The Audi A8 is one of the oldest competitors in its segment, but the refreshed version of this popular sedan was presented in July at a special event in Barcelona, Spain. After that, the car debuted at the 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show. The new fourth-generation will hit the market sometime in 2018 as 2019 model year, and even though the design looks traditional, the technology inside is state-of-the-art.
Audi A8 Self-Driving Tech
One of the main tech goodies is the software system based on the artificial intelligence which controls the self-driving aspects of the car and has the role of an electronic concierge. This system is referred to as Audi AI, and it is the first self-driving system with Level 3 self-driving capability which will reach production. Just for the record, the most advanced self-driving system today is Level 2, which requires driver’s constant awareness of the situation on the road.
Unlike Level 2, Level 3 can take complete control of the car, but in specific situations only. However, drivers still need to be at the edge of their seats to take the control if necessary. In the redesigned A8, the system will be able to park the car, go through traffic jams on long sections of interrupted roads, as long as there is a central divider for oncoming lanes. The system will not operate if the speed goes higher than 37 mph, but everything below that limit is safe for you to relax. You will be able to take your eyes off the road, but sleeping will not be available in a Level 3 car. Level 4 vehicle is expected to bring advanced tech where the driver reacts in extreme situation only, and it is predicted to arrive in the next decade. Level 5 is the ultimate goal, where driver’s interference is not necessary at all.
Touchscreen Displays – New Design
Back to our model. Audi will offer two body styles, but only the stretched version will be on sale in the US. Both variants increased in size significantly compared to their predecessors, resulting in more space inside the cabin and trunk. The familiar rotary pushbutton and touchpad in the center console are gone, and this area has no buttons or switches. You can control the interface with a 10.1-inch touchscreen display located on the center stack which blends with the black surroundings when it is off.
The second touchscreen display on the center console can be used for air conditioning as well as adjusting comfort features. When you activate a function, you will hear a click as a form of confirmation. Meanwhile, with the Audi AI, drivers can adjust numerous functions with voice control. When you are using the navigation, for instance, you will be provided with intelligent search suggestions, based on your previous journeys.
Weight Reduction Issues
The 2019 Audi A8 sits on the Volkswagen’s Group’s MLB platform, and all models will come standard with AWD configuration. The body is composed of aluminum (almost 60%) combined with steel, magnesium, and carbon-fiber reinforced plastic. Even though lightweight materials were used, the weight is not reduced much because heavier alternative powertrains and their batteries are integrated. It is officially confirmed that every version of the A8 will come with some sort of electrification.
Engines and Electrification
All Audi A8 models will come with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system as standard no matter the engine. This system replaces the separate starter motor and generator with a single powerful motor-generator which can be connected to a transmission or belt-driven. In the A8, the system will provide a boost of about 16 horsepower and allow coasting with the engine off and drivetrain decoupled.
The 2019 Audi A8 will be available with one gasoline V6 and a diesel V6 unit, but only the gasoline is supposed to arrive in the States. The engine in question is a turbocharged 3.0-liter good for about 340 horsepower, but we also expect to see two 4.0-liter V8 powerplants, one gas and one diesel. Just like it is the case with the V6, only the gas unit will be offered to the public in the US, and it should deliver around 460 hp.
As the time passes, Audi should introduce the 6.0-liter W12 range-topper unit alongside a sporty S8 model and a fuel-efficient A8 L e-tron Quattro plug-in hybrid. The latter version is going to pack a gasoline V6 powerplant which will be combined with an electric motor integrated with the transmission. The complete output of this combo is going to be 449 horsepower. Wireless charging system for the lithium-ion battery is going to be featured, and the plug-in hybrid car will be limited to about 30 miles of electric-only range.
Active Suspension System and Other Features
The 2019 Audi A8 is going to be offered with a lot of advanced features to make sure that the power is distributed smoothly and to ensure a pleasant ride. One of the features we would like to mention is an active suspension system which is powered by the vehicle’s 48-volt electrical system. With the use of various parts including gears, levers, and actuators, the system can exert over 800 pound-feet on the suspension at each wheel. In other words, you will be able to raise or lower each wheel to suit the conditions.
Furthermore, Audi installed a camera which scans the road 18 times per seconds and together with the sensors, it will send data to the suspension system which can instantly generate necessary forces to counter body lean, jolts and vibrations even when the car is on the move. The computer which controls this is called the Electronic Chassis Platform. German company appears to be proud of the creation called the A8, and they say that the driver and the passengers will be comfortable inside no matter whether you are just cruising down the streets or attacking the corners.
An important aspect of the active suspension system is safety. The suspension can raise the body on the exposed side by up to 3.1 inches within half a second if the car’s collision warning system detects an impact which cannot be avoided, at more than 15 mph. The reason for this change is to position the body in a way that the force of the impact is reduced, and as a result, the collision load on the passengers is minimized by up to 50 percent compared to the side impact when the body is not raised. This crucial difference of just 3.1 inches can be a life saver.
The A8’s other chassis technologies include rear-wheel drive steering and a rear differential. When you are driving this luxury sedan on the highway or any other road at higher speeds, the rear-wheel steering increases the stability of the vehicle while it improves turn-in at lower speeds. Also, it will be easier to park this flagship model since less steering is required. The turning circle of the new, enhanced Audi A8 is smaller than the one of the A4 due to the use of this simple tech. In the meantime, the rear differential divides torque between the rear wheels, so there is nothing special going on with this, but it is still worth mentioning.
2019 Audi A8 Pricing
The official price of the 2019 Audi A8 is going to be released closer to the launch. But, at this point, we know that the 2018 model starts from $83,475, and the cost of the new version should stay at this level. What do you think about the new Audi A8?