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Audi's new A8 & S8 unveiled

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21st August, 2013

  • New A8 and S8 due in Australia Q2, 2014

Systematic lightweight construction, excellent comfort and a broad portfolio of high-end technologies: Audi has given its flagship, the A8, a wide-sweeping update. The engines are even more powerful and efficient, while new assistance systems and the innovative Matrix LED headlights provide for an added level of composure.

One great strength of the big sedan is its lightweight construction. The Audi A8 3.0 TFSI with the standard wheelbase has a kerb weight of just 1,830 kilogrammes – best-in-class for models with all-wheel drive. The body is made almost entirely of aluminium; an Audi Space Frame (ASF) design, it weighs just 231 kilogrammes.

Length (5.14 metres), wheelbase (2.99 metres), width (1.95 metres) and height (1.46 metres) remain unchanged, making the Audi A8 one of the sportiest sedan in the segment. The A8 L gains an additional 13 centimetres in both length and wheelbase. Both body variants feature a new boot lay out for easier loading. Additional noise damping measures reduce the interior noise level.

The design of the big sedan has become even more expressive. The engine bonnet, the single frame grille and the front bumper are even more sculptured; the lower edge of the LED headlight units is straight. Audi also offers optional headlights featuring Matrix LED technology, which sets new benchmarks with respect to design and technology. With these headlights, the high-beam comprises 25 individual light-emitting diodes per unit that can be switched on and off or dimmed individually depending on the situation.

This enables the headlight system to react precisely to other vehicles while always brightly illuminating the road. Additional features of the new headlights are the intelligent cornering light, new-look daytime running lights and dynamic turn signals. The lighting system in the A8 uses predictive route data from the navigation system to adjust the distribution of light in response to the current driving situation. In combination with the Navigation plus with MMI touch, the system recognises route data contained in the navigation system, such as curves and road classifications.

The LED lamps at the rear of the new Audi A8 have also become flatter. In all models except the S8, the redesigned bumper houses two rhomboid tailpipes. New chrome strips and high-gloss black window frames round out the differentiating design details. There is a choice of twelve colours, including five new ones. Wheels are available in sizes up to 21 inches.

The engine line-up: two TFSI and two TDI units

Audi offer the A8 in Europe with two petrol and two diesel engines. These are the supercharged 3.0 TFSI with 228 kW, the V8 twin-turbo 4.0 TFSI with 320 kW, the highly efficient 3.0 TDI clean diesel with 190 kW and the extremely high-torque 4.2 TDI clean diesel, which produces 283 kW and 850 Nm.

Performance has increased with some engines. When paired with quattro all-wheel drive, the 4.0 TFSI now accelerates the A8 from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds. Under partial load, the Audi cylinder on demand (COD) system deactivates four of the eight cylinders. The most efficient engine is the 3.0 TDI diesel, which consumes 5.9 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres, which corresponds to 155 grammes CO2 per kilometre. All engines satisfy the Euro 6 emissions standard. Friction-reducing measures reduce consumption by as much as 10 per cent.

In Europe, these variants are joined by three additional models. The top-of-the-line model is the luxuriously equipped Audi A8 L W12 quattro. Its petrol engine is particularly short and lightweight thanks to its W lay out. Displacing 6.3 litres, it produces 368 kW. It has a fuel consumption rating of 11.7 litres per 100 kilometres, corresponding to 270 grammes CO2 per kilometre. It also has a CoD system that was designed specifically for it. At low load, it deactivates the fuel injection and ignition for six cylinders. The available Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) ensures excellent acoustic comfort.

With 380 kW, the S8 is Audi's large sports sedan. Paired with quattro all-wheel drive, its sonorous 4.0 TFSI accelerates the S8 from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds. Average fuel consumption for the S8 is 10.1 litres per 100 kilometres, corresponding to 235 grammes CO2 per kilometre. The COD system plays a key role here, too. Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), a technology that is also used in the A8 4.0 TFSI quattro, the A8 L W12 quattro and the A8 hybrid, uses precise anti-phase noise to combat intrusive noise in the cabin while operating on four cylinders while active engine mounts dampen vibration. The chassis and many body details reflect the sporty positioning of the S8.

The Audi A8 hybrid that is available in Europe combines a 2.0 TFSI and electric motor to produce a system output of 180 kW and system torque of 480 Nm. The engine’s power flows to the front wheels via a modified tiptronic. The lithium-ion battery in the rear enables purely electric driving at up to 100 km/h with a range of roughly three kilometres. The A8 hybrid consumes on average just 6.3 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres (147 grammes CO2 per kilometre).

The new Audi A8 comes standard with a fast and smooth-shifting, eight-speed tiptronic. The electronically controlled automatic transmission is paired with quattro permanent all-wheel drive. Audi also offers an optional sport differential for the rear axle, which distributes the power between the rear wheels as needed. The sport differential is standard in the S8 and the A8 4.2 TDI clean diesel quattro.

The sedan owes its sporty character in large part to the sophisticated chassis. The Audi drive select system, which varies the function of various technology modules, is standard. It also controls the adaptive air suspension with adaptive damping. Audi offers the air suspension with a sporty set-up upon request. The power steering uses an efficient electromechanical drive. Dynamic steering, which varies the ratio as a function of the speed driven, is available as an option. Carbon-fibre ceramic brake discs are available for V8 models and the A8 L W12 quattro.

Hand-built character: The interior of the Audi A8

The interior of the Audi flagship has elegant lines and spaciousness. Options for the front seats include ventilation and massage. Electrically adjustable, individual rear seats are available as an option for the A8 and the A8 L. The A8 L is also available with a continuous, leather-covered centre console. The first-class solution here is the relaxation seat with power footrest. A large number of additional features are also available, from four-zone automatic air conditioning and power-assisted closing to a cooler.

All components in the new A8 have been carefully chosen and processed with the utmost precision. A new range of choices for seat coverings, inlays and colours is available in many areas. New additions include the woods Fine grain poplar brown-silver and Fine grain ash brown-gold natural as well as the leather Unikat, which is natural-looking, soft and breathable.

The Audi design selection offers a preselection of exclusive materials and colours for the interior, including sycamore grey/marble grey. The design selection black/vermont brown with Carbon twill copper inlays is available for the Audi S8. The Audi exclusive range offers additional individualisation options for customers.

As is typical for Audi, the new A8 features clear controls despite the abundance of functions. Taking centre stage is the MMI control element on the tunnel's centre console. MMI navigation plus also includes a touchpad. The driver draws characters on the pad (MMI touch) to control numerous navigation and multimedia functions.

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For more composed driving: the assistance systems

Driving is even more composed with the optional assistance systems. The adaptive cruise control with Stop&Go function is coupled with an expanded version of the standard Audi pre sense basic safety system. The same applies to Audi side assist. New in the A8 are Audi active lane assist, which makes slight steering adjustments when necessary, and the park assist system with 360° display, which handles steering when parking. The head-up display, which is also new, projects important data in the driver's field of vision on the windshield. The night vision assistant can now also recognise larger animals in addition to pedestrians.

Audi connect including car phone is available as a supplement to MMI navigation plus. It uses an integrated UMTS module to connect the new A8 to the Internet. Passengers can surf and e-mail freely via a WLAN hotspot. For drivers in Europe, the system delivers the tailored on-line services from Audi connect, such as on-line traffic information, Google Earth, Google Street View and on-line news, to the car. The multimedia highlight is the Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System. The Rear Seat Entertainment system includes two displays, Bluetooth headphones and a DVD player.

Australian availability

The new Audi A8 will arrive in Australia in the second quarter of 2014. Both the 3.0 TDI and 4.2 TDI diesel models will be available to customers. The new S8 will also arrive in Australia concurrently, for the first time in this generation.

The specification and pricing details will be confirmed closer to the local launch date.



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