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Guest writer Toh Yong Chuan chose the A8L when Audi invited sgCarMart for a road trip to Malaysia. What does he have to say about the flagship model?

17 May 2016

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Peak of Power

A European two-pin power socket provides power to laptops and other devices
The A8L is the flagship in the Audi family. Other than the fact that it's available only on an indent basis, it is the third most expensive car on Audi Singapore's price list, topped only by the more powerful but physically smaller S8 (no L) and the 0 to 100km/h in 3.9 seconds RS6 Avant.

The RS6 would have been my first choice for the Singapore to Kuala Lumpur (KL) jaunt, but Audi Singapore tipped the scales towards the A8L with an irresistible offer: it comes with a driver.

For this writer, the prospect of 'test riding' the A8L, besides test driving it, proved too compelling to pass up, so the A8L it was.

From the outside, the white A8L looks like any other regular long wheelbase A8 sedan with its 5,265mm length. The current model, launched in 2009 and facelifted in 2013, looks like it has not aged a single day, largely due to the distinctive and timeless Audi front grille design.

Stretching out on the 'boss seat' of the A8L and doing work
But it was apparent as soon as I opened the rear doors that the car is not a regular A8L. Instead of three seats at the rear, it has two, which clearly turn the business-class-like rear seats of the A8L into first-class ones.

On the road trip, I could fully stretch out my legs on the 'boss seat' using a footrest perched from the back of the front passenger seat, with the seat pushed all the way forward. Two Audi MMI screens provided digital TV feeds and kept me glued to breaking news on TV, while a European two-pin power socket kept my MacBook powered up as I did some writing.

The car's built-in Wi-Fi using the 4G mobile data network linked my MacBook to the Internet, but the network dipped to a dismal 2G connection at most of the long stretches of the North-South Highway.

The network only improved as we approached Putrajaya, the seat of political power in Malaysia. This leaves no doubt where power lies. And when we punched in 'Putrajaya' into the sat-nav, we were directed to the Malaysia Ministry of Foreign Affairs. One wonders.

Only one memory setting for the 'boss seat', because there can only be one boss
And when I got tired of the intermittent Internet connection, working on the laptop or news about North Korea testing its missiles, I leaned back, switched on the massage function and hidden rollers on the seat back worked their magic.

The four-seater A8L is fitting for a President, Prime Minister or a Fortune 500 company Chief Executive, essentially anyone at the peak of power. And for a brief ride from Singapore to KL, it gave this motoring writer delusions of power that exceeded beyond the overrated power of the pen.

Before leaving the 'boss seat', I wanted to set the seat position in case I get to occupy it again. I found only one memory setting. It became crystal clear - there is only one memory setting because there can only be one boss.

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