Luxury Wars 2011
Stuck in the snow last evening, my mind began to wander to all wheel drive, heated seats, and how nice some luxuries would have been while spinning tires. Luxury means status to car brands and sales are heating up. The 2011 A8 is what Audi hopes to be the new King, pardon, Prince of full size luxury car-dom.
Audi has decided the mood is right for a reintroduction of proper luxury and buyers are backing this claim. The brand looks to stay hot by riding expanding foreign markets and a growing US rebound. 2010 saw US Audi sales conquer 100,000 for the first time. 2011 indicates another record year as January sales increased 20% from 2010 (6,510 to 7,812).
Alongside Mercedes and BMW (among others) Audi aspires for media and auto dominance and this year’s holy Super Bowl ad time was well used on brands’ luxury models. Audi came strong but BMW countered with ads preaching clean diesel and flossing their American commitment. Commercial parodies aside, Audi believes they have a contender for top spot.
A closer look at performance luxury-
A8’s presence may scare off the common sportster, but go beyond skin deep. The body is big, at 202.2 inches long with a 117.8 wheelbase; however this is somewhat offset by its lighter aluminum chassis. A8 manages to be lighter than both Mercedes-Benz S550 and BMW 750i which, along with its all-wheel drive, allows for more responsive driving. Football fans would say it’s a combine freak; big body that can shift and respond with ease.
Powering A8 is a 4.2L engine running at 372 horses, smaller than BMW’s 7 series model and Mercedes’ S class champ, although A8 wins the mileage wars, at an EPA 21 mpg combined, compared to the Benz’ S550 (17 mpg) and BMW’s 750Li (16 mpg).
Combined these things translate to happy owners.
A8 takes control in terms of driver experience.
A sports car in a full sized body, Audi will win drivers with overall performance.
Another cause for jealousy lies in A8’s technical prowess. This shows especially with the new MMI touchpad designed for ease, no knobs or high risk look downs on the freeway. It’s technically proficient and simple which allows drivers to focus on driving.
With those stats Edmunds.com had to give the 2011 A8 its Technology Breakthrough Award which awards vehicles which ‘set the standard for intuitive, practical and affordable technology that enhances safety and convenience for drivers and passengers.’
The 2011 A8 is supposedly part of a new generation of luxury, consisting of drivers with cool and income. With an MSRP of $84,875, it’s spends like your father’s car but ultimately appeal will come from the vehicle itself as Audi successfully combines its brand of luxury with innovative auto technology.
King of luxury is subject to individuality. But Audi isn’t striving to be King with A8. The King grows old and stale. Audi would refer to 2011’s A8 as the Prince of luxury.