Audi truly create masterpieces. The new 2018 Audi A8 is evolutionary and has changed our perception of luxury cars (saloons). The new model has had a redesign, enhanced features and added luxury that will really make your ego prance out of control. This car is a real competitor to the luxurious Mercedes S-Class and tech savvy BMW 7 Series. It also features the first level 3 autonomous driving tech.
The new Audi A8 has had a redesign with the front of the car wide stance’d with the wide grill and slim headlights either side. It all gives the car a real presence on the road. The contours on the bonnet add to the modern look Audi are trying to go for and it works. The side of the car is unequivocally Audi but the new A8 has a sweeping line front the front headlight to the rear adding a touch of sophistication. The roof is sloping towards the rear giving it a sportier coupe look.
The rear is new and improved. It has that line connecting the rear lights together like the BMW 7 Series. It looks very elegant along with the twin exhaust. The rear looks flat and defined like it means business. This is a very classy luxury saloon.
The interior is something else, it really is. The front and back of the interior has improved. There is a virtual cockpit an infotainment screen and a touchscreen. The touchscreen has replaced all the buttons for things like climate control and has touch feedback – a small vibration through the screen giving the impression of a physical button – while the screen can also be used to spell out words and destinations using your finger.
The back is still the best place to sit. Rear passengers are treated to enormous amounts of leg and headroom along with a centre armrest that’s bristling with controls handling the seat massagers, phone calls, infotainment functions and even a LED reading light. You can fit an optional relaxation seat to the long-wheelbase A8L version – this includes a footrest attached to the back of the front seat that can heat and massage your feet at the touch of a button.
Audi claims the voice recognition software is now much more intelligent, allowing owners to control functions with a more natural conversational tone. The sat-nav uses information downloaded over the car’s built-in mobile internet connection combined with traffic sign recognition and Audi’s own data from its fleet to devise the smartest route possible at a given time. The sat-nav can also learn based on the driver’s behaviour to further optimise routes.
The feature of the new A8 that has everyone talking is the level 3 autonomous driving functions – like other executive cars it can steer, accelerate and brake itself through traffic where the opposing lane is separated by a central divider at speeds of up to 37.3mph. Where it differs from other systems is that it doesn’t need you to actively monitor its progress by keeping your hands on the wheel – you are able to take your eyes off the road and do something else while the car takes care of everything. Should you be required to take over, the car will sound a series of alarms to notify you. Similar systems permit the A8 to enter and leave parking spaces on its own via the use of a smartphone app without the driver even being seated in the car.
Whether you or the computer is driving, the A8 will stay comfortable thanks to new active air suspension. This system ensures optimum comfort at all times or, at the flick of a switch, can be set to hunker the car to the road surface for a more sporty driving experience. There’s also four-wheel steering that enables the car to be more stable at high speeds and more manoeuvrable at low speeds which, combined with the sports rear differential and standard all-wheel drive, generates enormous levels of grip in all driving conditions.
Entry-level A8 models use either 3.0-litre V6 petrol or diesel engines with 340 and 286hp. More powerful models will use V8 petrol or diesel engines for up to 460hp or, if you’re looking at top-of-the-range models, a W12 petrol engine will feature in A8L models. An e-tron plug-in hybrid model will use a 3.0-litre petrol V6 mated to an electric motor for a total of 449hp, battery power alone to cover 31.1 miles and can be recharged wirelessly from an inductive charging pad fitted to your garage floor.
The Audi A8 will cost from around £80,000 and will go on sale towards the end of autumn 2017.