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Audi A8 TDI, for the eco-minded mogul

10-Jul-2013 / 3:41 am
Kerala Updates: In the century since Diesel’s death, however, advancing technology has polished the engineer’s onetime sluggish and smoky power plant into a model citizen. It was this reality that motivated Audi to go all-in on diesel when it announced last fall that it would bring diesel power to its mid-and high-end sedans and crossovers in 2013.
The first of the new crop to arrive in North America is the A8 TDI, a fuel-sipping version of the company’s flagship. For refinement, power and efficiency, it is difficult to conceive of a luxury sedan to top it, with its combination of extravagant wood and leather appointments, 36mpg highway fuel-economy rating, 6.4-second zero-to-60mph acceleration and all-wheel-drive security. (Its natural foil, the Mercedes-Benz S350 BlueTec, feels woefully out of date – though that may be addressed in the S-Class’s redesign.)
Not long ago, such a combination of qualities would have been considered impossible. Today, it is just another modern miracle, like using an iPad to programme the DVR to record Game of Thrones while awaiting your delayed flight in the departure lounge.
Mercedes’ S-Class has long been the golden, if somewhat stodgy, standard among premium full-size sedans, with the BMW 7 Series fulfilling the role of the sporty alternative, while Audi’s A8 languished, overlooked for years. But Audi has quietly built Quattro-like traction in the prestige sedan market, thanks in part to differentiators like its proprietary all-wheel-drive system, but also to icy-cool styling and a generous spread of modern miracles like signature LED lighting, satellite photo navigation (a driver sees actual photographs of the preprogrammed destination) and civilised, powerful, fuel-saving diesel engines.
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