Our EIC has been tapped to co-write a “He Said, She Said” automotive column for UPTOWN Magazine with veteran auto industry journalist, Holly Reich. The funny part is that Holly, being something of a gearhead herself, seems to be covering the topics that men are interested in, while Sekou is covering more general impressions– we love the role reversal! Anyway, see if you agree. Their first review is out now in the Real Housewives of Atlanta issue of UPTOWN and below, as reprinted from uptownmagazine.com. And, if you haven’t already, please take a look at some of the pictures from the Simply Rides Audi A8 party, here.
Every valet who took the weighted, metal-tipped Audi A8 key fob from my hand used the same word to describe the car: “pretty.” It’s easy to see why. The smooth exterior lines of the A8 flow together almost seamlessly, creating a rounded shape that’s somehow both understated and bold. Push the key fob into its sheath in the center of the dashboard and suddenly the panel seems more apropos of an airplane cockpit: Red and white lights spark to life everywhere, gauges materialize and seem to hover in front of the instrument cluster, and the sexiest interior lighting system I’ve ever seen illuminates the cabin. Cons? The A8 might not be the most intuitive car to master. Even easy things, like turning off the radio or deleting the last destination from the nav, were elusive at first try. And since my machismo kept me from opening the owner’s manual in the glove box, I’m certain the A8 has even more fascinating capabilities that I didn’t discover. ––SékouWrites
The fourth-generation Audi A8 sedan pushes design and technology one step further. Starting from the polished exterior, the company’s luxurious icon is sexy, strong, and light. It’s a quick and responsive ride, personified by a nimble yet rigid aluminum frame (that weighs 40 percent less than a comparable steel frame) and a suspension that adjusts steering and accelerator for four different modes: dynamic, comfort, auto, or individual. Sit inside and you’ll understand why they call this a luxury liner. The A8 is lit both on the outside and inside with LED––those green light-emitting diodes that surround the cabin with an ambient glow that can be adjusted to three levels of mood lighting. They also bring a cozy living-room feeling that enhances the sense of space. I enjoyed the optional 19-speaker, 1400-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system, the 3-D navigation system, and settling into the business-class-level leather seats. What I never quite mastered—but will next time––was the touch pad. An industry first, the pad recognizes handwritten letters and numbers to decipher destinations, to scroll the radio, or to use as a pointer for the map. And just a stroke of Audi genius: The pad can be used with a spectrum of languages, including Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, and Korean. ––Holly Reich
POWER: Eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, 4.2 FSI V-8 direct injection engine, 372 horsepower (D3 A8 has 350hp), 0 to 62 in about 5.7 seconds
MPG: 17 city/27 hwy
WHIP APPEAL: 9 (out of 10). Not as bodacious as the smaller, sportier Audi R8, but much more sophisticated.
FAVE FEATURE: Seats. The A8’s butter-soft leather seats have an array of adjustment settings to conform to your ideal driving position and can also heat, cool, or massage your back as you commute.
AVAILABILITY: November 2010
KEY COMPETITORS: Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series
PRICE: From $78,050