Last Chance To Buy: Audi A8

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When is it going?

When is it going?

From May 2005 you will be able to order your six and eight cylinder Audi A8s with controversial single frame guppy grille first seen on the 12 -cylinder A8 L 6.0 litre back in 2004. All models with the V6 or V8 engines now have SE specification and extra equipment.

What's good about it?

What you have here is an understated luxury saloon that is built to the highest quality and with a magnificent range of engines. The recent upgrade in 2003 to the interior and exterior styling managed to refine the A8 still further. Buyers have a wide choice of engine options. There are three basic units starting with a 3.0 litre which drives the front wheels whereas at the top of the range there are four wheel drive (quattro) V8s and the ultimate high performance S8. The most interesting option is the 4.0 litre V8 turbodiesel which manages a creditable 30mpg overall combined with muscular performance.

What's bad about it?

For some it looks like a giant Audi A4 and that just isn't flash enough. Knob between the seats that controls all the stereo, sat nav and suspension settings amongst dozens of others via a dash mounted screen is not the most intuitive system to use. Residual values have been nowhere near the Mercedes S-Class.

How much?

What you find at the moment is that a lot of Audi dealers are running A8s as demonstrators and you can buy them with just a few thousand miles on the clock. Certainly through UK brokers it has been possible to save around £5000. At Auto Xcellence 01273 815972 they had a 2005 registered Diesel at £39,100.

Any snags?

Not really. Full history is needed and recently we have heard about a dealer fix for some malfunctioning Sat Nav systems. From 1999 there have only been a few recalls, one for an automatic transmission that locks up, premature wear of the steering balljoint and replacement of the driver?s airbag.

Fact file

Launched: 1994

Engine: 2.8, 3.0, 3.7, 4.2, 3.0TD, 4.0TD, 6.0W12

Performance: Top speed 155mph, 0-60 7.3 seconds

Economy: 24.1mpg

NCAP: n/a

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