Audi AI active suspension, dynamic all-wheel steering, electronic chassis platform – the new Audi A8 L employs wholly new technologies to make driving even more comfortable, sportier and safer. They convey a whole new breadth of characteristics – from the silky-smooth progress that befits a luxury sedan to the dynamically firm handling of a sports car.
The basic design alone is state of the art. The front and rear axles take the form of high-precision five-link constructions made extensively from lightweight aluminum. They weigh a bit less than the predecessor model. Two subframes – the front one rigid, the rear one hydraulically mounted – join them to the body. The electromechanical progressive steering system operates more and more directly as the turning angle increases. Thanks to a new damping concept, it conveys a highly precise, sensitive feedback from the road.
Another standard feature is adaptive air suspension with controlled damping. The air suspension can be set via the dynamic handling system Audi drive select to the modes comfort, auto and dynamic, with a separate lift mode for rough roads. From a speed of 120 km/h (74.6 mph), the body is automatically lowered by 20 millimeters (0.8 in) for improved aerodynamics. Prerequisite: the car must have been running in the auto or dynamic mode continuously for at least 30 seconds.
The adaptive air suspension already gives the A8 a wide spread of operating characteristics ranging from smooth ride comfort to sporty handling. The driving experience becomes even more intense with the fully active Audi AI active suspension, available after market launch. As a fully active electromechanical suspension system it can stress or relieve each wheel separately depending on the driver’s intention and the driving situation. The electromechanical actuators employed actively and optimally regulate the body motion and damping. They are powered by the 48-volt vehicle electrical system. The characteristic ranges from the gentle rolling of a classical luxury sedan to the dynamics of a sports car, according to the setting in the Audi drive select dynamic handling system.
In the event of an impending side collision at over 25 km/h (15.5 mph) the Audi AI active suspension, in combination with the pre sense 360° safety system, raises the body by up to 80 millimeters (3.1 in) on the side facing impact, quick as a flash. The impacting vehicle will then strike the sedan in a lower and even more resistant zone. The side sills and floor structure accommodate a large portion of the impact forces. Deformation of the cabin and the loads acting on the occupants, above all in the chest and abdomen areas, can thus be reduced by up to 50 percent compared with a lateral collision in which the suspension is not raised.
The new A8 will see Audi introduce dynamic all-wheel steering for the first time. It combines dynamic steering at the front axle with separate rear axle steering. The dynamic all-wheel steering redefines the limits of the physically possible in allowing the steering angles at the front and rear axles to be set independently of one another. It combines nearly delay-free response and steering behavior with superior driving stability. At low speeds, rear wheels are turned as many as five degrees in the direction opposite to the front wheels, which not only facilitates maneuvering and driving around tight curves but also reduces the turning circle by around one meter (3.3 ft) to 11.4 meters (37.4 ft) on the A8 and 11.8 meters (38.7 ft) on the A8 L. At medium and high speeds, the wheels are turned by as many as two degrees in the same direction as the front wheels. Thus, the new A8 offers more stable road-holding and carries out rapid lane changes and evasive maneuvers both masterfully and serenely.
The driving safety of the new Audi flagship also benefits from the powerful, all-round internally ventilated brakes. The front disks combine gray cast iron friction rings with aluminum pots. The fixed calipers on the front axle – lightweight is standard – contain ten brake pistons each, six pistons in the case of steel disks. Electronic Stabilization Control (ESC) provides even more precise control than in the previous model.
The wheel line begins with the aerodynamically optimized 17-inch wheels. Weighing just 10.3 kilograms (22.7 lb) each, the 18-inch forged wheels are especially light. The 20-inch aluminum wheels with their 10-spoke Y design recall the Audi prologue showcar from 2014. The largest wheels are size 9 J x 21 with 275/35 series tires, and will become available in 2018. Should any of the wheels not be properly tightened, a function integrated in the Electronic Stabilization Control will alert the driver. This loose-wheel warning is a standard feature, and unique in the market.
All terms marked in the text are explained in detail in the technology lexicon at www.audi-mediacenter.com/en/technology-lexicon.
The equipment, data and prices specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.