Audi will be hoping the A8 can steal sales away from the current class-leader, the Mercedes S-Class, as well as the BMW 7 Series and Jaguar XJ. The new A8 marks a new design direction for the Volkswagen-owned luxury car-maker. The A8, says Audi, is the first production auto developed with fully automated driving at the core of its mission, not reverse engineered to deal with the rise of autonomous tech. Official pricing for the new A8 is not yet available. The Audi AI traffic jam pilot takes charge of driving in slow-moving traffic at up to 60 km/h on highways. Using radar sensors, a front camera, ultrasonic sensors and a laser scanner, the system builds a picture of the car's surroundings to enable self-driving. The A8 has the ability to accelerate, steer, brake, and start from a dead stop. At level four, vehicles would drive themselves under most situations, only requiring the driver's involvement from time to time.
That next-generation styling is formed around a wider, more upright singleframe grille, while the body sides are more flowing and muscular than previous Audis.
The new Audi A8 Price is Euro 90,600 and Euro 94,100 for the A8 L. The two models will appear on the German market in late fall 2017. We only get the long-wheelbase version.
The designers who worked on the new A8 have ensured it is much better than the outgoing model.
The driver will be able to watch TV on the car's infotainment system or read a book - although United Kingdom law change will be needed to allow it to operate here. Audi says drivers can even watch the on-board TV if that kind of activity is permitted by local laws, but they must be prepared to take back control of the vehicle when the system has reached its limits. The rear passengers can also control an array of functions such as ambient lighting, the new HD Matrix reading lights and seat massage, plus make private phone calls, via a separate operating unit. The combination of acoustic and tactile feedback along with the use of common touch gestures such as swiping make the new MMI touch response system especially safe, intuitive and quick to use, Audi claims.
Audi's all-new A8 will feature two V6 engine options, two V8s, a W12 and, eventually, a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The diesel model can generate 286hp, while you can get 340hp from the petrol version.
Both engines are allied to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and Quattro four-wheel drive, which can be ordered with an optional sports differential. The vehicle comes with updated electronic suspensions, and a new infotainment system to assist the driver in the first of its kind L3 autonomous auto.
These include a 3.0 TDI with 210kW and a 3.0 TFSI with 250kW, coming to the new A8 a little later (no timeline confirmed) will be a 320kW 4.0 TDI V8 320 kW and 338kW 4.0 TFSI V8. A third engine will be added in 2018: a meaty new 4.0-litre 429bhp V8 TDI that replaces the old 4.2.
"The top brass at VW group and Audi are so preoccupied with the diesel issue that the company's management is lastingly distracted", said Christian Strenger, a supervisory board member at Deutsche Bank's retail asset management arm DWS.
An L e-tron variant is also planned. Electric motors actuate the air suspension to soften or firm up at a millisecond's notice. Thanks to its lithium-ion battery, it will also have an all-electric range of about 50 km.
The A8 can also be specified with new active suspension.
The A8 will have front-mounted camera which will be used to scan the road ahead 18 times per second.