Audi has unveiled the fourth generation of its flagship sedan’s model – The 2018 Audi A8 at the first Audi Summit in Barcelona. The all-new model comes with the brand’s latest design language and a host of features including many future-ready technologies.
The design of the new 2018 Audi A8 is very much in line with that of the Audi Prologue Concept. It features a wide front end with the upright single frame grille and a coupe-like silhouette which highlights the sporty character of the new A8. The muscular shapes above the wheels point to the brand’s Quattro DNA while the shoulder line that runs from the headlamps to the taillamps accentuate the car’s length. A chrome strip runs across the length of the car in the lower part and integrates the trapezoidal trims of the exhaust system in the rear bumper.
The flagship model is equipped with striking HD Matrix LED headlights with Audi laser lighting. The segmented OLED rear lights are joined by a LED light strip which extends across the entire width. Both the front and rear lights provide the new A8 with a unique identity in the day time as well at night. The lights also produce unique animations as the driver approaches and leaves the car.
The luxury sedan is available in the standard version as well in a long wheelbase variant. The standard Audi A8 measures 5172 mm in length, 1473 mm in height and has a wheelbase of 2998 mm. Compared to its predecessor the new model is 37 mm longer, 13 mm higher and has 6 mm more wheelbase. The new Audi A8 L measures 5302 mm in length, 1488 mm in height and has a wheelbase of 3128 mm. Comparing to the last generation model the length has increased by 37 mm, the height is 17 mm more and the wheelbase has increased by 6 mm. Both the new Audi A8 and A8 L are 1945 mm wide which is a reduction of 4 mm as compared to its predecessor.
The interior of the new Audi A8 resembles a lavish and spacious lounge. The range of equipment and materials is extensive, with every detail radiating superlative bespoke quality. The architecture adopts a reductive design which is presented in a horizontal orientation and has virtually eliminated buttons and controls.
The sculptural instrument panel is available in a choice of wood veneer or piano finish. The air vents are concealed in the panel by shutters when inactive giving it a very clean look. A 10.1-inch touchscreen display is at the centre of the dashboard which, when off, blends almost invisibly into the high-gloss black surrounds. A second screen measuring 8.6 inches on the centre tunnel console gives access to the air conditioning and comfort functions as well as allows to make text inputs. The buttons on its edge provide the user with tactile and acoustic feedback as from a conventional switch. The same applies to the light switches and the controls on the air vents.
The best place to be in the Audi A8 has to be its rear seats. The Audi A8 L can be ordered with the optional relaxation seat that comes with four different adjustment options and a footrest. In this seat, the passenger can warm and massage the soles of their feet on a unit with multiple settings incorporated into the back of the front-passenger seat. The rear passengers can also relax their heads against the soft comfort head restraints, which can be electrically adjusted in height.
The rear seat passengers can also control an array of functions such as ambient lighting, the new HD Matrix reading lights, seat massage, climate control, seat, lighting, adjustment and media functions via the rear seat remote which has a 5.7-inch touchscreen display. The rear seat remote is a removable unit housed in the centre armrest. The device also acts as a convenient remote control for the Audi tablet if the latter is fixed to the reverse of the front seat and also work as a phone to make calls when connected via Bluetooth with the passenger’s smartphone.
The driver can now engage in intelligent conversation with the Audi A8 and activate an array of functions in the luxury car using a new, natural form of voice control. Information on destinations and media is either available on board or is delivered from the cloud at LTE speed. The extensive Audi connect range also includes traffic sign recognition and hazard information – innovative car-to-X services that draw on the swarm intelligence of the Audi fleet.
The navigation on the new A8 has been extensively optimised and now is self-learning. It provides the driver with intelligent search suggestions and also incorporates highly detailed 3D models of major European cities.
The all-new Audi A8 is also the first production automobile to have been developed specially for highly automated driving. The Audi AI traffic jam pilot takes charge of driving in slow-moving traffic at up to 60 km/h (37.3 mph) on freeways and highways where a physical barrier separates the two carriageways. The system is activated using the AI button on the centre console.
The traffic jam pilot manages starting, accelerating, steering and braking. The driver no longer needs to monitor the car permanently. They can take their hands off the steering wheel permanently and focus on a different activity that is supported by the car, such as watching the on-board TV. As soon as the system reaches its limits, it notifies the driver to get back in control. Audi is also the first car manufacturer to use a laser scanner.
Audi will adopt a step-by-step approach to introduce the AI traffic jam pilot in production models of the A8 as a range of approval procedures and their corresponding timescales will need to be observed worldwide.
The new A8 is also equipped with the Audi AI remote parking pilot and the Audi AI remote garage pilot autonomously steer the A8 into and out of a parking space or a garage, while the manoeuvre is monitored by the driver from their smartphone using the new myAudi app.
Featuring on the new 2018 Audi A8 is the dynamic all-wheel steering which combines direct, sporty steering with unshakable stability. The steering ratio for the front wheels varies as a function of speed. The rear wheels are turned in or against the direction of steering depending on the speed range. The sport differential makes the car’s handling even more dynamic and precise. This actively distributes the drive torque between the rear wheels, complementing the Quattro permanent all-wheel drive that is now standard in the new A8.
The new A8 is also equipped with the Audi AI active suspension. This system allows lowering or raising each wheel separately with electric actuators. This flexibility allows the car to either provide a smooth ride comfort of a classic luxury sedan or a precise and dynamic characteristic of a sports car. In combination with pre sense 360°, the car is raised with lighting speed if there is an impending lateral collision, reducing the potential consequences of the accident for all occupants.
Powering the new A8 in the German market are two extensively reengineered V6 turbo engines – a 3.0 TDI and a 3.0 TFSI. The diesel motor develops 210 kW (286 hp) while the gasoline version generates 250 kW (340 hp). Two eight-cylinder engine options – a 4.0 TDI with 320 kW (435 hp) and a 4.0 TFSI with 338 kW (460 hp) will follow at a later date. The exclusive top engine variant is the W12 with a displacement of 6.0 litres.
Audi, now for the first time fits 48-volt electrical system as the primary electrical system in all model versions of the A8. All the above five engines operate in conjunction with a belt alternator starter (BAS), which is the nerve centre of the 48-volt electrical system. The MHEV (mild hybrid electric vehicle) technology enables the car to coast with the engine switched off, and to restart smoothly. It also has an extended start/stop function and an energy recovery output of up to 12 kW. The combined effect of these measures is to bring down the fuel consumption of the already efficient engines even further – by as much as 0.7 litres (0.2 US gal) per 100 km (62.1 miles) in real driving conditions.
The Audi A8 L e-tron Quattro with its powerful plug-in hybrid drive will follow at a later date. Its 3.0 L TFSI engine and the powerful electric motor achieve 330 kW (449 hp) of system power and 700 Nm (516.3 lb-ft) of system torque. The lithium-ion battery stores enough power for about 50 km (31.1 miles) of electric driving. It can optionally be charged by Audi Wireless Charging pad.
The new Audi A8 and A8 L are being manufactured at the Neckarsulm facility and will reach dealerships in the German market in late fall 2017. The starting price for the Audi A8 is EUR 90,600 (approx. INR 66.9 Lakh) while that of the Audi A8 L will be from EUR 94,100 (INR 69.5 Lakh) onwards.