You also get two SD card slots to expand your music library even further. Audi has done the right thing and made sure that these slots are SDHC compatible, which means that you could add 32GB of storage to the system for less than £60. And with the price of SD cards dropping all the time, it’s only going to get cheaper to significantly augment your music library capacity.
But even that isn’t the end of the story when it comes to digital music goodness in the A8. Audi has also fitted the test car with its Music Interface, which allows you to connect external devices to the system. So, you could hook up an external hard disk full of music if you used the USB cable, or you could use the iPod cable and plug in an iPod or iPhone. The system worked flawlessly with my iPhone, although it only groups the music by playlist, seeing each playlist as a folder. There’s no way to search for music by artist or album, but you do get complete playback control of the iPod through the Audi system. So, you could easily keep an iPod classic in the glove box and increase your music library by another 120GB! When it comes to digital music, the A8 means business.
If by some bizarre turn of events you can’t find anything that you’d want to listen to on the plethora of storage devices, you could always resort to trusty old wireless. As well as the usual FM, the MMI system also throws in a DAB tuner as standard.
This A8 is also equipped with a Bose sound package, which is designed to enhance the listening experience in the cabin. I’ve got to admit that I’m not the biggest fan of Bose products, but like the system in the Renault Laguna Coupe, this one sounds pretty good. Feeding the system a diet of CD audio and 320kbps MP3 files resulted in a pleasingly resolved sound. There’s a reassuring amount of detail and clarity, but as with the system in the Renault, it’s slightly lacking when it comes to bass response. Sound wise, this Bose setup doesn’t match the DynAudio system that came in the Scirocco though. It’s a shame that the car didn’t come with Audi’s premium Bang & Olufsen system, but hopefully the next car will.
As with the system in the VW Scirocco, you can also slap a DVD movie in, kick back and waste a couple of hours by the side of the road. The sound while watching DVD movies is also pretty impressive, with the Bose system creating a relatively convincing surround envelope, no doubt aided by the roomy cabin and liberal sprinkling of speakers.
But the video part of the puzzle doesn’t end there, since the A8 also has both analogue and digital TV tuners built in. So, if you happen to be stuck in the car while you wait for someone, you could catch up on the latest repeats of Top Gear on Dave. What’s really impressive though, is how good the TV reception is. The TrustedReviews offices are notorious for bad TV reception, and we had to install a high gain antenna on the roof, mounted on a pole just to get Freeview reception. Despite this, the A8 managed to pickup Freeview stations flawlessly while sitting in the car park.
On the whole the A8 has put on a pretty good show when it comes to entertainment, especially when you consider that this isn’t even the top of the range system that Audi offers.