Audi A8

Auto Today - - Dashboard - As­so­ciate Ed­i­tor

In­gol­stadt’s flag­ship sedan just got a whole lot bet­ter

Audi’s new A8 L is noth­ing short of be­ing the fu­ture. It can drive it­self, park it­self and has fu­tur­is­tic laser light tech. We got a chance to ex­pe­ri­ence the fu­ture first hand

Flag­ship mod­els are al­ways spe­cial and man­u­fac­tur­ers tend to go over­board with the tech in them quite of­ten. How­ever there is one com­mon thread which we are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing over the past few months. This com­mon thread is au­to­ma­tion. Ev­ery man­u­fac­turer is busy de­vel­op­ing tech which will take us to a sci-fi world where cars drive them­selves and the driver is just there to over­look op­er­a­tions. Quite like the ‘auto pi­lot’ mode found on air­planes. The new Audi A8 L is no dif­fer­ent then, apart from the fact that it at­tempts to take things to the next level. But be­fore we get to the au­to­ma­tion bit, lets dig more into what all has changed in this new ver­sion.

First and fore­most, di­men­sions re­veal that the new ver­sion is 37mm longer than the out­go­ing ver­sion. How­ever, it is 4mm nar­rower and sits 17mm lower. As far as the de­sign is con­cerned the new A8 L looks sleeker than be­fore. The new A8 L is based on the MLB Evo plat­form. As a re­sult it utilises ex­quis­ite ma­te­ri­als like alu­minium, car­bon-fi­bre and mag­ne­sium thus help­ing


in curb­ing its weight. What we have be­come a fan of is the new light­ing sys­tems de­ployed which in­cludes the HD Ma­trix LED head­light sys­tem which in­cludes the Audi laser light and the OLED tail light. The head­lamp is a three stage af­fair il­lu­mi­nat­ing the road ahead to the max and the laser light utilises scan­ners to en­sure that on­com­ing mo­torists are not blinded. The tail light is noth­ing short of be­ing a proper road show! The strip starts from the lamps them­selves and is joined by a strip run­ning across the boot lid. Ev­ery time the car starts up, it does its own light show which is sure an in­ter­est­ing sight.

In­side Audi has ac­quired the taste of go­ing knob and but­ton free. The dash in­cor­po­rates twin screens which op­er­ate all con­trols for the sedan. These units are large and re­spond to touch via hap­tic feed­back to con­firm oper­a­tion. The steer­ing wheel too is state-of-the-art with mul­ti­func­tion but­tons. But the fun fac­tor of these sedans sure is the rear seat. In the Audi, the rear seat is tuned to pam­per. It can be set in mul­ti­ple modes which in­cludes a lounger! We also loved the mas-

1. The dash looks rather smooth thanks to the re­duc­tion of knobs and but­tons. Two-tier dis­play sys­tem is easy to op­er­ate. 2. Most of the but­tons used are soft touch. 3. The tablet on the rear centre con­sole can be taken out of the hous­ing. It op­er­ates most func­tions in­clud­ing the in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem on board. 4. The rear seat ad­just­ment comes up on the door panel as well. 5. Space is top class and the seats comfy too. Loved the mas­sage op­tions

The Auto Pi­lot sys­tems on the A8 L is truly sci- fi. The sys­tem can be op­er­ated via con­trols on the dash (1) or one can use the ded­i­cated app on a smart­phone (2). 3. The big A8 L can not only park it­self into a spot, but can also ne­go­ti­ate and line it­self up be­fore go­ing in. This is ap­pli­ca­ble to both par­al­lel and ver­ti­cal park­ing. It was ac­tu­ally odd to see the steer­ing turn rapidly all by it­self while the car ne­go­ti­ates its way into a spot. What was also in­ter­est­ing is the fact that the A8 can also ne­go­ti­ate its way out of a park­ing lot, both par­al­lel and ver­ti­cal. While com­ing out of a par­al­lel park­ing zone, the car re­v­erses and even sets up the right steer­ing an­gle for the driver to just ac­cel­er­ate out of the spot. 5. The A8 L also has a unique func­tion which de­tects pedes­tri­ans or cy­clists ap­proach­ing and de­lays door open­ing and flashes lights to the driver adding to the warn­ing.

sage op­tion which is surely the best-in-class.

Mov­ing on to the rather techie bits which is the level three au­to­ma­tion tech. Ac­cord­ing to Audi the new gen A8 is ready to drive it­self thus al­low­ing the driver to lit­er­ally sit back and re­lax. En­gi­neers at Audi say that they have been able to fuse in a cer­tain de­gree of ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence which will al­low the car to take de­ci­sions. But apart from this there are more ‘auto pi­lot’ op­tions avail­able in the new A8 (see box). Adding to the AI, the A8 also gets adap­tive sus­pen­sion which has the abil­ity to jack up the big sedan in a jiffy thereby im­prov­ing ride qual­ity.

En­gine op­tions on the new A8 in­clude two 3.0litre turbo V6 en­gines. A diesel of­fer­ing 286bhp and a 340bhp petrol. Next is a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 churn­ing 460bhp then there is the flag­ship, a W12 with an out­put of 585bhp. We got time with the 3.0 V6 turbo-petrol and one thing we can vouch for is the fact that the mo­tor feels ul­tra­smooth. While on a cruise the new A8 L wafts along like a lux­ury yacht munch­ing in the miles ef­fort­lessly. The gear­box too shifts up and within no time you are sit­ting in top gear. But when needed it does have the abil­ity to of­fer bal­lis­tic per­for­mance and with the adap­tive sus­pen­sion stiff­en­ing things up, the A8 could very well be the prover­bial Bahn­stormer. We also must add here that the new all wheel steer on the A8 works won­ders to re­duce steer­ing move­ment. This is es­pe­cially the case when tight turns have to be ne­go­tatied.


The V6 petrol mo­tor is ul­tra smooth. But when needed there is am­ple power to storm through the high­way


Au­to­ma­tion, per­for­mance, space, light­ing tech­nol­ogy


Level 3 au­to­ma­tion tech still not op­er­a­tional due to laws


We have al­ways seen au­to­mated cars in movies. But the time is fast ap­proach­ing when it will no longer re­main sci­ence fiction. It is hap­pen­ing now and the first big rev­o­lu­tion could come in form of the new Audi A8 L. We ex­pe­ri­enced most of the func­tions and they worked flaw­lessly and the sys­tems even take into ac­count real world sce­nar­ios. Apart from that the A8 L con­tin­ues to please us with its features and es­pe­cially space within the cabin.

Rahul Ghosh rahul.ghosh@in­to­ @bul­let­com­pany

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