Audi’s fourth-generation A8 will be available to order later this month, with a starting price of £69,100.
This is the first production model that has been built to use level 3 autonomous technology, and from next year Audi will introduce various autonomous features, such as AI parking pilot, garage pilot and traffic jam pilot – which can control the vehicle’s acceleration, braking and steering in congestion.
Level 3 autonomy is the classified in conditional autonomy, meaning that the car can drive itself in some circumstances, but still needs a driver behind the wheel to take control when needed. Level 5 autonomy is when all the systems are controlled by the car and a driver isn’t needed at all.
The luxury saloon is also the first Audi product to include the brand’s new design language and includes more defined details around the wheel arches and back end, and a larger hexagonal grille at the front. Customers can choose to fit the Matrix LED headlights with laser lighting technology to join the LED rear light strip.
Inside, the cockpit is focused on the 10.1-inch touchscreen in the central console. When turned off, it blends into the gloss black surround, helping to simplify the interior layout. There is a second touchscreen on the transmission tunnel that controls the comfort accessories, including the dual-zone climate control and climate-controlled adjustable seats.
Coming in both standard and long-wheelbase versions, the A8 comes with either a 3.0-litre V6 diesel or petrol engine, an eight-cylinder 4.0-litre diesel or a 6.0-litre W12 petrol.
All of these units come with a mild hybrid system that allows the engine to be switched off when the car is coasting and restart smoothly. The 48-volt electrical system also helps to save fuel. A plug-in hybrid e-tron version, which will offer 31 miles of all-electric driving, will follow later in the A8’s lifecycle.
The new A8 also comes with a new suspension setup that uses the 48-volt electrical system and a 360-degree pre-sense system that raises the suspension sharply in the case an impact is likely. It also comes with the world-renowned quattro all-wheel drive system.