Feature Listing: 2001 Audi A8L

This car has been sold – we hope to see the seller back again soon!

Update 11/7/2014 – the seller of this pristine A8L contacted us to let us know one of the three issues – the backordered O2 sensor from Audi – arrived and has been installed, correcting one of the very few flaws on this stunning car. Despite the $500 bill, the seller price has remained the same. Don’t you wish all sellers were like this one?

Earlier today I wrote up a brace of Audi S4s – undoubtedly, one of the best performance values going in classic German motoring today. However, if you move forward a generation, there’s a similar stunning value in the S4’s big brother – the Audi A8. Available in three configurations, the D2 chassis pioneered some new technology for Audi – the Aluminum Space Frame which stiffened the structure and kept weight down. The A8 was also completely new outside; while it’s easy to point towards it as looking like a big A4, the reality is the opposite – the Audi space frame concept car actually predated the B5 A4 chassis and the first iterations of the D2 were near exact copies of the show car. First available in front drive 3.7 V8 configuration and 4.2 quattro, the D2 A8 was initially offered only in short wheel base before 2000. Styling was revised in 2000, which also saw the U.S. introduction of both the sport-oriented S8 model (2001) and ultra-luxury oriented A8L. Equipped with special wheels and fully optioned out, these cars were anything but subtle – commanding serious presence on the road. But that weighty look didn’t necessarily translate to physical weight; despite the long wheel base and luxury bias, the A8L hit the scales only around a hundred pounds heavier than the C4 S4/S6. There were a few other minor details that separated the L from the regular A8 outside of the longer wheel base, too – a larger gas tank and upgraded brakes kept the performance in line with the normal A8. Coupled with the 40 valve V8 4.2 engine pumping 310 horsepower, this meant that the A8L was no slouch even though only equipped with the ZF-made 5-speed tiptronic. In a straight drag race, the A8L would actually give a stock C4 S4/S6 a run for its money. But a drag car the A8L was not; it’s about luxury motoring, and the A8L excels there in droves as well. Despite the impressive package, these cars are available for very little money today – and when they’re presented like this example, it’s a compelling opportunity to get into one of the prettiest German luxury cars ever made for only a fraction of the original purchase price:


Year: 2001
Model: A8L
Engine: 4.2 liter V8
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 98,000 mi
Price: $ 6,500

2001 Audi A8L AWD 98K mi. Pearlescent White Metallic/Tan

For those with the attention span of a goldfish: Reliable, clean, well-maintained, low-mile luxury with detailed records and shiny paint, $6500.

Longer version for enthusiasts that love autobahn-burning, luxo-beast Audis: Tons of eye appeal. Well-maintained with books and records in a binder with all receipts since my purchase at 58K miles, and some records from the previous owner. New timing belt, water pump, and seals 08/2014. New rear discs and pads 08/2014. Current synthetic oil change less than 500 miles ago. Yokahama mud/snow tires – great for winter driving – regularly rotated, 60-70% tread remaining. Even the motor-operated rear-window shade raises and retracts at the push of a button. This car was originally sold in Southern California and spent its life there until I brought it to Reno, NV in November, 2011. It’s had an easy life and most of my miles are highway.

A8L was a step above the standard A8, and not only a refined and powerful driving experience for the driver of Audi’s luxury flagship, but an equal passenger experience thanks to the extra 6 inches of rear leg room than the standard A8. With an all-aluminum, one-piece body and frame, the car weighs just 4200 lbs. And with a drag coefficient of just 0.29, it easily achieves the highway-rated 25mpg. (I’ve achieved 28.0 mpg roundtrip Reno to Las Vegas with cruise-control at 73mph.)

Audi aficionados already know, but the list of standard features on this model, which stickered at $75,000 when new, was unsurpassed in its day and includes:

310HP 4.2L V8
5-spd Tiptronic transmission with overdrive (no codes in the VAGcom scanner for those concerned)
Full-time Quattro all wheel drive
Optional 18″ alloy wheels
Dual, stainless steel exhaust with powder-coated tailpipe
4-wheel disc ABS, traction control, and electronic stability control
Navigation system
Full leather interior
8-way adjustable power/memory front seats – both
Heated seats – both front AND both rear passenger
Heated side-view mirrors
Power everything – windows, door locks, telescoping/tilt wheel, cruise control, fuel filler flap, trunk release
Home-link (garage door opener) built into the sun visor
Onboard mileage/trip computer
Bose AM/FM/CD/Cassette (now additionally equipped with i-Pod/MP3, and Sirius XM)
Power-tilt sun/moon roof
Remote keyless entry (both fobs included)
Headlights with automatic washers

So much more standard here: http://www.audiworld.com/model/a8/01/specs.shtml

Nowhere else will you find this kind of luxury – beautiful, and reliably maintained – for this price. Previous maintenance includes a complete re-spray of the front of the car by an Audi-authorized regional body and paint facility. Paint blending/feathering with the original paint is excellent – not visible even on a high-res camera.(Car was caught in a windstorm March, 2012 and severely pitted by wind-blown road sand) At the same time, I opted to replace many pitted frontal plastic parts including radiator, AC condenser, grill, fog lamps, headlights, windshield and trim pieces with new parts, topping it off with a full, clear frontal bra to protect the beautiful, shiny, new paint.

Repaired or replaced as regular or preventative maintenance:

11/11 – New 5-year Interstate battery
03/12 – New power steering hose, reservoir, and fluid
04/12 – New fan clutch
09/12 – New front outer CV/axle boots – both passenger and driver side
02/13 – Yokohama M/S tires with transferable lifetime spin-balance and repair warranty
02/13 – Alignment
08/13 – New cabin filter set, air filter, spark plugs; replaced combination switch-signal/hi-low beam stalk
08/14 – New timing belt, water pump (metal, not plastic impeller), rollers, thermostat, seals, lower radiator hose, right upper engine mount, rear brake discs and pad set.

Synthetic oil changes every 5k miles are routine and shown in the receipt binder so I did not list those.

There are 3 items on this car that I know need attention and hope to have compete by time of sale.

1) O2 sensor, front, bank 1, needs replacement (VAGcom code). My independent service facility tells me Audi-original sensors have been, and still are, on back-order from Audi of North America, nationwide. I’m waiting. Otherwise, it will be after-market sensor to pass smog. Update 11/7/2014 – Original Audi O2 sensor installed, correcting this problem.

2) Small 3-inch-long “press” into the sheet metal on front passenger fender. I parked too close to a steel railing – my own fault – and will have the dent professionally removed, though clear bra will now be missing from that one spot.

3) Interior, front passenger door handle does not engage the opening mechanism and cannot be opened from inside. My same independent facility has been trying to source new hasp/connector, but is NLA…not sure how I’m going to solve this one. However, opening the door for the passenger will make you always appear courteous, chivalrous, or both! My wife and daughter love it. Consider it a mixed blessing.

Anyway, paint looks great, interior is clean, car runs well, brakes work excellent with lots of life, same with tires. The original carpets are still clean – Audi rubber mats and after-market wool rugs (front and rear) are included. 2 key fobs, navigation CD library, cargo net, maintenance/record binder, and transferable tire warranty also included. No liens, clean/clear title in hand.

I am meticulous about my cars, and you will be buying a luxury gem at a great price with no needs from a middle-aged business man that spent way more than necessary to keep the car in top visual and mechanical condition.

$6500. Open to reasonable offers AFTER you’ve seen the car. Call 775-852-5367 hm or 916-730-4420 cell for more information, or for open discussion, and to make an appointment to see the car. You can contact me if you’re interested directly at insite94@earthlink.net.

Link to photos: http://s1293.photobucket.com/user/insite94insite94/library/

While there are plenty of A8s out there for sale, very few appear in the condition of this car. Aside from the solar roof, this car is fully optioned including the optional 18″ wheels and Pearlesant White Metallic paint – two of the few options that could be specified for this car. Condition is near flawless, and the honest description outlines not only the history but also the shortcomings – of which, frankly, there are few. Could you buy a more luxurious car in better condition than this one for less money? I don’t believe so, and when you match that with the looks of the D2 A8 it’s nearly enough to make me end my quest for the perfect S8. When I was looking for my current daily driver, I found a one owner car with all the records and a seller who not only took pride in the condition of his cars, but was meticulous in detail. But in all honesty, as nice as my Passat is it pales in comparison to the condition of this car. Kudos to the seller for a stunning condition, excellently represented car that is truly an incredible value. This A8L represents arguably the best overall value in the luxury market segment today.

-Carter

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29 Comments

  1. And again, this is how you present the car. No generic descriptions and gallon of Armor All needed. If it was S8 and twice as much while in same condition, it’d still be worth it.

  2. Z, thanks for your kind words about the presentation. I wrote the ad with “you” in mind. 146 photos in the link back up the words. I appreciate that you noticed.

  3. Description by the lister brings up an interesting point. O2 sensors not available, interior door parts NLA. Sort of makes you wonder about factory support and how many other things you’ll get caught out on.

  4. These three featured ads are the most enticing (to me) cars that have ever been posted up as featured listings, without a doubt. And yes if GCFSB was a forum I’d say “sticky this” so people can use it for a reference in the future. A beautiful ride with a top notch write up & photos. This is the kind of ad that makes a distant transaction possible (if not easier than going through nonsense Craigslist ads day after day of junk written by morons on their phones as they walk to the bus).

    Isn’t it crazy how all the cars we see each week (including 5-figure BMW & Benz & 6-figure Porsches) with garbage descriptions? Business idea for GCFSB – ad writing/consulting and photography advice package. Only half kidding.

    Good luck with sale…as they say!

  5. @Sean9c – excellent points. If I understand the seller is waiting for specific brand of O2 sensor, perhaps other OE suppliers or equivalent are available. Door parts – junk yard, parts cars, forums, ebay dismantelers.

    15 years ago when I had a not very well supported 10 yr old audi (Coupe Quattro) I ordered from overseas audi dealers a few times. At the time Wotan AG was the one, but they’re out of biz these days. At the time it was a crazy assortment of hard to get or unattainable parts at extremely good prices even with shipping. I ordered a hood, rear window, headlights, etc from them at crazy good prices. Has to be other similar places these days.

  6. Buzz, you deserve the kind word. I did quick research and I don’t if you buy a lot of parts online (I do), but Bosch 16132 O2 sensor is the upstream OE replacement for your Audi and can be had on Amazon for $65. I’ve bought a lot of Bosch sensors on Amazon and they were always prefect replacement with no issues. Good luck with sale. Z

  7. Sean9c, Ry, Z, Brad – Thanks for the suggestions, gentlemen. Good places to solve those issues. I’m on it.

    Ry, you make a great point about the CL-type ads in general. I always see the same things you do, and wrote this one so as not to be one of “those guys”. While I didn’t ask Carter (the GCFSB resident Audi expert) to write the ad, I DID ask for some editing help. Nonetheless, I agree, there is a business model there for ad-copy and photo-composition services for people that would like such services.

  8. All;

    034 Motorsports is also a good source for all parts Audi; they offer both OEM pieces and replacement options and upgrades and are a great resource for knowledge on the inline-5, V8 and more recent motors. Audi in fact turned to them to run their TT race car program in the States – an impressive nod, and they’ve won the Eurotuner challenge several times in different cars. They’re good folks who are enthusiasts, too – for what it’s worth!

  9. Thanks, Carter!

  10. One of three cars on my wish list is a 740il of the same vintage as this A8. I have three children (12, 8, and 7 months) and believe that an extended wheelbase German sedan would be a far superior alternative to the minivan/SUV plague that ails this country. I had thought about the A8 or Mercedes S. But I ruled those two out because 1) I just love the look of the 740 and 2) my research seems to indicate that the maintenance and repairs on the 740 would be less in terms of incidents and cost.

    But I can not get this car out of my head. For the past week I’ve been going over this one in my head. That it has 100k miles doesn’t matter all that much, given the extensive care it has been given. And then there’s the price. $6500 and open to offers? So, could this be had for $6000? $5500? Are you kidding me? A comparable E38 740il would run at least a few thousand more. And I could sell the piece of crap sitting in my garage for $3000 easy. So we’re down to a measly difference of only a few thousand dollars at most.

    If I lived near Reno, I’d be checking this out in person and probably driving it home. That I live 1500 miles away, I’m still tempted to make the call. Somebody enlighten me…is this a fantastic car for the money, or are these 4D A8s a maintenance nightmare?

  11. @atnorman – I have owned Audis & BMWs from that era and don’t think one is a lot different than the other in terms of service & upkeep. Either way you have a 15 year old high tech flagship. Depreciation is similar (and drastic) on big Benz, Audi, & BMW sedans – as you allude to, and I don’t think it’s completely without reason why that’s so.

    That said, I think this particular A8 looks fantastic…but no one will get thrifty operating costs out of any 10-15 year old vehicle that was close to $100k new, IMHO.

  12. Ry, thanks for the input. I don’t expect a thrifty maintenance experience from these old flagships by any means. But I’m bored as hell with Toyotas. I’ve got one with 180k miles on it, 14 years old, and other than very normal stuff (brakes once, struts once, plugs once, belts and fluids), the only thing I’ve ever had to repair or replace was an O2 sensor. It’s still on the original clutch for crying out loud. But the intensely reliable ride is also intensely boring. In looking at a 740 or A8, I expect to have to put more into it. All I would hope to avoid is repair costs that get up into new car payment territory. And from what I’ve read, if you do your research, get a good PPI, and get a good one that has been properly cared for, the ensuing maintenance and repairs aren’t that bad. All I’m concerned about here is whether or not an A8 is any worse than the 740. So thanks for your input based on experience. That helps. I’d be interested in hearing from others.

  13. atnorman, I recently bought an Audi from across country and had it trucked to me — or, I should say, trucked straight to 2bennett. I say go for it. Have the seller take it to 2bennett for you, (it’s no that far, he seems nice, and he can take the amtrak home to Reno from Davis) have them comb through it, and then fly to Sacto and drive it home after a few weeks. No guts no glory.

  14. Brad / atnorman – The rational thought here is 1500 miles is a long way to fly with the uncertainties. Yes, a PPI is in order. I get it. And as Brad suggested, it’s a short drive. Brad, maybe you’d be willing to drive up from Davis and take a preliminary look on atnorman’s behalf and report back to him. If you like what you see – and I think you will – atnorman can fly to Sacramento and I’ll pick him up at the airport (SAC). Atnorman, you can drive us in the car from there to 2bennett for the PPI. 2bennett is a good operation and should give you some peace of mind. If Brad’s and 2bennet assessments confirm what you see and read in the ad, then you just drive it home and drop me at the Amtrak station on your way out of town. If anyone wants to e-mail me privately, you’ll find my e-mail address at the bottom of the ad.

    Oh, a followup to item #1 – Audi O2 sensor arrived and will be installed day after tomorrow.

  15. Buzz, thanks for the suggestions and the willingness to be so accommodating. I’m dragging my feet right now on any purchase for reasons unrelated to the vehicle itself. Maybe I’ll garner some impulsivity in the near future and give you a call. But I’ll probably be holding for a while. It’s nice to know that the GCFSB community would go to such lengths to accommodate a fellow blog follower. If you don’t hear from me, GLWTS.

  16. I’ll just chime in that, without a doubt, this is the best presented A8L I’ve seen since new, and I’ve seen my fair share. From every correspondence with owners of both A8 and S8 models, they seem to be one of the more reliable Audi products from that period (in comparison to the B5 A4 and C5 A6, especially the turbo models), and many have racked up substantial miles with few woes in the grand scheme of things. However, it’s the perception of the model that in my opinion keeps the pricing down. They’re a hidden gem and this is one of the brightest.

  17. No worries, atnorman. I’m prepared for a long wait. That these cars are a great luxury value is a double-edged sword…the potential buyer pool is enthusiastic, but small. Timing is everything. Thanks for the well-wishes!

    Carter, I could not have said it better. The A8 really is a great car. I had nagging doubts in the back of my mind when I bought it because of the “aura” on the other cars you mention. But I couldn’t resist – Pearlescent color was a giant hook; it was so clean and I knew the seller well…was pretty convinced I was not getting hood-winked. Mine has proven extremely reliable – no bad electronics, small electric motors, wiring, switches, or crazy mechanical failures. Nearly everything I’ve done maintenance-wise is also required maintenance for Japanese and other European cars of the same era…plugs, filters, oil changes, batteries, tires, alignment timing belt, etc. Anyway, not meaning to be self-serving here, but mine is a real-life experience that confirms your observations, Carter. Thanks for weighing in.

  18. @Buzz – if I didn’t own a garage spot in my building that was sized for a Japanese K-car (ie it’s extrodinarily narrow, with concrete pillars), I’d buy this at your asking price – no question.

    On a tangent, Edmunds has been buying 5-15 year old cars and driving them for a year or two, and documenting the ownership and driving experience. Late last year they bought a 2005 AMG CL65 (on nothing other than “value,” 2001-05 CL & S class AMG cars are tempting!) and it has been an interesting 9-10 months so far.

    http://www.edmunds.com/mercedes-benz/cl-class/2005/long-term-road-test/2005-mercedes-benz-cl65-amg-10000-miles.html

    Also on the topic of used “luxury value,” former Porsche NA exec Doug DeMuro has a very entertaining 10-or so installment piece on buying a used Range Rover from Carmax, kind of asking himself some of the same questions that readers of this blog probably often do. Granted, a Range Rover (or a CL65) is kind of an extreme case.

    http://jalopnik.com/maybe-you-shouldn-t-buy-a-used-luxury-car-for-the-price-1654611839

    Like I said though, those two pieces of reading are for entertainment value & reflection only, and are unrelated to my high opinion of @Buzz’s beautiful car for sale. I’m not kidding – at his reasonable asking price you could drive it tens of thousands of miles and then just part it out or sell the aluminum body for scrap and probably make a profit!

  19. Thanks, Ry, for the praise on the car. It really is that nice and I’m glad you like it. I hope others do too.

    Maintenance update: In a few hours, I’ll be able to cross the O2 sensor off “to-do” list. Bosch would have been a good upstream choice over Walker, per Z’s suggestion, but I wanted the “Audi” part…a purity thing for me. Anyway, with new O2 sensor, smog-pass is a cinch. And of course another receipt for the binder…guess I’ll need to change the ad too!

  20. Sad thing here is that maybe why this car hasn’t sold yet is because the seller seems very honest and straightforward guy. I’m really rooting for him to sell the car as he deserves full asking price and than some IMO.
    I’m almost thinking that if changes the ad to all capital letters, dump the gallon of armor all over the car and changes the description to generic and pointless description, the car will sell.

  21. Heard from the seller this evening that the car sold. Thanks to everyone for their support of a top-notch enthusiast!

  22. Great. Glad I was wrong.

  23. Someone got a great deal on a well-maintained car. Congrats.

  24. Thanks again, gents, for all the kind words and enthusiasm. It was rather sudden. A guy called me out of the blue before noon, drove two hours to see it, and had left with it two hours after that…One call to “Sold” in 4 hours. Like I said in the ad, “open to reasonable offers”, and he came prepared with $100 bills, parted with 60 of them (math is not hard). is that the market? Lots of nibbles and interest, but nobody taking the next step – showing up prepared to buy.

    I’d add to that, as Carter and I were e-mailing offline, “The right guy at right
    time will come along. Even if I listed it for $3000, it would likely still
    be sitting here. Honestly, I don’t think it’s price, I think it’s fear and
    serious lack of understanding, and thus demand, about early-millennial,
    European luxury cars. Reminds me a lot of the 2.7L Porsches from
    74-77…pulled head studs. But fixed – and most of them certainly are by
    now – they are great machines and a current Porsche bargain. To which Carter replied [Carter, forgive me if you wanted this still off-line], “You’re exactly right – the new one is people demonizing the B6/B7 S4 because of the chain guides. If anything, long term I think that will help the earlier 4.2 V8s but that doesn’t do you much good now.”

    I though his was a pretty informed comment. Fortunately, the right guy came along today. He’s going to be really happy with it. The market is what the market is, real, imagined, or unknown until the money is paid. I’ll still attest that D2’s and now seeing D3’s are the best luxury car values on the planet. thanks again gents, and thanks to GCFSB for the really great enthusiast community.

  25. With owners and enthusiasts of Buzz’s quality, it’s a crying shame that Audi’s factory support is a shadow of their German counterparts – specifically BMW and Mercedes. As a UrS car fan it makes me a bit resentful, to be perfectly honest. Hey, I get it (NLA parts) to slight degree on the 90’s cars, Audi, but on a 2001? Give me a break. Can anybody tell me why Audi compares so poorly with the other two in this regard?

  26. Congrats Buzz. If I had been 2 hours away, I would have driven it away a week ago. Even so, I was getting closer every day to making that call and the flight. But alas, this now makes my decision easy. Sad, but easy.

  27. 4RT, I never gave it much thought before, but you and sean9c bringing up lack of support….hmmm, maybe you are on to something. Along with BMW and Mercedes, Porsche is good at enthusiast support, and to some degree, VW too. Odd that Audi hasn’t dialed it in.

    Atnorman, sorry it wasn’t you, While I compromised a bit on price, in the end, everyone’s money is green….bird in the hand… all that. Nonetheless, next time pick up the phone and make the call! You never know – every seller has a different motivation that isn’t always death, divorce, or disaster. Mine was karma/pay it forward, moving on, trying something new (I bought a Jeep last month), and finding a good home for the car where it’s value would be appreciated.

  28. Like Brad said above, “No guts, no glory.” I didn’t get up the guts this time, snost and lost. I have purchased 2 vehicles online before – one from each coast. Flew out, inspected them myself, drove home to Iowa. I scored both times with great vehicles for a reasonable price. I love the adventure and the experience of getting to know a vehicle on a long road trip. I will regret that I let this one get away. Cheers.

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