Both models are matched with a six-speed automatic transmission with the Tiptronic function, which allows the driver to manually select gears when desired. With the V8, the A8 can go from zero to 60 in only 5.9 seconds according to Audi, while the W12 can do the dash in 5.0 seconds.
All versions are matched with Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system, which transfers power from side to side as well as front to back, improving handling and all-weather capability. The Servotronic steering system adjusts assist and steering feel with vehicle speed, also for improved handling.
All A8 models get the Audi Adaptive Air Suspension, which automatically adjusts damping to road and driving conditions and levels the vehicle depending on load. The driver can also change the ground clearance or firmness as desired with four modes. With the available Sport package (and its larger 20-inch wheels) on the shorter-length A8, the suspension gets a switchable Sport setting with more aggressive damping.
The A8 comes with a full roster of safety features, including front and rear side air bags for outboard occupants, the Sideguard side-curtain air bag for outboard occupant head and chest protection, plus active front head restraints and knee air bags for front occupants. Air bag deployment is optimized with six different crash sensors. Stability control and anti-lock brakes with brake assist are also standard. A Driver Assistance Package is now available for 2008, and it alerts the driver to the presence of traffic in blind spots as well as when the vehicle is drifting out of the lane.
The A8 has distinctive LED lighting inside; it's appointed with Calcona leather upholstery and one of three different wood trims. Standard high-tech equipment on the A8 includes adaptive front lighting, an advanced parking system with rearview camera, a DVD-based navigation system, a 12-speaker Bose surround sound system with noise-reduction technology and CD changer, and rain-sensor wipers. The A8 L W12's standard features expand to an Advanced Key keyless entry system, four-zone climate control, power door and trunklid closers, electric side and rear sunshades, and a rear-seat entertainment system with twin 6.5-inch screens. Optional on both is an even more powerful, fully digital Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System, with 14 speakers, Acoustic Lens tweeters, and 1000 watts.
Special options on the A8 include a solar-cell sunroof that circulates fresh air while the car is parked, dual-paned security glass, power lumbar support for the rear seats, and rear climate control. W12 models can truly be optioned up to Bentley levels, with an available personal refrigerator, a full dashboard leather package, and huge 20-inch forged alloy wheels.
The related high-performance S8 model is powered by a Lamborghini-derived 5.2L V10 engine making 450-horsepower, also mated to a six-speed Tiptronic automatic and capable of reaching 60 mph in only five seconds. Besides a sportier outside appearance, the S8 gets a firmer suspension calibration and special aluminum and birch wood trim inside. New options for 2008 on the S8 include a heated steering wheel and door close assist.