Like the previous A8, the cabin is beautifully constructed, elegantly designed and comfortable, the rear seats, however, are cramped, with only adequate head and leg room and the back of the car doesn't feel particularly opulent. At 505 litres, the boot is shallow, but big enough for a couple of large suitcases.
After resisting smart phone-style touch screens for the last two generations, Audi has finally succumbed and the A8 has two such items on the facia, with barely noticeable haptic feedback and a more pronounced clicking noise in response to a finger's light touch. They've thankfully kept separate dial controls for the radio volume and sat nav zoom, but even the temperature controls are clicks or swipes on the lower screen. That sat nav is really good and it can be displayed on the instrument binnacle. The Bang and Olufsen stereo sounded a bit tinny, though I loved the various combinations of seat heating and cooling available.
With a modified air suspension system, the Audi now rides as well as the similarly sprung Mercedes-Benz S-class. That's a big statement, but it's true. There's the tiniest bit of fizz at low speeds but it floats so beautifully over bumps and the body control, particularly at medium speeds, is sublime. The body moves, yes, but it breathes over road bumps quite brilliantly. You can harden up the suspension, engine and steering response with the dynamic selector, but the default setting is in Comfort, where the body will lurch if thrown through the corners, but your chauffeur should never do that without warning you first. When it arrives next year the active suspension option is going to have a lot to prove.
This is huge near two-tonne limousine and not something you'd throw up the road for the sheer joy of it. That size inhibits cornering on all but the widest roads although it does cut the mustard there, even if the side forces developed at speed are head spinning. In the end it's a front-engined, four-wheel-drive car, so the balance of the handling is gentle nose-on understeer, which is exactly as it should be. The steering is light, possibly a bit over assisted and without a lot of feedback, but it's delightfully precise and loads up delicately in corners. The brakes are powerful, but the pedal isn't progressive which isn't good for a chauffeur-driven car and some of the test cars came to a stop with a graunching sound.