2019 Audi A8’s High-Tech Luxury Coming to L.A.
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Competes with: Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, Lexus LS 500
Looks like: An evolution, not a revolution, for Audi design
Drivetrain: At launch, a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 likely to put out about 340 horsepower, mated to an eight-speed automatic with manual mode and standard all-wheel drive; a light-hybrid system adds regenerative braking and a small battery that turns off the engine when stopped or coasting and then restarts it; turbo V-8 and plug-in hybrid versions are expected later
Hits dealerships: Fall 2018
The U.S. version of the redesigned, tech-loaded 2019 Audi A8, which had its world debut in Spain this past summer, will be displayed next week at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show.
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The new A8 is an evolution, not a revolution, for Audi design. Audi calls it "the start of a new era" that will show up in other Audi models, but the new A8 has a strong resemblance to the 2018 model as well as other current Audi models. The 58 percent-aluminum body does have crisper, flatter lines and a bigger, wider version of Audi's trademark Singleframe grille.
Lighting is upgraded with high-definition Matrix LED headlights and rear lamps with organic light-emitting diode technology and startup features that Audi calls a "dynamic light show."
2019 Audi A8; Manufacturer images
The new A8's interior is a bigger design change from the current model. It features a look that is more minimalist industrial chic than the elaborate style and shapes you'll find in the new 2018 Lexus LS 500. The dashboard has a simplified design with ventilation ducts covered by motorized doors and a large gloss-black panel below that stretches the width of the car.
The most striking feature of the new interior, however, particularly for longtime Audi fans, is what's not there: The traditional knob and button controls for the new-generation multimedia system have disappeared. Instead, the A8 has a pair of stacked central screens for media and control functions.
The upper 10.1-inch screen is the main display, while the lower screen shows climate and other convenience controls, and it supports text input via keyboard or free-form writing, such as entering a destination. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration should feel more naturally phonelike with the touchscreen interface.
Both screens incorporate haptic feedback that provides audible and tactile response when used. The configurable instrument display is on another 10.1-inch display ahead of the driver. Wi-Fi is included, and the available premium sound is Bang & Olufsen 3-D surround.
Under the Hood
The U.S. version will launch with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 likely to put out about 340 horsepower, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual mode and standard all-wheel drive. A light-hybrid system adds regenerative braking and a small battery that turns off the engine when stopped or coasting, then restarts it; the system also powers the available electronic suspension. The V-6 is expected to be followed later by a version with a 460-horsepower, turbo V-8 and an e-tron plug-in hybrid version that can drive up to 31 miles on electric power alone.
Available electronic chassis features include all-wheel steering that independently controls the front and rear axles. An available adaptive suspension uses rapid electric actuators on each wheel to increase or decrease the load in response to driving dynamics, as well as road conditions or hazards, such as potholes. On vehicles with an optional all-around collision sensing system, the suspension also can raise the side of the car if an impending side collision is sensed.
Advanced Driver Aids on the Way?
A central driver assistance controller monitors as many as 24 camera, radar, sonic and laser sensors, depending on the level of equipment, to create a picture of the A8's surroundings that underpins a suite of available electronic driver aids. With artificial intelligence Traffic Jam Pilot, the A8 can fully drive itself at speeds up to 37 mph on highways with a physical barrier separating opposing lanes of traffic.
The catch is that Traffic Jam Pilot — which qualifies as SAE International Level 3 autonomy in that you can be, well, jammin' or swiping your Tinder or whatever and drive hands-free — won't be available in the U.S. at launch due to safety regulations here. It is expected sooner in Europe. An Audi spokeswoman told Cars.com in an email that the automaker will continue to work with U.S. regulators to bring the technology to market.
Other AI self-driving features that will be available for the 2019 A8 include a new Park Pilot and Garage Pilot, which enable the car to steer itself hands-free into and out of a parallel parking spot or a perpendicular spot in a garage or lot. You don't even have to be in the car to do it. You can point the car at the spot and then get out to start and monitor the action with your smartphone.
Cars.com's Mike Hanley contributed to this story.
Cars.com's Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com's long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don't accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com's advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.
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Audi A8 2018
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