Finally, after years of testing, months of teasers and days of eager anticipation, the all-new Audi A8 has officially premiered at the Audi Summit in Barcelona, Spain.
As we previously learnt, the new A8 will make use of a 48-volt electrical system and therefore adopts a number of advanced technologies, including a fully active, electromechanical suspension system and is said to be the first car on the market that offers level 3 autonomous driving.
The aforementioned suspension system works thanks to an electric motor on each wheel and incorporates a rotary tube and an internal titanium torsion bar and lever that can apply up to 1,100 Nm (811.3 lb-ft) of torque on the suspension courtesy of a coupling rod. This system then works in conjunction with the luxury sedan’s front camera which detects bumpers and allows the suspension to automatically adjust to offer the smoothest ride possible. Audi says this system will be able to eliminate almost all vibrations and jolts.
On highways at up to 60 km/h, the autonomous system can take full control of the vehicle and permits the driver to completely remove their hands from the steering wheel. Like its rivals, the new A8 includes remote parking which can be operated via a remote, even without any occupants seated inside.
In terms of its design, the A8 is heavily inspired by 2014’s Prologue Concept and brings a new Audi design language into reality. Created by Marc Lichte, the A8 is significantly sleeker than the outgoing and still manages to ooze the sophistication and class you’d expect from the company’s flagship sedan.
At the front, Audi has integrated a set of thin horizontal headlights with LED daytime running lights seamlessly incorporated within. Additionally, the front is made of up an enlarged chrome grille. Audi says that it has also designed a sleek roofline for the car, allowing it to achieve a “coupe-like” shape. There is also an elegant line running the length of the car on both sides.
The rear meanwhile incorporates overhauled taillights dramatically different to those of the outgoing model. Perhaps the most obvious change are the twin LED taillights which incorporate a light bar stretching the width of the rear. Altogether, the design of the new A8 isn’t quite as revolutionary as the Prologue was but it is certainly modern enough to rival the existing Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7-Series.
In Germany, the new A8 will initially be offered with two V6 turbo engines, a 3.0-liter TDI and a 3.0-liter TFSI. The diesel engine will deliver 286 hp while the petrol powertrain will offer up 340 hp. Further down the road, a 4.0-liter TDI V8 with 435 hp will be introduced alongside a 460 hp 4.0-liter V8. The range will then be completed by a 6.0-liter W12 delivering an undisclosed amount.
All five engines operate alongside a belt alternator starter thanks to the 48-volt electrical system. This means the new A8 can coast with the engine switched off and restart smoothly when required. Audi says that this alone can drops fuel consumption by as much as 0.7 liters per 100 km in real driving conditions.
At a later date, an A8 L e-tron quattro will hit the market. It will combine a 3.0-liter TFSI engine with an electric motor to deliver 449 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to its lithium-ion battery, it will also have an all-electric range of about 50 km.
German prices for the new A8 will start at 90,600 euros ($103,248) in Germany while the A8 L kicks off at 94,100 euros ($107,236).
Update: Comprehensive gallery added