Audi has taken the covers off the all-new A8 at the Audi Summit held in Barcelona. Globally, the 2018 version is the fourth generation of the A8.
Taking inspiration from the Prologue concept, design of the new Audi A8 looks sharp and minimalistic. There is absolutely no quirkiness in the design. In the future, Audi will take this design language to other models as well. The wider hexagonal grill and Matrix LED headlights lend a mean look at the front, while its slab-sided profile accentuates the sheer length of the luxury sedan. The rear end, featuring OLED tail lamps, is the most prominent change over the previous generation A8. Split 5-spoke alloy wheels add a bit of flair to the otherwise sober design.
On the inside, the 2018 Audi A8 uses a virtual dashboard design where displays have taken place of old-school buttons. When turned off, these screens merge well into the black surroundings. Pressing the virtual buttons on the displays results in a small vibration through the use of haptic feedback. This enables the user to feel and comprehend when an input is made and accepted. The cabin features dedicated touch screens for the MMI unit, Virtual Cockpit and climate control function. The new steering wheel design looks radical and the use of silver highlights at the right places exudes quality.
As is the case with luxury barges of this segment, rear seat experience carries a lot of significance. The rear armrest houses a plethora of controls for infotainment system, seat massager and other functions. Audi has also included an improved voice recognition software to control a variety of functions in the car. Relaxation seat, which includes a dedicated footrest with foot massager, for the rear passengers is optional on the long wheelbase version.
The German carmaker claims that the A8 is the world’s first car developed for automated driving. It supports Level 3 autonomous driving, which enables the car to weave its way through traffic without human assistance. Called as AI (Artificial Intelligence) by the manufacturer, the maximum speed for this mode is restricted to 60 km/hr.
The new A8 is also equipped with features such as a fully active suspension and self parking. The vehicle, without its user being seated in the cabin, can park itself in garages and parking slots via Audi’s smartphone app. The active air suspension relies on data from a range of sensors which scan the road surface and change suspension dynamics to provide a compliant and jerk-free ride.
The new A8 comes with a magnitude of engine options as well. The revised 3.0-litre, 6-cylinder TDI and TFSI engines generate peak power figures of 286 PS and 340 PS respectively. In addition, the A8 will also get more powerful 4.0-litre V8 petrol and diesel engines. The range-topping 6.0-litre W12 motor is reserved for the long wheelbase version.
Besides powering the active suspension, the sedan’s 48V mild-hybrid system allows coasting function for speeds as high as 160 km/hr. The four-wheel steer technology improves stability at high speeds and manoeuvrability at low speeds. The New Audi A8 also features a sports differential and quattro all-wheel-drive system to improve handling and road grip.
Prior to its global launch in October this year, Audi will showcase the A8 at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. The Indian market will get the long wheelbase version, called the A8L, which is likely to be launched in the first half of 2018. In India, Audi’s flagship sedan will compete with the Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7-Series and Jaguar XJ-L primarily.
2018 Audi A8
– Unveiled at the Audi Summit held in Spain, India launch in 2018
– Comes loaded with features such as active suspension and Level 3 automated driving
– Mild-hybrid system standard on the entire range
– All-new A8 will compete with the likes of Mercedes S Class and BMW 7 series