Finally, the all-new Audi A8 has been revealed at the Audi Summit in Barcelona, Spain. Audi has given its flagship sedan a substantial overall that is highlighted with a sleek (albeit evolutionary) new design and a host of technologies that should go far in terms of competing with its fellow Germans.
Audi has made no secret that the Prologue Concept will serve as inspiration for Audi design going forward, a point that’s driven home with this new A8. The new front clip is slightly edgier than the outgoing A8, a trait noted on other recent products, such as the S5. The side profile is also sleeker and offers more character lines than previous A8’s. Audi design did throw us a bit of a curveball with the rear fascia, which now has a full length light bar between the twin taillights.
Inside, the changes are far more dramatic. The new A8 appears to be the forebear of the next iteration of Audi’s design theme, which is heavily focused on horizontal lines and simplicity.
Audi has dropped its touchpad and rotary knob interface in this interior in favor of a new 10.1-inch touchscreen interface. The touchscreen is flanked by haptic buttons and works in conjunction with a second display in the center stack.
The technology front is even further advanced by the A8’s powertrain. As previously reported, all A8’s will offer a 48-volt electrical architecture. This means every A8 will effectively be a mild hybrid with a belt-alternator starter system that will allow the engine to shut off during light loads and stops.
Even the suspension will be benefited with the 48-volt power system. An electric motor rests atop each of the four wheels that can adjust the height of the wheel based on input from a front-mounted camera that watches the road for imperfections. Audi says the system should prevent nearly all vibrations and jolts in the cabin.
The A8 is also going to be the first Audi (and perhaps first car period) to leverage artificial intelligence. The AI system will learn its driver’s habits, preferences and preferred routes over time to make recommendations. Audi AI can also take over driving the A8 during traffic jams. Audi AI Remote Parking and AI Remote Garage work as the name implies; owners can summons their A8 via a smartphone app.
Audi will offer five engines on the new A8 in Germany. Two turbocharged 3.0-liter’s–one gas and one diesel–will bookend the low-end power on the A8 with the gas version offering 340 horsepower. Later on Audi will throw a 4.0-liter V-8 under the hood with 460 horsepower, while a W-16 will capstone the lineup with 585 horespower.
Later, an A8 L eTron Quattro plug-in hybrid will be offered with 449 horsepower and 31 miles of electric range. This hybrid will be charged via a wireless inductive charger.
Audi has already announced the new A8 will start at 90,600 euros ($103,226) when it goes on sale later this year in its home market. U.S. pricing will be announced closer to its stateside launch.