The next-generation Audi A8 is the world’s first production Level 3 autonomous vehicle. Yet, there’s so much more to it
Everyone’s doing adaptive cruise control and autonomous braking — that’s so 2009. However, when you can get your hands off the wheel, let your car decide the best route, and get your feet massaged (in the back seat, of course) you know you’re in something that’s next level.
The all-new D5-generation A8 raises the bar in Ingolstadt for styling and flamboyance. More pronounced lines, sharper creases, and bolder elements all make the new luxury limousine a serious contender in the ever-evolving premium limo arena.
With a range of updated powertrains, a re-imagined interior, comfort and convenience features like never before, and even piloted drive assist, the new A8 needs more than a few paragraphs to let you know what it’s about. You may read more about it on page 180 of this very issue.
For starters, the headlamps are HD Matrix LED units, consisting of 138 individual diodes, 32 of which are for the high-beam together with one high-performance laser unit that gets activated post 70 km/h to double beam range. The OLED tail-lamps, which use 135 individual diodes, look striking while producing a much sharper light signature.
Inside is where the benefits of the longer body truly lie. The lounge-like design is complemented by an optional relaxation seat, which adopts the seat behind the front passenger seat, which holds the controls, and has four adjustments and a foot-rest, which also incorporates a warming and massage function. Rear occupants also get HD Matrix reading lights and an OLED - display remote control for various functions.
Fingertip response is what defines the nature of the controls. A large 10.1-inch touchscreen folds out and accompanies a second touchscreen that displays, on the centre console, controls for the climate, comfort features, and even text inputs. A self-learning navigation system is also present, memorising commonly used routes. Voice control, car-to-X services, traffic sign and hazard recognition, among other now standard advanced safety features, are all on the list.
Powertrain choices include diesel, petrol, and, in the near future, hybrid as well. All of them use a 48-volt electrical system with a belt alternator starter. This not only means more advanced electronics and support systems, such as the Dynamic All-wheel Steering and Electronic Suspension Platform, but more fuel saving, with the car being able to coast without the engine in operation.