There was no sign of Sol on the Costa as I nosed the quartz-gray Audi A8 past the guard house and onto the rain-slicked traffic roundabout before heading out on the road.
The long, smooth roadway that connected the estate to the autoroute was the perfect place to get better acquainted with the A8’s 372-horsepower, 4.2-liter V-8 and its 328 pound-feet of torque. Leaving the handsomely designed gear select in Drive allowed the eight-speed Tiptronic transmission to run through the gears at its sole discretion. But with a flick of the steering wheel-mounted paddles (downshift with the left paddle; upshift with the right, just as God intended), I snapped down to third gear to decelerate as I approached the roundabout, the transmission responding instantly with the discipline of a well-trained Doberman, the standard Quattro all-wheel drive easily finding traction despite the rain-slicked tarmac. I merged with traffic, exited the roundabout and accelerated southwest toward Cadiz with the Mediterranean off to my left, popping into view as rain clouds scuttled toward Morocco.
Life in the south of Spain is sweet, and with the 2011 Audi A8 as a guide, it gets sweeter still.
Gallery: First Drive: 2011 Audi A8