Audi A8 (2017–)
- October 2017: Audi A8 announced
- July 2019: Audi S8 announced
- October 2019: Audi A8 L TFSI E plug-in hybrid launched
Audi A8 announced
Priced from £69,100 OTR, and due with first UK customers in early 2018, the fourth generation A8 comes in 5.17-metre ‘standard’ form or as the A8 L, which has a 13 centimetre longer wheelbase.
Compared with its predecessor the new A8 has grown substantially in length in both body styles. The interior design dispenses with the familiar rotary pushbutton and touchpad of the previous generation car. 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.
The user interface appears as soon as the car is opened. The Infotainment system is controllable via the large display, and a second touchscreen on the centre tunnel console gives access to the air conditioning and comfort functions and enables text inputs.
Information on destinations and media is either available on board or is delivered from the cloud at ultra-fast LTE speed. The navigation system has also evolved in line with the car which houses it – it is able to learn from the route just driven, providing the driver with intelligent search suggestions, and also incorporates highly detailed 3D models of major European cities.
The UK standard equipment list includes everything from the fully digital Audi Virtual Cockpit, the high definition colour head-up display and internet-based Audi Connect services to MMI Navigation Plus and Audi Phonebox wireless smartphone charging.
Standard LED headlights with high beam assist provide suitably precisely defined and far-reaching illumination and are paired with a rear LED light strip. The list of onboard driver aids also includes adaptive cruise assist with Stop&Go, front and rear parking sensors supplemented by a rear camera, lane departure warning with emergency assist and the Audi Pre-sense collision avoidance and mitigation system giving robust occupant protection.
Rear passengers can also control an array of functions such as ambient lighting, the optional HD Matrix reading lights and seat massage, and can make private phone calls via a separate operating unit. The rear seat remote control, with its smartphone-size OLED display, is a removable unit housed in the centre armrest and is optional for the A8 and standard for the A8 L.
The new A8 makes its debut with two V6 turbo engines: a 3.0 TDI and a 3.0 TFSI. The diesel develops 286PS, and the petrol version 340PS. An eight-cylinder TDI – a 4.0-litre with 435PS – will follow slightly later, as will the exclusive top engine version, the W12 with a displacement of 6.0 litres.
All four engines operate in conjunction with a belt alternator starter (BAS), which is the nerve centre 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 litres for every 62 miles covered in real world driving conditions.
The A8 L e-tron quattro with its powerful plug-in hybrid drivetrain will follow at a later date: Its 3.0 TFSI engine and powerful electric motor achieve 449PS of system power and 700 Nm (516.3 lb-ft) of system torque. The lithium-ion battery stores enough power for about 31 miles of electric driving. Fast charging will be possible via public or domestic charge points and wall boxes, or in the latter case via induction-based Audi Wireless Charging, which uses a pad in the garage floor to transfer power inductively to a receiver coil in the car with a power output of 3.6 kW.
Audi S8 announced
New S8 combines the rarefied comfort and refinement of the flagship Audi A8 saloon with a bi-turbo V8 petrol engine channelling an impressive 571PS and 800Nm of torque to the road via predictive active suspension, dynamic-all-wheel steering and quattro drive supplemented by a rear sport differential. These advanced systems ensure the plentiful power is as gainfully employed as possible during more challenging driving, and the latest cylinder-on-demand and mild hybrid drivetrain technologies also manage it responsibly when the car is in relaxed, trans-continental cruising mode.
As a V8 engine with mild hybrid technology, the high-performance unit in the Audi S8 offers not only maximum smoothness, but with an output of 571PS, 800 Nm of torque and two turbochargers also the certainty that ample power is available for any situation.
Iron-lined cylinder barrels in the aluminium crankcase reduce friction for exceptionally smooth running, and for moments when power takes precedence automatically actuated flaps in the exhaust system accentuate the already impressive V8 sound. For the ultimate in comfort, sound intrusion that is less desirable is eliminated by active noise cancellation integrated into the sound system.
The mild hybrid system (MHEV) works continuously to reduce fuel consumption. Its 48-volt belt alternator starter and the additional lithium-ion battery enable coasting with the engine switched off, fast restart and an extended start-stop range. Fuel savings of up to 0.8 litres per 100 kilometres are possible in everyday driving. The cylinder on demand system, which deactivates individual cylinders in low-load operating situations, also helps to moderate fuel consumption wherever possible.
The unique combination of innovative suspension components enables the S8 to consummately fulfil the role of luxury limousine while also approaching corners with the poise of a sports car. The high-tech predictive active suspension, a standard feature that works in conjunction with the adaptive air suspension, helps the performance flagship to perform its dual role - it can lift or push down each wheel separately via electromechanical actuators, making it possible to actively control the trim of the body in any driving situation for the first time, thereby greatly reducing pitch or roll during acceleration or braking. The front camera, which detects larger road surface irregularities, enables this to be done predictively.
The Audi drive select system – another standard feature – also helps to further enhance the impressive adaptability of the S8. It offers a choice of five operating modes, including a new “Comfort +” profile which makes cornering more comfortable by tilting the body into bends by as much as 3 degrees to reduce the lateral acceleration acting on the occupants.
In “dynamic” mode the S8 turns in tautly. The maximum roll angle during fast cornering is roughly 2.5 degrees compared with around 5 degrees with the standard suspension. The situational distribution of roll moments enables self-steering that is neutral or minimally inclined towards oversteer. The active suspension enables another new function. The body is quickly raised by as much as 50 mm when the door handle is actuated for an even more comfortable entry and exit.
Another system designed to make the S8 feel lighter on its feet is the standard dynamic-all-wheel steering. It allows the independent adjustment of the steering angles at the front and rear axles, thereby facilitating quick and direct steering response and a tight turning circle at low and medium speeds but also supreme stability on the motorway. The factory fitted sport differential actively transfers torque between the rear wheels during fast cornering. When turning into or accelerating in a bend, most is directed to the outside wheel to literally push the car into the corner and eradicate any hint of understeer. In the case of oversteer, the differential transfers the drive torque to the inside wheel to stabilise the S8. The interplay between all these standard systems is unique in the S8’s class and ensures composed and sporty handling in all situations.
Customers keen to reap maximum reward from the engine and advanced chassis technology on a regular basis can also choose high-performance carbon-fibre ceramic brake discs with a diameter of 420 millimetres at the front axle and 370 millimetres at the rear from the option list. The ceramic brakes are internally ventilated, low-wearing and including the callipers are 9.6 kilograms lighter than cast iron discs. Each of the front callipers has ten pistons.
Bold interior and exterior design elements finely hone the character of the new S8. Details in the front bumper, side sills and the exterior mirror housings as well as the two S-specific twin exhaust tailpipes subtly convey the car’s standing in the model series. Inside a new upper inlay – available exclusively in the Audi S8 – is made of Carbon Vector with a special 3D depth effect. Directly below that is an inlay of dark, brushed matt aluminium. Matrix LED headlights provide exceptional illumination and depth of field as standard, with an upgrade to HD matrix LED headlights with Audi laser light and OLED rear lights available on request.
Every detail of the new Audi S8 reflects its special capabilities. One particular highlight are the standard sport seats, which feature wide ranging power adjustment, pneumatically adjustable side bolsters and separate three-stage heating for each seat. In addition to this, ventilation and massage functions are available. Customers can choose between the top leather grades Valcona and Unikat. The rear seats also offer numerous features for outstanding comfort and provide for a first-class atmosphere in the Audi S8.
The 38 driver assistance systems that Audi provides for the new S8 are divided into the City and Tour packages. The latter is standard for all A8 models in the UK. It includes Adaptive cruise assist – a stand-out feature that combines the functions of adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist and lane tracking. In combination with predictive efficiency assist, it brakes and accelerates the Audi S8 in anticipation of the conditions ahead. In the City assist package, Audi pre sense side joins the systems pre sense front and pre sense rear to create Audi pre sense 360°. If the system detects an impending side impact, it can operate together with the predictive active suspension to instantly raise the body by as much as 80 millimetres. This brings the sill into a better position to absorb the impact energy, mitigating the potential consequences of the accident for the occupants.
The brain behind the driver assistance systems in the new S8 is a high-performance processing unit, the central driver assistance controller (zFAS). It continuously computes a differentiated model of the vehicle’s surroundings based on the data provided by the sensors. Fully equipped, there are five radar sensors, six cameras, twelve ultrasound sensors and a laser scanner on board.
The new Audi S8 offers an appropriately sophisticated infotainment interface with new digital services and state-of-the-art connectivity. The fully digital MMI touch response operating concept enables the driver to control nearly all functions via two large touch screen displays with haptic feedback. The driver can also use natural speech control, which offers virtually unlimited freedom when formulating questions and commands. The answers are provided either from information stored on board or from the cloud. Alexa, Amazon’s cloud-based voice assistant, is also available as an option.
All driving-relevant displays appear in the Audi virtual cockpit, which can be switched between two views. While the tachometer and speedometer are displayed as large dial-type gauges in driving mode, the map is the centre of attention in infotainment mode. Both views have S-specific red graphics. A special S-performance layout for the Audi virtual cockpit where the central focus is the tachometer, displayed as a square graph, and the output and torque are shown as percentages can also be selected in the MMI. The head-up display can display important information on the windscreen.
MMI navigation plus serves as the infotainment and media centre in the new S8. Besides the integration of the Amazon Alexa voice service, the extensive Audi connect range includes a wide variety of car-to-X services that draw on the swarm intelligence of the Audi fleet, including online traffic sign information, hazard alerts and on‑street parking search functionality. The myAudi app connects the car to the customer’s smartphone so that they can easily send destinations to the car from their home computer.
Audi A8 L TFSI E plug-in hybrid launched
Capable of covering up to 28.6 miles under electric power, the plug-in hybrid Audi A8 has 449PS and 700Nm of torque.
The A8 L 60 TFSI e quattro, which measures 5.30 metres with its extended wheelbase, will be available to order in the UK later this year, with standard wheelbase models joining the range a few weeks later. First deliveries for both variants will commence soon after in early 2020. They join the Audi A7 Sportback 55 TFSI e quattro, Q5 50 TFSI e quattro and Q5 55 TFSI e quattro SUVs which have already been available on the market since September.
A 3.0-litre TFSI generates propulsion in the A8 L 60 TFSI e quattro. The turbocharged V6 direct-injection engine with a petrol particulate filter delivers an output of 340 PS and 500Nm of torque. An electric motor with peak output of 100kW and peak torque of 350Nm serves as the electric drive, integrated with the clutch in the eight-speed tiptronic gearbox. Power is transmitted to all four wheels via Quattro all-wheel drive.
The Audi A8 L 60 TFSI e quattro delivers a system power of 449PS and 700Nm of torque. This high system torque is already available at 1,250 rpm, which is just above idle speed. When both motors work together in boost mode, the A8 accelerates to 62mph in 4.9 seconds and reaches an electronically governed top speed of 155mph.
The plug-in hybrid A8 starts in “EV” mode, where it drives on purely electric power. The combustion engine is engaged only when the driver depresses the accelerator pedal beyond a specific resistance. The pressure point is variable and based on the power from the electric drive that is currently available.
“Hybrid” mode offers two operating modes: “Auto” and “Hold”. In “Auto” mode, the predictive operating strategy is activated automatically when route guidance is started in the MMI navigation plus (standard equipment). In addition, the battery charge is spread intelligently and optimally along the route, with large electric portions in the city and in stop-and-go traffic. Generally speaking, the predictive operating strategy endeavours to drive as far as possible on electric power and to use the available battery charge completely by the time the destination is reached.
“Hold” mode pursues a different strategy: Here, the available charge state of the battery is kept at the current level with just minimal fluctuations by means of recuperation and by shifting the load point, i.e. with targeted adjustments to the management of the 3.0 TFSI.
Following a long-distance journey that is driven the conventional way, for example, this allows the subsequent urban drive to be covered on purely electric power, i.e. without emissions and in near-silence.