Audi claims the new A8 to be its most advanced and sophisticated ever. It really needs to be if it wants to fight the amazing BMW 7 Series and the recently upgraded Mercedes-Benz S-Class (yet to be launched in India). The model is important as the technological advances will be filtered down to other cars in the company’s lineup in the future. The A8 comes with class leading autonomous driving wizardry, lightweight architecture and phenomenal efficiency. But how does it all come together?
For geeks – The focus is not on performance right now and Audi plans to underpin Panamera’s VS in the future, but more on that later. The all-new aluminium architecture incorporates lightweight materials to reduce excess fat. It gets an adaptive chassis, allowing the car to alter its suspension settings as per the road surface. It also helps in reducing body roll when hard cornering and adjusts pitch during heavy braking and acceleration. Considering the new car is longer than the earlier iteration by 37mm (both, short and long wheelbase variants), the new chassis will clearly help the luxury sedan drive like a smaller sized car.
The fourth generation A8 range will also come with ‘mild hybrid’ tech and utilising a 48-volt circuit, generating electric power in addition to the ICE. This will equate to linear and refined power delivery along with improved fuel efficiency. The lithium-ion battery is stored in the boot and allows you to coast for up to 40 seconds also offering power surge in city conditions, when pulling away from standstill. Audi claims that about 0.7-litre of fuel will be saved per 100km, depending on the driving style and conditions. Sure, the figure does not sound impressive, but technology is the game in this segment. And the good news is that the A8 comes with rear-wheel steering and Audi claims that the car is as agile as the A4. The company is also focusing on making it more enthusiast friendly as compared to the other car.
The A8 debuted in the movie Spiderman Homecoming, where the scene focused on autonomous driving. Audi’s Piloted Drive software was also showcased at the launch which allows for full auto pilot for speeds up to 60kmph. The driver gets a buffer time of eight to ten seconds to take complete control. On the inside too, the panels are now sleeker with minimal analogue components. The interior is slightly inspired by the Panamera, replete with touchscreen controls for the rear passengers as well. The dashboard is flanked by a centrally mounted 10.5-inch touchscreen combined with another 8.6-inch display for the climate control functions. The four-spoke steering wheel looks unique and comes with lots of controls.
Let’s talk performance – The headliner will be a 3-litre V6 TDI unit, developing 282bhp. In terms of the cleaner fuel, the A8 will get a 335bhp V6 twin-turbo 3-litre unit with turbocharger. In the European market, Audi has also added a 4-litre V8 turbodiesel unit that makes a whopping 429bhp! There will also be the A8 Le-tron, combining both electric and internal combustion power and obviously, the W12 will follow up in the future, at some point. But the mainstay will be driver friendly S8 and S8 Plus variants, which will come with Porsche developed twin-turbocharged V8 which powers the Panamera as well as the Bentley Continental GT.
The engine churns out 542bhp and 770Nm of torque, which helps the Panamera propel to 100kmph in just 3.8 seconds. The top speed is rated at 306kmph. Obviously, Porsche is expected to slightly detune the engine to around 530bhp as the A8 could eat into the Panamera’s sales. The S8 will still be quick and 100kmph should be doable in around 4 seconds with a top speed of 298kmph. Details will be revealed once the A8 makes its debut at the Frankfurt motor show in September. Should you wait for it or get the 7 Series? We suggest you wait and watch.