Excellent comfort, superb craftsmanship, strict lightweight construction and a broad portfolio of high-end technologies: Audi has exhaustively updated its A8 flagship. New assistance systems and the innovative Matrix LED headlights make for even more superior driving. The engines are more powerful and more efficient.
The A8 makes Audi one of the innovation leaders in the luxury segment. One outstanding strength of the sedan is its lightweight construction. The standard-wheelbase A8 3.0 TFSI quattro has a curb weight of just 1,830 kilograms (4,034.46 lb) – the lowest value among the competitors with all-wheel drive. The decisive factor here is the body. An Audi Space Frame (ASF) made almost entirely of aluminum, it weighs just 231 kilograms (509.27 lb).
The new Audi A8 is the largest sedan in its competitive segment. It is 5.14 meters (16.86 ft) long, has a wheelbase of 2.99 meters (9.81 ft), is 1.95 meters (6.40 ft) wide and 1.46 meters (4.79 ft) tall. The A8 L gains an additional 13 centimeters (5.12 in) in both length and wheelbase. The 520-liter (18.36 cubic ft) trunk in both variants has been reconfigured to be even easier to load. Thanks to new noise damping measures, the already low interior noise level has been reduced even further.
The dynamic design of the Audi A8 is now more expressive. The engine hood, the Singleframe grille and the front bumper have more pronounced contours, and the headlights have become flatter. The latter are optionally available with Audi’s innovative Matrix LED technology. With these headlights, the high-beam comprises 25 small, individual light-emitting diodes per unit that can be switched on and off or dimmed individually as needed. This enables the headlight system to react to oncoming or preceding vehicles and blank out light with great precision while continuing to fully illuminate the rest of the road.
The LED lights at the rear of the car have been revised. In all versions except the S8, the exhaust system terminates in two large, trapezoidal tailpipe tips on each side of the rear end. Fine chrome strips and high-gloss black window frames round out the revised design. There is a choice of 12 exterior colors, including five new ones. Wheel sizes range up to 21 inches on the sporty S8.
Interior: Plenty of room and fine materials
In the interior of the Audi flagship, the elegant lines and generous spaciousness stand out. Audi offers a wide range of options for the front seats, including ventilation and massage functions in five programs. Both the A8 and the A8 L can be equipped with two individual power seats. In the A8 L, these are complemented by a continuous, leather-covered center console, and the optional reclining seat with power fold-out footrest takes comfort up another notch. There are many additional luxury features from which to choose, from the fully integrated rear seat entertainment and the cabin air ionizer to the power-closing doors or the refrigerator in the rear seat back.
All components exhibit uncompromisingly precise workmanship. Every detail demonstrates the hand-built character of the new Audi A8. The range of seat coverings, inlays and colors has become even more upscale in many areas, such as the sustainably tanned Unicum leather, which is particularly natural-looking and breathable. New additions among the inlays are the veneers fine grain poplar brown silver and fine grain ash natural gold brown, which are adorned with silver and gold, respectively.
Particularly discerning customers will find solutions for freely customizing their automobile in the Audi exclusive range. The limited-edition A8 L W12 Audi exclusive concept features a leather interior in the color Agatha cognac from the Italian furniture maker Poltrona Frau.
Despite the abundance of functions, the new Audi A8 features an exemplarily clear operating concept. This includes the MMI control unit with the large rotary pushbutton. If MMI navigation plus is on board, the system also includes a touchpad. The driver can enter characters via the MMI touch to control numerous navigation and multimedia functions.
The technology module Audi connect including car phone complements MMI navigation plus and connects the sedan to the Internet. Passengers can surf and e-mail freely on their mobile devices using the Wi-Fi hotspot, while the driver can benefit from tailored online Audi connect services delivered to the car. Components such as the Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System and rear seat entertainment round out the range.
The optional assistance systems provide the driver with even greater control on the road. The adaptive cruise control with stop&go function (not for the A8 hybrid) is coupled with an expanded version of the standard Audi pre sense basic safety system. The same applies to Audi side assist. New in the A8 are Audi active lane assist, which makes slight steering adjustments when necessary, the park assist system with 360° display, which steers the sedan autonomously when parking, and the head-up display. The night vision assistant now recognizes larger animals in addition to pedestrians.
The engine lineup: two TFSI and two TDI units
The new Audi A8 will initially be offered in Germany with two gasoline and two diesel engines. These are the supercharged 3.0 TFSI with 228 kW (310 hp), the V8 biturbo 4.0 TFSI with 320 kW (435 hp), the highly efficient 3.0 TDI with 190 kW (258 hp) and the 4.2 TDI, which produces 283 kW (385 hp) and 850 Nm (626.93 lb-ft) of torque.
Output has been increased with most engines; all have seen a reduction in fuel consumption of as much as ten percent. The 4.0 TFSI accelerates the A8 from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.5 seconds. Under partial load, its cylinder on demand (COD) system deactivates four cylinders. The most efficient engine is the 3.0 TDI, which consumes on average just 5.9 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers (39.87 US mpg), corresponding to 155 grams of CO2 per kilometer (249.45 g/mile). All engines comply with the Euro 6 emissions standard.
The classic variants are joined by three additional models. The Audi A8 hybrid (also available as a long version) is equipped with a 2.0 TFSI and electric motor for a system output of 180 kW (245 hp). The power flows to the front wheels via a modified tiptronic. The air-cooled lithium-ion battery in the back enables electric driving at speeds up to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) or a range of roughly three kilometers (1.86 miles) at a constant 60 km/h (37.28 mph). The A8 hybrid consumes on average just 6.3 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers
(147 grams CO2 per kilometer) [37.34 US mpg/236.57 g/mile].
The luxurious top-of-the-line model is the Audi A8 L W12, which comes standard with a comprehensive range of equipment. Its gasoline engine is extremely short and lightweight thanks to its W layout. Displacing 6.3 liters, the highly cultivated engine produces 368 kW (500 hp). At 11.3 liters per 100 kilometers (264 grams CO2 per kilometer) [20.10 US mpg/434.52 g/mile], average fuel consumption is still moderate. A specially developed COD system activates at low load.
With 382 kW (520 hp), the S8 is the big sports sedan. Its sonorous 4.0 TFSI accelerates the S8 from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.1 seconds. Yet it consumes on average just 9.6 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (225 grams CO2 per kilometer) [24.50 US mpg/362.10 g/mile]. The COD system also plays an important role here. Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), a technology also used in the A8 L W12, the A8 4.0 TFSI and the A8 hybrid, broadcasts a precise antiphase sound to eliminate intrusive noise while operating on four cylinders. The chassis and many body details reflect the special positioning of the S8 in the A8 portfolio.
The new Audi A8 is equipped with a fast and smooth-shifting, eight-speed tiptronic. The electronically controlled automatic transmission is paired with quattro permanent all-wheel drive. Audi complements this with the optional sport differential, which distributes the power between the rear wheels as needed. It is standard with the A8 4.2 TDI clean diesel quattro and the S8.
The chassis: sporty character
The sedan owes its sporty character in large part to the chassis. The Audi drive select system, which varies the function of various technology components, is standard. It also controls the adaptive air suspension including the adaptive dampers. Audi offers the air suspension with a sporty setup upon request. The power steering now has an efficient electromechanical drive. Dynamic steering, which varies boost as a function of the speed driven, is available as an option.
Audi offers carbon fiber ceramic brake discs as options for V8 models and the A8 L W12. The new 9J x 20 aluminum technology wheels round out the lightweight construction concept of the A8. All together they are 17.6 kilograms (38.80 lb) lighter than forged wheels of the same design.
The new Audi A8 is scheduled to arrive at German dealerships in November. Despite the more generous list of equipment and more powerful engines, prices vary only slightly. The new Audi A8 will be available in Germany with prices starting at 74,500 euros.
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.