Audi selected Barcelona, Spain to host its first Summit that displays various things about its operations. During the summit, the public was captivated by the 4th generation A8 sedan. The new 2018 Audi A8 has taken Audi’s design language a notch further borrowing a host of cues from the Prologue concept. The model is however still recognizable as the A8. In addition to an array of exterior upgrades, the model’s AI (Artificial Intelligence) is what captured the attention of most fans. Following is a broad look at the new sedan.
2018 Audi A8 Exterior
The new exterior design is not revolutionary; rather it is an evolution of the current design. Most of the new changes are visible up front where thankfully; the automaker has done away with the boxy design. This has been achieved by using a wider but shorter grille while the engine hood is now smooth from one corner to the other. The headlights housings are also new and look sleeker; they house the new HD Matrix LED lights along with the automaker’s laser lighting. There is an additional pair of louvers just above the fog lights and an enlarged chrome trim along the lower fascia.
On the sides, the A8 features taller mirrors but the design of the rear stationary window remains unchanged. The roofline is also unchanged. Most of the changes on the flanks are from the beltline down. The bodylines have been revised; the upper bodyline is based on the hood-line which makes the sides look fresh while the lower bodyline has been enlarged and angled at the rear.
The rear also features significant changes including new taillights and a thicker chrome trim that connects the rear corners. In place of the taillights is an extensive OLED light bar which extends the whole rear width. The clusters have a 3D look which adds a strong presence to the model. The clusters also have a matrix layout at the corners which make the model look really attractive, particularly at night. The chrome strip on the lower fascia has been replaced with a recessed area that is hooked up with reflector units. The exhaust tips have also been redesigned in a way that one can mistake them for trim elements.
Unlike the exterior, the cabin is on another level; an evolution over the outgoing model’s cabin. The button panels are long gone; in their place is a new 10.1-inch touch-screen display, same size as the infotainment display on the center stack. The steering wheel is however new and features two spokes. The dashboard looks flatter and features a thin air vent.
The seats feature a new design and the door panels have also been upgraded. As you would expect Audi to do, the seats are perforated to offer ventilation and heating. I understand one can even opt for a custom relaxation seat that comes with a footrest and offers 4 adjustment options for premium comfort. The rear passengers have their own remote controls to manage reading lights, ambient lighting as well as the seat massage functions. There are also features that enable rear passengers to make private phone calls.
As for infotainment, there is a system that enables users to feed inputs through a touchpad mounted at the front or via voice control. There is also an advanced navigation system that works in sync with the model’s LTE internet connection. European-bound models feature a 3D rendering of major European cities.
The most interesting news, however, is that in addition to an extensive range of autonomous features, the A8 comes with advanced AI features including a traffic jam pilot that helps maneuver the vehicle in slow-moving traffic up to a speed of 37 mph. There is also an AI remote parking feature that enables the vehicle to park itself even when the driver is outside. The driver can also monitor the car when in parking via a Smartphone app thanks to a 360-degree camera hidden somewhere on the body.
Engine and performance
At the onset, the Audi A8 will be powered by two gasoline engines in the U.S.A. The base 3.0T trim will be powered by a 3.0 L, supercharged V-6 that produces 333 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. On the other hand, the more powerful 4.0T Sport trim will be powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0 L, mill good for 450 hp and 444 lb-ft of torque. The V6 is EPA rated at 19 mpg city and 29 mpg on highway drives while the V-8 EPA ratings are yet to be released.
The 4.0 L, V-8 is tuned further on the performance-oriented S8 trim where the mill produces a whopping 605 hp and 517 lb-ft of torque (increases to 553 lb-ft of torque with over boost). This is an amazing amount of power for a sedan (the model is set to embarrass a number of sports cars on the roads). EPA ratings for this iteration of the V-8 are also yet to be released. With this power, the S8 takes only 3.7 seconds to hit 60 mph from a stationary position.
In other markets, the V-6 and V-8 will have diesel variants which produce slightly less power than their gasoline counterparts. Shortly after its sales debut, the automaker will release a hybrid version of the model. This version will use the V-6 mill coupled with an electric motor. The setup will produce 443 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque and will have an electric-only range of 30 miles. Later on, Audi will also release the W12 version.
Price and release date
The 2018 Audi A8 sales commence this fall in Europe and shortly later in the states. In the U.S.A., the base 3.0T trim will have an MSRP of $83,500 while the 4.0T trim will cost more at $93,000. The S8 will fetch $117,000. Adding the optional Executive package will see you spend much more.