2018 Audi A8 Unveiled, Smart As Standard

by under News on 12 Jul 2017 11:27:07 AM12 Jul 2017

Will pave the way for 5 new models in 2018.

2018 Audi A8 Unveiled

At the Audi Summit event in Barcelona, the Ingolstadt brand has pulled the covers off its flagship limousine, the Audi A8. Designed to rival cars like the BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the A8 promises to offer an “utterly new driving experience” and is the first car (or so they claim) to be developed with highly-automated driving from the get-go. 

The new A8 importantly previews a new design language for the brand, from the large Singleframe grille and visually-bulkier design. No doubt, the new A8 looks far more muscular, almost like something American, with the design front and rear bejewelled with sharp LED lights (LED Matrix & laser at the front, LED and OLED at the rear). A lot of the design elements in the new A8 are incorporated from the Audi Prologue concept car, while the overall treatment remains true to the design we’ve come to recognise as Audi’s flagship model.

2018 Audi A8 Unveiled2018 Audi A8 Unveiled

Inside, Audi has taken a much more contemporary approach to cabin design, with a brand-new steering wheel and equally-new touchscreen MMI system, doing away with the four-point-rotary infotainment input interface that’s been featured in previous models. To provide a degree of tactility when in use on the move, the infotainment provides an click that is both heard and felt upon input into the system. Again, a lot of the design stems from the Prologue concept, including the unconventional-looking steering wheel. The MMI system is standard fare, and displayed on a 10.1-inch upper screen (for infotainment display) and a curved 8.6-inch lower screen (for text inputs and climate controls). There’s a new MIB infotainment unit that can be optioned on, that is claimed to be 50-times faster than the original.

Tech is a real highlight of the new A8, with the most attention-grabbing being the ‘Traffic Jam Pilot’ system. Part of the long list of optional equipment on the A8, Traffic Jam Pilot utilises cameras, radar, and ultrasonic sensors to allow the A8 to pilot itself at speeds below 60km/h entirely autonomously, with the driver able to focus on other activities while engaged. It’s the first system of its kind on a production car that utilises laser scanning, and allows the A8 to start, accelerate, steer, and brake all on its own. Audi will be rolling this particular feature out gradually, as legislation catches up with this degree of autonomy.

2018 Audi A8 Unveiled

Another highlight of the new A8 is its standard-fit air suspension, that can be optioned up to an intelligent adaptive system that can read the road ahead (about 18-times a second) and alter the damping on each wheel separately. This system also allows the car to raise itself in the blink of an eye, reducing the potency of a lateral collision should one occur. 

At the beginning of European sales in October, the Audi A8 will be offered with two turbocharged V6 units, a petrol 3.0TFSI (250kW) and a 3.0TDI (210kW). The top-spec 6.0-litre W12 engine will come later, after a pair of 4.0-litre V8s debut (petrol and diesel, 338kW & 320kW respectively). All engines will work with a belt-alternator starter, which is described as the “brain” of the 48V electrical system. The 48V system essentially turns every A8 into a ‘mild-hybrid’ of sorts, allowing the car to coast for extended periods of time with the engine switched off, along with an improved start-stop function and the ability to recover up to 12kW of power. 

2018 Audi A8 Unveiled2018 Audi A8 Unveiled

In the future, there will also be an A8 L e-tron quattro model, with a plug-in hybrid powertrain pairing the 3.0TFSI engine with an electric motor, with a total combined output of 330kW and 700Nm, with enough power able to be stored in the lithium-ion battery pack to offer as much as 50km of all-electric driving. This can be teamed up with an Audi Wireless Charging system, which will see a lossless pad atop a garage floor with a 3.6kW power output. 

The Audi A8 will arrive on our shores mid-2018, with the 3.0TDI and 4.0TDI at launch. Audi Australia is intent on the plug-in hybrid though, but no timeline on its introduction has been given, so stay tuned to CarShowroom and we’ll update you as the information comes.

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