The all-new 2018 Audi A8 takes centre stage
With the announcement from Audi that the all-new A8 is now available for delivery in early 2018, enthusiasts are excited to get a glimpse at the changes to the flagship saloon.
Most of the comments are being directed towards the Audi A8’s new autonomous driving technology. Though you can’t just jump in your new A8 and expect it to drive you to work while you read the newspaper, this brand new saloon certainly raises the bar in the autonomous driving game and points to what we can expect to see in 2018 and the years ahead. For example, the new A8 is capable of parking itself, even after you’ve stepped out of the car. A traffic jam pilot also enables the Audi A8 to drive itself in traffic at a speed of up to 37.3 mph, making the Audi A8 one of the most autonomous road-legal vehicles out there today.
There are many other changes in the 2018 Audi A8, so let’s dive in.
What’s new for the 2018 Audi A8?
This fourth generation Audi A8 is a new leap for the luxury class saloon and has extensive changes from the outgoing model on top of the new autonomous driving features. There’s a new design language for a start, and the powertrains have been extensively re-engineered. An updated 48-volt electrified drive powers the safety and convenience features as well as allowing the car to coast with the engine off for short distances, and the interior has been radically reinvented.
Looking at the exterior, the front fascia is more sculpted and the headlights are sleeker. These include new lasers that are said to double the range of the high beams when travelling at higher speeds. To the rear, the flowing rear light bar has borrowed some style from the Prologue concept car, making for a more upscale look. New wheels and updated side mouldings complete the package.
The lightweight materials used throughout compensate for the extra weight of additional technologies. In this way, handling is improved and the strength of the shell is better.
Step inside and you really feel the improvements of the new model. For the first time, the A8 has Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, which includes a HD digital instrument cluster and a 10.5-inch infotainment system that’s perfectly moulded into the central dashboard. There’s a distinct lack of dials, with the dual touchscreen system and voice commands taking over much of the duties with support from steering wheel controls.
The interior doesn’t just feel more spacious – the new aluminium platform is stronger and has allowed for an additional 13 mm of headroom and 28 mm of legroom.
Automated driving takes a great leap forward
Audi has surprised the world with the 2018 Audi A8 by introducing the first road-legal production car that is capable of level 3 conditional automated driving. In certain conditions, when driving at around 37 mph, the Audi traffic jam pilot can take full control of the vehicle’s driving through slow moving traffic. As long as there is a physical barrier separating the two lanes of traffic, after engaging the traffic jam pilot through the centre console the driver can relax and take his or her feet off the accelerator and brake, even letting go of the steering wheel. The system will handle all of the steering, braking, accelerating.
Audi will roll out different levels of traffic jam automation in each country in order to ensure compliance with local laws.
Over 40 high-end sensors are used to enable the A8’s autonomous features, including lasers, the use of which gives Audi a first for any car manufacturer.
On top of the traffic jam pilot system, the A8 will take autonomous parking to the next level. The A8 can now park itself into a parallel or perpendicular parking space or garage and drive itself out again when needed. This can be engaged from the smartphone app or through the AI button on the centre console.
In the UK, the Audi A8 will be launched with two V6 turbo engines.
The petrol version is a 340 hp, 3.0-litre TFSI while the diesel engine is a 285 hp 3.0-litre TDI.
The range will later be extended with a 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine, a 3.0-litre PHEV with induction charging and a range-topping W12, 6.0-litre engine.
All engines are paired with an eight-gear tiptronic transmission. The quattro all-wheel-drive system comes as standard too, with its self-locking centre differential helping to actively distribute the drive torque to the front and rear wheels as needed.
For the first time, the A8 will have a standard electrified drivetrain. This is considered “mild-hybrid” technology – there’s a 10 Ah lithium-ion battery and a belt alternator starter that work together to help the A8 to coast with the engine off at a speed of between 34 and 99 mph. This not only reduces noise and brings down fuel consumption but means the vehicle can be driven for up to 40 seconds with zero emissions.
A redefined exterior
Lovers of the retiring Audi A8’s style will be pleased to see that the 2018 version possesses the unmistakable Audi styling and the aesthetic changes have been evolutionary in nature. The trademark single-frame grille is even wider and more prominent, and the LED headlights are more angular.
The roofline is now more curvaceous and the doors are sculpted more deeply, offering concave surfaces that accentuate the length of this luxury saloon. The standard A8 is 5.17 metres long and there is an extended length A8L that’s 5.3 metres long (and two centimetres taller).
The lighting system is also worth mentioning, with the HD Matrix LED headlights including new laser light for improved visibility and OLED rear lamps that offer a dynamic light show as the driver nears the vehicle.
A luxurious interior
Even bigger changes have occurred inside the new Audi A8. The interior feels like a lounge one can relax in, and the extra 1.3 inches of length on both body versions have been put to good use. Everything has been simplified for a more minimalist look, but ambient lighting and contours bring up the elegance. The rear compartment now has controllable Matrix LED reading lights. Each detail of the materials and equipment has been finished to an outstanding level of quality.
Rear passengers in the A8L have the option of reclining and enjoying a footrest that massages and heat the soles of their feet. All this while toying with the smartphone-sized centre armrest remote that controls the infotainment system (one that can include Audi tablets), ambient lighting and seat massage settings.
Rotary controllers for the infotainment system have been completely replaced by touchscreen systems. Open any of the doors and the main 10.1-inch screen comes to life, supported by a second screen for climate control and comfort features. Of course, swipe gestures and haptic feedback make using the system effortless. Even handwriting recognition can be used via the second touchscreen display.
Voice control is now much more natural. Fully-formed sentences can be understood, such as, “Please take me to Grimshaw Retail Park in Blackburn,” instead of having to remember exact voice commands.
New technology throughout
Audi’s partnership with processor chip supplier NVIDIA has come to fruition with the MIB 2+ infotainment platform that serves as a complete infotainment and navigation system. There are two K1 processors used in the system and the Audi A8 offers the very latest LTE Advanced transfer rate – a world first – alongside a Wi-Fi hotspot.
The navigation system learns the routes you’ve already driven to improve its intelligence, offering you smarter choices in the future. 3D models of major European cities and swarm intelligence make the navigation system smarter than ever before, and in 2018 an on-street parking swarm intelligence system will go online to help you find a parking space in no time.
Smartphone integration has become even more streamlined, with the new myAudi app allowing you to plan a route on your smartphone. Even when you get out of your car the navigation system will continue to help guide you to your destination on foot or via public transport.
The Advanced Sound System from Bang & Olufsen is outstanding with 3D sound taking the rear passengers into account for the first time and telephony quality reaching crystal clear heights.
Book a test drive in the all-new Audi A8
If you’re keen to take centre stage with the new Audi A8, act now to ensure that you’re one of the first. Book a test drive today at your local Swansway Audi centre in Blackburn, Carlisle, Crewe, Preston, Stafford or Stoke. And if you have any questions about the new Audi A8 or the finance on offer, get in touch with us now and we’ll get right back to you.