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Audi A8 has many levels - and prices - of luxury

11/05/2006
But some other extra-special features claimed more control of the car than I want to give them. A8's rain-sensitive wipers worked great on the road, adjusting wiper speed automatically. But when I started the car with the feature activated, the wipers wouldn't swish until A8 moved. I wanted a clear windshield before I started driving.

And what about that $6,300 speaker system? To test for clarity, I twisted the volume knob to just shy of the level the would make my ears bleed. The music was so loud that my trouser cuffs flapped in rhythm with the bass notes. But the sound was clear, distortion-free and spectacular.

But operating the radio wasn't much fun. It runs through A8's Multi-Media Interface, or MMI, a combination video screen and control panel. The screen flips up from the dash and the control panel rides low on the console, so the combination demands a lot of head wagging. And it has its own ideas about how to operate. I went to the bother of programming radio station pre-sets. But after that, the video screen wouldn't show me the presets until my fingers groped and tickled the control panel.

There is probably a way to reprogram it to show station pre-sets as the standard, audio start-up screen. But the MMI Operating Instructions run to 189 pages. I would have needed another week, at least, before I could get to it.

Eagle Tribune









Audi A8 has many levels - and prices - of luxury
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