New Audi A8: the driver is optional…

Posted on Jul 14, 2017 by

Ingolstadt carmaker says the all-new will feature the most highly automated autonomous-driving capabilities on the market

Audi A8

The 2018 Audi A8 has made its world debut in Spain, introducing Ingolstadt’s new design language, a new user interface concept, and new automated driving capabilities.

Revealed at the 2017 Audi Summit held in Barcelona, the German carmaker says its latest A8 flagship saloon was developed as the first production car in the world to feature highly automated driving ability with autonomous functions such as a parking pilot, garage pilot and traffic jam pilot.

The latter can take charge of the vehicle on congested roads, controlling the car at speeds of up to 60kph on highways with physical barriers separating the two carriageways. Audi says its AI is so advanced that the car will need to wait for individual markets to catch up with regulation and infrastructure facilitating its autonomous driving features. As such the traffic jam pilot (Audi points out the tech is also the first to utilise a laser scanner in a production car) will be rolled out in a step-by-step process.

Audi A8

As for the remote parking pilot and garage pilot, the systems are able to autonomously steer the new A8 into your parking spot while you stand outside of the car — the driver needn’t be behind the wheel at all. Both features are controlled via the user’s smartphone.

Inspired by the lines of the 2014 Audi Prologue two-door concept, the new A8 measures nearly 5.2 meters long in standard guise, and 13cm bigger in long wheelbase A8 L form.

Designers put precedent on riding passengers, adding the option of a ‘relaxation’ seat in the right-rear position, with its own footrest, massaging functions, and a removable OLED display that lets the passenger control the car’s features.

Prices for the new A8 in Europe will start from AED380,000, before the car reaches the Middle East market in Q2 2018.

Up front there is additionally a 10.1-inch touchscreen which blends into its piano-black surroundings, and negates the old rotary knob and touchpad found in the predecessor A8. Minimalism is the name of the game, as Audi also did away with air conditioning controls and placed everything else inside a second touchscreen on the centre tunnel console. The system is powered by an Nvidia quad-core processor that’s 50 times faster than Audi’s first-generation MIB infotainment system launched in 2012.

Built on a new platform it shares with the Bentley Bentayga SUV, the next Porsche Cayenne, and upcoming , the new Audi A8 boasts all-wheel steering with the rear wheels going in or against the direction of the front wheels depending on speed. Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive is standard on all A8 models, while a limited-slip sports differential is optional equipment. All cars come with an eight-speed transmission and adaptive air suspension with four selectable ride height levels included.   

Audi A8

Audi’s home market will be the first to get the new A8 after the summer, offering engine options ranging from a 3.0-litre V6 rated at 340 horsepower, and a 4.0-litre V8 twin-turbocharged to deliver 460 horsepower. A flagship motor in the form of a 6.0-litre W12 shared with Bentley will join the A8 line-up later, developing 585 horsepower and 800Nm of torque from 1,300rpm.

Any engine you pick comes with a 48-volt electrical system, and mild-hybrid tech, enabling zero-emissions coasting, and an extended stop-start function. The last A8 model to become available will be the A8 L e-tron with a plug-in hybrid powertrain combining a V6 engine for a system total output of 449 horsepower. The on-board battery will store up enough juice for about 50km of electric-only, zero-emissions driving. Audi will offer the option of wirelessly charging the A8 L e-tron, with customers able to place a pad in their garage floor that transfers power inductively. The e-tron version will do 0-100kph in 4.9 seconds and max out at a limited top speed of 250kph.

Prices for the new A8 in Europe will start from AED380,000, before the car reaches the Middle East market in Q2 2018.

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