Audi‘s 2020 S8 flagship model broke cover earlier this month, featuring Predictive Active Suspension as standard. Now, the automaker is making this technology available on the regular A8, albeit as an extra.
In Germany, as well as other European markets, buyers can initially order Predictive Active Suspension only on TFSI versions of the A8, starting from August 2019. Pricing for this option in Germany is 5,450 euros ($6,114).
What and how?
This new tech uses electromechanical actuators to adjust the suspension, lifting or lowering the wheels individually to manage ride height in every situation. Overall, they can lift or lower the body by up to 85 mm (3.3 inches) within five-tenths of a second.
Furthermore, there are compact electric motors located near each of the A8’s wheels, feeding off the car’s 48-volt electrical system. The system only needs around 10 to 200 watts, which is less than comparable hydraulic alternatives. For example, an extremely sharp impulse (like on a race track) will produce a very short but high energy demand of up to 6 kilowatts.
The best part is that Audi’s Predictive Active Suspension tech works alongside the car’s air suspension, as well as the drive select dynamic handling system, both of which are standard. It also uses the car’s front camera, thus identifying uneven surfaces even before they are reached, signaling the actuators and actively adjusting the suspension. All of this happens in just a few milliseconds, with the camera generating information about the surface properties 18 times per second.
Put the car in its ‘Comfort Plus’ setting and you’ll experience another innovative feature dubbed Transverse Force Reduction. This raises the body on the outer side of a bend while lowering it on the other side, meaning your A8 will lean into a bend by up to 3 degrees, like a motorcycle. According to Audi, the driver and passengers will barely notice a cornering maneuver at speeds between 80 to 130 km/h (50 to 81 mph).
In a straight line, the Predictive Active Suspension will even reduce the forces acting on the human body during acceleration or hard braking, while at a standstill, it will raise the body by up to 50 mm (2 inches) for even easier entry and exit.
As for safety, the car’s Pre Sense 360° system also uses the Predictive Active Suspension in order to raise the body of the A8 by up to 80 mm (3.1 inches) in case of a side impact. According to Audi, “deformation of the cabin and the loads acting on the occupants, above all in the chest and abdominal areas, can thus be reduced by up to 50 percent compared with a lateral collision in which the suspension is not raised.”