AUTO INDUSTRY NEWS

The new Audi A8

The new Audi A8 image

Text: / Photos: | posted September 03, 2007 00:00

The new driving experience

Audi is honing the character of its flagship: from September, the Audi A8 will exhibit notably enhanced qualities. An even more precise driving feel, superior ride and acoustic comfort and subtle refinements to the design and interior underline the exceptional position of the sportiest saloon in the luxury class. Just how well the A8 combines sporty, elegant design with superlative handling characteristics, supreme comfort and exemplary eco-friendliness is illustrated by the Audi A8 2.8 FSI: with CO2 emissions of 199 grams per kilometer it is the best by far in its class.

Impressive handling characteristics, pioneering technology and exclusive design and equipment the Audi A8 defines the notion of sports appeal in the luxury segment in a distinctive, masterly way. As the flagship of the brand, the A8 embodies the progressiveness of Audi: its extremely rigid lightweight aluminum body built according to the Audi Space Frame principle, the potent FSI and TDI powerplants with direct injection, quattro permanent four-wheel drive and the highly praised MMI operating system are only some of the elements employed by Audi to demonstrate its proverbial Vorsprung durch Technik in the luxury class.

Power, refinement and efficiency

Supreme power for superior road performance, spontaneous handling characteristics with exemplary efficiency the engine range, too, lives up to the standards of the sportiest saloon in the luxury class. Three six-cylinder and two V8 powerplants, three FSI petrol units and two TDI diesel versions provide a variety of options according to personal requirements and preferences. The high-end models are equipped with two top-class powerpacks the Audi A8 W12 features the twelve-cylinder as the epitome of luxury driving and the Audi S8 the fascinating, high-revving V10.

The best fuel consumption figures in its class

New in the model range is the Audi A8 2.8 FSI. With FSI petrol direct injection and the innovative Audi valvelift system AVS, this engine develops 210 bhp, producing its maximum torque of 280 Newton-meters across a wide speed range from 3,000 to 5,000 rpm. These ample reserves and thanks to the aluminum Space Frame body remarkably low vehicle weight of only 1690 kilograms ensure supreme acceleration in every situation. The A8 2.8 FSI sprints from 0 to 100 in 8.0 seconds, its top speed being 238 km/h.

Despite these convincing performance figures the A8 with the 2.8-liter FSI engine achieves top marks in its class in terms of fuel consumption: an average of only 8.3 liters per 100 kilometers, according to the standard test method. This corresponds to a CO2 figure of only 199 grams per kilometer.

Saloon for a unique driving experience

The entire model range offers a new driving experience: To this end, the A8 has been consistently developed in many areas and refined in terms of its unique blend of sportiness and elegance, superiority and sophistication. The rack-and-pinion steering with variable steering gear ratios and servotronic speed-dependent power assistance has been optimized and is more direct. Shock absorbers, bearings and adaptive air suspension settings have been modified. As a result, the A8 responds more spontaneously to steering inputs, tackles winding country roads with precision yet seemingly of its own volution maintains calm and supreme straight-line stability at high speeds.

Exceptional comfort in terms of suspension and acoustics

Similarly to the handling characteristics, ride comfort has also been improved: the standard adaptive air suspension is now more responsive to minor irregularities in the road surface. The continuously variable shock absorbers feature new seals to reduce friction, new valves optimize the characteristics and the entire hydraulics system has been retuned. The A8 even moves smoothly over transverse joints, with no vibration whatsoever. Together with the package designed to insulate rolling and road noise, the luxury saloon from Audi offers outstanding comfort.

The acoustics of the A8 have been enhanced and optimized throughout by using innovative materials after all, noise insulation at Audi is always viewed under the aspect of intelligent lightweight construction. The result: without any additional weight, the Audi A8 exhibits the lowest rolling, road and ambient noise level in its class. The Audi A8 is one of the quietest cars in the world an important element for relaxed comfort on long journeys in the saloon.

Comfort and safety with assistance systems

The Audi A8 supports the driver with state-of-the-art assistance systems. These provide comfort and convenience on long journeys, helping to keep the driver fit and alert and are therefore decisively important for safety, too. Audi side assist utilizes intelligent radar technology. The system is specially designed for lane-changing maneuvers, alerting the driver to hazardous situations: if another vehicle moves into the critical zone, yellow LEDs in the housing of the exterior mirror light up permanently. If, despite the warning, the driver of the A8 sets the indicator lever to change lanes, the LEDs become brighter and flash rapidly for about one second. It is virtually impossible to overlook this impulse because the human eye is highly sensitive to changes in contrast in the peripheral field of vision.

Audi lane assist alerts the driver if he/she inadvertently moves out of the lane. A small camera, located on the windscreen above the rear-view mirror, monitors the road in front of the vehicle; a high-performance computer identifies the lane markings. If the driver drifts on to one of these lines without indicating, Audi lane assist signalizes this accordingly by causing the steering wheel to vibrate.

Progressive design language, with specific refinements

The clear and progressive design language of the Audi A8 is characterized by its timeless quality. New touches were added to the exterior, for instance, but only in specific yet effective areas from the single-frame grille to new exterior mirrors with integrated indicator and new wheel designs through to new-look LED taillights. New paint finishes complete the range as do high-quality aluminum applications, new colors and inlays for the interior.

Continuing on the road to success

Hence the Audi A8 is clearly on the road to success. With over 100,000 vehicles sold so far the current-generation model including both top-of-the-range versions, the Audi A8 W12 and Audi S8, has already surpassed the sales total of its predecessor.

Year for year, it continues to achieve sales growth in an overall stagnating market segment. The reason: while the A8 constantly attracts customers of other brands with its clear personality, the product loyalty and repurchase rate among A8 drivers is at the same time higher than average.

When it comes to the trade press and its readers, the A8 also has much to celebrate. It regularly picks up awards as the best car in the luxury class from "auto, motor und sport" in Germany, for example, from "Auto Express" in the UK or "AutoWeek" in the US.