New Audi A8 makes world de­but

Bray People - - MOTORING -

THE new Audi A8 re­cently made its world de­but at the Audi Sum­mit in Barcelona as the pre­mium car­maker’s flag­ship model and the fu­ture of lux­ury class.

In its fourth gen­er­a­tion, the Audi A8 em­bod­ies the bench­mark for Vor­sprung durch Tech­nik, with a con­tem­po­rary new de­sign, in­no­va­tive touch­screen op­er­at­ing con­cept and a sys­tem­at­i­cally elec­tri­fied drive. The Audi A8 is also the first pro­duc­tion au­to­mo­bile in the world to have been de­vel­oped for highly au­to­mated driv­ing. From 2018, Audi will grad­u­ally be tak­ing pi­loted driv­ing func­tions, such as park­ing pilot, garage pilot and traf­fic jam pilot into pro­duc­tion.

Stylis­ti­cally, Audi A8 sig­nals the dawn­ing of a new de­sign era for the en­tire brand. The front end with the wide, up­right Sin­gle­frame grille and the fluid, mus­cu­lar body sym­bol­ise a sporty el­e­gance and so­phis­ti­cated sta­tus. The A8 de­sign rep­re­sents the core at­tributes for which the Audi brand is renowned world­wide - sports ap­peal, light­weight con­struc­tion and qu­at­tro per­ma­nent all-wheel drive. Mus­cu­lar shapes above the wheel arches give visual ex­pres­sion to the qu­at­tro drive. The flag­ship model pro­claims its iden­tity both day and night, draw­ing on both the strik­ing HD Ma­trix LED head­lights with Audi laser light­ing, and the LED light strip com­bined with OLED tech­nol­ogy rear lights. These pro­duce unique light an­i­ma­tions as the driver ap­proaches and leaves the car.

Spa­cious lux­ury rep­re­sents the defin­ing in­te­rior de­sign fea­ture of the new Audi A8. Com­pared to its pre­de­ces­sor, the A8 has grown sub­stan­tially in length in both body ver­sions. The range of equip­ment and ma­te­ri­als is ex­ten­sive, with every de­tail ra­di­at­ing su­perla­tive be­spoke qual­ity.

Audi car­ries its high qual­ity stan­dards into the dig­i­tal age with a rad­i­cally new op­er­at­ing con­cept.

At its cen­tre is a 10.1-inch touch­screen dis­play which, when off, blends al­most in­vis­i­bly into the high-gloss black sur­round thanks to its black-panel look. The user in­ter­face ap­pears as soon as the car is opened. The driver con­trols the In­fo­tain­ment sys­tem with fin­ger­tip con­trol on the large dis­play.

They can use a se­cond touch­screen dis­play on the cen­tre tun­nel con­sole to ac­cess the air con­di­tion­ing and com­fort func­tions as well as mak­ing text in­puts. A com­bi­na­tion of acous­tic and tac­tile feed­back along with the use of com­mon touch ges­tures such as swip­ing makes the new MMI touch re­sponse es­pe­cially safe, in­tu­itive and quick to use. The A8 can also en­gage in in­tel­li­gent con­ver­sa­tion. The driver can ac­ti­vate an ar­ray of func­tions in the au­to­mo­bile us­ing a new, nat­u­ral form of voice con­trol. In­for­ma­tion on des­ti­na­tions and me­dia is ei­ther avail­able on board or is de­liv­ered from the cloud at LTE speed.

The new Audi A8 is the first pro­duc­tion au­to­mo­bile to have been de­vel­oped spe­cially for highly au­to­mated driv­ing. The Audi AI traf­fic jam pilot takes charge of driv­ing in slow-mov­ing traf­fic at up to 60 km/h on mo­tor­ways where a phys­i­cal bar­rier sep­a­rates the two car­riage­ways. The sys­tem is ac­ti­vated us­ing the AI but­ton on the cen­tre con­sole. The traf­fic jam pilot man­ages start­ing, ac­cel­er­at­ing, steer­ing and brak­ing. The driver no longer needs to mon­i­tor the car per­ma­nently. The sys­tem al­lows the driver to take their hands off the steer­ing wheel tem­po­rar­ily and sub­ject to na­tional laws fo­cus on a drif­fer­ent ac­tiv­ity sup­ported by the car. As soon as the sys­tem reaches its lim­its, it calls on the driver to take back con­trol of the task of driv­ing.

The new Audi A8 will launch in the Irish mar­ket with two ex­ten­sively reengi­neered V6 turbo en­gines: a 3.0 TDI and a 3.0 TFSI. The diesel ver­sion out­puts 286 bhp, and the petrol ver­sion 340 bhp.

An eight-cylin­der ver­sion – a 4.0 TDI with 435 hp will fol-

low slightly later. The ex­clu­sive top engine ver­sion is the W12 with a dis­place­ment of 6.0 litres .

All engine vari­ants op­er­ate in con­junc­tion with a belt al­ter­na­tor starter (BAS), which is the nerve cen­tre of the 48-volt elec­tri­cal sys­tem. The mild hy­brid tech­nol­ogy (MHEV, mild hy­brid elec­tric ve­hi­cle) en­ables the car to coast with the engine switched off, and to restart smoothly. Fur­ther­more, an ex­tended start/stop func­tion and an en­ergy re­cov­ery out­put of up to 12Kw al­lows for even greater fuel con­sump­tion ef­fi­cien­cies – by as much as 0.7 litres per 100 kilo­me­ters in av­er­age driv­ing con­di­tions. The Audi A8 Long wheel­base e-tron qu­at­tro with its pow­er­ful plug-in hy­brid drive will fol­low at a later date. The Audi A8 is due to launch in the Irish mar­ket later this year with pric­ing to be an­nounced at a later date.

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