The A8 is Audi’s flagship massive luxurious sedan, which implies that it has to cleared the path for the remainder of the model with the very best consolation, expertise 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
Probably the most attention-grabbing options demonstrated have been the upcoming Audi AI piloted driving techniques. The posh sedan rolls off of the road prepared for the subsequent technology of autonomous driving with a formidable suite of sensors — ultrasonic, brief 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 Visitors Jam Pilot is a very self-driving, stage 3 autonomous system, so the driving force would not have to observe the street when lively. It solely works in low-speed site visitors (restricted to about 37 mph) and handles steering, acceleration and braking whereas the driving force checks e mail, reads a e-book or no matter. As soon as the circulate picks up, Visitors Jam Pilot notifies the driving 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’t 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 automobile at an open area or storage door, press the Audi AI button begin the system, get out of the automobile 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 might 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 robotically when parallel or perpendicular parking — in the present day’s techniques 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 certainly not be accessible 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 Visitors Jam Pilot will roll out someday afterwards.
Nevertheless, within the US, timing will depend upon the place autonomous driving legal guidelines find yourself. We not too long ago discovered that the AI Visitors Jam Pilot characteristic won’t be part of the A8’s bag of tips when it lands within the States in fall 2018. Quite a lot of authorized, infrastructural and shopper points are guilty for the holdup.
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 technology. As a replacement is MMI Contact Response, a twin capacitive touchscreen setup with haptic suggestions.
The higher display is the primary show. It incorporates a vertical financial institution of shortcuts alongside the left edge that shortly bounce to the 5 mostly used features. The bar could be personalized by dragging and dropping icons from the primary menu. Past every of those icons, the entire submenus have been redesigned for extra touch-friendly use. I will have to spend extra time to make certain, however the studying curve would not really feel too steep and the whole lot feels acquainted sufficient and effectively organized.
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay make return appearances this technology 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 format and performance relying on what’s taking place 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 area, relative to the previous contact floor, feels extra pure and allowed me to jot down complete phrases similar to “HOME” reasonably than ready for one letter at a time.
In the meantime, each shows provide haptic suggestions. Press a digital button to activate the ventilated seats and the display offers a little bit of a tactile click on that makes it type of really feel like urgent an actual button. And with the 2 screens, Audi was in a position to vastly 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 point to going all-in on shiny touchscreens, it is fingerprints. My testing occurred on a moist Spanish day and my barely sweaty mitts stored leaving prints of my numerous swipes, faucets and phrases. You will wish to preserve a microfiber wiping material within the glove field.
Additionally current are the head-up show projected onto the windshield and the Audi Digital Cockpit digital instrument cluster. Each of those techniques behave as they did earlier than and are simply nearly as good. I am excited that Digital Cockpit is commonplace on the 2019 A8; I am a fan of this technique’s ease of use and its capacity to place lots of low-distraction data, even full satellite tv for pc maps, within the driver’s sightline.
Lasers, OLED and NFC
This latest A8 has probably the most superior lighting of any earlier technology. It may be outfitted with each LED matrix headlamps and laser excessive beams… in Europe. Within the States, probably 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 alerts 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 alerts and pizzazz with a brand new animation sequence at automobile begin and shutdown that basically attracts consideration to the brand new related taillight design.
Throughout my take a look at drive, I wasn’t given a key to the A8. Quite, I used a smartphone to unlock and lock the doorways through close to subject communication (NFC). Simply faucet the paired smartphone to the deal with to unlock the doorways and place the cellphone in heart console — the place it can be wirelessly charged — to allow the starter. I did not even have to unlock the cellphone; simply faucet and go. After all, the A8 does have a standard key fob for these not able to belief their telephones.
Again inside, a large heart 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 strive to not let your youngsters lose it.
Delicate hybrid energy practice
OK, we have talked quite a bit about automobile tech, however what in regards to the automobile?
Within the US, the Audi A8 — particularly, the 2019 Audi A8 L 55 — will launch with a 3.0-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 commonplace Quattro all-wheel drive.
In Europe, the A8 additionally launches with a 3.0-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 4.0-liter V8 engine. A 6.0-liter W12 engine can even be accessible, however in all probability on on this aspect of the pond.
The V6 feels highly effective and accelerates strongly, however what stood out most was the quietness and smoothness of the ability practice. 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 posh purchaser, that is an excellent downside to have.
Apparently, this technology of A8 can be what Audi’s calling a light hybrid (MHEV) with a 48-volt starter-generator built-in into its energy practice 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 techniques for dealing with.
The Audi AI Energetic Suspension makes use of electromechanical motors at every nook, growing 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 preserve the large sedan flat whereas cornering. In Consolation mode, the journey could be extra compliant and clean. The Energetic Suspension enhances pneumatic journey peak changes that permit the sedan to sit down nearer to the bottom in dynamic mode, journey even decrease for higher freeway gasoline financial system and even elevate to clear tall obstructions.
The Energetic Suspension additionally comes into play as an lively security characteristic. If these 360-degree sensors detect an imminent aspect influence above about 15 mph, the suspension on the endangered aspect can immediately rise by 3.1 inches so the A8 is struck on its sill reasonably than the center of the door. This can be a stronger a part of the physique that may higher take in and unfold influence forces across the cabin and will increase security for passengers by minimizing the potential for intrusion.
The opposite massive dealing with trick is Dynamic All-Wheel Steering. This method mainly 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 other way to the fronts to scoot the rear finish round tighter bends, nearly decreasing the turning radius of the lengthy sedan. At excessive speeds, the rears flip in the identical path because the fronts, growing stability for lane modifications or evasive maneuvers.
Arriving fall 2018
The brand new Audi A8 begins at 90,600 euros in Europe (about $106,000 transformed), however US pricing for the 2019 Audi A8 L — we solely get the lengthy wheelbase within the US — will begin at $83,800 earlier than vacation spot.
Total, 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 automobile — 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 technology 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 Sequence refresh, and it is priced to fit properly between the 2.
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Up to date 5/14/2018: Evaluation has been up to date to mirror newly introduced pricing for 2019 Audi A8 and to incorporate information relating to delay of the AI Visitors Jam Pilot characteristic for the US mannequin.