The European: I was left with no options - The European
Audi's new A8

This week Audi launched its latest fat saloon, the A8. Some might describe the A8 as ‘the third way’, avoiding the default choice of BMW’s 7 series and the big Benz S Class. Arguably, the A8 isn’t even a third way any more, Audi having craftily ensured that a variety of Variety starlets are caught by paps, sans knickers, stepping out of the Ingolstadt liner in front of waiting cameras at every opportunity. Left of centre is now the mainstream and certainly this is how Audi want you to think about it.

In the three horse race that the large executive car market really is, it’s actually then in last place, and it’s hard to describe it as anything less than stuck behind the barriers while the S Class trots around the winner’s enclosure. Audi knows this, which is why they try so fah-king hard to make you interested in the A8. Cutting edge Bauhaus design has dominated Audi cars for a decade or more now but then, just as they begin their colouring in of the new design, the new Jag XJ arrives and takes the beauty crown. Fretting, the Audi exterior design team put down their crayons and gave up, leaving it identical to the last one. Instead the designers threw whatever budget they saved on outside design on the gadgets inside, shoving touch screen this and widescreen that into every soft touch surface that you’d care to look at. A few gadgets will surely get the punters in.

This made me think about a text my best mate sent me ages ago. My partner is thrilled to receive Chris’ little short message services at what he considers a gentlemanly hour and she considers, well, three o’bloody clock in the morning. Another man, smarter than me, would then exercise some judgement and not roll over and whisper “Darl, would you have a mint 924 or a dodgy 944 – Chris thinks 924. What about you?”. Another man may also have children by now.

So, what recently jolted me from my dreams? Genius, that’s what.

Wldnt it b gr8 if u cud buy a range rover with a defender interior or vice versa.

This is what ten years at grammar school and a law degree leads you to and frankly, you can’t ask for more from the man. Dear reader, let me expand on my esteemed friend’s inspiration.

Imagine, you’re at the Audi dealer and you’re presented with the customarily extensive spec sheet and, rather than tick boxes, you simply cross them off. Sat nav – no, massaging seats – no, wood trim – no, alloys – can live without, and before you know it you have an A8 but specced like a Cairo taxi for fifty grand, not two hundred. After all, you want the big engine and the quality, just none of the poncy gizmos. Rather than leave your opt-outs languishing in the parts bin for people that read Fast Fours and Rotaries, Audi then gets to offer all these parts on any other model coming along the line. I have never understood why some models get options other ones don’t, but, this way, you’d be able to spec your boggo A3 with massaging seats if, say, you’re a pervert. For a start, used car dealers would have a torrid time trying to assert the true value of your ride, wondering why you went with the $8,000 radar cruise control on your otherwise base spec 1.6 A3.

And anything that stuffs up used car dealers is alright by me.