Used Audi A8 2003 - 2010 review

Category: Luxury car

It's a fine car in its own right, but it's not the easiest of its type to live with

Audi A8 (03 - 10)
  • Audi A8 (03 - 10)
  • Audi A8 (03 - 10)
Used Audi A8 2003 - 2010 review
Star rating

What's the used Audi A8 saloon like?

The Audi A8 is a huge saloon that has much to offer anyone in search of a luxury motor that isn't a BMW, Mercedes or Jaguar.

The innovative aluminium body means it's lighter than many rivals, helping performance and economy. Four-wheel drive is fitted to most, as is air suspension, offering a choice between four settings.


It's a fine car in its own right, but it's not the easiest of its type to live with

  • It's an understated limo
  • Beautifully engineered
  • Very quick
  • Loses value quickly
  • Expensive to run

The interior is vast throughout, while the boot offers more than ample space. The long-wheelbase version is rare but brings even more space in the rear seats. It's a very well-built car and the quality of the materials used matches, and sometimes beats, the competition's.

Even the cheapest models drive well, feeling smaller than they look, while the high-performance models are seriously quick. The diesels are state-of-the-art but the smaller petrols are accomplished, too.

There simply isn't any road noise and, while you'll hear some wind noise, it's completely silent otherwise.

Ownership cost

What used Audi A8 saloon will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Audi A8 saloon?

Only the 3.0 diesel and 3.2 petrol versions keep costs at a semi-sensible level. As for the rest, they are only for the seriously wealthy.

As ever on an Audi A8, stiff depreciation is an issue, but it's good news for a used car buyer. The first owner suffers the worst hit from new, leaving the second owner to pick up a relatively cheap executive car.

There's no escaping the high running costs, though. Insurance is group 18 for the smaller engines, group 20 for the rest. Be aware, though, that some companies won't touch the car because of its aluminium body - which is complex and expensive to repair - while others will load the premium. Servicing is also best left to Audi dealers who specialise in the A8, which will make it dear.

Fuel economy ranges from the excellent 32mpg from the 3.0 diesel to 28mpg for the 3.2 petrol and 4.2 diesel, and 20mpg from the 6.0.

Our recommendations

Which used Audi A8 saloon should I buy?

The 3.0 diesel model makes most sense. Not only does it promise up to 32mpg - a good return for a big, four-wheel-drive car - but it's one of the cheaper models to buy. If that's not enough to persuade you, it also loses value more slowly than other A8s. Otherwise, the smallest petrol engine, the 3.2 V6, makes a fair fist of hauling the car quickly, while keeping buying and owning costs to sensible levels.

Whichever model you look at, you'll have plenty of kit, with sat-nav, leather seats and keyless entry on all. Parking sensors ease the worry of parking in town; they're a real boon, particularly on the long-wheelbase version.

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