Sharpened design and innovative technologies for the flagship: the enhanced Audi A8
As the successor to the Audi V8, the A8 has been the brand’s leading edge in the luxury saloon segment of Audi’s portfolio since 1994. The Audi A8 is a symbol of and a trailblazer for the status and prestige of the brand. The fourth generation of the luxury saloon, which Audi introduced in 2017, raised it to a new level concerning power, look, and equipment. As an initial series model, the A8 revealed the future design language upon its launch and consequently it is essentially the progressive face of the brand to the present day. The sharpened design coupled with established technologies and outstanding comfort in the back seats defines Audi’s premium conception in this segment. The saloon thereby represents the symbiosis of masterful comfort and sporty handling and it, therefore, covers the full breadth of driving experience. With precision in all details and many intelligent functions, the new A8 is a high-value technology pioneer.
Even more prestige and authority: the exterior design
The Audi A8 is a saloon that represents status and exudes authority – now that it has been reworked, its exterior is even more representative, confident, and athletic. The base of the Singleframe grille is now wider and chrome angles that increase in size from bottom to top adorn its grid. The side air intakes are more upright and just as freshly styled as the headlights, whose lower edge on the outside creates a distinctive contour. To summarize, the newly designed and precisely orchestrated design elements in the front area significantly increase the A8’s presence and authority and sharpen the profile of the brand’s top model.
From a side view, the luxury saloon’s progressive character is particularly eye-catching. The roof dome runs flat. Stretched lines in the body of the car emphasize its length, wide wheel arches hint at the standard quattro drive system. In all model variants, the rocker panel area has a concave shape and ends in a blade pointing toward the road. The rear is dominated by wide chrome clasps, a customizable taillight signature with Digital OLEDs, and a continuous, segmented light strip. The diffusor insert in the bumper is delicately accentuated and redesigned with horizontal bars. The Audi S8 presents four flow-optimized pipes under a circumferential contour – typical of the Audi S model. They are one of its characteristic sporty design details.
Beyond the basic exterior, Audi is offering its customers the chrome exterior package and the new S line exterior package. The latter gives the front a dynamic touch and differentiates even more from the basic model: a distinctive blade in the area of the side air intakes augments the frontal view – very similar to the S8. The look is even more defined with the additional black appearance package. The colour swatch for the A8 includes eleven colours, among them the new metallic district green, firmament blue, Manhattan grey, and ultra blue. Also new in the Audi A8 are five matte colours – Daytona grey, florette silver, district green, terra grey and glacier white. In the Audi exclusive program, the car is painted in the customer’s chosen colour.
5.19 meter (17 ft.) body
The product enhancements only minimally change the dimensions of the Audi flagship in the luxury saloon segment. The A8 has a wheelbase of 3.00 meters (9.8 ft.), length of 5.19 meters (17 ft.), width of 1.95 meters (6.4 ft.), and height of 1.47 meters (4.8 ft.). The S8 is about one centimetre longer. The body of the A8 follows the same principle as the Audi Space Frame (ASF): it is made up of 58 percent aluminium parts. The passenger compartment consists of hot-formed steel components supplemented with an ultra-high-strength, extremely torsionally rigid rear panel made of a carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer. Magnesium strut-tower bars complete the lightweight construction concept. The body’s commanding rigidity lays the foundation for precise handling, excellent comfort, and acoustic tranquillity onboard.
Digital Matrix LED headlights and OLED rear lights
Comparable with video projectors, the Digital Matrix LED headlights use DMD (digital micromirror device) technology. Each headlamp contains approximately 1.3 million micromirrors which dispersed the light into tiny pixels, which means that it can be adjusted with the greatest precision. One new function that this enables is lane and orientation lights for highways. Here, the headlights emit a carpet of light, which illuminates the driver’s lane particularly brightly. Above all, the orientation lights particularly help drivers intuitively stay in their lane at road construction sites. The Digital Matrix LED headlights can generate dynamic coming home/leaving home functions upon unlocking and leaving the car. They shine like projections on the ground or the wall.
The enhanced A8 comes with Digital OLED rear lights (OLED = organic light-emitting diode) as a standard feature. When ordering the car, there are two rear light signatures to choose from – three with the S8. When the “dynamic” Audi drive select mode is chosen, the lights change to a further signature that is only available in that mode.
In conjunction with the assistance systems, the Digital OLED rear lights have a proximity indication feature: if another vehicle comes within two meters (6.6 ft.) of a stationary A8 from behind, all the OLED segments are activated. Additional functions include dynamic turn signals as well as coming home and leaving home sequences.
Reduction as a design medium
The interior of the A8 is comparable with a spacious, widely tailored lounge – it offers an open, feel-good space. Its architecture is strictly horizontally oriented to emphasize its width. The formal language is still always restrained. In the dark, the ambient light package plus (standard with the S8) elegantly stages the interior and there are reading lights in the rear that use Matrix LED technology.
The range of seats and seat equipment in the enhanced A8 is varied, very comfortable, and radiates the highest degree of authority – especially for the back seats, where many options are available. The relaxation seat in the A8 L is the apex of the program. It offers numerous adjustment options and a footrest on the back of the passenger seat. Passengers can use it to have the bottoms of their feet warmed and massaged to various degrees. The relaxation seat package includes a back massage with 18 pneumatic cushions, electrically adjustable comfort headrests, an optional continuous centre console – also available with an optional fold-out table – four-zone deluxe automatic air conditioning, and the new screens in the rear.
The high-quality workmanship underscores the A8 interior’s workshop character. That goes for the precise perforations in the seat covers, the electrically opening and closing decorative trim, the air vent doors, or the velvety leather in the comfort headrests. The seats are upholstered with Valcona leather as a standard feature. Alternatively, Valcona leather is also available as an option with the possibility of choosing the new colour cognac brown. New to the program is the sustainable microfiber material Dinamica for the door panels, which can also be used for the pillar trim or the roof lining.
Sensitive and sensible: operation
The MMI touch response operating concept in the Audi A8 relies on two displays (10.1-inch and 8.6-inch) and natural voice operation. The dialogue starts by calling out “Hey Audi!” The completely digital Audi virtual cockpit, with the standard head-up display, completes the display and operating concept and emphasizes the orientation to the driver. Important information is displayed directly in the driver’s line of sight.
New solutions: Navigation and Audi connect
MMI Navigation plus is standard in the enhanced Audi A8. It is supported by the third generation modular infotainment toolkit (MIB 3).
The likewise standard online and Car-2-X services from Audi connect augment the navigation system. They are divided into two packages: Audi connect Navigation & Infotainment and Audi connect Safety & Service with Audi connect Remote & Control.
For modern demands: the new screens in the back
Attractive options are also available for the infotainment hardware. The new screens in the back are tailored to the expectations of today’s rear-seat passengers. That means two 10.1-inch displays with full HD resolution attached to the backs of the front seats. They display content from passengers’ devices and can receive numerous audio and video streams via casting, including from well-known streaming platforms, TV media libraries, or cellular networks.
The rear seat remote, which is now firmly mounted to the centre armrest, allows many comfort and infotainment functions to be controlled from the back seat. The control unit, with its OLED touch display, is about as big as a smartphone.
Three packages: the driver assistance systems
There are about 40 driver assistance systems available in the enhanced Audi A8. Some of them – including the Audi pre sense basic and Audi pre sense front safety systems – are standard equipment for the series. Options are clustered into the “Park,” “City,” and “Tour” packages. The assistance package plus consolidates the packages.
The highlight of the “Park” package is the remote park assist plus: it can automatically manoeuvre the large saloon into and out of a parallel or bay parking space. The driver does not even need to be in the car for it to do that.
The “City” assist package includes intersection assist, cross-traffic assist, side assist, exit warning, and the Audi pre sense 360° safety system, which induces a side crash enhancement in combination with the active suspension.
The “Tour” assist package, which is standard in the UK, is particularly comprehensive. Its central system is adaptive cruise assist, which adjusts longitudinal and lateral guidance throughout the vehicle’s speed range. Behind the assistance systems in the Audi A8 is the central driver assistance controller (zFAS), which continuously calculates a model of the environment.
Sovereign and efficient: the engine range
The enhanced Audi A8 is available with four engine options. The 3.0 TDI and the 3.0 TFSI are V6 units, while the 4.0 TFSI in the S8 is a V8 with cylinder on-demand technology. The TFSI e plug-in hybrid model combines the 3.0 TFSI with an electric motor.
The 3.0 TDI is in the Audi A8 50 TDI quattro and the A8 L 50 TDI quattro. It brings 210 kW (286 PS) of power and 600 Nm of torque, which are already present at 1,750 1/min and remain constant up to 3,250 1/min. The diesel engine accelerates both the A8 and A8 L from zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.9 seconds and on to the electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph), which is uniform across all A8 models.
The 3.0 TFSI drives the Audi A8 55 TFSI quattro with 250 kW (340 PS. From 1,370 to 4,500 rpm, it delivers 500 Nm of torque. From a standing start, it reaches 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.6 seconds.
The Audi S8 – inspirational performance in the luxury class
The Audi S8 TSFI quattro is the sporty top model in the series. The biturbo V8 generates 420 kW (571 PS) of power and 800 Nm of torque from 2,050 to 4,500 rpm. It does a standard sprint in 3.8 seconds. The COD system also increases efficiency in the S8. Sound flaps in the exhaust system sharpen the sound when desired. Additionally, the strongest model in the A8 family comes off the assembly line with particularly extensive standard equipment. Among other things, it comprises a unique combination of innovative suspension components, such as the predictive active suspension, sport differential, and dynamic all-wheel steering. With distinctive design elements in the interior and the exterior, the sporty character is purposefully staged.
All the previously mentioned motorizations come with mild hybrid technology (MHEV) as a standard feature, which uses the A8’s 48-volt main electrical system.
Two engines, one battery: the Audi A8 with plug-in hybrid drives
The Audi A8 60 TFSI e quattro and the A8 L 60 TFSI e quattro are the plug-in hybrid models (PHEV) in the series. The 3.0 TFSI is supported by a compact electric motor. The lithium-ion battery in the rear can now store a net 14.4 kWh (gross: 17.9 kWh) of energy – significantly more than before. With 340 kW (462 PS) of system power and 700 Nm of system torque, the Audi A8 60 TFSI e quattro goes from zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.9 seconds (A8 and A8 L).
Plug-in hybrid model drivers can choose between four modes. “EV” stands for fully electric driving, “Hybrid” for an efficient combination of both drive system types, and “Hold” for conserving the available electric energy, while the combustion engine charges the battery in “Charge” mode. The maximum charging capacity – with alternating current – is 7.4 kW. Customers can use the compact e-tron charging system for that in their garage at home or the mode 3 cable when they are on the road. In Europe, the Audi e-tron Charging Service grants access to approximately 250,000 charging points.
tiptronic, quattro and the sport differential: the whole gamut of driving experience
All engines in the Audi A8 are connected to a fast and gently toggling eight-step tiptronic. Thanks to an electric oil pump, the automatic transmission can change gears even when the combustion engine is not running. The constant all-wheel drive quattro with the self-locking centre differential is standard, optionally supplemented with the sport differential (standard in the S8, not available for plug-in hybrid models). It actively distributes torque between the rear wheels during fast cornering and thereby makes the handling even sportier and more stable.
Progressive technologies: suspension system
The standard suspension system in the enhanced Audi A8 impresses with its balanced character. It combines sporty driving fun with confident comfort, due in part to the distinct driving profiles that the Audi drive select handling system has on hand. The adaptive air suspension with controlled damping is standard. Progressive steering is another standard feature. Dynamic all-wheel steering is also available as an option. It is standard equipment in the Audi S8.
Predictive active suspension
The highlight of the enhanced S8 is the predictive active suspension. It can load or unload each wheel with additional power individually via an electric motor and thereby actively regulate the position of the chassis in any driving situation. Predictive active suspension gives the driving experience in the enhanced Audi S8 a fascinating range. When dynamic mode is on in the Audi drive select system, the large saloon shows its sporty side. It firmly turns into corners, the roll angles are small, and the body hardly dips when braking. In comfort+ mode, by contrast, it smoothly breezes over unevenness. Here, the steering works in conjunction with the front camera, allowing it to recognize unevenness within the system limitations and predictively regulate the actuators.
In comfort+ mode, the predictive active suspension has a special feature: its integrated curve tilting function reduces the lateral acceleration that acts on the occupants. Upon entering a curve, it elevates the side of the body on the outside of the curve and lowers the other side, thereby tilting it into the curve up to three degrees. At speeds between 80 and 130 km/h (59.7 to 80.8 mph) and lateral acceleration of up to 0.4g, cornering is scarcely noticeable.
While driving straight in comfort+, the predictive active suspension compensates for pitching movements in the chassis. To help with getting in and out of the car comfortably, the body raises and lowers itself by up to 50 mm (2 in.).
The wheel range for the enhanced Audi A8, which goes from 18 to 21 inches, including new designs.