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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    All New Audi A8 Brings the Tech and Pricetag to Match

      A smorgasbord of technology


    The current Audi A8 was one of the oldest models in the flagship class, but this changes as the German automaker revealed the all-new A8 at an event in Barcelona, Spain.

    We have to give Audi some credit for at least trying to make the new A8 look slightly different than the outgoing one. Elements of the 2014 Prologue Concept are present with similar styling in the rear - slightly angled trunk lid and LED taillights with a light bar. The front end features the largest version of Audi's Singleframe grille and headlights equipped with lasers that double the range of the high beams at speeds above 43 MPH. 

    But the big story about the new A8 is the smorgasbord of technology available.

    • The virtual cockpit system now comes with a 720P HD screen
    • Audi's updated MMI system doesn't feature any knobs or buttons. Instead, various functions are accessed through the 10.5-inch touchscreen or voice controls. Sound and tactile feedback tells a driver the function is being executed. 
    • Audi claims the A8 is "the first production automobile in the world to have been developed for highly automated driving." (We're sure some competitors will be balking at this exclamation.)
      • Audi AI is an artificial intelligence-based software system that controls the self-driving aspects of the A8. This system is the first production vehicle with SAE Level 3 self-driving tech - a vehicle can take full control of driving the vehicle, but only in specific situations. In this case, Audi AI can take care of accelerating, steering, and braking at speeds below 37.3 MPH. 
      • Audi AI can also maneuver the vehicle into a parking spot or garage space without the driver in the vehicle.
    • All A8s will come with a 48-Volt electrical system - first shown on the SQ7 TDI. This means the A8 will come with an active suspension system that uses an electric motor and various components for each wheel to adjust suspension load. Audi claims this gives the A8 a comfortable ride and sharp handling characteristics.
      • The 48-Volt system also means all A8s will have a mild hybrid system to improve fuel economy.

    For the European market, the Audi A8 will launch with two turbocharged 3.0L V6 engines (gas and diesel). Down the road, Audi will add 4.0L V8 (gas and diesel), W12, and a e-tron plug-in hybrid to the A8's powertrain lineup. An eight-speed automatic routes power to all four wheels.

    Audi will launch the A8 in Germany this fall with other markets to follow. Pricing will begin at €90,600 (about $103,318) for the standard wheelbase and €94,100 (about $107,310) for the long-wheelbase A8 L.

    Source: Audi
    Press Release is on Page 2


    The new Audi A8: future of the luxury class

    • World debut for flagship model at Audi Summit in Barcelona
    • New design language and a pioneering touch operating concept
    • Piloted driving functions to be rolled out in production Audi A8 versions from 2018

    Today is where the future begins in the luxury class: The new Audi A8 makes its world debut at the Audi Summit in Barcelona. In its fourth generation, the flagship model again provides the benchmark for Vorsprung durch Technik – with a new design language, an innovative touchscreen operating concept and a systematically electrified drive. The 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.

    Doyen of style: the exterior design
    The Audi A8 is stylistically defining – it signals the dawning of a new design era for the entire brand. The front end with the wide, upright Singleframe grille and the fluid, muscular body symbolize sporty elegance, sophistication and progressive status. The new A8 delivers on the promise made by the Audi prologue design study. The luxury sedan possesses a powerful presence – whether in the 5.17 meter (17.0 ft) standard version or the A8 L, which has a 13 centimeter (5.1 in) longer wheelbase.

    The Audi brand is renowned worldwide for sports appeal, lightweight construction and quattro permanent all-wheel drive – and the design of the new A8 conveys these values. The balanced proportions emphasize all four wheels in equal measure. Muscular shapes above the wheel arches give visual expression to the quattro drive. Viewed side-on, the upright front end combined with the gently inclined rear create visual tension. The flagship model proclaims its identity both day and night, drawing on both the striking HD Matrix LED headlights with Audi laser lighting, and the LED light strip combined with OLED technology rear lights. These produce unique light animations as the driver approaches and leaves the car.

    Luxury lounge: the interior
    Freedom is the defining design feature with a new luxury slant. This explains the A8’s resemblance to a lavish, spacious lounge. Compared to the predecessor model, it has grown substantially in length in both body versions.

    The range of equipment and materials is extensive, with every detail radiating superlative bespoke quality – from the perforation in the seat upholstery to the electrically opened and closed shutters on the air vents.

    The classiest seat in the new Audi flagship model is in the rear right – the optional relaxation seat in the A8 L that 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 new comfort head restraints complete the experience. 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 rear seat remote, with its OLED display as large as a smartphone, is a removable unit housed in the center armrest.

    Fingertip response: the controls
    The luxury sedan’s interior deliberately adopts a reductive design; the interior architecture is clear and with a strictly horizontal orientation. Audi carries its high quality standards into the digital age with a radically new operating concept. It does away with the familiar rotary pushbutton and touchpad of the predecessor model. The instrument panel is kept largely clear of buttons and switches. At its center is a 10.1-inch touchscreen display which, when off, blends almost invisibly into the high-gloss black surround thanks to its black-panel look.

    The user interface appears as soon as the car is opened. The driver controls the Infotainment system with fingertip control on the large display. They can use a second touchscreen display on the center tunnel console to access the air conditioning and comfort functions as well as make text inputs. When the driver activates a function in the upper or lower display, they hear and feel a click by way of confirmation. The glass-look operating buttons respond in the same way. The combination of acoustic and tactile feedback along with the use of common touch gestures such as swiping make the new MMI touch response especially safe, intuitive and quick to use.

    The A8 can also engage in intelligent conversation. 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. 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: It is self-learning, based on the route just driven. This provides the driver with intelligent search suggestions. The map also incorporates highly detailed 3D models of major European cities.

    World premiere: the pilot-driving Audi A8
    The new A8 is the first production automobile to have been developed specially for highly automated driving. The Audi AI traffic jam pilot takes charge of driving in slow-moving traffic at up to 60 km/h (37.3 mph) 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.

    From a technical perspective the traffic jam pilot is revolutionary. During piloted driving, a central driver assistance controller (zFAS) now permanently computes an image of the surroundings by merging the sensor data. As well as the radar sensors, a front camera and the ultrasonic sensors, Audi is the first car manufacturer also to use a laser scanner. The introduction of the Audi AI traffic jam pilot means the statutory framework will need to be clarified in each individual market, along with the country-specific definition of the application and testing of the system. The brand’s high quality standards are equally applicable in the realm of highly automated driving. In addition, a range of approval procedures and their corresponding timescales will need to be observed worldwide. Audi will therefore be adopting a step-by-step approach to the introduction of the traffic jam pilot in production models.

    The Audi AI remote parking pilot and the Audi AI remote garage pilot autonomously steer the A8 into and out of a parking space or a garage, while the maneuver is monitored by the driver. The driver need not be sitting in the car. They start the appropriate system from their smartphone using the new myAudi app. To monitor the parking maneuver, they hold the Audi AI button pressed to watch a live display from the car’s 360 degree cameras on their device.

    New dimension: the suspension
    With a whole package of innovations, the suspension revisits the very limits of what is physically possible. One such innovation is dynamic all-wheel steering, which combines direct, sporty steering with unshakable stability. The steering ratio for the front wheels varies as a function of speed; the rear wheels are turned in or against the direction of steering depending on the speed range. The car’s handling becomes even more dynamic and precise with the sport differential. This actively distributes the drive torque between the rear wheels, complementing the quattro permanent all-wheel drive that is now standard in the new A8.

    The second new technology, Audi AI active suspension, is a fully active suspension system. Depending on the driver’s wishes and the driving situation, it is capable of raising or lowering each wheel separately with electric actuators. This flexibility imparts the driving characteristic with huge latitude – ranging from the smooth ride comfort of a classic luxury sedan to the dynamism of a sports car. In combination with pre sense 360°, the car is raised with lighting speed if there is an impending lateral collision, reducing the potential consequences of the accident for all occupants.

    This highly innovative suspension system obtains the energy it requires from a 48-volt electrical system. Audi now for the first time fits it as the primary electrical system in all model versions of the A8. In conjunction with the advanced air suspension for the A8, the innovative suspension concept delivers an utterly new driving experience.

    Mild hybrid and e-tron: the drives
    The new A8 starts out in the German market with two extensively reengineered V6 turbo engines: a 3.0 TDI and a 3.0 TFSI. The diesel develops 210 kW (286 hp), and the gasoline version 250 kW (340 hp). Two eight-cylinder versions – a 4.0 TDI with 320 kW (435 hp) and a 4.0 TFSI with 338 kW (460 hp) – will follow slightly later. The exclusive top engine version is the W12 with a displacement of 6.0 liters. (These vehicles are not yet on sale. They do not yet have type approval and are therefore not subject to Directive 1999/94/EC.)

    All five engines operate in conjunction with a belt alternator starter (BAS), which is the nerve center of the 48-volt electrical system. This mild hybrid technology (MHEV, mild hybrid electric vehicle) enables the car to coast with the engine switched off, and to restart smoothly. It also has an extended start/stop function and an energy recovery output of up to 12 kW. The combined effect of these measures is to bring down the fuel consumption of the already efficient engines even further – by as much as 0.7 liters (0.2 US gal) per 100 kilometers (62.1 mi) in real driving conditions.

    The A8 L e-tron quattro with its powerful plug-in hybrid drive will follow at a later date (This vehicle is not yet on sale. It does not yet have type approval and is therefore not subject to Directive 1999/94/EC.): Its 3.0 TFSI and the powerful electric motor achieve 330 kW (449 hp) of system power and 700 Nm (516.3 lb-ft) of system torque. The lithium-ion battery stores enough power for about 50 kilometers (31.1 mi) of electric driving. It can optionally be charged by Audi Wireless Charging. A pad in the garage floor transfers the power inductively to a receiver coil in the automobile with a power output of 3.6 kW.

    The new Audi A8 and A8 L are being built at the Neckarsulm site and will appear on the German market in late fall 2017. The starting price for the A8 is EUR 90,600, with the A8 L starting at EUR 94,100.

    Edited by William Maley

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    Audi just keeps killing it. Stunning looks, and that interior is beyond gorgeous. This might be the first and only competitor to rival the MB's interior.

    Not sure how I feel about the loss of buttons and knobs, however. 

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    Love the Tech, Guess they truly want to compete with MB S class. Nice and I like the interior. Exterior I guess is par for the course of high end auto's being so conservative that I would go to sleep. 

    @Frisky Dingo I will be the opposite, I love the touch screen everything. So nice to have a clean dash with no buttons.

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    Great interior...like how clean and subtle the dash is (I used to loathe touch screens--still do in some aspects, but have grown to like them if well-designed).

     Exterior definitely evolutionary from the last 29 years of big Audis..

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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    The rear looks like a Lincoln Continental, and overall I think it looks a bit plain but Audi likes conservative styling.  The inside has a clean look, but I like buttons.  If I want to change the volume on the radio, I want a knob, not a touch screen.

    I do like the laser beams and 48 volt hybrid and self driving tech.

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    Does Audi use redundant steering wheel buttons for things like radio volume and seek/scan?   Chrysler/Jeep and others have done that for ages...(both my Jeeps have had them, usually use them instead of the knob or touch screen). 

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    25 minutes ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    Does Audi use redundant steering wheel buttons for things like radio volume and seek/scan?   Chrysler/Jeep and others have done that for ages...(both my Jeeps have had them, usually use them instead of the knob or touch screen). 

    Yes, Audi does have those buttons on the steering wheel as to why having them on the center console is no big deal for the basic stuff.

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    5 hours ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    i absolutely love it, were I buying a full sized Luxury car this would so be on my list...

    It's be this or the new LS for me. The MB while nice doesn't do much for me, and the 7 Series is a lame duck in this segment.

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    1 minute ago, Frisky Dingo said:

    It's be this or the new LS for me. The MB while nice doesn't do much for me, and the 7 Series is a lame duck in this segment.

    I would buy you beer all night long based on the profound correctness of what you just said.

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    Speaking of Audis, one anecdote I've heard...my buddy in Denver w/ the NSX had to replace his '02 Maxima daily driver last year after it was totaled from hail damage...he's been pretty much a lifelong Japanese car buyer--but he got a low mileage '13 Audi A6 CPO...long story short--he grew to despise it--multiple electrical failures that stranded him and required tows, multiple trips to the dealer, etc.   He traded it last week on a new Maxima....so does Audi have some of the same quality problems VW has? 

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    26 minutes ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    Speaking of Audis, one anecdote I've heard...my buddy in Denver w/ the NSX had to replace his '02 Maxima daily driver last year after it was totaled from hail damage...he's been pretty much a lifelong Japanese car buyer--but he got a low mileage '13 Audi A6 CPO...long story short--he grew to despise it--multiple electrical failures that stranded him and required tows, multiple trips to the dealer, etc.   He traded it last week on a new Maxima....so does Audi have some of the same quality problems VW has? 

    Not really sure my Diesel Jetta was flawless.

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    9 hours ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    Great interior...like how clean and subtle the dash is (I used to loathe touch screens--still do in some aspects, but have grown to like them if well-designed).

     Exterior definitely evolutionary from the last 29 years of big Audis..

    Yep, keeping it simple and real....

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    3 hours ago, Frisky Dingo said:

    It's be this or the new LS for me. The MB while nice doesn't do much for me, and the 7 Series is a lame duck in this segment.

    The 7-series isn't so bad, has a lot more performance than a Lexus LS.   I think it still has some cache too.  It is just no S-class.  If the S-class never existed, people would have thought the 7-series to be the king of the big luxury sedans for the past 30 years .

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    10 hours ago, smk4565 said:

    The 7-series isn't so bad, has a lot more performance than a Lexus LS.   I think it still has some cache too.  It is just no S-class.  If the S-class never existed, people would have thought the 7-series to be the king of the big luxury sedans for the past 30 years .

    Yet sales data actually only shows the S-Class as King of the 100K plus sales tag for auto's as the most popular luxury auto especially in the US is the Pickup Truck priced over $50K with Ford F150 leading the way followed by GM and Ram. More of these Trucks sell above $50K than most of MB auto's. 

    So with that said where is the real Luxury product line? Trucks / SUV!

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    14 hours ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    Speaking of Audis, one anecdote I've heard...my buddy in Denver w/ the NSX had to replace his '02 Maxima daily driver last year after it was totaled from hail damage...he's been pretty much a lifelong Japanese car buyer--but he got a low mileage '13 Audi A6 CPO...long story short--he grew to despise it--multiple electrical failures that stranded him and required tows, multiple trips to the dealer, etc.   He traded it last week on a new Maxima....so does Audi have some of the same quality problems VW has? 

    I tend to go with the theory that buying a used German car is a bit of gamble. Sometimes, you'll luck out and have a problem-free vehicle. Other times, you'll end up with something similar to your friend.

    To answer your question, Audi has been improving their reliability record in the past couple of years. I don't know what it was like with the 2013 models though. 

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    35 minutes ago, William Maley said:

    I tend to go with the theory that buying a used German car is a bit of gamble. Sometimes, you'll luck out and have a problem-free vehicle. Other times, you'll end up with something similar to your friend.

    To answer your question, Audi has been improving their reliability record in the past couple of years. I don't know what it was like with the 2013 models though. 

    http://www.jdpower.com/cars/search/Audi/Audi/Audi/non-awardees-included/any-rating/all-years/all-body-styles/all-msrp-ranges/all-mpg-ranges/

    Interesting, some are rated and go back enough years to see the history but most are not and even then the ratings of even the current models leave much to be desired.

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    15 hours ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    Speaking of Audis, one anecdote I've heard...my buddy in Denver w/ the NSX had to replace his '02 Maxima daily driver last year after it was totaled from hail damage...he's been pretty much a lifelong Japanese car buyer--but he got a low mileage '13 Audi A6 CPO...long story short--he grew to despise it--multiple electrical failures that stranded him and required tows, multiple trips to the dealer, etc.   He traded it last week on a new Maxima....so does Audi have some of the same quality problems VW has? 

    Over all it is interesting to see that many rate the A6 very well but then you can easily find a few reports that just destroy the car. It seems if built right, it is a great car, but when they are built as a lemon, they stay a lemon.

    http://www.consumerreports.org/cars/audi/a6/2017/overview

    http://www.autoblog.com/buy/2013-Audi-A6/expert-review/

    https://www.edmunds.com/audi/a6/2013/safety/

    JD Powers seems to give it a solid 3 out of 5 stars. Powertrain and interior is only a 2 so I can see someone going from an Asian auto to this german auto would not be impressed.

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    Audi since the 80s and 90s has had reliability issues.  All cars have improved since then but of the German cars I think the general consensus is that Audi is the least reliable.  Porsche has often rated top 3 in initial quality and long term reliability for the whole industry.

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    2 hours ago, regfootball said:

    wow, who couldn't have predicted it would look the f*cking same as all other Audis for the last 200 years

    Audi = won't try anything new

    Evolutionary styling...why mess with success..they have a formula that works.  Clean, serious cars for adults.  It's the stuff for kids like Civics that have to go wildly different each generation.. or look at Lexus--how silly and derivative the new LS looks.  

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    Fascinating in reading a few of the Audi reviews, zero mention troubling sales. U.S. A8 sales are terrible- they were terrible a year ago, also- so it isn't "A8 fans waiting for the refresh". 300 units/mnth is a dead car rolling.

    U.S. advertising/ certification/ repair training must cost more than the profit on the model.

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    Oh yeah- everything basically is down. S-class has posted like a 24% sales drop M-t-M. CT6 is nearly past it in volume, that's the only car climbing I've checked. But while the S-class is down to 1100/mnth, the A8 is at 300. If things follow this trajectory, the A8 may flirt with 100/mnth Now; Audi may not care about U.S. model sales- they have a bunch of vehicles in the low 100s/mnth... but you would think selling 2 car per STATE per month would be the cause of some frantic boardroom meetings.

    Edited by balthazar

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    CT6 is cheap, if Cadillac raised the price of it by $30,000 next month, you'd see CT6 selling at 300 units a month too.

    The A8's saving grace is China, because in Europe they are only selling about 500 A8's a month on the whole continent.    The S-class destroys it there just as bad as it does here.  Audi ha massive business in China though.

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    A8 doesn't ATP $30K more than the CT6, tho. It's about half that, so by your theory, the CT6 should be only double the A8 sales, instead of 3.5 times.

    It's just imminently questionable how much 'halo' effect a flagship gives the rest of the line when "no one" buys them.
    I think that's where the cheaper A7 came in... tho "no one" is buying it either.

    This is why all the luxury brands are moving so hard downmarket- that's where the money is going. The uber/ car share/ youth disinterest/ 'cars are just taxis' is working hand-in-hand with the "seat me higher off the road" mentality to undermine the big overpriced lux market- people aren't as enamored with them as in decades past.

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