The sportiest car in the luxury segment and at the same time a finely cultured and supremely composed sedan– the new Audi A8 has many different facets. With its lean, athletic body and strong lines the luxury sedan underscores Audi’s leading position in automotive design.
5,137 mm (16.85 ft) in length, with a 2,992 mm (9.82 ft) wheelbase, 1,949 mm (6.39 ft) in width and 1,460 mm (4.79 ft) in height – the new A8 boasts generous proportions. It is longer and wider than both its predecessor and its competitors, while its height remains below that of its immediate German rivals – the proportions follow the dynamic line. As with the model it replaces, Audi will also offer the new A8 in a second, extended wheelbase variant.
Audi design is always fascinating in its complex intelligence. With the new A8, the designers have refined the elements typical of the brand and brought them into an exciting balance. The result is an automotive personality with a strong presence – a flagship that represents the brand and its values at the highest level.
The outer skin of the new A8 conveys homogeneity, as if modeled from a full volume. The coupé-like roof line with the shortened rear roof pillar lets the silhouette flow. Sculptured, generous surfaces conveying composure and prestige contrast with sharp lines. The distinctive design realized with the lightweight material aluminum requires uncompromising precision in all steps of A8 production – from the making of the dies to the stamping plant and body assembly to painting. Representing the cutting edge in many innovative technologies, the A8 indicates this role through new and progressive design elements.
Strong character: the face of the new A8
The face reveals the character; this is as true for cars as it is for people. The A8 displays the most prominent feature of its front end, the single-frame radiator grille, like a proud coat of arms. The grille as a distinctive design element is presented in a new design – more sculptured, more three-dimensional and richer in detail than before. With its slightly angular upper corners, it is neatly integrated in the front section, while the prominent horizontal braces emphasis the vehicle width. Generous chrome applications underscore its representative elegance.
The combination of the grille, headlights and air inlets creates a characteristic face – the face of Audi in the luxury class. The large air inlets, each of which is likewise divided by two horizontal braces with chrome applications, emphasize the horizontal aspect of the front of the vehicle, while the bottom is realized as a subtle front splitter.
The hood is tautly contoured, with bold V-shaped lines extending forward to the nose. Its edge intersects lightly with the tops of the headlights, a device that is strongly expressive. A sophisticated setting emphasizes the complexity of their technology and turns them into tiny works of art.
There are clear differences between the headlights of the various equipment levels. High-performance xenon plus units are standard. These can be supplemented with the optional adaptive light system. Its control unit manages the swiveling modules so that they always deliver the perfect light for intersections, country roads and the highway. The driver can precisely tune the system's function via Audi drive select. The new all-weather light is integrated into the headlights and replaces the fog lights, whose traditional location in the air intakes is now occupied by the radar sensors of the optional ACC stop & go.
Another option is the adaptive light system with continuous headlight range control. A video camera mounted in front of the inside mirror recognizes preceding and approaching vehicles by their lights. A computer adapts the vehicle’s own light through a sliding range that always provides the maximum possible illumination.
A technological breakthrough from Audi is the networking of the headlight control unit with the optional MMI navigation plus. The navigation system reads the route data in advance and relays them to the light computer, so as to activate the longer-range highway lighting while still on the on-ramp to the highway, for example. The system automatically switches on the cornering light for wider-angle illumination before entering an intersection; in countries like the United Kingdom, it automatically switches the headlights from driving on the right to driving on the left.
A revolution in lighting technology: the full LED headlights
However, it is the new full LED headlights that are the A8’s high-end solution – a technology Audi was the first to introduce worldwide in the R8 high-performance sports car. They give the A8 an unmistakable appearance even in daylight and even more so after the fall of darkness. With a color temperature of 5,500 Kelvin, their light resembles daylight and thus is much less tiring to the eyes.
The LEDs are zero-maintenance and designed for the life of the vehicle. They also score points in efficiency with their minimal power consumption. The low beams, for example, consume only 40 watts per unit, a bit less than the already highly efficient xenon plus headlights.
The innovative technology of the full LED headlights led to a radically new and fascinating design. The low beams comprise ten individual lens modules extending through the headlight in a distinctive arc below the chrome contour known as the wing owing to its shape. Just below this is another arc of 22 white and 22 yellow LEDs for the daytime running lights and the turn signals. Their “thick wall" technology makes them appear to the viewer as homogenous, continuous strips of light.
Located above the wing are the high beams, whose light is generated by two powerful four-chip LEDs and a free surface reflector system. An assistance function switches between the low beams and the high beams. Additional high-output LEDs generate the highway light and the cornering light. A separate fan and heat sink moderate the temperature of each headlight unit.
Concentrated power: the side view
The side view of the new Audi A8 also gives the image of concentrated and forward-thrusting power –like an athlete tensing his muscles before the start of the race. The powerful hood and the cleanly balanced proportions of the cabin to the body of the vehicle evoke an image of sporty energy. Typically for the Audi line, the vehicle line makes up two-thirds of the height, with the remaining third falling to the greenhouse.
The shoulder line is an unbroken line extending back from the single-frame grille. A sharp, light-refracting edge emphasized by a large shadow contour extends from the corner of the headlight. The characteristic Audi tornado line represents sportiness, powerful dynamics and solidity. This edge extends just below the window sill and divides the surfaces here. The line continues close above the wheel arches, giving the A8 a powerful appearance on the road.
The convex and concave surfaces below the Tornado line interpret the interplay of light and shadow and are statement of seriousness and timeless elegance. Proceeding downwards, the surfaces are framed by the dynamic line running above the side sills.
It begins in front of the front wheel arches, rising as it goes, is interrupted by the rear wheel arches and once again sweeps sharply upward as it approaches the rear.
In contrast, the contour of the side sill, which is accentuated by a solid chrome strip, and the lower edge of the window are essentially horizontal. This interplay of lines gives the side view a tense character. Large wheels – from 17 to 21 inches in diameter – fill the widely flared wheel arches and reinforce the image of concentrated power. The base of the C-pillar sits relatively far back on the muscular shoulder of the body; a slight spoiler lip neatly integrated into the overall outline extends the trunk line visually.
The rear end of the car also interprets the subject of the dynamic luxury sedan in a subtle way. The spoiler lip with its elegant curve, the starkly sculptured surfaces and their shadow regions form a three-dimensional whole. The cutout for the license plate is an area above the bumper's edge, which with its trapezoidal cross-section has its own sporty effect.
The dynamic line running around the car and a distinctive chrome strip underscore the sedan's width. The diffuser forms the terminus to the road. Regardless of the engine installed in the new A8, the exhaust system terminates in two large, round tailpipes on both sides of the rear end.
72 light-emitting diodes per unit: the tail lights
The flat, broad tail lights produce a light pattern that is a characteristic Audi trait in its three-dimensionality and its unmistakable appearance. Its horizontal character underscores the width of the rear end. The diodes are chamfered inward; their outer section integrated into in the fender, the inner section into the truck lid. With the exception of the reversing light, the tail lights are realized entirely with LED technology, with each unit containing 72 LEDs. The designers used a novel technology called chip-on-board LEDs, which can be packed tightly together with high precision, in many areas due to the limited amount of space available.
The tail lights, which consume only 9 watts per unit, form a trapezoidal contour that appears as an even, homogenous strip. Its upper segment is a light guide – a plastic tube; the lower section is a textured, reflective free-form surface. It is thicker than the upper segment to optically lower the center of gravity of the A8’s tail end. The turn signal is located on the upper segment of the tail light and forms a wide, horizontal stripe.
The five-segment brake light is located inside the trapezoid. When the new A8 decelerates strongly, the brake light flashes quickly to warn the traffic behind it, and the hazard warning lights are activated when the sedan comes to a stop.
Audi offers a choice of ten colors for the A8 – two solid finish and eight metallic, three of which are new: Ibis White, Brilliant Black, Ice Silver, Quartz Gray, Havana Black, Phantom Black, Night Blue, Impala Beige, Emerald Black and Oolong Gray.
Audi A8: Exterior dimensions
Length: 5,137 mm (16.85 ft)
Width: 1,949 mm (6.39 ft)
Height: 1,460 mm (4.79 ft)
Wheelbase: 2,992 mm (9.82 ft)
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.