The new Audi A8 has today made its world debut at the Audi Summit in Barcelona, and a plug-in model is coming.
The A8 L e-tron quattro with its plug-in hybrid drivetrain will feature a 3.0 TFSI engine and electric motor which will achieve 449PS of system power and 700 Nm of system torque. The lithium-ion battery stores enough power for about 31 miles of electric driving.
Audi Wireless Charging will be offered at a later date as an option. A pad in the garage floor transfers the power inductively to a receiver coil in the car.
The new A8 makes its debut with two extensively re-engineered V6 turbo engines: a 3.0 TDI and a 3.0 TFSI. The diesel develops 286PS, and the petrol version 340PS. An eight-cylinder TDI – a 4.0-litre with 435PS – will follow. The top engine version is the W12 with a displacement of 6.0 litres.
All five engines operate in conjunction with a belt alternator starter (BAS), which is the nerve centre of the 48-volt electrical system. This mild hybrid technology (MHEV, mild hybrid electric vehicle) enables the car to coast with the engine switched off, and to restart smoothly. It also has an extended start/stop function and an energy recovery output of up to 12 kW. The combined effect of these measures is to bring down the fuel consumption of the engines even further – by as much as 0.7 litres for every 100 kilometres (62 miles) covered in real world driving conditions.
The new A8 is the first production car to have been developed specially for highly automated driving. The Audi AI traffic jam pilot takes charge of driving in slow-moving traffic at up to 37mph on major roads where a physical barrier separates the two carriageways. The system is activated using the AI button on the centre console.
The traffic jam pilot manages starting, accelerating, steering and braking; the driver no longer needs to monitor the car permanently. They can take their hands off the steering wheel permanently and, depending on the national laws, focus on a different activity that is supported by the car, such as watching the on-board TV. As soon as the system reaches its limits, it calls on the driver to take back control of the task of driving.
The introduction of the Audi AI traffic jam pilot means the statutory framework will need to be clarified in each individual market, along with the country-specific definition of the application and testing of the system. In addition, a range of approval procedures and their corresponding timescales will need to be observed worldwide. Audi will therefore be adopting a step-by-step approach to the introduction of the traffic jam pilot in production models.
During piloted driving, a central driver assistance controller (zFAS) now permanently computes an image of the surroundings by merging the sensor data. As well as the radar sensors, a front camera and the ultrasonic sensors, Audi is the first car manufacturer also to use a laser scanner.
The Audi AI remote parking pilot and the Audi AI remote garage pilot autonomously steer the A8 into and out of a parking space or a garage, while the manoeuvre is monitored by the driver. The driver does not need to be sitting in the car – he or she can start the appropriate system from their smartphone using the new myAudi app. It broadcasts a live feed of the parking manoeuvre taken from the car’s 360-degree cameras on their handheld device for easy monitoring.
Dynamic all-wheel steering features the steering ratio for the front wheels varying as a function of speed; the rear wheels are turned in or against the direction of steering depending on the speed range. The sport differential actively distributes torque between the rear wheels, complementing the quattro permanent all-wheel drive that is standard in the new A8.
Audi AI active suspension is a fully active suspension system. Depending on the driver’s wishes and the driving situation, it is capable of raising or lowering each wheel separately with electric actuators. In combination with pre sense 360°, the car is rapidly raised if there is an impending lateral collision, reducing the potential consequences of the accident for all occupants.
The suspension system obtains the energy it requires from a 48-volt electrical circuit. The A8 is the first Audi model to use this more powerful network as its primary electrical system.
The new Audi A8 and A8 L will be appearing on UK roads in late 2017 following initial availability for ordering in September.