading to S line adds 20-inch alloy wheels, matrix LED headlights, S line styling, privacy glass with double glazing and leather upholstery for the seats. Meanwhile, Black Edition includes upgraded 20-inch alloy wheels and plenty of black exterior trim.
Only the long-wheelbase A8 L is available in Vorsprung trim, which gets you 21-inch alloy wheels, all-wheel steering, upgraded matrix LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof and the extended leather pack for the cabin.
There are also options specifically for rear-seat passengers, such as a pair of 10.1-inch touchscreens; these can be linked to users’ smartphones, allowing them to play content from video and audio streaming services. Other highlights on the options list include 23-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio, four-zone climate control, massaging seats and a refrigerator. Customers can also tweak their car’s styling further with the ‘chrome exterior package’ and ‘S line exterior package’.
There are also several additional driver assistance systems available, bundled into optional ‘Park’, ‘City’ and ‘Tour’ packages. The ‘Park’ package, for example, includes remote parking assistance, which can manoeuvre the five-metre-plus A8 into and out of parallel or bay parking spaces, even if the driver isn’t inside.
Infotainment, apps & sat nav
Audi’s latest MMI infotainment system works across three screens, including the brand’s excellent Virtual Cockpit digital -dial setup. A pair of central screens control most major functions, including smartphone connectivity, sat nav, climate control, car settings and driving modes.
Some may miss the ergonomic rotary dial of older Audi MMI systems (and current rivals), but overall the system is slick, offering superb resolution and responsiveness. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity are standard, too, while the myAudi app includes plug-in-hybrid-specific features, including pre-entry climate control settings and battery charging management.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe flagship Audi A8 60 TFSI e is a great showcase for how well suited plug-in hybrid power is to luxury limousines
- 2Range, MPG, CO2 & chargingThe Audi A8 TFSI e competes strongly with its closest rivals when it comes to fuel-efficiency, range and charging speed
- 3Running costs & insuranceIt's a relatively efficient plug-in hybrid, but the Audi A8 TFSI e is still an expensive car to buy, service and insure
- 4Performance, engine & driveIt’s easy to love the Audi A8 TFSI e's effortless performance and sublime refinement, especially when cruising around on electric power
- 5Interior, dashboard & comfort - currently readingPlush materials, top-tier technology and acres of space make the Audi A8 TFSI e one of the most luxurious saloons around
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityAs one of the largest cars in Audi’s range, the A8 TFSI e majors on space, if not ultimate versatility
- 7Reliability & safety ratingThe Audi A8 TFSI e is still too new for us to assess its long-term reliability, but it should be very safe