Audi has finally revealed its fourth-generation A8 flagship sedan at the Audi Summit in Barcelona today, which provides the benchmark for its younger siblings in terms of design language as well as technology including its famous autonomous driving features.
If you loved the Prologue Concept from 2014’s Los Angeles Motorshow, you’ll be glad to know that Audi has kept the edits reasonable for the final production car. At the front, the new six-point single-frame hexagonal grille is smaller than on the concept, and the aggressive-looking front bumper too have been toned down as well.
However, the former still meets up with the distinctive character line with flared shoulders – reminiscent of the brand’s quattro DNA – break up the otherwise clean bodyside. The low shoulder line starts right up at the headlights and runs across the door handles as far back as the rear lights, along with a sill that rises to the rear in typical Audi style and lends the new A8 dynamism worthy of a luxury-class car.
The profile also appears largely unchanged from the concept as well, with the coupé-like silhouette highlights the sporty character of the new A8. The flagship model proclaims its identity both day and night, drawing on both the striking HD Matrix LED headlights with Audi laser lighting, and the long LED light strip combined with OLED technology rear lights that runs across the width of the car.
It’s much the same story on the inside as well, where the progressive interior does away with as many buttons or switches as possible, and the dashboard has an uninterrupted horizontal layout with a 10.1-inch touchscreen display placed in the center. Also there is a second touchscreen display measuring 8.6-inches – below the center console that can be used to control air conditioning and other comfort functions. On the driver’s side, the Audi virtual cockpit sits on top of this black-panel layout like on the Prologue Concept.
The major highlight of the fourth-gen Audi A8 is its autonomous driving functions. Audi claims that the new A8 is the first production car to be specifically developed for autonomous driving. This feature takes care of all driving inputs like starting, accelerating, steering and braking. The new A8 comes with Level 3 self-driving functions such as Parking Pilot, Garage Pilot and Traffic Jam Pilot. The Parking Pilot and Garage Pilot – both operable from outside the car using a smartphone, while the Traffic Jam Pilot takes charge of all driving functions in slow moving traffic at speeds of up to 60 KMPH on highways where a physical barrier separates the two carriageways.
For power, the 2018 A8 can call upon two engines for now – a 335 BHP 3.0-litre TFSI V6 petrol motor and 282 BHP 3.0-litre TDI V6 diesel mill. Both the engines are mated to an 8-speed automatic gearbox and Quattro driveline as standard giving it permanent all-wheel-drive, which can be ordered with an optional sports differential. The new A8 will come standard fit with a 48V electrical system which offers a range of mild-hybrid functions such as engine-off coasting, extended start/ stop operation and kinetic energy regeneration under braking. Audi claims that this mild hybrid system can save upto 0.7 KMPL.
Next-year, the company is reported to add V8 petrol and diesel engines while the top-of-the-line W12 model too will be added. Also, there will be a powerful S8 and e-tron plug-in hybrid variants on offer at a later stage like the existing ones. The fourth-gen A8 will go on-sale in Germany in October this-year at a starting price of EUR 90,600 (INR 66,83,950) for the standard model and EUR 94,100 (INR 69,42,160) for the long-wheelbase A8L while the India launch can be expected in late-2018 with a cost upwards of Rs. 1 Crore.
The flagbearer of future Audis competes with the likes of BMW 7-Series, Lexus LS and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
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GALLERY: Fourth-gen 2018 Audi A8
GALLERY: Fourth-gen 2018 Audi A8 L (Limousine)