The sportiest premium sedan in the full-size class – the new Audi A8
The new Audi A8 is longer (5,135 millimeters/16.85 ft), wider (1,949 millimeters/ 6.39 ft) and has a longer wheelbase (2,992 millimeters/9.82 ft) than its most important competitors, but is not as tall as them (1,460 millimeters/4.79 ft). The proportions express the car’s sporty character.
The sporty harmony is evident in the dynamic design of the Audi A8. Elegance characterizes the interplay between every surface, line and volume. The exterior skin is homogenous; the coupé-like roofline lets the silhouette flow. The surfaces exude composure and prestige, and contrast with the sharp lines. The proportions are also perfectly balanced in the A8 L, which is 130 millimeters (5.12 in) longer than the standard version in total length and wheelbase.
The front is more strongly contoured; the hexagonal Singleframe grille more sculptured and richer in detail. Its horizontal double bars underscore the width of the Audi A8 while generous chrome applications emphasize its elegance. The engine hood has four creases. They run to the upper edges of the Singleframe grille and the inside corners of the headlights.
The air inlets in the redesigned front apron now extend all the way across the width of the front and are framed in chrome clasps. The headlights have become flatter and wider. A set of daytime running lights lines the upper and lower edges of the headlights.
Audi installs headlights with xenon plus technology in all A8 models with a V6 engine. The new A8 can also be optionally equipped with redesigned LED headlights that use light-emitting diodes for all functions. In the German market, these are standard with all V8 models, the W12 and the A8 hybrid.
Matrix LED headlights: The light of tomorrow
Making their debut in the updated A8 are the Audi Matrix LED headlights. Audi is launching a new chapter in automotive lighting with this high-end solution. They produce a light that always provides excellent illumination of the road without blinding other road users. The high beam is broken up into 25 small light-emitting diodes per headlight. Groups of five shine through a common reflector.
When the light switch is set to Automatic and the high beams are on, the system is switched on outside of urban areas at speeds of 30 km/h (18.64 mph) and above. As soon as the camera in the A8 detects another vehicle, the new headlights switch off or dim individual LEDs in the blink of an eye.
This function is extremely precise. Oncoming and preceding vehicles are excluded from the light pattern and are not blinded, while all other areas between and adjacent to them continues to be fully illuminated. After the oncoming traffic has passed, the high beam once gain illuminates the previously excluded sectors with full power. The Audi Matrix LED headlights are purely electrical and extremely flexible. Their light has a specific crystal-like shine.
One additional function of the Matrix LED technology is the so-called marking light, which is coupled with the optional night vision assistant. When this system detects a person in the critical area in front of the car, individual LEDs blink three times in quick succession. This clearly highlights the person against the background, warning both them and the driver. The night vision assistant now also detects and marks larger wild animals. To avoid scaring them, the lights do not blink on the animals.
The LEDs in Audi Matrix LED headlights also assume the function of cornering lights, shifting the focal point of the light along the curve by selectively brightening or dimming. They do this shortly before the wheel is turned based on predictive route data provided by the optional MMI navigation plus (standard in S8 and A8 L W12). Another function are the dynamic turn signals. The LEDs in the turn signals light up successively in blocks every 150 milliseconds, moving in the direction in which the driver wishes to turn.
The side view: Taut and athletic
Viewed from the side, the new Audi A8 is taut and athletic. Typical of the Audi line, the body accounts for two-thirds of the vehicle’s overall height, the greenhouse for the remaining third. The tornado line below the windows – another Audi feature – runs tightly above the wheel arches to give the A8 a powerful road stance.
The surfaces below the tornado line interpret the interplay of light and shadow. Proceeding downwards, the surfaces are framed by the gently rising dynamic line running above the sills. Large wheels measuring from 17 to 21 inches in diameter (with the S8) underscore the impression of energy and power. New chrome strips in the lower region of the body, fine strips embedded in the door handles and high-gloss black window frames imbue the side view with even more finesse and quality.
The rear end of the car also interprets the subject of the sporty luxury sedan. A redesigned spoiler lip extends it visually. The rear end appears more homogenous. A chrome strip visually connects the somewhat flatter rear lights and extends into them. The lights have a new markedly horizontal tail light contour and use all LED technology, with 94 individual diodes per unit. In all versions except the S8, the exhaust system terminates in two large, trapezoidal tailpipe tips on both sides of the back end.
Audi delivers its new flagship in twelve colors – two solid shades and ten metallic, pearl-effect or crystal-effect shades. Five of these are new. The finishes are called Argus brown, Brilliant black, Cuvée silver, Florette silver, Glacier white, Havana black, Oolong gray and Phantom black. The shade Daytona gray is reserved exclusively for the S8. Metallic finishes are standard with the A8 hybrid and the A8 L W12. Even more exclusive are the custom finishes that Audi mixes specially at the request of the customer.