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From the rear seat, you can control just about everything in the Audi A8. Photo: Audi

This week I am driving the luxurious 2019 Audi A8 L quattro, which is as delightful in the back seat as it is in the driver's seat.

Why it matters: The A8 is Audi's flagship, so it gets the latest technologies that will eventually filter down to other Audi models.

  • Unfortunately, it does not include the much-anticipated Traffic Jam Pilot, Audi's new Level 3 autonomy system.
  • Audi has shelved the system for now because of regulatory challenges in the U.S. and Europe.

Yes, but: This car's technology will still blow you away, though, like the predictive suspension that scans the road ahead to skip over potholes and the 4-wheel steering system that gives this 17-foot-long behemoth the turning radius of a nimble A4.

  • The interior is serene and inviting, with customized lighting and wood trim on the dash that retracts to reveal hidden air vents.
  • A new infotainment system, featuring 2 large touchscreens, is intuitive and responsive.

Rear-seat passengers can customize their experience using a smartphone-sized remote control that pops out of the rear center console, controlling everything from the deeply reclining seats and heated massaging footrest to the infotainment screens.

The intrigue: A8 is loaded with driver-assistance technology, even without the Level 3 system. New features include:

  • "Hands-on" traffic jam assist technology, which eases stress in stop-and-go traffic.
  • Intersection assist, which warns drivers of oncoming traffic when their view is obstructed.
  • Emergency assist, which detects if the driver is unresponsive and brings the car to a stop in its lane, turns on the hazard lights, and calls 911.

The bottom line: The A8 is a dream, but dreams can be expensive. The starting price is $83,800, but the loaded version I'm driving is $123,045.

Go deeper: See what else Joann has been driving

Go deeper

Updated 7 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.
1 hour ago - Health

WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release"

A medical syringe and vial with fake coronavirus vaccine in front of the World Health Organization (WHO) logo. Photo Illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Top scientists at the World Health Organization on Friday called for more detailed information on a coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.

Why it matters: Oxford and AstraZeneca have said the vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses. AstraZeneca has since acknowledged that the smaller dose received by some participants was the result of an error by a contractor, per the New York Times.

Court rejects Trump campaign's appeal in Pennsylvania case

Photo: Sarah Silbiger for The Washington Post via Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Friday unanimously rejected the Trump campaign's emergency appeal seeking to file a new lawsuit against Pennsylvania's election results, writing in a blistering ruling that the campaign's "claims have no merit."

Why it matters: It's another devastating blow to President Trump's sinking efforts to overturn the results of the election. Pennsylvania, which President-elect Joe Biden won by more than 80,000 votes, certified its results last week and is expected to award 20 electoral votes to Biden on Dec. 12.