The A8 is Audi’s flagship giant luxurious sedan, which signifies that it has to paved the way for the remainder of the model with the very best consolation, know-how and facilities that the German automaker has to supply. That is why the 2019 Audi A8 is so thrilling; it guarantees to be the most recent of the brand new, the very best of the very best.
I not too long ago hit the street in one of many earliest examples of the 2019 Audi A8 55 and, whereas I am nonetheless getting used to the automaker’s new naming conference, I used to be in a position to put the sedan’s promise to the take a look at. And it delivered.
Audi AI, autonomy-ready
Essentially the most attention-grabbing options demonstrated have been the upcoming Audi AI piloted driving programs. The posh sedan rolls off of the road prepared for the following era of autonomous driving with a formidable suite of sensors — ultrasonic, quick and long-range radar, cameras, even a laser scanner — that grant the A8 a fairly full view of its world and allow self-driving options.
Audi AI Site visitors Jam Pilot is a very self-driving, degree three autonomous system, so the motive force would not have to observe the street when energetic. It solely works in low-speed site visitors (restricted to about 37 mph) and handles steering, acceleration and braking whereas the motive force checks e mail, reads a guide or no matter. As soon as the circulate picks up, Site visitors Jam Pilot notifies the motive force to retake management of the wheel. I requested if Audi has plans for a hands-off highway-speed autonomous drive system like Cadillac’s Tremendous Cruise and was met with a really well mannered, “We’re engaged on it, however can not decide to a timeline.”
There’s additionally Audi AI Distant Storage Pilot, a parking help system that strikes the A8 into tight parking areas through distant management. Simply level the automotive at an open house or storage door, press the Audi AI button begin the system, get out of the automotive and, on a smartphone, maintain a button to remotely transfer the A8 into the spot. It would not even should be completely lined up and may steer itself into place.
Additionally demonstrated was an Audi AI enhanced model of the Parking Pilot system that may steer, speed up and brake and even shift gears routinely when parallel or perpendicular parking — at present’s programs solely deal with the steering half.
The catch is that whereas the 2019 A8 will launch with the improved sensor package deal wanted for these autonomous aids, the Audi AI options themselves will most probably not be obtainable on the fall 2018 launch of the sedan. The timeline is a bit firmer in Europe, the place the parking help options ought to be a part of the characteristic set in 2019 and the Site visitors Jam Pilot will roll out someday afterwards. Nevertheless, within the US, timing will rely on the place autonomous driving legal guidelines find yourself.
New MMI Contact infotainment
One of many first issues astute Audi-philes will discover when settling behind the wheel is that that spherical MMI management knob has disappeared for this era. Instead is MMI Contact Response, a twin capacitive touchscreen setup with haptic suggestions.
The higher display is the principle show. It contains a vertical financial institution of shortcuts alongside the left edge that rapidly leap to the 5 mostly used capabilities. The bar will be personalized by dragging and dropping icons from the principle menu. Past every of those icons, the entire submenus have been redesigned for extra touch-friendly use. I will must spend extra time to make certain, however the studying curve would not really feel too steep and all the things feels acquainted sufficient and nicely organized.
The brand new A8 drops most of its bodily infotainment controls in favor of a dual-screen MMI Contact Response system. Watch these fingerprints, although.
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay make return appearances this era and are simpler and extra pure to make use of with contact than they have been with the management knob.
The brand new decrease display modifications structure and performance relying on what’s occurring upstairs. Normally, it is residence to local weather and seat temperature controls, however seek for a vacation spot and the decrease display modifications to a writing pad the place I might merely write my vacation spot. The additional house, relative to the outdated contact floor, feels extra pure and allowed me to jot down complete phrases akin to “HOME” slightly than ready for one letter at a time.
In the meantime, each shows supply haptic suggestions. Press a digital button to activate the ventilated seats and the display provides a little bit of a tactile click on that makes it form of really feel like urgent an actual button. And with the 2 screens, Audi was in a position to drastically scale back the variety of bodily buttons on the console; I solely counted six or seven left. Even the vent controls are neat little capacitive surfaces with haptic suggestions.
If there’s one weak spot to going all-in on shiny touchscreens, it is fingerprints. My testing passed off on a damp Spanish day and my barely sweaty mitts saved leaving prints of my varied swipes, faucets and phrases. You will wish to maintain a microfiber wiping material within the glove field.
Audi’s Digital Cockpit digital instrument cluster is again and nonetheless appears incredible.
Additionally current are the head-up show projected onto the windshield and the Audi Digital Cockpit digital instrument cluster. Each of those programs behave as they did earlier than and are simply pretty much as good. I am excited that Digital Cockpit is customary on the 2019 A8; I am a fan of this technique’s ease of use and its capacity to place a variety of low-distraction data, even full satellite tv for pc maps, within the driver’s sightline.
Lasers, OLED and NFC
This latest A8 has essentially the most superior lighting of any earlier era. It may be outfitted with each LED matrix headlamps and laser excessive beams… in Europe. Within the States, essentially the most superior headlight tech is not but street-legal. Fortunately, the usual full-LED headlamps ought to nonetheless look fairly dope and have sequential flip indicators and a brand new daytime mild signature.
Out again, an optionally available OLED illumination improve provides a three-dimensional look to the taillights whereas LED mild bars add security with sequential flip indicators and pizzazz with a brand new animation sequence at car begin and shutdown that actually attracts consideration to the brand new linked taillight design.
Throughout my take a look at drive, I wasn’t given a key to the A8. Somewhat, I used a smartphone to unlock and lock the doorways through close to area communication (NFC). Simply faucet the paired smartphone to the deal with to unlock the doorways and place the cellphone in middle console — the place it will also be wirelessly charged — to allow the starter. I did not even must unlock the cellphone; simply faucet and go. In fact, the A8 does have a standard key fob for these not able to belief their telephones.
Again inside, a large middle console folds down between the rear seats to disclose a contact show the place passengers can management their local weather and infotainment or, if outfitted, optionally available therapeutic massage seats and rear-seat leisure. The show’s coolest trick is that it may be popped out and used wirelessly, so passengers can use it with out stretching. Simply attempt to not let your youngsters lose it.
Delicate hybrid energy prepare
Okay, we have talked loads about automotive tech, however what concerning the automotive?
Within the US, the Audi A8 — particularly, the 2019 Audi A8 L 55 — will launch with a three.Zero-liter, turbocharged gasoline engine that makes 340 horsepower and 370 pound-feet of torque. The motor is mated to an eight-speed automated transmission and customary Quattro all-wheel drive.
In Europe, the A8 additionally launches with a three.Zero-liter diesel V6 possibility. And, post-launch, we’ll see a plug-in hybrid etron model of the V6 engine be a part of the ranks together with a four.Zero-liter V8 engine. A 6.Zero-liter W12 engine will even be obtainable, however most likely on on this facet of the pond.
I needed to pop the hood to test there truly was an engine beneath there. It is that quiet and that clean!
The V6 feels highly effective and accelerates strongly, however what stood out most was the quietness and smoothness of the ability prepare. Even when accelerating exhausting for passing or climbing uphill, the V6 and eight-speed combo was as clean as eggs and as quiet as a church mouse. It is virtually too quiet, barely registering greater than a hum even in its most dynamic mode at full throttle. For the luxurious purchaser, that is an excellent drawback to have.
Apparently, this era of A8 can be what Audi’s calling a light hybrid (MHEV) with a 48-volt starter-generator built-in into its energy prepare and a small 10Ah lithium-ion battery. The MHEV system captures vitality through regenerative braking and makes use of it to energy a complicated stop-start system that is extra aggressive about shutting down the combustion engine whereas idling or coasting and extra easily restarts the engine. I virtually did not discover it in motion; that is how clean it’s. The 48-volt system additionally powers the accent programs for dealing with.
The Audi AI Lively Suspension makes use of electromechanical motors at every nook, rising or reducing the load on every wheel instantaneously to create the specified dealing with traits. Within the Dynamic setting, for instance, physique roll and dive are countered by the actuators to assist maintain the large sedan flat whereas cornering. In Consolation mode, the experience will be extra compliant and clean. The Lively Suspension enhances pneumatic experience peak changes that enable the sedan to take a seat nearer to the bottom in dynamic mode, experience even decrease for higher freeway gasoline financial system and even elevate to clear tall obstructions.
The A8’s Audi AI suspension improves dealing with, consolation and security with its mixture of pneumatic and electromechanical actuators.
The Lively Suspension additionally comes into play as an energetic security characteristic. If these 360-degree sensors detect an imminent facet affect above about 15 mph, the suspension on the endangered facet can immediately rise by three.1 inches so the A8 is struck on its sill slightly than the center of the door. It is a stronger a part of the physique that may higher take up and unfold affect forces across the cabin and will increase security for passengers by minimizing the opportunity of intrusion.
The opposite huge dealing with trick is Dynamic All-Wheel Steering. This method principally provides steering to the rear axle (as much as 5 levels) in sure conditions. At low velocity and excessive steering angles, the rear wheels flip the wrong way to the fronts to scoot the rear finish round tighter bends, just about decreasing the turning radius of the lengthy sedan. At excessive speeds, the rears flip in the identical route because the fronts, rising stability for lane modifications or evasive maneuvers.
Arriving fall 2018
The brand new Audi A8 begins at 90,600 euro in Europe (about $106,000 transformed), however U.S. pricing for the 2019 Audi A8 L — we solely get the lengthy wheelbase within the US — has not been introduced or finalized.
The 2019 Audi A8 L arrives within the US in late 2018. Anticipate the autonomous options to hitch its bag of tips someday in 2019.
General, the brand new A8 makes a robust first impression with clean and quiet efficiency and a tech-centric method to luxurious that I actually loved. Between the brand new dashboard tech and the promise of Audi AI autonomous options, the A8 is a top-tier tech automotive — that the tech is simple to make use of and perceive is even higher. Plus, the cabin really feel extra spacious and cozy than I keep in mind the earlier era being.
As a complete package deal, the brand new Audi A8 L feels extra aggressive than ever with the likes of the brand new Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW’s upcoming 7 Collection refresh.
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