Audi Raises Automated-Driving Stakes With All-New A8

1997 Audi A8 Coupe- What Might Have Been

All-New Audi A8 Combines Sophistication With Sleek Style

The body of the new A8 makes use of more materials than any previous Audi model.

While the Audi A8 will be fitted with hardware required for Level 3 autonomy, the vehicle will remain at Level 2 until a legislative framework is approved in key markets.

As for power, A8s destined for the US market will likely come with one of four powertrain options. It's a very specific circumstance that many people deal with everyday and during that time, the A8 will drive for you and, I can't believe I'm saying this, you can text your friends while behind the wheel or even watch TV as noted by Audi.

The A8 will be available in standard and long-wheelbase versions and will be built at Audi's plant in Neckarsulm, Germany.

At the front, Audi has integrated a set of thin horizontal headlights with LED daytime running lights seamlessly incorporated within. Perhaps the most obvious change are the twin LED taillights which incorporate a light bar stretching the width of the rear.

Audi has adopted the minimalist cabin approach and this shows with the lack of buttons inside. Mercedes-Benz has also previewed a mild-hybrid system which will debut soon on the S-Class. Audi has made use of finger tip control for the A8's system which includes hearing an affirmation click right after any input has been made. The new-generation A8 is a lot muscular and sculpted compared to the outgoing model.

After the 2017 A8 hits stores, Audi has also planned to launch the hybrid e-tron model to usher in an eco-friendly vehicle to expand the A8 lineup. From 2018, Audi will gradually be taking piloted driving functions such as remote parking assist, remote garage assist and traffic jam assist into production. The camera at the front of the A8 detects bumps in the road surface before the wheels actually encounter them, and adjusts the car's active suspension in advance. Occupants can use voice commands to activate different features in the vehicle.

Also, the system will call on the driver to take back control if it gets confused and can not read the situation ahead. Utilising Audi's Piloted Drive software it will allow - where legislation permits - for fully autonomous driving of up to 37mph and Level 3 "continual automation" autonomy.

The A8 also offers a self-parking function, which drivers can operate using an app on their smartphones. We spoke about it before as well. Many automakers predict Level 4 cars will be available by early next decade. Yes, it happens so fast that you won't even notice anything, thanks to the 48V electrical system that powers the adaptive suspension system.

But it's only a matter of time before we see bankers and dentists watching Spongebob in traffic behind the wheel of their A8s.

The new-gen Audi A8 is continuously connected to the internet. This includes the V6 286PS 3.0-litre TDi and 340PS TFSi motors that Audi says have been "thoroughly revised".

Further down the line, diesel and petrol eight-cylinder engines will join the line-up: A 4.0-litre TFSI engine developing 460bhp and a 435bhp 4.0-litre TDI.

Audi's 6.0 litre W12 engine is also being promised. The power figures though are yet to be disclosed. The activation and deactivation of the rear differential isn't noticeable and Audi claims it helps reduce fuel consumption by up to 0.3-litres per 100km. A plug-in hybrid "e-tron" model will also join the range at a later date.

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