The latest A8 feature a more advanced chassis, powertrain and in-car technology than the Mercedes S-Class including, when it’s switched on, the greatest capability for autonomous driving of any production car in the world.
There’s a choice of turbocharged engines – a 282bhp diesel or 335bhp petrol – with four-wheel-drive as standard and a 48V electrical system that gives it mild hybrid status.
The quality interior feels like it was built to outlast civilization itself, although it lacks the elegance of the S-Class. The ride is smooth and it’s easy to drive, although it puts up with being hustled rather than revelling in it.
BMW 7 Series
Since launch in 1977, the 7 Series has been in the shadow of the Mercedes S-Class, but this latest version is BMW’s most committed attemp yet to fully crack the luxury saloon market, combining adaptive, fully air-sprung chassis and pioneering infotainment and convenience features with a choice of two wheelbase lengths and rear- or four-wheel-drive.
The interior trim conjures a sense of space, integrity and usability, although the fascia is a bit too similar to other BMWs. Engines are quiet, powerful and efficient, and handling is more poised and precise than rivals – although the ride isn’t.
A surprisingly good driver’s car, then, but it falls behind rivals in the luxury stakes.