The Audi A8 is the largest 4-door sedan in Audi’s lineup and it competes with the likes of the Mercedes Benz S-Class and the BMW 7-Series. This means that the A8 is somewhat of a flagship when it comes to Audi cars in general and that the A8 is made for those who want to be driven as much as for those who like driving themselves.
Audi didn’t spare any technology or luxury features with the A8 which means that an A8 is usually packed to be bone. Cars such as these are huge, heavy, complex, and expensive to run, especially when the car reaches significant miles on the clock. Reliability-wise, the A8 can only be considered good if you take proper care of it.
This means that these can cost thousands of dollars in repair costs if you are not up to date with all necessary maintenance needs. The most common Audi A8 issues are associated with the electronics, the steering system, the suspension, the engine, and sometimes even the transmission.
It’s worth mentioning that many cars from this segment suffer from similar issues, especially those tied to non-engine electrics because these cars are incredibly complex. Either way, the A8 is a lovely car to travel in and if you do your due diligence and maintain it, it should be able to last a long time.
Audi A8 – Electrical issues
Electrical issues are a sore point for many luxury cars, especially those that have aged a decade or two. The A8 is a complex machine because it emphasizes all passengers and therefore offers so many features that it’s sometimes difficult to keep count. Issues tied with the MMI system, various micro switches, soft close doors, or the sunroof are a known gripe with older A8s.
Vehicle speed sensors can also fail and so can the sat-nav system. Start-stop system trouble is a given even on newer Audi A8 models and many owners tend to turn the start-stop system entirely. Finally, the battery is known to corrode or deplete itself sooner than in other Audi models because the A8 requires a lot of electricity to power all those features.
Audi A8 – Steering system issues
One of many reoccurring problems with A8 models from various generations are those associated with the power steering system. Some Audi A8 models were even part of a recall due to a leak on one of the hoses that connect the steering system. This hose starts to leak after a while and the car slowly starts losing power-assisted steering.
The good thing is that this can be noticed relatively easily because the A8 offers incredibly light steering which means that you can steer it with your little finger. If you sense the steering weight becoming inconsistent or that the steering wheel suddenly feels heavy, be sure to inspect the power steering system.
Audi A8 – Suspension issues
In order for the A8 to be as cushiony as it is, Audi had to equip it with an air suspension system and everyone knows that an air suspension system is delicate no matter which automaker. Audi usually does not experience all that many issues with the air suspension system, but the A8’s current system is really complex and if you don’t maintain it, it is going to break.
The latest A8 offers many amazing features such as raising the car up while going in and out of the car and cushioning speed bumps up to a certain speed, but all of these functions strain the air suspension system.
Audi A8 – Engine issues
The Audi A8 comes with a relatively expansive engine palette that includes both diesel and gasoline engines while also offering hybrid technology. The most serious Audi A8 engine issue is the one tied to the timing chain tensioner which can destroy an engine completely if not properly taken care of.
You also need to keep in mind that Audi’s large cars tend to drink a bit too much oil and that they can often even leak oil as well. Therefore, be sure to pressure test the entire oil system in order to make sure that there are no leaks anywhere in the system.
Audi A8 – Transmission issues
The A8 comes with Audi’s proprietary 8-speed Tiptronic gearbox that comes with a torque converter. The reason why the A8 uses a standard automatic as opposed to a dual-clutch is that the dual-clutch is not as refined nor smooth as the automatic is.
However, the automatic box sometimes suffers from an unwillingness to shift, slow shifts, issues with the solenoid, and even issues with the torque converter. Most of these are due to improper maintenance, so be sure to maintain your A8 as best as possible.
Is the Audi A8 an Audi flagship?
The Audi A8 certainly was an Audi flagship back in the day, but nowadays many people argue that the A8 is no longer superior to all other Audi models. Some say that the Audi Q8 is the new flagship Audi car while others deem cars like the e-tron GT or even the Audi RS7/RS6.
The reason why the A8 is not undisputed anymore is that it is not selling as well as it once did. SUVs are taking over and many people who used to buy large sedans are now willing to buy an SUV because they offer the same amount of space but much better utility and visibility.
Is the Audi A8 better than the Mercedes Benz S-Class?
The Mercedes Benz S-Class has always been the king of this segment because the A8 typically tries to catch up with the S-Class while the S-Class is the car setting all the standards. The A8 costs considerably less than the new S-Class and the reason why is because Audi wants to undercut the S-Class in order to attract more customers.
However, when it comes to which one of these two is better, there is no denying that the S-Class is.
How long can an Audi A8 last?
An Audi A8 should be able to last a few hundred thousand miles without needing major overhauls as the A8 is likely one of the longest-lasting Audi models to ever come out. There are instances in which these have crossed upwards of 500,000-miles and are still functioning like the day when they came out.