2014 Audi A8 L TDI

Audi’s flagship A8 sedan gets a diesel model for 2014 with a smooth, quiet and powerful V6 engine that delivers 36 highway miles per gallon. Filled with sophisticated technology and convenience features, the 2014 A8 is an excellent choice in the luxury sedan segment.

The A8 TDI, introduced back in the spring, also gets 24 mpg in the city and has a highway range of more than 800 miles on a single tank of diesel. That’s worth repeating: The A8 TDI, which weighs in at more than 4,500 pounds, gets up to 36 mpg with a highway range of more than 800 miles.

“W-e-l-l Doggie,” it turns out you don’t need Jed Clampett’s oil money to put fuel in the fabulous A8 TDI clean diesel.

While our test car this week was the new 2014 A8 L TDI quattro, it’s easy to be impressed with the other four A8 models as well. The base Audi 3.0T has a supercharged V6 that delivers 333 horsepower and 325 lb.-ft. of torque, and can sprint from zero to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds. The 4.0-liter V8 boosts the horsepower, torque and 0-60 time to 420, 444 and 4.7 seconds respectively.

And moving up to the sportier S8 4.0T model, you’ll get 520 horses that will run you to 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds. The pinnacle of the A8 models – the W12 – is equipped with a 6.3-liter W12 engine with 500 horsepower and 463 lb.-ft. of torque.

In any of its five models, the A8 is sublime pleasure to drive. Dark sun/privacy screens rise in back at the push of a button, and all occupants are cocooned in sumptuous leather surroundings. So, Granny Clampett no longer has to settle for a stiff rocking chair in the back seat. But if she got a hankerin, Granny could still stick her head out of the A8’s panoramic sunroof.

It’s a sure bet that all the Clampetts would like the Rear Seat Comfort plus option that offers ventilated seats with five levels of back massage.

A8 infotainment and connectivity is via the “Audi connect” system, which is so intuitive even Jethro could operate it. Audi connect has factory-fitted Wi-Fi connectivity for up to eight devices, a great navigation system with a large HD screen and real-time weather, news, fuel prices, Google Earth searches and satellite radio.

The A8 also has enough sophisticated safety and convenience technology to please even a “double-naught spy” like Jethro, as well as an outstanding vehicle perimeter camera system that allows a 360-degree bird’s-eye view around the car. The system is one of the best around.

On the road, our test A8 had excellent road manners, but there was more lean in hard corners than we would have expected. Speed sensitive electronic power steering was precise and centered, and braking was excellent.

The A8 is an exceptional car that gets excellent mileage, but most buyers would likely need to head down to the Commerce Bank and see Mr. Drysdale in order to buy one. The starting price for the A8 L TDI quattro is $82,500, and options on the test car brought the bottom line to $99,445, including freight. The “entry” A8 3.0T starts at $75,100, and pricing goes up from there, topping out at $135,900 for the LWB W12.

The 2014 Audi A8 TDI is a beautiful road machine, it has remarkable technology and convenience systems, and it gives you enough highway range to get from Bug Tussle to Beverly Hills.

It’s a world-class sedan, and it would look great in any driveway – or even out by the cement pond.

(Editor’s note: For readers born post-1980, go online and check out reruns of “The Beverly Hillbillies,” starring Baton Rouge’s own Donna Douglas as Elly May.)

2014 Audi A8 L TDI quattro

  • Engine:

3.0-liter TDI clean diesel 6-cylinder

  • Transmission:

8-speed atuomatic with quattro AWD

  • Horsepower/torque:

240/406

  • Test model base price:

$82,500 ($99,445 as tested)

  • EPA mileage rating:

24 mpg city / 36 mpg highway