NEW FOR 2009:

– Optional Leather Package 1 for A8 4.2

For 2009, the Audi A8 and its more powerful S8 sibling are unchanged, save for the addition of a new optional Leather Package that adds stitched leather to the centre console and door armrests, standard on other models, to the A8 4.2 model.

The line-up comes with a choice of three engines: a 4.2-litre V8 in the A8 or long-wheelbase A8L; a 6.0-litre 12-cylinder in W configuration in the A8L long-wheelbase only; and a 5.2-litre V10 in the S8. All use a six-speed automatic with manual shift mode and Quattro all-wheel drive; the system uses a torque-sensing centre differential that also has 40/60 front/rear bias on the S8.

Features on the A8 4.2 include 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic dual-zone climate control, speed-sensitive steering, adaptive air suspension, heated power-folding auto-dimming mirrors with reverse tip-down and LED puddle lights, heated washer nozzles, power sunroof, adaptive self-levelling bi-xenon headlamps with washers, front and rear fog lights, heated leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel with power tilt and telescopic column, auto up/down on all windows, cruise control, keyless entry and ignition, power rear sunshade, manual side sunshades, 16-way heated leather seats with four-position memory, heated rear seats, power door closers, genuine wood inlays, tool kit, power trunk closure, auto-dimming rearview mirror, garage door opener, advanced Multi Media Interface, six-CD changer, Bose Surround Sound system, Sirius satellite radio, driver information centre with eight-colour LCD screen, anti-theft alarm, navigation system, rearview camera, front and rear acoustic parking warning system, rain-sensing wipers, driver and front passenger knee airbags, and rear seat side airbags.

The A8L 4.2 adds illuminated rear vanity mirrors, and leather-covered centre console and door armrests.

The A8L W12 adds 19-inch alloy wheels, side door laminated acoustic security glass, wood and leather steering wheel with shift paddles, rear-seat climate control operation unit, power rear door sunshades, ventilated and massaging front seats, four-seating configuration with two independent rear power seats, Alcantara headliner, colour-contrasting seat stitching and piping, rear-seat DVD system, lower dashboard, glove-box and door leather trim, and ski sack.

The S8 builds on the A8 4.2 and adds 20-inch alloy wheels, sport adaptive air suspension, brushed aluminum mirrors, leather sport steering wheel with aluminum shift paddles, driver’s seat thigh extender, and Alcantara headliner.

Depending on the model, available options include a tire pressure monitoring system, sport suspension, a sunroof that uses solar power to run the cooling fan, adaptive cruise control, massaging seats, Bang & Olufsen sound system, iPod interface, lane departure warning, and a rear-seat refrigerator capable of making ice.

As Audi’s flagship sedan, the A8 is sold both as a driver’s car, especially in the sportier S8 edition, and as a vehicle that can be used as a chauffeured car or limousine, with much of the opulence reserved for rear-seat passengers. Either way, it’s fast, extremely luxurious, and correspondingly expensive.

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