Audi Raises Automated-Driving Stakes With All-New A8

Audi A8L global launch

The automaker premieres the second-generation Audi Cockpit with a new version of the digital instrument cluster that presents info in full HD resolution of 1,920 x 720 pixels. And it's safe to say that, having been on sale since 2010, the old A8 was beginning to look like a grandfather clock next to the more modern Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series. It offers the same 48V electrical system used in the SQ7.

This new feature of the Audi A8 will ensure that there are no surprise jolts or vibrations.

Unlike other systems such as Nissan's ProPilot, Audi's autonomous driving system will be capable of letting the driver permanently take his/her hands off the steering wheel and do other things like watching the onboard TV. One part of this tech is called traffic jam pilot, and with it the A8 can start, accelerate, steer and brake on major roads where a physical barrier separates the two carriageways at speeds of up to 37mph.

The new system, which is planned for other future Audi models, manages the starting, accelerating, braking and steering functions.

Audi's headlong push into Level 3 autonomy comes as many in the industry are fretting over "the handoff" - that moment when semi-autonomous systems turn driving back over to the human in the front seat.

The new A8, which is codenamed D5 within Audi, follows an evolutionary design path. In a press release early this morning, the details of their new flagship are outlined. Both are 6mm longer than those of the old A8, at 2998mm and 3128mm. "The new A8 will polish the brand's image and line-up at a critical time".

As before, the A8 can also be specified with an extended wheelbase of 13cm, wherein it's badged as the A8L.

There are some big changes introduced by the cabin of the new A8. The rear is also extremely distinctive from rest of the Audi range. This means that even before the Audi gets to a bump, the preview function that's been developed by the German manufacturer transmits the right amount of travel to the actuators which actively control the suspension.

With rear wheel steering said to make the new A8 as agile and as nimble as a current A4, Audi is going all out to make its new limo as good to drive as it is to be driven in. Audi claims the camera gauges the condition of the upcoming road an exceptionally 18 times a second. Buyers in the United Kingdom will have opportunity to go with a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine producing 335 horsepower. Rear seat passengers can also get an optional foot massager that's built into the front seatbacks. Eventually, a new 6.0-litre W12 with 585bhp will join the party. The diesel version produces 210kW, while the petrol develops 250kW. It will develop around 542bhp, 22bhp more than the outgoing model. It's the existing 4.0 TFSI engine from the Porsche Panamera Turbo with the dials turned to 542bhp; 22bhp more than the old S8's. The e-tron can optionally be charged wirelessly.

Also due soon after launch will be a plug-in hybrid which mixes a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 petrol engine with a 30-mile electric motor to offer a combined output of 443bhp. The lithium ion battery will hold enough power for 31 miles of pure electric driving. The new infotainment system uses the latest generation processor from NVIDIA, and Audi is betting this would greatly enhance the user interface. Through the artificial intelligence system, the vehicle will take note of the driver's preferences, habits, and regular routes.

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