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
FAN OF THE NEW LIGHTING SYSTEMS, INCLUDING HD MATRIX LED HEADLIGHT SYSTEM WITH THE LASER LIGHT
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.
NEW ALL-WHEEL STEER FUNCTION ON THE A8 WORKS WONDERS TO REDUCE STEERING MOVEMENT AND EFFORT
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.