The new Audi A8 is the sportiest sedan in the luxury class. Its chassis combines uncompromising precision with great dynamism, superior stability and excellent comfort. Audi drive select is standard, with optional dynamic steering. The large sedan impresses with its sprightly agility. The A8 steers into the corners spontaneously and willingly, driving through them almost neutrally and finding a strong grip on the road at their exit thanks to quattro permanent all-wheel drive.
The subframe for the engine and the front axle forms the backbone of the front suspension. The front axle is constructed from five control arms per wheel; its aluminum forged parts provide low unsprung mass and ultra-precise wheel guidance.
All A8 variants roll with the standard speed-dependent servotronic. The steering gear is positioned low and well up front at the subframe; the steering impulse is introduced directly into the wheels through the track rods, with a very spontaneous response. With a sporty and direct gear ratio of 16.1 : 1, the steering conveys a precise and finely differentiated feedback from the road in any situation. Its controlled vane-type pump operates with high efficiency.
The layout of the rear axle follows the track-controlled trapezoidal link principle, which combines compact design with superior driving and comfort qualities. Four steel tubes form the highly rigid axle subframe. The two hollow-cast trapezoidal links, the wheel carriers, the overhead transverse links and the track rods are made of aluminum. Audi’s engineers have thoroughly overhauled the suspension. The struts are supported directly by the wheel carrier, so that the dampers respond with even greater sensitivity.
Audi drive select lends fascinating variety to the experience of driving in the new A8 – from highly comfortable, gentle rolling to sporty and exciting cornering. It integrates the adaptive air suspension, the engine, the 8-speed tiptronic and the servotronic. With the MMI the driver can change the characteristics of these systems between the comfort, auto and dynamic modes. Moreover, the driver can compose a fourth operating mode corresponding to his or her personal ideal – the “individual” mode.
Always the right tuning: adaptive air suspension
The adaptive air suspension combines air suspension with controlled damping. The struts are newly developed; an enlarged air capacity now allows a soft characteristic even without an auxiliary accumulator. The bellows and auxiliary air springs sensitively respond even to a slight unevenness in the road surface. The shock absorbers operate with high flexibility – their control unit constantly analyzes the conditions and varies its mode of operation within thousandths of a second.
The adaptive air suspension is a versatile technology. Depending on the speed and the mode specified by Audi drive select, it lowers the body by up to 25 mm, to increase stability and reduce drag and thereby improve fuel consumption. One other operating mode is also available – the “lift” mode slightly raises the body.
Audi drive select also has other components in store – the sport differential and dynamic steering, which varies the steering ratio by nearly 100 percent. At low vehicle speeds – during maneuvering, for example – the steering system operates very directly; the power assistance is also high. As the speed increases, directness and power assistance continuously recede – on highways the A8 glides over the asphalt with stoic calmness.
The dynamic steering cooperates closely with the ESP stabilization system. If necessary, it slightly countersteers in the handling limits when cornering – practically unnoticed by the driver, it reduces understeer and oversteer in most situations.
The new A8 has a powerful brake system on board that is consistently designed for maximum heat dissipation and low weight. All four discs are internally ventilated; up front, stainless steel pins connect the friction rings to the aluminum brake caps. This concept from the sports car sector, new in the luxury class, saves up to 3.75 kg (8.27 lb) of weight per wheel. The ESP stabilization system can be switched off and offers a sport mode.
The range of wheels underscores the strong character of the new Audi A8. The sizes range from 17 to 21 inches. The tires have been optimized with respect to comfort, aerodynamics and rolling resistance. The 3.0 TDI and the 4.2 FSI roll on lightweight 17-inch wheels, the 4.2 TDI on 18-inch wheels.
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.