Scheduled to appear on the market at the end of this year, the facelifted Audi A8 will be the first model to use the new Matrix LED headlights.
Although Audi calls it the new A8, spy-photos have revealed a very similar silhouette to the current model, so it's a facelift instead of a new generation. The headlights shown in our opening picture really match those on the camouflaged prototypes, so we're guessing that's exactly what the refreshed A8's "eyes" will look like.
The "Audi Matrix LED technology" consists of LED high-beam headlights that are split into numerous individual, small diodes working together with lenses or reflectors connected in series. Depending on the conditions, they are activated and deactivated or dimmed individually. Audi says this gives them the advantage of always supplying high-precision illumination and achieve the maximum possible light yield without needing a pivoting mechanism.
In the new Audi A8, each headlight is made up of 25 high-beam light-emitting diodes, arranged in groups of five per reflector. When the light switch is set to “automatic” and the high beam headlights are on, the system is activated from 30 km/h (18.64 mph) on highways and from 60 km/h (37.28 mph) on city streets.
Audi also says the new technology ensures the light is always bright and homogenous and “much more effective than that produced by competitors’ mechanical dipping systems. An interesting feature is that when oncoming traffic is detected, the Audi Matrix LED headlights blanks out light that would shine directly onto oncoming and preceding vehicles, but continues to cast the high beams with full power on all other zones between and beside them.
The new headlights also include what Audi calls marker lights. Basically, when the optional night vision assistant detects pedestrians in the critical range in front of the car, individual LEDs flash at them quickly three times in succession, alerting both the driver and the pedestrian.
By Dan Mihalascu