Audi enthusiasts around the world are waiting in anticipation for the latest offering from the German luxury car maker – the 2017 Audi A8, which will be released later this year.
Here is what you can expect from the luxury saloon.
The A8 marks the first time that Audi will be integrating its AI technology in one of its commercial cars. The technology has the ability to control certain aspects of the car’s functionality, such as suspension, parking and, up to a certain speed, even driving.
Referred to as level 3 autonomous driving, the A8’s AI features can take over steering, braking and accelerating up to speeds of 60 kph. This can be particularly useful in stop/ start traffic and should, according to Audi, allow the driver to do other things during this time.
The A8 includes features such as remote parking and remote garage piloting. So you can leave the car to park itself, while keeping an eye on it via your smartphone.
Automated warnings and route guidance
The new Audi downloads information from the cloud, warning the driver of vehicle collisions, adverse weather and congestion before you reach them. Audi claims its voice recognition software has also been improved.
The A8’s sat nav system has been designed to learn from your driving habits and to use its ability to recognise traffic signs to devise the best routes for you.
The interior of an Audi has always been luxurious, and the A8 is no exception. There’s a reason it’s marketed as a “limo”.
The 2017 model boasts additional interior space, and backseat passengers are treated to reclining chairs, which include heating and massage functions.
The dashboard features two large touch screens for controlling navigation, entertainment and climate. These eliminate the need for a lot of the buttons found in previous models.
The Audi A8 includes a range of safety features as standard, including front, side and knee airbags for passengers and driver. It also has overhead airbags to protect occupants’ heads in the event of the vehicle rolling over.
Anti-lock brakes are standard and the vehicle’s pre-sense system can tighten seatbelts before impact or panic braking occurs.
Air suspension is standard, and Audi has included all-wheel drive across the range for the 2017 A8. The engine’s power can be split between the back and front wheels in varying percentages, depending on the driving conditions. This assists with handling when you encounter bad weather or a rough road surface.
The new A8 will also include AI active suspension, which scans the road ahead and adjusts the suspension to compensate for potholes or ruts. This is designed to increase comfort and reduce body roll.
Initially, the 2017 V8 will come in two 3.0-litre V6 petrol options. The 3.0-litre TFSI will have 210 kw of power while the 3.0-litre TDI can boast 250 kw.
In 2018, we can expect a few more options. The 4.0-litre V8 will be available in both petrol and diesel versions, with 338 kw and 320 kw respectively.
Next year will also see the release of a version with both a 3.0-litre engine and a lithium-ion battery, promising a full electric range of 50 km as well as the hefty 6.0-litre W12, which will provide 430 kw of power.
All engine options for the new A8 are hybrids, with small electric motors to assist with acceleration. This also allows cruising at a constant speed, without using the engine.
Price and release date
There’s no confirmed local price or release date for South Africa yet but the 2017 Audi A8 will retail in the UK for about £70,000 to £80,000 when it’s released there later this year. In Europe, prices will start from €90,600.