The all new Audi A8 is official and it reeks of luxury, packed with technology and intelligence for the best driving experience.
For starters, the new A8 is a car like no other; the car is meticulously designed with the user experience in mind and it’s also a window into what the future holds.
Around the exterior, the Audi A8’s front end has a wide, upright Singleframe grille and the fluid, muscular body symbolise sporty elegance, sophistication and progressive status.
The new A8 looks powerful and bold, whether you go for the 5.17 meter (17.0 ft) standard version or the A8 L, which has a 13 centimetre (5.1 in) longer wheelbase.
The new A8 carries the full Audi design DNA with sports appeal, lightweight construction and Quattro permanent all-wheel drive. It looks muscular above the wheel arches and when viewed side-on, the upright front end combined with the gently inclined rear creates a visual tension.
When I say it reeks of technology, it’s not only noticeable on the inside with its new MMI system, the exterior features 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.
The interior has a lot of gadgets to keep you busy
Lavish and luxurious doesn’t even cut it when describing what Audi’s done with the new A8’s spacious interior. Compared to the predecessor model, it has grown substantially in length in both body versions.
Besides its leather upholstery, its air vents’ shutters electrically open and close as it’s operated. The new MMI dash area is also new; you get a dual display setup that is very responsive to touch without distracting the driver.
At its centre 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 and the user interface appears as soon as the car is opened.
The second touchscreen display on the centre tunnel console can be used 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 get a haptic feedback.
Just like most touch screen devices users are used to, you get touch gestures such as swiping make the new MMI touch response especially safe, intuitive and quick to use. The A8 can also be engaged using 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 optimised 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.
The optional relaxation seat in the A8 L comes with four different adjustment options and a footrest. In this seat, you can warm and massage your feet on a unit with multiple settings incorporated into the back of the front passenger seat with 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 centre armrest.
The new Audi A8 is also the first to feature pilot-driving
The new Audi A8 is the first production automobile to have been developed specially for highly automated driving; it can be activated using the new AI button on the centre console.
The Audi AI traffic jam pilot takes charge of driving in slow-moving traffic at up to 60 km/h (37.3 mph) on motorways where a physical barrier separates the two carriageways.
The traffic jam pilot manages starting, accelerating, steering and braking. The driver no longer needs to monitor the car permanently.
Drivers 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 onboard 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. Audi will be adopting a step-by-step approach to the introduction of the traffic jam pilot in production models due to local regulations.
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 manoeuvre 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 manoeuvre, they hold the Audi AI button pressed to watch a live display from the car’s 360-degree cameras on their device.