Audi’s A8 Exclusive Concept flagship does wood trim with tact

A8 Exclusive Interior

Both classic and modern, this interior is an object lesson in elegance.

Every automaker offers flagship vehicles. These wondrous creations are the crème’ de’la crème of whatever technology and style a company has to offer.

Turns out Audi is trying to stand out even in that elite group because it is releasing a flagship edition of it flagship car, the A8.

The special, limited edition, known as the A8 Exclusive Concept, stands out because of its exceptional interior quality. Audi went above and beyond to create one of the most refined luxury car interiors I have ever seen.

The quilted leather on the seats comes from Italian designer and furniture maker Poltrona Frau. I figure Audi must have picked the company based on its German last name. Even if it was a bit of national nepotism, the seats look great. Like something you would find in a Victorian gentleman’s library.

That wondrous leather color is called ‘Cognac Brown’, and it’s spot-on for chairs that look they came out of the 19th century. And, for once, the color name actually evokes what it describes. The seats do look a bit like cognac; I bet they are oaky and delicious.

I think the best feature, however, is the wood trim and dash that have been fitted to the car. It has been formed from Ash, and the color is naturally variegated silver brown. Not only does the color look great against the seats, Audi has avoided the trap so many luxury automakers fall into by leaving its wood on the matte side of the spectrum.

A lot of other luxury interiors feature beautiful wood that has been ruined by an incredibly glossy fake wood finish. Thankfully, not Audi.

Taken together, these interior touches are a reminder that it’s not just expensive materials that make a good automotive cabin, but design sense. Audi went for an old fashioned, but not aggressively nostalgic look and then brought together the materials it needed to masterfully complete the job. The end result looks better than the interior you see in many cars selling for $200,000 and up.

Don’t expect anything different in the way of performance or handling from the special edition A8, because it has the same 500 horsepower W12 powerplant as a regular top-of-the-line model. That’s fine, though, because it’s a great engine and a great car. Also, the point here is luxury and not performance.

Unfortunately, Audi is only making 50 of these masterpieces at its euphoniously named Neckarsulm quattro plant. So if you want one, you better get in line now.  The first one rolls off the assembly line in March of 2014.

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