As the successor to the Audi V8, the A8 has been the brand’s leading edge in the luxury sedan segment of Audi’s portfolio since 1994. The Audi A8 is a symbol of and a trailblazer for the status and prestige of the brand. The fourth generation of the luxury sedan, which Audi introduced in 2017, raised it to a new level with respect to power, look, and equipment. As an initial series model, the A8 revealed the future design language upon its launch and consequently it is essentially the progressive face of the brand to the present day. The sharpened design coupled with established technologies and outstanding comfort in the back seats defines Audi’s premium conception in this segment. The sedan thereby represents the symbiosis of masterful comfort and sporty handling and it, therefore, covers the full breadth of driving experience. With precision in all details and many intelligent functions, the new A8 is a high-value technology pioneer in user-centred and confident mobility.
Even more prestige and authority: the exterior design
The Audi A8 is a sedan that represents status and exudes authority – now that it has been reworked, its exterior is even more representative, confident, and athletic. The base of the Singleframe grill is now wider and chrome angles that increase in size from bottom to top adorn its grid. The side air intakes are more upright and just as freshly styled as the headlights, whose lower edge on the outside creates a distinctive contour. To summarize, the newly designed and precisely orchestrated design elements in the front area significantly increase the A8’s presence and authority and sharpen the profile of the brand’s top model.
From a side view, the luxury sedan’s progressive character is particularly eye-catching. The roof dome runs flat. Stretched lines in the body of the car emphasize its length, wide wheel arches hint at the standard quattro drive system. In all model variants, the rocker panel area has a concave shape and ends in a blade pointing toward the road. The rear is dominated by wide chrome clasps, a customizable taillight signature with digital OLEDs, and a continuous, segmented light strip. The diffusor insert in the bumper is delicately accentuated and redesigned with horizontal bars. The Audi S82 presents four flow-optimized pipes under a circumferential contour – typical of the Audi S model. They are one of its characteristic sporty design details.
Beyond the basic exterior, Audi is offering its customers the chrome exterior package and, for the first time in the A8, the new S line exterior package. The latter gives the front a dynamic touch and differentiates even more from the basic model: distinctive blades in the area near the side air intakes complementing the front view – in a very similar fashion to the S83. The look is even more defined with the additional black appearance package. The colour swatch for the A8 includes eleven colours, among them the new metallic district green, firmament blue, Manhattan grey, and ultra blue. Also new to the Audi A8 are five matte finishes – Daytona Gray, Floret Silver, District Green, Terra Gray, and Glacier White. In the Audi exclusive program, the car is painted in the customer’s chosen colour.
5.19 meter (17 ft.) body
The product enhancements only minimally change the dimensions of the Audi flagship in the luxury sedan segment. The A8 has a wheelbase of 3.00 meters (9.8 ft.), length of 5.19 meters (17 ft.), width of 1.95 meters (6.4 ft.), and height of 1.47 meters (4.8 ft.). The body of the A8 follows the same principle as the Audi Space Frame (ASF): it is made up of 58 percent aluminium parts. The passenger compartment consists of hot-formed steel components supplemented with an ultra-high-strength, extremely torsionally rigid rear panel made of a carbon-fibre reinforced polymer. Magnesium strut-tower bars complete the lightweight construction concept. The body’s commanding rigidity lays the foundation for precise handling, excellent comfort, and acoustic tranquillity onboard.
Digital Matrix LED headlights and OLED rear lights
Comparable with video projectors, the Digital Matrix LED headlights use DMD (digital micromirror device) technology. Each headlight has approximately 1.3 million micromirrors that break down the light into tiny pixels. This allows it to be controlled with maximum precision. One new function that this makes possible is lane and orientation lights for highways. Here, the headlights emit a carpet of light that illuminates the driver’s own lane particularly brightly. Above all, this orientation light helps drivers intuitively stay in their lane at road construction sites. The digital Matrix LED headlights can generate dynamic coming home/leaving home functions upon unlocking and getting out of the car. They shine like projections on the ground or a wall.
The enhanced A8 comes with digital OLED rear lights (OLED = organic light-emitting diode) as a standard feature. When ordering the car, there are two rear light signatures to choose from – three with the S82. When the “dynamic” Audi drive select mode is chosen, the lights change to a wider signature that is only available in that mode.
In conjunction with the assistance systems, the digital OLED rear lights have a proximity indication feature: if other road users approach the stationary A8 from behind to within two meters, all of the OLED segments are activated automatically. Additional functions include dynamic turn signals as well as coming home and leaving home sequences.
Reduction as a design medium
The interior of the A8 is comparable with a spacious, widely tailored lounge – it offers open, feel-good space. Its architecture is strictly horizontally oriented to emphasize its width. The formal language is still always restrained. In the dark, the ambient light package plus (standard with Audi design selection and in the S82 ) elegantly stages the interior and there are reading lights in the rear that uses Matrix LED technology.
The range of seats and seat equipment in the enhanced A8 is varied, very comfortable, and radiates the highest degree of authority – especially for the back seats, where many options are available. The relaxation seat in the A8 L4 is the apex of the program. It offers numerous adjustment options and a footrest on the back of the passenger seat. Passengers can use it to have the bottoms of their feet warmed and massaged to various degrees. The relaxation seat package includes a back massage with 18 pneumatic cushions, electrically adjustable comfort headrests, an optional continuous centre console – also available with optional fold-out tables – four-zone deluxe automatic air conditioning, and the new screens in the rear. A cooler including a bar compartment in the Audi exclusive program emphasizes the comfort of the environment.
The high-quality workmanship underscores the A8 interior’s workshop character. That goes for the precise perforations in the seat covers, the electrically opening and closing decorative trim, the air vent doors, or the velvety leather in the comfort headrests. The seats are upholstered with Valetta leather as a standard feature. Alternatively, Valcona leather is also available as an option with the possibility of choosing the new colour cognac brown. New to the program is the sustainable microfiber material Dinamica for the door panels, which can also be used for the pillar trim or the roof lining as an option.
Also characteristic of the enhanced A8 is the wide selection of interior configurations. They include an Audi design selection in pastel silver and the S line interior in black, merlot red, or cognac. Several leather packages and leather equipment from Audi exclusive round out the selection. The optional air quality package includes an ionizer and fragrancing.
Sensitive and sensible: operation
The MMI touch response operating concept in the Audi A8 relies on two displays (10.1“ and 8.6“) and natural voice operation. The dialogue starts by calling out “Hey Audi!” The completely digital Audi virtual cockpit, with the optional head-up display, completes the display and operating concept and emphasizes the orientation to the driver. Important information is displayed directly in the driver’s line of sight.
New solutions: Navigation and Audi connect
MMI Navigation plus is standard in the enhanced Audi A8. It is supported by the third generation modular infotainment toolkit (MIB 3). The likewise standard online and Car-2-X services from Audi connect augment the navigation system. They are divided into two packages: Audi connect Navigation & Infotainment and Audi connect Safety & Service with Audi connect Remote & Control.
For modern demands: the new screens in the back
Attractive options are also available for infotainment hardware. The new screens in the back are tailored to the expectations of today’s rear-seat passengers. That means two 10.1 inch displays with full HD resolution attached to the backs of the front seats. They display content from passengers’ devices and can receive numerous audio and video streams via casting, including from well-known streaming platforms or TV media libraries.
The Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System was conceived for demanding Hi-Fi lovers – it brings 3D sound to the back seat with its high levels of information. A 1,920 Watt amplifier drives 23 speakers and the tweeter lenses operate electrically from the instrument panel. The rear seat remote, which is now firmly mounted to the centre armrest, allows many comfort and infotainment functions to be controlled from the back seat. The control unit, with its OLED touch display, is about as big as a smartphone.
Three packages: the driver assistance systems
There are about 40 driver assistance systems available in the enhanced Audi A8. Some of them – including the Audi pre sense basic and Audi pre sense front safety systems – are standard equipment for the series. Options are clustered into the “Park,” “City,” and “Tour” packages. The assistance package plus consolidates the packages. Features like the night vision assistant and surround-view cameras are available separately. The highlight of the “Park” package is the remote park assist plus, which can automatically manoeuvre the large sedan into and out of a parallel or bay parking space. The driver does not even need to be in the car for it to do that.
The “City” assist package includes intersection assist, cross-traffic assist, side assist, exit warning, and the Audi pre sense 360° safety system, which induces a side crash enhancement in combination with the active suspension.
The “Tour” assist package, which is standard in Germany, is particularly comprehensive. Its central system is adaptive cruise assist, which adjusts longitudinal and lateral guidance throughout the vehicle’s speed range. Behind the assistance systems in the Audi A8 is the central driver assistance controller (zFAS), which continuously calculates a model of the environment.
Sovereign and efficient: the engine range
With five motorizations, the enhanced Audi A8 offers customers a wide range of drive systems. From the V6 TFSI and V6 TDI engines, both of which draw their power from three litres of displacement, to the plug-in hybrid drive systems of the TFSI e, the V6 TFSI engine, and electric motors, to the 4.0 TFSI engine. The latter is available for the A8 and the S83 in various output levels. It distributes its four litres of displacement to eight cylinders in a V-assembly and comes equipped with cylinder on-demand technology.
The 3.0 TFSI powers the Audi A8 55 TFSI quattro5 and the A8 L 55 TFSI quattro6 with 250 kW (340 PS). A variant with 210 kW (286 PS) is available in China. From 1,370 to 4,500 rpm, it pumps 500 Nm of torque into the crankshaft. From a standing start, it reaches 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.6 seconds (L model: 5.7 seconds).
In the version for the A8 models, the 4.0 TFSI generates 338 kW (460 PS) and 660 Nm of torque, which are available between 1,850 and 4,500 1/min. These create very sporty performance: The A8 60 TFSI quattro7 and the A8 L 60 TFSI quattro8 both sprint from zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.4 seconds. One highlight of the V8 is the cylinder on-demand system (COD), which temporarily deactivates four cylinders for moderate driving.
The 3.0 TDI is in the Audi A8 50 TDI quattro9 and the A8 L 50 TDI quattro10. The engine brings 210 kW (286 PS) of power and 600 Nm or torque. The diesel engine accelerates both the A8 and A8 L from zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.9 seconds and on to the electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph), which is uniform across all A8 models.
Two engines, one battery: the Audi A8 with plug-in hybrid drives
The Audi A8 60 TFSI e quattro11 and theA8 L 60 TFSI e quattro1 are the plug-in hybrid models (PHEV) in the series. With these, compact electric motors support the 3.0 TFSI. The lithium-ion battery in the rear can now store a net 14.4 kWh (gross: 17.9 kWh) of energy.
With 340 kW (462 PS) of system power and 700 Nm of system torque, the Audi A8 60 TFSI e quattro11 goes from zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.9 seconds (A8 and A8 L).
Plug-in hybrid model drivers have four driving modes to choose from. “EV” stands for fully electric driving, “Hybrid” for an efficient combination of both drive system types, and “Hold” for conserving the available electric energy. In “Charge” mode, the combustion engine charges the battery. When charging by cable, the maximum charging capacity with an alternating current is 7.4 kW. Customers can use the compact e-tron charging system for that in their garage at home or the mode 3 cable when they are on the road.
The Audi S8 – inspirational performance in the luxury class
The Audi S8 TFSI quattro is the sporty top model in the series. The biturbo V8 generates 420 kW (571 PS) of power and 800 Nm of torque from 2,050 to 4,500 rpm. It does a standard sprint in 3.8 seconds. The COD system also increases efficiency in the S82. Sound flaps in the exhaust system sharpen the sound when desired. Additionally, the strongest model in the A8 family comes off the assembly line with particularly extensive standard equipment. Among other things, it comprises a unique combination of innovative suspension components. Only in the S82 are the predictive active suspension, sport differential, and dynamic all-wheel steering built in ex-factory.
With distinctive design elements in the interior and the exterior, the sporty character is purposefully staged. In the large markets of China, the US, Canada, and South Korea, the Audi S82 is being offered exclusively with a long wheelbase. The increased vehicle length and height mean significantly more comfort for occupants due to the additional head- and legroom.
All the previously mentioned motorizations come with mild hybrid technology (MHEV) as a standard feature, which uses the A8’s 48-volt main electrical system.
tiptronic, quattro and the sport differential: the whole gamut of driving experience
All engines in the Audi A8 are connected to a fast and gently toggling eight-step tiptronic. Thanks to an electric oil pump, the automatic transmission can change gears even when the combustion engine is not running. The constant all-wheel drive quattro with the self-locking centre differential is standard, optionally supplemented with the sport differential (standard in the S82 ). It actively distributes torque between the rear wheels during fast cornering and thereby makes the handling even sportier and more stable.
Progressive technologies: suspension system
The standard suspension system in the enhanced Audi A8 impresses with its balanced character. It combines sporty driving fun with confident comfort, due in part to the distinct driving profiles that the Audi drive select handling system has on hand. The adaptive air suspension with controlled damping is standard. Progressive steering is another standard feature. Dynamic all-wheel steering is also available as an option. It is standard equipment in the Audi S8.
Predictive active suspension
The highlight of the enhanced A8 is the predictive active suspension. It can load or unload each wheel with additional power individually via an electric motor and thereby actively regulate the position of the chassis in any driving situation. Predictive active suspension gives the driving experience in the Audi A8 a fascinating range. When dynamic mode is on in the Audi drive select system, the large sedan shows its sporty side. It firmly turns into corners, the roll angles are small, and the body hardly dips when braking. In comfort+ mode, by contrast, it smoothly breezes over unevenness. Here, the steering works in conjunction with the front camera, allowing it to recognize unevenness within the system limitations and predictively regulate the actuators.
In comfort+ mode, the predictive active suspension has a special feature: its integrated curve tilting function reduces the lateral acceleration that acts on the occupants. Upon entering a curve, it elevates the side of the body on the outside of the curve and lowers the other side, thereby tilting it into the curve up to three degrees. At speeds between 80 and 130 km/h (49.7 to 80.8 mph) and lateral acceleration of up to 0.4g, cornering is scarcely noticeable. While driving straight in comfort+, the predictive active suspension compensates for pitching movements in the chassis. To help with getting in and out of the car comfortably, the body raises and lowers itself by up to 50 mm (2 in.).
The wheel range for the enhanced Audi A8, which goes from 18 to 21 inches, includes six new designs from Audi and Audi Sport. In top versions like the Audi S82, Audi offers carbon fibre ceramic brake disks as an option.
A8 L Horch: special for the Chinese market
The Audi A8 L, the top version for the Chinese market, is 5.45 meters (17.9 ft.) long, which is 13 cm (5.1 in.) longer than the A8 L. In the interior, the expanded diamond quilting, logo embossing in the cushions, and deep-pile floor mats in the back emphasize the exclusivity of this version. In the exterior, the specifically designed Singleframe with vertical braces indicates that it is a luxury model. Additionally, there are also chrome applications, for instance on the mirror housings, a specific light signature on the rear, a larger panoramic roof, badges, a Horch emblem on the C-pillar, the “H crown” rim design, and added standard equipment, including a relaxation seat. For the first time in the D segment, the top model is offering a two-colour finish for customers in China who want to give their car a particularly elegant look.
Three colour combinations applied manually, are available: mythos black and Florette silver, Florette silver and mythos black, and firmament blue and ultra blue. Audi applies each of the first-named colours under the edge of the light, what is known as the tornado line. In this way, the Audi A8 L Horch, with its prestige- and status-oriented features, enacts Audi’s understanding of a progressive luxury sedan with maximum customer orientation.
A8 L Security: high level of protection with efficient mild-hybrid technology
Audi armoured vehicle customers also benefit from the A8’s product enhancements. Conceived for the particularly high demands of the security field, the A8 L Security is powered by a biturbo V8 with 420 kW (571 PS)12. The mild-hybrid technology (MHEV), which uses the 48-volt main electrical system, provides exceptional efficiency for the armoured sedan.