While they’re no longer the largest, fastest or most luxurious executive sport sedans on the market, the D2 Audi A8/S8 does still offer enthusiasts a substantial package for a very unsubstantial amount of money. While I’ve spent a lot of time previously covering my favorite S8 models, the normal A8 and stretched A8L tone down the sport but also come to the market at an even more budget-friendly price. To maximize your value, look towards the A8L models. These were expensive sedans back in the early 2000s, though today’s prices really dwarf the MSRP of $67,200 for the lang model. They came mostly loaded, but there were still some options that you could select such as the 18″ 5-spoke wheels shown on this 2003 example. With low miles, in a classic silver/black color combination that channels the original ASF concept that signaled the A8’s then futuristic shape and design, and in fantastic one owner shape, they don’t get much nicer than this:
If it weren’t for its big splash in the movie Ronin, I tend to think that the first generation Audi A8 might be relegated to the dustbin of automotive history. This is quite a shame, because along with being the first Audi with an aluminum space frame, this über saloon also debuted the W12 engine. Don’t remember the A8 6.0 W12? Well, if you were a consumer in North America, this isn’t surprising, as these uncommon, twelve cylinder D2s were produced with Europe and Japan in mind. This example for sale in Germany is one of 750 D2 A8s produced with this revolutionary engine. Is the S8 a bit too mundane for you? This executive express should scratch that rare Audi itch.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi A8L 6.0 W12 at Gina Classics…
Time for another Honorable Mention Roundup of the cars we just didn’t have a chance to get to this week. We’ve got quite a few reader submissions in this edition, and by chance it ends up focusing on some super sedans which are all quite affordable in their own ways. Which is the one we should have spent more time on?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Audi S4 on Denver Craigslist…
Through the 1980s, Audi was known for doing things a bit differently than everyone else. In the 90s, they struggled to redefine their imagine into a new, progressive lineup with the aluminum heavy A8 while still appealing to their target market with cars like the S4 and S6. But in the 2000s Audi underwent a major change; the acquisition of luxury brands into the VAG fold meant Audi moved in a new direction. Increasingly, it was the interiors of Audis that were making headlines. First, the TT did a retro-modern take on a sports coupe. But the real money was in the luxury car market, and with the D3 and C6, Audi narrowed the gap between the newcomers and the established luxury brands like Bentley and Mercedes-Benz. The cabin layouts grew increasingly tech-heavy, but also filled with supple leather and the dash had beautiful inlays of warm woods. Like a Scandinavian ski resort, they pampered their guests with modern designs in slick packaging. Move on to the D4 Audi, and the change in engine lineups in addition to the further revised cockpit meant you now had the setting and motivation to shock your Wall Street business partners. Today’s 4.0T, for example, comes stock with 414 horsepower and 443 lb.ft of torque – good enough to launch the Audi from 0-60 in under 5 seconds. Yes, you read that right. The massive bank vault-esque A8L will hustle from a standstill in 4.6 seconds. What’s perhaps more amazing about that is that within the A8 lineup, that’s actually third from the fastest model, with the massive W12 and S8 models both being a few ticks quicker. What an insane world we live in. Speaking of outrageous, massive luxury and speed cost, and when you consider this Audi Exclusive model, you’ve racked up charges close to $160,000 by the time you’ve signed on the dotted line….…
At first glance, you’d be excused thinking that the Volkswagen Phaeton and Audi A8 were the same car underneath. Especially when it came to the D3 chassis, the Audi and Volkswagen shared many styling cues, as well as engines and transmissions. However, the Volkswagen is actually quite different underneath – instead of the typical platform sharing that occurred between Volkswagen and Audi, VAG instead turned towards their upscale brands for the Phaeton. That’s right, underneath the Phaeton is a budget Bentley. You can tell the difference when you step inside, too – back when these were new, a Phaeton showed up at a Winter Driving School I was instructing at. I hopped in the passenger side and shut the door; the sound was a unique sound of sealing the rest of the world out. All of the sudden I swear I could hear my heart beating. It was eerily quiet, as if I had entered a sound booth. It was also eerily competent on the snow and ice in spite of the over 5,000 lb. curb weight. That’s a few hundred pounds north of the Audi A8 even in “L” guise, and it wouldn’t surprise me if 300 lbs of that difference is noise deadening. A generation on, you’re now able to get into a Phaeton or its cousin the Audi A8L for about the same price. Which would you choose?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 Volkswagen Phaeton on eBay…
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.…
On the surface, the themes were very similar; two movies staring action superstars playing above-the-law criminals with an amazing ability to extricate themselves from seemingly impossible conditions against improbable odds driving large, fast executive cars. Despite this, the movies Ronin and The Transporter couldn’t be more different. I watched the former on the edge of my seat, captivated by the mystery, floored by the incredibly filmed stunt scenes, the attention to reality and detail, and the staggeringly awesome lineup of cars. The latter I struggled to get through at all; I managed to make it about half way through before giving up. To this day, I still haven’t seen the ending of the first movie, and nothing more than trailers of the second. Is there a third? I’m sorry, I’m sure it made a gazillion dollars in the box office but frankly when I watched the clip of the Audi A8L W12 corkscrewing through the air to miraculously remove a bomb from the bottom of the car on a perfectly placed scrap-metal magnet hanging in mid-air I lost all interest. I can suspend my belief for a movie like Ronin because there was an air of reality to it; the characters were flawed and mortal. Sure, there were problems with the plot and even some of the stunts – I mean, they don’t show Jean Reno standing in line at the DMV to register the 450SEL 6.9, for example. But in terms of reality, it was on this planet at least, while The Transporter seemed to be set in some alternate Japanese-live-action-anime reality I’m not sure I want to understand. Nevertheless, the central plot to both is about cars and driving (at least a bit), and today you can purchase just about all of the cars featured in these films for around $10,000 – so which would you have?…
I’ve not made it much of a secret that I have a bit of a crush on the 2001-2003 Audi S8, and while it’s not everyone’s favorite business express from this time period I know I’m not alone. Few cars manage to channel the stealth of a true “Q-ship” and balance aggression, luxury and great looks quite as well as the S8 does. As such, I usually spend probably too many hours each week looking for an S8 pondering if I can get the Avus Pearl 2003 I’ve wanted now for the best part of a decade, or if I’d be better off looking towards a generally much cheaper and more common 2001 or 2002. Then, every once in a while, the thought crosses my mind when I see a nice, clean A8 – do I need the S? I mean, for all intents and purposes, the regular A8 gets 90 plus percent of the S8’s job done well and they can be had on the cheap. Plus, as is the case with today’s example, you can get the long wheel base model that wasn’t available in S form. Couple that with a great looking set of early Euro S8 wheels and you’re ready to drive De Niro around:
Engine: 4.2 liter V8
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 128,100 mi
Price: $6,800 Buy It Now
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi A8L on eBay
I have a 2001 Audi A8 L with factory 18 inch wheels. I have the original window sticker over 70k new, owners manual, navigation discs, and one key. I purchased another key that I will include but it needs to be cut and programmed. I have owned the car for 2 years and spent over 5k in maintenance and have all the records of work completed.
One car that seems to have gone unnoticed in the Audi lineup in the last few years has been the top dog of the A8 range, the W12. I was surprised myself to go on the Audi USA site yesterday and see that they still offer this über saloon, as the V8 powered A8s and S8 surely get the job done in the power department. However, there is always going to be those customers who just want something over the top. In that case, this W12 for sale in California certainly fits the bill.
Engine: 6.3 liter W12
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Mileage: 18,712 mi
Price: $87,994 Buy It Now
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2012 Audi A8L W12 on eBay
2012 Audi A8L W12 6.3 LWB quattro
**CARFAX ONE OWNER**, Maintenance Records Available, and NON SMOKER VEHICLE! GPS Nav! All Wheel Drive! When was the last time you smiled as you turned the ignition key? Feel it again with this great 2012 Audi A8. This rare A8, with grippy AWD, will handle anything mother nature decides to throw at you during one of her bad days at work.
To be honest, I think the W12 powered A8 is one of those cars whose days are numbered. While fuel economy in big engines such as these has improved over the years, the power advantage over eight cylinder lumps isn’t as great as it used to be. Also, for those wanting 12 cylinder power, I’d have to assume they’d go to even higher end marques such as Rolls Royce and VW’s own Bentley, who use a variation of this engine in their lineup. This particular A8 has already lost a sizeable chunk of its original retail price and is sure to lose even more at a rapid rate, so only the well heeled who can afford massive depreciation need apply in this case.…
Today on 10K Friday we’re going to look at how much luxury you can buy for around $10,000. Unlike last week’s look at two sport sedans, today’s cars are more focused at isolating their drivers from the proletariat. It’s hard for some people to believe that on a Kia hatchback budget you can pick up a top-of-the-line German luxury car. But if you’re a fan of the bigger German cars, it should be no surprise that at around 10 years old, the value on them falls; but it’s a delicate balance between buying one that’s new enough that it won’t be a heap and buying one old enough that you can afford on a budget. Today we’re going to look at one from each marque; a 2004 Audi A8L, a 2004 BMW 745i, and a 2004 Mercedes-Benz S500 4Matic. We’ll start with the Audi EDIT: it appears the original A8 sold; I have updated the links to a similar 2005 with slightly more miles:
Engine: 4.2 liter V8
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Mileage: 101,551 mi
Price: $9,990 Buy It Now
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Audi A8L on eBay
2004 AUDI A8L AWD Quattro. Beautiful Sparkling green color with tan leather interior. Nice and Sharp Looking loaded with most of the options. Texas Owner. Even with slightly high miles, it runs and drives awesome. Non Smoker. Equipped with Navigation, Heated Seats, Xenon Lights. Engine sounds great and transmission shift swiftly. I personally drove it for over 50 miles and checked the A/C, alignment, and Suspension. NO flood, water. Clean Texas Title with no lien.
I have to say, I really like the light mint green, and that you can get into a D3 for under 10K. The interior on these cars is beautiful and well laid out; on the outside, while the D3 isn’t as pretty to me as the D2 was, it’s still quite a handsome car.…