News Ticker

Vehicles: Audi Roars Into 2015 with Sleek New A8 Models

By Jenny Peters

There’s a reason that Audi Racing keeps winning competitions like the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race – they have won that 13 times in the last 15 years – and Jet Set Jen found out firsthand exactly why.

It’s because of the top-notch German engineering that Audi puts into every one of their vehicles, from those incredible R18 e-tron racers to the sleek new 2015 A8 models we got the chance to test drive through the mountains above Aspen, Colorado.

The A8 model line includes five vehicles, the A8 3.0T, 3.0 TDI and 4.0T; the S8 4.0T; and the W12. Each is a beautifully appointed luxury sedan with serious legroom in both the front and back seats; most have some key updates for 2015 and are on sale now in Audi dealerships across the U.S.A. They range in base starting price from $77,400 to $137,900 (with optional features additional, including a long wheelbase model for the three A8s).

The redesigned 2015 Audi A8 takes Aspen by storm.

The redesigned 2015 Audi A8 takes Aspen by storm.

We love the now standard (and completely redesigned) LED headlights on the complete A8 line, as they illuminate the darkness with a sharpness we’ve not seen from most other headlights. And the optional Night Vision Assist is pretty cool, as it detects both pedestrians and animals on the road ahead and alerts the driver to slow down with plenty of time to avoid a nasty accident.

The A8s and S8s also have a new front-grill design that adds strength to the look of the muscular sedans and, for those who like their cars to do their driving for them, they have two new features created to keep you on the road. The first is Audi “active lane assist,” which actually moves the car back into the lane if you allow it to slide across lane markings without a signal. The second is Audi “side assist,” which alerts you to vehicles approaching in the neighboring lane or to a car already there as you begin to change lanes.

Audi's 2015 S8 is a beautiful sedan with plenty of power and sportiness under the hood.

Audi’s 2015 S8 is a beautiful sedan with plenty of power and sportiness under the hood.

Those are nice features, but we really like to handle the driving on our own, so we did that as we zoomed up into the Rocky Mountains from Aspen, trying out each of the new models on different sections – from the city itself to flat highways, and on up past national forests, pristine lakes and finally way, way up, winding along single-lane mountain roads to the top of the world, ending up at the Continental Divide.

Each one of the A8 models was extremely comfortable inside, with the W12 so spacious and powerful (500 hp) that it almost felt like rolling along in a limousine. The A8 TDI has the best gas mileage of the group, because of its clean diesel engine, achieving 28 MPG combined city and highway.

The sporty interior of the 2015 Audi S8.

The sporty interior of the 2015 Audi S8.

But it was the S8 that captured our hearts, a swift, elegant eight-speed V8 with 520 hp that drives like a sports car, hugging the hairpin mountain curves with pinpoint accuracy. Yet the interior feels like the luxury sedan it is, making the S8 a complete winner for those who love to drive a bit aggressively.

With such top-notch automobiles in their stable, it’s no surprise that the Audi Group delivered 1,575,500 vehicles to customers globally in 2013, and broke all-time company sales records for the fourth straight year in the U.S. As we discovered, it’s because the company truly represents German engineering at its very best.

Photos courtesy Jenny Peters and Audi of America.

About Jenny Peters (155 Articles)
<p>Jet Set Jen is the brainchild of Jenny Peters, a longtime freelance journalist whose career has spanned everything considered “Lifestyle” reporting, from movies and celebrities to fashion and fast cars, with plenty of food, wine and travel thrown in too. She currently contributes regularly to USA Today’s 10Best.com, AARP.org, New York Magazine, Coast Magazine, Bask Magazine and numerous other newspapers, magazines and websites worldwide. She is a founding and voting member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (www.criticschoice.com), which annually honors the year’s top films with the Critics’ Choice Awards. Jenny and her crack cadre of reporters at Jet Set Jen offer up opinions, suggestions and insider scoops on the best that the world has to offer, to keep you on the cutting edge of that ever elusive pursuit of life, liberty, happiness – and fun, fun, fun.</p>