- New Audi A8 flagship offers impressive levels of luxury
- New design and touchscreen controls create elegant interior
- Efficient engines and hybrid technology improves fuel consumption
- Piloted driving technology to be added in 2018
- Available to order from September with UK pricing to be confirmed
AFTER being completely bowled over by the magical road-reading Audi AI active suspension system fitted to the brand new A8 we thought it might be a good idea to tell you about the rest of the new flagship Audi.
Audi revealed the new A8 with the promise that this is “where the future begins in the luxury class”. Bold words that we doubt were spoken in jest.
The new A8 saloon boasts a new design language, touchscreen operating concept and systematic drivetrain electrification. At least that’s how Audi described it. In plain English it means the Audi A8 has a new look, is packed with technology, and utilises mild hybrid technology to improve efficiency.
In terms of looks the Audi A8 is a luxury German saloon. It’s big and imposing – the standard version is over five metres long, there’s an additional 13cm on the long wheelbase A8 L – but the new A8 doesn’t feel the need to shout about it. Despite the size of the new A8 the lines are clean and elegant but retain the sense of power you would expect from a car of this class.
The same clean look continues in the cockpit with a series of horizontal lines running across the dashboard and down the length of the car. If reality is accurately reflected by the pictures then the A8 will be a beautiful place to sit.
A big part of the new A8 look is the decision to remove as many buttons and switches as possible. There’s a 10.1-inch touchscreen in the dashboard that controls the infotainment system while a second touchscreen on the centre console controls the climate control and comfort functions. The result is an uncluttered and elegant finish.
The touchscreen controls continue in first class, otherwise known as the back seat, where passengers can control temperature, ambient lighting, reading lights, and in the Audi A8 L the optional relaxation seat with various settings to massage and warm your aching body.
Although Audi will offer five engine options only two will be available to order when the A8 order books open in September. Both are 3.0-litre V6 engines, a 340bhp TFSI petrol and a 286bhp TDI diesel. A 435bhp, eight-cylinder diesel will follow slightly later and there will also be a 6.0-litre W12 to look forward to.
All four of these engines utilise mild hybrid technology to improve efficiency. Essentially it’s an energy recovery system that generates electrical power to ease the load on the engine. It can allow the car to coast with the engine off and allows the engine to restart smoothly. It’s not a true hybrid, there is no means of electrical propulsion in a mild hybrid, but the system in the Audi A8 will help to reduce fuel consumption.
Those of you looking for a full hybrid will have to wait a little longer to get your hands on the new A8 with a plug-in e-Tron variant to follow at some point. It will be fitted with the 3.0-litre TFSI petrol engine but the additional electricity will boost power to around 450bhp and allow up to 31 miles of electric-only range. Audi is also planning to offer an optional inductive charging system that uses a pad in your garage floor for wireless charging of the battery.
We should also mention that from 2018 the Audi will gradually introduce piloted driving to the A8 too. The idea of the Traffic Jam Pilot is to control the car at up to 37mph on major roads so a traffic jam will soon become an opportunity to sit back and admire the slow-moving scenery, or as Audi suggest and if local laws allow, you could even watch a bit of on-board TV.
Autonomous parking is not new, nor in many ways is the remote garage pilot that does essentially the same job but with walls rather than parked cars, but that hasn’t stopped Audi taking it further. This system doesn’t just allow you to park automatically, it allows you to control the process via a smartphone without even being in the car.
We could go on about the luxuries that Audi has squeezed into the new A8 but this is supposed to be a short synopsis, not a doctoral thesis. So we’ll leave you with the one reason why you really, really need one.
Imagine a cold winter morning, frost encrusted lawn shimmering in the early light. You drive your car out of the garage and park it outside your front door, engine idling as the interior warms gently. Then you put your phone down, get out of bed and revel in the fact you drive an Audi A8.