Used Audi A8 1994 - 2002 review

Category: Luxury car

It's a luxury car for those with no ego to stroke. Build quality is always a strong point

Used Audi A8 1994-2002
  • Used Audi A8 1994-2002
  • Used Audi A8 1994-2002
Used Audi A8 1994 - 2002 review
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Steve Huntingford
Published01 January 2006

What's the used Audi A8 saloon like?

The Audi A8 was offered with three engines – 2.8, 3.7 and 4.2 – and each of these is fantastically smooth and unflustered at high speeds.

The interior is luxurious, with plenty of leg and head room, and if you opt for a post-1999 model, there's the option of a further five inches of rear legroom in long-wheelbase versions.


It's a luxury car for those with no ego to stroke. Build quality is always a strong point

  • Good build quality, acres of cabin space and stunning performance
  • The Audi is badge too understated for the 'luxury' sector
  • Steering is imprecise, too

There are also Sport variants, with stiffer suspension, bigger alloys wheels and electric seats.

Don't compromise on your expectations: the excellent build quality means high milers should still be in pretty good condition inside and out.

There were numerous updates during the car's life, including a 19bhp upgrade and the addition of side airbags for the 2.8 Sport in 1996.

In 1999, reworked headlamp units, a reshaped bumper, a restyled radiator grille and improved suspension were introduced.

The 4.2 quattro models also included a five-speed automatic gearbox as standard.

Ownership cost

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

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

The good news is, residual values have been poor. After just four years from new, Audi A8s lost 75% of their original value, so this is a great market for used car buyers. You'll get a lot of car for your oney, especially next to rivals like the Mercedes S-Class or Jaguar XJ. Opting for an A8 could save you thousands of pounds against a comparable Merc or Jag.

A 4.2 A8 is in insurance group 20, and don't expect much more than 20mpg. Servicing intervals are every 10,000 miles, but Audi's labour rates are notoriously expensive. If something is seriously wrong, the parts costs will be similarly exorbitant.

Our recommendations

Which used Audi A8 saloon should I buy?

The Sport models are extremely desirable, and worth the extra if you really are after total pampering. If you don't fancy paying this premium and are happy to 'rough it', you could plump for the basic 3.7-litre quattro. It has enough grunt and is plenty smooth enough.

The 4.2 Sport is more hairy, accelerating from 0-60mph in 6.9sec and with a top speed of 155mph, which gives you more of an engaging driving experience to go with all that refinement.

Compared to these two, the 2.8-litre is something of a let-down, though. Its V6 engine produces just 173bhp, and it has front- rather than four-wheel drive. All this is very disappointing in what is supposed to be a top-quality vehicle. If you can, pay a little extra for the 4.2 quattro, with its permanent four-wheel-drive system.

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