Photos by John Grafman
The all-new A8, in its fourth generation, serves as a leader in the luxury sedan segment. The all-new A8 delivers a serene interior design, usable technology that seamlessly connects drivers and passengers to their digital lives and driver assistance technologies that allow everyone to arrive more relaxed. The AS redefines future premium and leads all that is to come in the Audi model portfolio.
The exterior design of the all-new 2019 A8 marks the start of a new era for Audi. With an emphasis on progressive elegance, the sedan blends bespoke craftsmanship with cutting-edge technology. The latest generation A8 establishes the basis from which the Audi portfolio will build upon in terms of design and integration of life-simplifying technologies.
The front with its broad, upright Singleframe® grille, the flowing and muscular body design and the rear with its full-length strip of dynamic lighting, radiate the powerful presence of the new A8. The flat roof dome offers the sedan a sporty touch, while stretched lines underscore its length and luxury presence. The upright front end combined with the gently sloped rear creates visual interest. The proportions equally highlight the front and rear wheels, with definition at the wheel arches calling attention to the standard quattro® all-wheel drive. The exterior lighting is state-of-the-art, particularly when equipped with HD Matrix LED headlights (U.S.- Market availability TBC) and rear lamps with OLEO technology, further cementing Audi lighting leadership. These taillights continue the horizontal architecture from the front ofthe vehicle, contributing to an overall light, precise and distinctly Audi presence. The result is a dynamic light show, welcoming driver and passersby.
Based on the ASF® multi-material frame technology, the body of the 2019 A8 consists of 58 percent aluminum parts paired with hot form-steel and ultra-high strength carbon fiber reinforced polymer components, creating a dramatically stronger body in white over the outgoing model. The resulting superior rigidity of the body provides the basis for the precise handling, excellent ride comfort and a tranquil, quiet cabin despite varying road conditions.
The well-appointed interior of the A8 has been simplified, refined and intelligently redesigned. With expert attention to material selection and the fine details, even in darkness, the contour and ambient lighting subtly highlight the striking new horizontal design lines and luxury fittings. The tailored quality of the interior is elevated through innovative technology, offering the most progressive experience yet for the Audi brand.
Rear-seat passengers experience advancements through a host of relaxation and comfort features, from available, fully customizable Matrix LED reading lights, allowing the customer to direct overhead lighting where it’s needed most, to reclining and multi setting heated massage seating. Further enhancing the rear-passenger experience are electrically height-adjustable comfort head restraints, footrests, a long center heated console and arm rests, four-zone automatic air conditioning, the Rear Seat Entertainment system comprising of two Audi tablets, and a detachable Rear Seat Remote. Stored in the center console, this smartphone-sized OLEO touch control remote allows passengers to conveniently customize their seating and infotainment preferences. Completing the luxury cabin, for ultimate relaxation, the right rear passenger seat offers an available heated massaging footrest discretely positioned on the rear of the front passenger seat. The A8 interior offers a serene respite from the hectic life that surrounds it.
As the flagship of the brand, the A8 has long presented industry leading technologies. This latest generation is no different as Audi approaches the digital age with a revolutionary infotainment concept debuting in the A8. It transforms the award winning rotary/push-button control and touch pad- into the MMI touch response® a step-change system for the future of the brand. At the center of this intelligent new system’s instrument panel is a 10.1-inch touchscreen display that, when turned off, blends almost invisibly into the high-gloss black surround. When the system is started, the user interface illuminates with a soothing greeting and a new, simple graphic configuration. Like a smartphone, the menu structure is intuitive and flat, and the user can freely arrange the feature icons according to their personalpreferences. The intelligent system can store up to seven profiles, allowing each driver an entirely unique and customized experience,from lighting preferences and media favorites to preset navigation inputs.
The driver interacts with the infotainment system through two large stacked touch displays positioned in the center console. The lower control panel, previously consisting of numerous individualbuttons,is now a simple touch surface to operate the climate control and convenience features, as wellas enter text through a keyboard or freeform handwriting. When the driver makes a selection across the platform, the system offers confirmation through an audible and tactile ‘click’ that helps the driver use the system without diverting his or her eyes. Allaudible and haptic feedback can be configured to the drivers’ wishes.
The A8 voice interaction extends to a new level of search commands as wellas driver activated functions in the vehicle using an updated,naturalform of voice control. Information on destinations and media is either available on-board or is sourced from the cloud at LTE speeds. The driver can make commands with the voice recognition system and dialogue manager understanding complete sentences for navigation searches or requests for adjustment to HVAC or media. A multifunction steering wheel and an optionalhead-up display round off the new infotainment offering.
The all-new, MMINavigation plus functions as a multifaceted media center, using th modular infotainment platform in its latest version, the MIB 2+. It integrates cutting edge processing power to seamlessly link the multi-surface system, including the standard Audi virtualcockpit. Connectivity throughout the vehicle, as well as an onboard Wi-Fi Hotspot for up to eight passenger devices is offered through LTE capability.
The line of services from Audi connect is highly diversified. The all-new HERE-powered map and navigation system debuting in the A8 is able to learn overtime through driven routes, so that the system can make smarter route suggestions. The new myAudi app enables a greater range of smartphone-controlled vehicle selections, including myAudi Navigation. This time-saving function becomes a personalmobility manager, where a route started on a smartphone and continued on the on-board system upon entering the vehicle can be passed back to the smartphone to guide the occupant to their next destination- by foot or public transport.
Bang & Olufsen brings its leading audio expertise to the A8, adding 3D surround sound to the luxury sedan for the first time. This premium sound offering delivers a new audio experience encapsulating the driver and passengers. The music unfolds exactly how it’s experienced in the concert hall.
Launching with a new 3.0-literV6 turbo engine, the AB powertrain is paired with a standard new 48-volt electric mild-hybrid drivetrain. This lOAh lithium-ion battery and new beltdriven alternator starter (BAS) has been engineered to support the TFSI engine and functions as the main vehicle electrical system enabling the advanced infotainment and luxury equipment including the driver assistance systems and electromechanical suspension in the AB. This system allows for recuperation of power and is designed to provide a more efficient, responsive and smooth ride. The paired powertrains operate in conjunction with a fast and gently shifting eight speed tiptronic transmission and standard quattro® all-wheel drive with self-locking center differential.
With dynamic all-wheel steering, active electromechanical suspension and the powerful all-new electronic chassis platform, Audi has rethought every aspect of the all-new flagship’s chassis and ride experience.
All-new technologies and control systems make the A8 more comfortable, dynamic and adaptive to the driving environment. The available dynamic all-wheel steering allows the steering angles at the front and rear axles to be set independently of one another. It combines instantaneous response and steering behavior with superior driving stability, tightening the steering radius and offering improved performance at high and low speeds. This all-wheel steering remarkably shrinks the turning radius of the AB long wheelbase to 38.7 ft (11.8 m), that of an A4 sedan.
Audi AI active suspension is an active electromechanical suspension system. It uses rapid electric actuators to increase or decrease the load on each wheel individually as a function of the driving situation for active and optimal control of the body, far quicker than available hydraulic systems currently on the market allow. The characteristics range from the gentle rolling of a premium sedan to the agility of a sports car, with the energy coming from the new 48-volt mild hybrid. In daily driving conditions, this ground breaking system allows the vehicle to intuitively adapt and effectively float above imperfections in the road, leading to an effortlessly premium ride.
On vehicles equipped with the pre sense 360° system, the Audi active suspension also enhances passive safety systems through mitigating the impact of side collisions. In the event a potentialside impact is detected through onboard sensors and camera systems at more than 15.5 mph, the body is raised by up to 80 millimeters (3.1in) within half a second. As a result, the other vehicle collides with a more rigid zone of the side on the
A8 sedan. Further preparing the cabin for possible impact, the vehicle simultaneously engages pre-collision preparation, optimizing the interior for possible impact.
Driver Assistance Systems
Delivering an Audi benchmark in driver assistance and convenience systems, the 2019 A8 sets a new standard in luxury with 40 unique functions. As a result, the flagship sedan provides increased ease of mind and operation through its comprehensive assistance functionality. In addition to advancements in systems previously debuted by the Audi Q7, including the stress reducing adaptive cruise assist,advanced collision mitigation and cross traffic assist, through its onboard sensors, cameras and laser, the A8 sets a new technicalbenchmark.
The state-of-the-art Audi driver assistance platform takes a step forward with an advanced intersection assist,helping to reduce the possibility of a collision with crossing traffic through early detection and emergency braking as well as maneuver assist with curb warning. The advanced maneuvering assist offers steering inputs and braking when navigating the tightest garage facilities, thus helping to avoid costly low speed impact with unseen walls,columns and other vehicles. Curb warning is achieved through two mirror mounted cameras and sensors to visually alert the driver of contact risk between the vehicle’s wheel and the curb that could result in damage.
In addition to driver assistance systems, the A8 debuts an intelligent approach to parking assistance with the Audi AIpark pilot and the Audi AIgarage pilot. These systems offer convenience for the otherwise tedious task of parking by maneuvering, accelerating and braking the A8 on behalf of the driver into and out of tight parallelor perpendicular parking spaces. While the system takes control, the driver can relax hands-free in the vehicle or monitor the action from nearby with smartphone control. Both systems are activated using the AIbutton in the center console or through the myAudi smartphone app. The final component of the Audi suite of assistance technologies is conditional automated driving. The new A8 is the first production automobile developed specially for Level3 automated driving. In A8 models equipped with Audi AI traffic jam pilot, the feature takes charge of driving in slow-moving traffic at up to 60 km/h (37 mph) on freeways and highways where a physical barrier separates the directional traffic. The system is activated using the AI button on the center console.
Traffic jam pilot meets the definition of a Level3 automated vehicle system according to the Society of Automotive Engineers. Because traffic jam pi lot is capable of handling the full driving task- acceleration, steering and braking- when certain conditions are met, drivers can take their hands off the steering wheel until the car requires manual driver control again. This takeover request occurs before the system nears the limits of its capabilities. While system advancements are constantly being achieved, many factors have to be in place to deliver a first of its kind technology. Audi continues to assess timing and will deliver the system when market readiness allows.
The foundation ofthese advanced systems is the central driver assistance controller (zFAS). About the size of a tablet, this central controller continually merges the signals from all sensors into a differentiated model of the vehicle’s surroundings through its high-powered NVIDIA processors. Consisting of radar and ultra-sonic sensors, front rear and mirror mounted 360 degree cameras, and as an automotive manufacturer first,
Audi has incorporated a laser scanner in series production- fully equipped, the new A8 has 24 unique sensors. The precise image of the vehicle surroundings created through these sensors are the underpinnings of the powerful suite of driver assistance systems in the Audi A8.
Arriving to the U.S. market in late 2019, the A8 delivers a transformation for Audi in the luxury market. The all-new flagship sedan sets the bar for the brand’s pursuits in design, technology, performance and driver assistance systems to which all future model lines will aim.