The new generation Audi A8 which is going to display next month in Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA 2013). The latest flagship combines revisions to its weight-optimised, predominantly aluminium body with a raft of technological advances including new MatrixBeam LED headlights and an upgraded line-up of EU6-compliant engines.
The new A8 is equipped as standard with a fast and smooth-shifting, eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission which transmits power to all four wheels via the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system in all six, eight and twelve-cylinder versions. A sport differential acting on the rear axle is fitted as standard to the A8 4.2 TDI quattro and the S8 and optional for all other versions bar the hybrids – it distributes power between the rear wheels as required for even greater handling adjustability.
Built around the lightweight aluminium Audi Space Frame, the almost entirely aluminium body of the new generation A8 has been finessed by subtle resculpting of the bonnet, the single frame grille, the front bumper and the lower edge of the headlight units. At the rear, the design of the LED tail lamps has been revised and the bumper in all models bar the S8 now incorporates two rhomboid tail pipes. New chrome elements, new high gloss black window surrounds and five new colours also mark out the updated car.
The visual appeal, visibility and active safety of the new generation A8 can also now be enhanced by new optional headlights employing MatrixBeam Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology which sets new benchmarks.
The high-beam function in these unique headlights uses 25 individual LEDs per unit that can be switched on and off or dimmed individually depending on the situation. This enables the headlight system to react extremely precisely to other vehicles while always brightly illuminating the road. When the on-board camera detects other vehicles ahead, the Audi MatrixBeam LED headlights mask the relevant sections of the high-beam by dimming or shutting off individual diodes. Very bright illumination is preserved in the remaining zones.
The lighting system in the A8 uses predictive route data from the navigation system with MMI Touch to adjust the distribution of light in response to the current driving situation, and can recognise and act on route data, such as corners and road classifications.
The luxuriously equipped Audi A8 L W12 quattro occupies the top rung in the A8 line-up. The short and lightweight engine with its W layout displaces 6.3 litres and produces 500PS. It also boasts best-in-class combined fuel consumption of 24.1 mpg, corresponding to 270 grams CO2 per kilometre, thanks in part to a newly adopted version of the cylinder-on-demand system developed especially for this model. At low loads, it deactivates the fuel injection and ignition for six cylinders.
The 520PS S8 fulfils a different brief as the ultimate Audi sports saloon. Its 4.0 TFSI engine blasts it from 0 to 62 mph in 4.2 seconds, yet cylinder on demand technology also renders it capable of up to 28 mpg, corresponding to 235 grams CO2 per kilometre.
Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), a technology that is also employed in the A8 4.0 TFSI quattro, the A8 L W12 quattro and the A8 hybrid, ensures excellent acoustic comfort by using precise antiphase noise to combat intrusive noise in the cabin while cylinders are deactivated. Active engine mounts also dampen vibration.
At the other end of the spectrum, the overtly efficiency-focused A8 hybrid combines a 2.0 TFSI engine and electric motor to produce a system output of 245PS and system torque of 480 Nm. The lithium-ion battery in the rear enables purely electric driving at up to 62 mph with a range of roughly 1.9 miles. The A8 hybrid returns up to 44.8mpg and emits 147 grams of CO2 per kilometre.