German Executive Express
by Joe LaMuraglia
Friday, March 16th – I was told that I’d be receiving an Audi A8 for this week’s review. To be honest, I’ve looking forward to it but was simply expecting a larger version of the A6. When the A8 arrived, a quick look in the driveway seemed to confirm my suspicions as the familiar Audi snout and subdued styling came into view. Only when I was signing the forms and looked at the details of my new ride did I come to realize that I was to be piloting one of Audi’s highest interpretations of what a luxury sedan should be – the A8 L Quattro.
The MSRP was the first hint at the true nature of the A8 in the driveway. I read ” $97,720 ” out loud and then used some expletives that I won’t repeat here. I read more detail and realized it has a $11,500 Audi quattro Exclusive Package as well as a $6,300 Bang & Olufsen Sound System! Expectations for the weekly ride to Nashville were set very, very high.
My new German friend didn’t disappoint. Once we got out of the traffic of Atlanta and past the insanity of Chattanooga, the highway opened up, the mountains loomed in the distance and the A8 settled in to its near triple digit run. I had a line of cars behind me that fell in line like chicks following their mother. Only the tricked out Subaru WRX Sti could keep up as I blew by cars up the steep mountain pass. It was almost too easy to reach autobahn speeds and I had to remind myself that Tennessee State Troopers wouldn’t “take too kindly” to my speed. Such a shame as a day of hauling tail in this A8L would be all the therapy I need.
I arrived in near record time feeling very important in this executive sedan. The stereo was amazing but my limited CD collection didn’t begin to do it justice. We’re off to do errands and buy something to test out this killer sound system. Perhaps something classical would be appropriate…..
Monday, March 19th – I wasn’t able to pick up any classical music but both Mariah and Justin took a turn on the Bang & Olufsen system and all I can say is daaaaaammn. If you love music, you must try this system out. It is hands down the best I’ve ever heard. The rest of the car is rather nice as well. We had friends over the other night and I took three guests for a quick spin around the block. Everyone commented on the comfort, size and overall elegance of the interior. While all the gadgets and sumptuous materials impressed, nobody could fathom spending 97 large on a vehicle whose exterior is so understated. Translation — we would all want people to know that our car payments were more than most people’s mortgage. The A8, even in the long wheelbase version, is for those who put a higher value on substance over style. Hold on, what does that say about us?
Thursday, March 22nd – The big Audi goes home tomorrow and while it is a gorgeous vehicle, I won’t miss it as much as some others. Don’t get me wrong, it is a superb vehicle but I am simply not the target market. Allow me to explain; when the A8L rolls up, people expect to see a well-dressed executive get out not a shorts and t-shirt wearing entrepreneur. To put it another way; I was just at a luxury hotel in Santa Monica, CA. A chauffer pulled up to pick up a well-heeled movie studio executive and the car of choice was the A8L. Enough said.
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