Audi has unveiled its all-new luxury barge, the A8, at the first Audi Summit in Barcelona. It has not only grown bigger but also has newer technologies as well as many standard features, not to mention the design language that other Audis will follow in the future. The fourth-generation Audi A8 will go on sale globally this October. India will get the car in 2018. The car will be on display to the public at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show 2017.
If the new Audi A8 reminds you of the Prologue Concept showcased at the expo, you aren't far off. Audi designers have taken inspiration from the concept and made it a reality with the new A8. The single-piece grille and the muscular lines come together to make a cohesive design. The car looks longer than before (Audi hasn't given any numbers) and like the outgoing A8, even this one too has a standard and long-wheelbase variants. No points for guessing which one the Indian car market will get. Audi has got the HD Matrix LED headlamps along with laser lights. The rear sees the use of OLED lights. Audi says that depending on whether the driver is approaching the car or leaving it, the LED patterns differ, thereby creating a unique effect.
Audi has adopted the minimalist cabin approach and this shows with the lack of buttons inside. For example, the air vents can be electrically controlled through a panel below the huge 10.1-inch infotainment system. When the vehicle is switched off, it's hard to decipher if there was a screen in its place at all. Audi has made use of fingertip control for the A8's system which includes hearing an affirmation click right after any input has been made. Audi says that this latest-gen MMI system is safe, faster and more intuitive to use. All this and the driver can also control the car using his voice. The Audi A8L, while boasting an additional 123mm wheelbase over the standard car, also gets the optional relaxation seat that includes a 4-way foot massage, separate massaging function for the rear seat passengers along with private phone calls through another operating unit.
Audi says that the new A8 is the first car in the world to have been developed for automated driving. AI or Artificial Intelligence as Audi calls it has a traffic jam pilot mode that takes control of the car during slow-moving traffic. This essentially lets the driver relax while the car battles out the manoeuvres to be made during this process. The car owner can activate this button via a switch placed on the centre console. Audi says that the system is quite capable and when it has reached its limit, AI will ask the driver to take over. For this, the A8 now uses a laser scanner (first in a production car), ultrasonic sensors, front camera as well as radar sensors. The Audi A8 also has Level 3 autonomous driving capability. Using the Audi app on one's phone, the car can be steered into an empty parking slot as well as parked in the garage without the driver being physically present inside the cabin.
The suspension is another trick part of the new Audi A8. We spoke about it before as well. The suspension uses part of the AI's fully active suspension to scan the road ahead and decide on which wheel angle should be adjusted so that the passengers have the least amount of discomfort inside the car. The energy that this suspension uses is derived from the 48v electrical system that is now standard with the entire A8 range. This is the same system that we have seen in the SQ7 SUV. It also helps raise the car by a certain degree if the AI detects an impending lateral collision. Speaking of which quattro too is standard with the A8 primarily being rear wheel biased.
Audi has added updated engines to the A8's folder. This includes the V6 286PS 3.0-litre TDi and 340PS TFSi motors that Audi says have been "thoroughly revised". Two 4.0-litre V8 engines too make their presence felt with 435PS and 460PS respectively for the petrol and diesel engines. Audi also has the range-topping 6.0-litre W12 engine on offer. The power figures though are yet to be disclosed. All the engines mentioned here come with mild hybrid technology and coasting capability. Audi says that this has helped them in improving the fuel efficiency by almost 0.7kmpl.
There is also the new A8L e-tron quattro which is a plug-in hybrid and makes use of the 3.0-litre petrol as well as an electrical system to produce a combined output of 449PS and 700Nm. On electric power alone, the A8L e-tron can travel up to 50km and also gets an optional Wireless Charging Pad.
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