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Audi A8

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  • The Wall Street Journal recently published a story about automobile safety, testing various makes and models using a combination of factors, including the results of government crash tests, the cars' active and passive safety features and vehicle weight. Although not all vehicles were included in the rankings, of all the SEDANS that were tested, the Audi A8 came out No. 1 - pretty impressive!

    The top rated vehicle of all types? Thanks to its massive weight and the basic laws of physics, the GMC/Chevrolet Suburban topped the list. However, the Audi beat out a number of larger and heavier "truck-based" vehicles - most of them in fact - which is somewhat surprising to me considering the A8's mostly aluminum exterior.
  • rollierollie Posts: 337
    Regarding post #43:

    As I recall, their test is very controversial because they developed their own ranking criteria which is HEAVILY slanted towards the weight of a vehicle regardless of design. The A8 is a safe car but it is also a heavy car even with the aluminum body. The WSJ rating criteria placed a lot of SUVs near the top rankings despite the fact that these things can't maneuver, roll-over if you have to maneuver, are worse than cars in collisions with stationary objects, can't accelerate their way out of trouble spots, etc. I personally wouldn't put much stock in the WSJ ratings. I'm sure there are more established organizations out there doing actual tests that can provide real data on the A8 (FIA NCAP would be a guess).

    -rdo
    russell.ollie@erols.com
  • In the real world, with most crashes involving one vehicle smashing into another, relative weight DOES make a big difference. If safety was the one and only thing that mattered, I'd definitely be driving a Suburban, or similar sized vehicle. If I absolutely required the utmost in safety from a sedan, I'd get the A8. Quattro traction, air bags galore, a space-age frame IN ADDITION TO relatively high vehicle weight.
  • rollierollie Posts: 337
    Regarding post #45:

    All things being equal, yes more weight is better (simple conservation of momentum shows who has the energy management advantage here). However, in the real world all things aren't equal. There are simply too many heavy vehicles that are heavy because they are purpose built (most of which will transmit crash energy throughout the whole vehicle including the passenger cabin), not because of the weight of the safety innovations that went into the design. The Suburban is a good example. It would fare well more often than not because of the combined effects of it's weight and height. If the Suburban was the exact same vehicle with the ride height of an average car it would change the equation significantly. Would you still want to be T-boned in a Suburban in this scenario? My point is that there is a significant difference between a vehicle engineered for safety that happens to be heavy vs. a vehicle that is simply heavy. If I'm in a vehicle and it's the front of my vehicle striking another car then perhaps a Suburban is a good choice in many scenarios. On the other hand, if I'm being struck by a vehicle, I would much rather be in a vehicle with substantial weight that was designed to manage the energy of a crash in a fashion that protects the occupants. In the WSJ weightings, there is not enough distinction drawn between a 4000 lb A8 or a 4000 lb poorly designed SUV because of the emphasis on weight.

    -rdo
    russell.ollie@erols.com
  • I didn't save the article, but I do remember that the A8 WAS ranked higher than ALMOST ALL trucks and SUV's, including many with a HIGHER RIDE HEIGHT and MORE WEIGHT. Therefore, the formula for determining the rankings must have drawn a distinction between vehicles that are merely heavy and those that are in your words "designed to to manage the energy of a crash in a fashion that protects the occupants."

    You also said that "If the Suburban was the exact same vehicle with the ride height of an average car it would change the equation significantly." But the whole point of the article was to assess the real world safety of various vehicles by taking into account their ACTUAL ride height and vehicle weight -- the way they are built without changing any equations -- IN ADDITION TO the other usual safety factors, including government crash tests. As you said, the Suburban "...would
    fare well more often than not because of the
    combined effects of it's weight and height" ... PLUS it's seat belts, air bags, heavy frame, etc. But if it collides head on with a loaded dump truck, I'll bet on the dump truck!

    (This is my last post on this - we have drifted off topic, as my original point was that the A8 was the top rated SEDAN.)
  • My salesman told me the A8 was the only Luxury Sedan to get a 5 star (the highest available) NHTSA safety rating for both passenger and drive positions. I checked the DOT web site and sure enough it was true, which speaks well for the A8, however ..... the only other European luxury/performance manufacturer listed was Mecedes and the only models I could find listed were the C230 and the ML. Hardly equal vehicles as far as this type of comparison goes. The A8 was only rated for front impact as well, no information was available for side impact. I guess Audi didn't want to sacrifice two cars for the test(s).
  • The point is that the A8 can maneuver and accelerate its way out of trouble while also providing the safety benefits of a heavier vehicle. Sounds like a great combination to me.
  • I agree. My previous vehicle was a '99 Chevy Tahoe LT 4x4. Now I drive a '97 A8.
  • I and my family have driven SUV's for the past 9 years primarily for safety. How do I justify buying a 2000 A8? Because your probability of getting hurt is equal to the probability of being in a crash multiplied by the probability of injury resulting from the crash. All of these crash tests and articles only deal with the second of these two probabilities, and enough's been posted on this point. In my view, the probability of getting in a crash with an A8 is orders of magnitude less than being in a crash with an SUV -- assuming an identical driver and speeds. Due to its superior handling and lower center of gravity, it is obvious that an A8 will be far less likely to rollover or leave the pavement. Emergency responsiveness will allow for on-pavement avoidance maneuvers that would be impossible in an SUV when a potential crash with another vehicle is imminent. The fact that the A8 also excels in occupant protection, i.e. the second probability, is just icing on the cake.
  • I and my family have driven SUV's for the past 9 years primarily for safety. How do I justify buying a 2000 A8? Because your probability of getting hurt is equal to the probability of being in a crash multiplied by the probability of injury resulting from the crash. All of these crash tests and articles only deal with the second of these two probabilities, and enough's been posted on this point. In my view, the probability of getting in a crash with an A8 is orders of magnitude less than being in a crash with an SUV -- assuming an identical driver and speeds. Due to its superior handling and lower center of gravity, it is obvious that an A8 will be far less likely to rollover or leave the pavement. Emergency responsiveness will allow for on-pavement avoidance maneuvers that would be impossible in an SUV when a potential crash with another vehicle is imminent. The fact that the A8 also excels in occupant protection, i.e. the second probability, is just icing on the cake.
  • Just bought a new A-8 and find it to be quite a car. Yes it is tight for rear passengers, but the other major C&D criticism of loud tires I find to be not the case with 17" wheels and Goodyear Eagles. Only major negatives to date are the placement of the armrests (too far back) making it difficult to easily access the compartments in the armrests, and Audi's unexplained inability to tell me what part number I can order to get a phone carriage for a cordless phone (pictured in the owners manual on page 169). Neither the dealer, Auditalk, or Audi client services seems to be able to explain how the carriage is pictured in the owners manual but they no nothing of its existence. Any other owners have this experience?
    I got the car without the stability control, but find that it corners well at high speeds on ramps, and does not exhibit any noticeable roll.
    I chose the A-8 over the MB E-430 4matic, primarily because I would have to wait until April for delivery, and did not want to go through a Maine winter without 4WD. I did get the winter comfort package(primarily for the ski bag), and the Xenon lights, but did not opt for the Nav system as most of them do not have very good software for Maine. I also own an Infinity Qx4, but find the Audi to have more grip and control on slick surfaces. I particularly like the Tiptronic feature, as it is quite helpful in heavy snow and ice, and in dry conditions its nice to be able to shift at the high end of the tach once in awhile!
  • Concerning the phone cradle, to my knowledge, Audi only offers one cell phone. It fits in the storage well under the arm rest (under, not in) and is only compatible with analog cell service. All A8's come prewired for this phone. Apparently Mercedes is offering a dealer installed digital cell phone (or possibly dual band?) now but since almost all the different digital carriers use different technologies I suspect you would have to sign up with a specific carrier (I believe it is Bell Atlantic my this area, No. VA). I was told this by the person who handles the dealer installed phones where I bought my A8. The dealer handles both MB and Audi, as well as Land Rover and Porsche.
    There are cradles available from third party vendors for specific brands/models of cell phones which may be what was pictured in your owners manual. Maybe it's something available in Europe or the pictures may have been taken in some Audi execs car that had an aftermarket phone installed. In either case I don't know why Audi would publish pictures (in a US manual or otherwise) of features they don't offer in that market.
  • I am glad that the only major problem with an Audi
    is the the phone.
    Audi is the latin (roman latin) word for the german word "Horch". Horch was the original car company later named Audi.
    Both words mean "listen" in english.
    Very interesting isn't it?
  • Hmmm... I wonder what the words mean in German and Latin. (sorry, couldn't resist).
  • The phone pictured on pg. 169 of the A-8 owners model is not a picture taken in an Audi execs car. It is a drawing showing a Nokia cordless phone in a carriage that has the four Audi rings stamped on it. The cordless carriage is attached to the normal corded phone carriage which "pops out" of the passenger armrest. Audi US has told me that they will try to get a part number, but no one at Audi in the US seems to know anything about it, all of them trying to talk me into getting the $465 corded phone option (which I find worthless as the phone cannot be removed from the car). MB has a cordless phone option, as does Lexus and every other luxury sedan. I find that Audi's lack of knowledge on their owners manual to be ridiculous considering we are talking a luxury vehicle in the $65K range. Corded phones are passe, and a company such as Audi who relies on breakthrough technology to sell cars, would be very deficient in this area if they can't come up with a part number.
    Sure, I could have a cell phone dealer install a cordless in the car using a different carriage, but this would render the "pop up" feature in the armrest useless. They must have the cordless carriage somewhere, as someone had to draw the picture!
  • Greetings all. Are there any A8 owners that have taken their A8's to mileages in the 100,000 plus range, the higher the better? I am presently considering purchasing a used A8 that is in immaculate condition with a mileage of approximately 60,000 miles, mostly very long distances across the U.S. and Canada. What could I reasonably expect by way of problems/repair expenditures over the next 140,000 miles enroute to 200,000 miles. Any other comments you might have in this regard will be appreciated. Thanks, Cautious and hopefully Prudent.
  • My dealer for my 2000 A8 here in Montana was similarly unsuccessful in trying to get the nokia cradle as pictured in the manual. I bought the corded phone which works great. You may also note that the 3 button garage/gate opener pictured in the manual is similarly unavailable for the A8 but is available for the A6. However, driving is why I bought this car and after 5,000 miles, I am still excited every time I get behind the wheel. The phone annoyance is just extraneous. No need to see the dealer either except for minor adjustments to the headlight aiming and trip computer calculation. I don't think I'd be this fortunate with a Mercedes and I'll gladly take mechanical reliability over frilly features any day.
  • First, thanks to all of you who have posted on this site. Your comments made me realize that the A8 was in my price range assuming I can get the dealer to discount. I am having an extremely difficult time deciding between the A8 and the E-430 4-matic, both of which are available in my area. Would really appreciate any comments on the A8, esp. handling in snow vs. the mercedes, any mechanical bugs, service stories, etc. Although the A8 is clearly more luxurious, there are features I like on the E-430 4-matic. The phone is actually a big deal as I will need two wireless services if I want to use the phone cradle in the A8. (Anyone overcome this?) The Audi dealer is saying you can install any Motorola phone, including a cordless with voice recognition in the A8. Mercedes is offering Motorola digital star-tac that is voice-interactive. Also, does anyone know if there is an after-market part to expand the cupholder to hold bottles? How about 2 cupholders in the front seat? The A8 I drove had the nav system and only had one cupholder in front. What is the story on no home-link garage door opener? Dealer claimed it wouldn't work through the double-insulated glass, but every other luxury car has it. Yeah these may seem petty, but I commute 75 miles to work each day -- drinking my java and making business calls the entire way. What do people think about the nav system -- it doesn't seem as sophisticated as Mercedes (which is supposed to be going interactive Q1 00 to report traffic conditions.)
  • I have not driven the mercedes 4matic and would not consider it since there is not a mercedes dealer in my area. Anecdotally I have heard that mercedes tend to have a number of mechanical problems that require them to be in the shop quite a bit --- my A8 has been near mechanically perfect even with all the techno features. I have had my A8 in all kinds of ice and snow conditions and it has performed flawlessly. I went and got Q-rated michelin pilot alpins for the winter but unless you're 70% on ice and snow, I wouldn't bother, the eagle ls all seasons that come with the car will probably perform fine. I couldn't ask for a better handling car and its hard for me to imagine that the mercedes handles as well. I'm sure it doesn't have the motorcycle type acceleration that the A8 has with the 310 HP, 40 valve V8 -- for me this is critical since 80% of my driving is on 2 lane roads where passing time is a critical factor. On the phone -- I now have a portable and the attached motorola in the car. I like the motorola since reception is orders of magnitude better than my nokia handheld due to the external antenna and 3 waat booster. I have found that the handsfree speaker system does not sound intimate enough for callers on the other end so I pick up the handset frequently. I'm not sure if you pick up the handset on the mercedes system that you still have the antenna waatage boost. My regular garage door opener works inside the A8. I believe the insulated glass which provided the transmission problem previously has been deleted in the 2000 A8. My dealer does not know why the homelink is absent in the A8 and he sells alot of them. This was also an issue laste year. If you are into driving, the nav system in the A8 is the only way to go. You don't have to take your eyes off the road to see what's happening. It's not just me that feels this way on the nav system but also every automotive reviewer I've read. I find it works well although I haven't been to any urban areas yet to see how accurate the cd is. I don't have traffic so traffic condition reporting is not important. On cupholders I put one of those 16 oz stainless steel nissan type coffee cups in the holder and it works and looks fine. If you're commuting you could probably use the cupholders in the back also and reach them fine. You can't fit big bottles in either location so you're probably stuck here. Good luck on your analysis and let us know what you decide.
  • I was wondering can you get the S8 through European Delivery.Also does anybody have info on how the A8 rides and is it a better value then the A6 4.2.
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