New Audi A8 debuts in Barcelona

By CARSIFU | 11 July 2017

BARCELONA: The new fourth-generation Audi A8 (D5) flagship model makes its world debut at the Audi Summit in Barcelona with a new design language, an innovative touchscreen operating concept and a systematically electrified drive.

The new Audi A8 and A8 L are being built at the Neckarsulm site and will hit the German market in the third quarter of 2017 with prices starting at 90,600 euros (RM440,000) while the A8 L costs 94,100 euros (RM460,000).

The new A8 has been has been comprehensively re-engineered to take the fight to the S-Class and 7 Series.

It will come featuring a new hybrid drivetrain that offers an electric-only range of up to 50km along with advanced road-scanning active suspension.

Among other optional equipment is the Bavarian carmaker's automated driving system - Traffic Jam Pilot, which relies on cameras, radar, ultrasonic sensors and a laser scanner; which helps to autonomously start, accelerate, brake and steer the car.

With a wheelbase of 2,998mm, the new A8's dimensions come measuring in at 5,172mm-long (+37mm), 2,130mm-wide and 1,473mm-tall (+13mm).

The A8 L has a longer wheelbase at 5,302mm (+130mm) and is also taller at 1,478mm (+4mm).

There's more materials used compared to its predecessor, with 58% of the structure made of aluminium, while the rest is a combination of carbion fibre, magnesium and high-strength steel.

Among the list of redesigned items are the dashboard, multi-function steering wheel and touchscreen controls.

Weight savings have been applied to the new front seats that are now 4kg lighter than before, while fitting in a newly revised Multi-media interface (MMI) with a pair of high definition graphics on a 10.1-inch screen and a unique curved 8.6-inch screen.

As for power delivery, there will be two engines avaialble - a turbocharged V6 3.0 TFSI petrol engine with 335bhp and a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel with 264bhp - both will utilise an eight-speed automatic gearbox and the highly-acclaimed quattro all-wheel drive system with an optional sport differential.

As standard, it will also come equipped with a 48V electrical system.

Early next year, the German carmaker will look to introduce a 4.0-litre TDI V8 turbo diesel with 429bhp as well as 6.0-litre turbocharged W12 petrol engine with 585bhp.

Looking to the future, a L e-tron variant is apparently also in the books, combining a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 petrol engine with an electric motor for a combined output of 443bhp, which should provide a range of 50km in pure electric mode.

Audi also plans to offer the new model with an optional wireless recharging system for its 14.1kWh lithium-ion battery located in the boot's floor, or simply allow it to be charged charged using a standard plug-in cable at either 3.6kW or 7.2kW - An 80% charge is achievable within two hours at 7.2kW.

The suspension is predominantly made out of aluminium - double wishbones at the front while the rear sports a five-link set-up and coupled to a set of air springs as standard which provides for four different ride heights.

Another option would be to obtain the active suspension system that relies on cameras mounted within the windscreen - scanning the road 18 times per second while altering the damping at the same time.

An optional all-wheel steering system will be available once the new A8 goes on sale.

Reuters, meanwhile, reported that the technology-packed A8 is aimed at allowing Audi to overtake rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW as it struggles to overcome its biggest-ever corporate crisis.

Last week, Munich prosecutors arrested an Audi employee in connection with "dieselgate", the latest setback to Volkswagen's luxury car arm and main profit driver, after the German government a month earlier had accused Audi of cheating on emissions tests.

On Tuesday,  Audi shifted the focus back to its products with its top management hosting 2,000 guests in Barcelona to unveil the new A8, whose Level-3 self-driving technology enables the car to completely control driving at up to 60kph, beating the Mercedes S-Class and the BMW 7-Series.

Marc Lichte, Head of Design, AUDI AG
Marc Lichte, Head of Design, AUDI AG
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