In the last decade or so, Audi has cemented itself as a premier player in the luxury vehicle market. While once considered a little brother to BMW and Mercedes-Benz, Audi has now, quite arguably, surpassed those two leaders in mid-level luxury. Along the way, Audi has strongly separated themselves from the entry-level luxury vehicles it may once have been associated with, such as Infinity and Lincoln.
And Audi continues to improve, moving faster and stronger than BMW and Mercedes-Benz, its German brethren. In fact, Audi recently surpassed those two companies in worldwide sales, despite still selling a relatively small percentage stateside. It’s clear that the world is catching on to the fact that Audi is now top dog in the mid-level luxury race. With that said, here are three of Audi’s premier luxury sedans:
Audi’s entry level luxury sedan is the A4, but it certainly represents the company well. It is also the must fun car in the auto maker’s luxury sedan stable, as the A4 follows in the mold of the BMW 3-series: a wildly luxurious yet affordable car that is as fun to drive as it is to ride in. In 2012, Car and Driver said of the A4:
“On unfamiliar mountain roads, the A4 is always the alpha car, leading through the curves and pulling ahead of the pack . . . Luxury and sport reach a happy medium here”.
In addition to all the luxury that one would expect from an Audi, the A4 has ample power: the standard engine is a 2.0 liter I-4, which makes 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, while speed lovers can get the optional supercharged 3.0 liter V-6 which cranks 333 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. The A4 blows the Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, and VW competition out of the water; the only car that can compete with it is the BMW 3-series; and with an MSRP of US $33,800, the A4 is US $3,500 cheaper than a 3-series with equivalent power.
If the A4 is a touch ahead of its BMW counterpart, than the A6 is a mile ahead. With this mid-range luxury sedan, Audi plays exactly into the right market: pampering luxury, a stellar drive, and, according to US News, a perfect 10.0 safety rating. While the base engine (220 horsepower, 258 lb-ft of torque) is less than some of the competition, the rest of the car is far ahead. And, on top of all that, the MSRP (US $43,100), is more than US $6,000 less than that of the BMW 5-series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
In Audi’s flagship luxury sedan, the value of the automaker is truly revealed. With an MSRP of US $75,100, it is only US $1,000 more than the BMW 7-series, which is inferior in all objective (and most all subjective) tests. The A8 is on par with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class . . . but with an MSRP that is more than US $20,000 less. Of course, the A8 is all about luxury, and that is where the car truly shines. Said AutoTrader, “Leaving aside the maximally opulent offerings from Rolls-Royce and Bentley, the A8 might have the nicest cabin in the automotive world.”
When the discussion is luxury, that qualifies as “enough said.”
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