The all-new Audi A8 has made its world premiere at the Audi Summit in Barcelona. The fourth generation of the company's flagship model comes with a new design language, an innovative touchscreen operating concept and a systematically electrified drive. The new Audi A8 and A8 L are being built at the Neckarsulm site and will appear on the German market around November 2017. The starting price for the A8 is EUR 90,600 (Around Rs. 66.63 Lakhs), with the A8 L starting at EUR 94,100 (Around Rs. 69.21 Lakhs).
The exterior styling of the saloon is inspired from the Audi prologue concept. The saloon measures 5.17 meters in length, while the A8 L has a 13 centimeter (5.1 in) longer wheelbase. The front fascia flaunts HD Matrix LED headlights with Audi laser lighting and a upright Singleframe grille. The rear end boasts of LED light strip combined with OLED technology rear lights, which produce unique light animations as the driver approaches and leaves the car. The driver can activate an array of functions in the automobile using a new, natural form of voice control. Information on destinations and media is either available on board or is delivered from the cloud at LTE speed.
In the cabin, the classiest seat is in the rear right which comes with four different adjustment options and a footrest. In this seat, the passenger can warm and massage the soles of their feet on a unit with multiple settings incorporated into the back of the front-passenger seat. The rear passengers can also control an array of functions such as ambient lighting, the new HD Matrix reading lights and seat massage, plus make private phone calls, via a separate operating unit. The new Audi A8 does away with the familiar rotary pushbutton and touchpad of the predecessor model. The instrument panel is kept largely clear of buttons and switches with a 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system at the centre.
The extensive Audi connect range also includes traffic sign recognition and hazard information – innovative car-to-X services that draw on the swarm intelligence of the Audi fleet. The extensively optimized navigation is another new feature which provides the driver with intelligent search suggestions. The map also incorporates highly detailed 3D models of major European cities. The new A8 would go on sale in the German market with two V6 turbo engines: a 3.0L TDI diesel and a 3.0L TFSI petrol. The diesel would develop 286bhp, while the gasoline version would have a power output of 340bhp. Two eight-cylinder versions – a 4.0L TDI diesel with 435bhp and a 4.0L TFSI petrol with 460bhp – will follow slightly later. The A8 L e-tron quattro with its powerful plug-in hybrid drive will follow at a later date with the 3.0L TFSI petrol engine and the powerful electric motor with combined power output of 449bhp and highest torque of 700 Nm. The lithium-ion battery stores enough power for about 50 kilometers of electric driving.
The 2018 Audi A8 is also the first production automobile in the world to have been developed for highly automated driving. From 2018, Audi will gradually be taking piloted driving functions such as parking pilot, garage pilot and traffic jam pilot into production. The Audi AI traffic jam pilot takes charge of driving in slow-moving traffic at up to 60 kmph on freeways and highways where a physical barrier separates the two carriageways. The system is activated using the AI button on the center console. The traffic jam pilot manages starting, accelerating, steering and braking. The driver no longer needs to monitor the car permanently. They can take their hands off the steering wheel permanently and, depending on the national laws, focus on a different activity that is supported by the car, such as watching the on-board TV. As soon as the system reaches its limits, it calls on the driver to take back control of the task of driving.