A sharpened design and innovative new technologies, Audi is bolstering the presence and elegance of the A8, the trailblazer in the premium segment. Ordering in the UK for the refreshed flagship is under way, with the first customer deliveries due from March 2022. The starting price for A8 is £74,985 with long wheelbase starting from £78,985. The S8 is priced at £102,610.
As the successor to the Audi V8, the A8 has been the brand’s leading edge in the luxury saloon segment of Audi’s portfolio since 1994. The Audi A8 is a symbol of and a trailblazer for the status and prestige of the brand. The fourth generation of the luxury saloon, which Audi introduced in 2017, raised it to a new level concerning power, look, and equipment. This model enhancement brings significantly greater levels of technology and innovation to the flagship saloon, helping cement its place in the luxury segment as a technology trailblazer.
Sovereign and efficient: the engine range
The enhanced Audi A8 is available with four engine options. The 3.0 TDI and the 3.0 TFSI are V6 units, while the 4.0 TFSI in the S8 is a V8 with cylinder on-demand technology. The TFSI e plug-in hybrid model combines the 3.0 TFSI with an electric motor.
The 3.0 TDI is in the Audi A8 50 TDI quattro and the A8 L 50 TDI quattro. It brings 210 kW (286 PS) of power and 600 Nm of torque, which are already present at 1,750 1/min and remain constant up to 3,250 1/min. The diesel engine accelerates both the A8 and A8 L from zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.9 seconds and on to the electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph), which is uniform across all A8 models.
The 3.0 TFSI drives the Audi A8 55 TFSI quattro with 250 kW (340 PS. From 1,370 to 4,500 rpm, it delivers 500 Nm of torque. From a standing start, it reaches 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.6 seconds.
The Audi S8 – inspirational performance in the luxury class
The Audi S8 TSFI quattro is the sporty top model in the series. The biturbo V8 generates 420 kW (571 PS) of power and 800 Nm of torque from 2,050 to 4,500 rpm. It does a standard sprint in 3.8 seconds. The COD system also increases efficiency in the S8. Sound flaps in the exhaust system sharpen the sound when desired. Additionally, the strongest model in the A8 family comes off the assembly line with particularly extensive standard equipment. Among other things, it comprises a unique combination of innovative suspension components, such as the predictive active suspension, sport differential, and dynamic all-wheel steering. With distinctive design elements in the interior and the exterior, the sporty character is purposefully staged.
All the previously mentioned motorizations come with mild hybrid technology (MHEV) as a standard feature, which uses the A8’s 48-volt main electrical system.
Two engines, one battery: the Audi A8 with plug-in hybrid drives
The Audi A8 60 TFSI e quattro and the A8 L 60 TFSI e quattro are the plug-in hybrid models (PHEV) in the series. The 3.0 TFSI is supported by a compact electric motor. The lithium-ion battery in the rear can now store a net 14.4 kWh (gross: 17.9 kWh) of energy – significantly more than before. With 340 kW (462 PS) of system power and 700 Nm of system torque, the Audi A8 60 TFSI e quattro goes from zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.9 seconds (A8 and A8 L).
Plug-in hybrid model drivers can choose between four modes. “EV” stands for fully electric driving, “Hybrid” for an efficient combination of both drive system types, and “Hold” for conserving the available electric energy, while the combustion engine charges the battery in “Charge” mode. The maximum charging capacity – with alternating current – is 7.4 kW. Customers can use the compact e-tron charging system for that in their garage at home or the mode 3 cable when they are on the road. In Europe, the Audi e-tron Charging Service grants access to approximately 250,000 charging points.
A8, A8L and S8 equipment and spec
The line-up comprises three distinct models, all of which provide a unique offering in the segment: A8, A8L and S8.
Sport, S Line, Black Edition and Vorsprung specifications make up the trim structure for the refreshed luxury saloon. Every model comes highly-specced as a reflection of the A8’s positioning in the market and as a testament to the technology and innovation the A8 has become known for.
Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive and an eight-speed S Tiptronic gearbox are standard across the entire A8 and A8L line-up as are adaptive air suspension, comfort contour seats in Valcona leather, the 12.3-inch HD Audi Virtual Cockpit, a 10-loudspeaker Audi Sound System, Audi Phone Box with wireless charging, Head-up display, twin-touchscreen MMI Navigation Plus and a wealth of safety systems including adaptive cruise control, rear-view camera, Parking System Plus, Audi Pre-sense, camera-based traffic sign recognition and convenience key.
Sport models also boast unique 18-inch ‘five-V-spoke’ design forged alloy wheels (19-inch on TFSI e models) and LED headlights, while those who opt for the A8L Sport also benefit from heated front and rear seats, four-zone automatic air-conditioning, electric sunblinds for rear windows and rear doors and Audi’s Rear Central control unit comprising a 5.7-inch touchscreen OLED display.
S Line models build on that by bringing a greater degree of visual drama thanks to the S Line front and rear bumpers and S-specific radiator grille. Further upgrades include 20-inch five-twin-arm alloy wheels, HD Matrix LED headlights with dynamic light presentation and dynamic indicators, a sports look for the comfort contour seats, acoustic double glazing and privacy glass.
Stepping up to Black Edition adds 20-inch gloss black Audi Sport ‘five-V-spoke’ alloy wheels, black exterior styling pack and OLED rear lights with a unique light signature.
Range-topping Vorsprung models boast larger 21-inch Audi Sport ‘seven-arm’ wheels, Dynamic all-wheel steering, Digital Matrix LED headlights, a panoramic glass roof, front-seat ventilation with massage function, extended leather pack, ambient lighting package plus and a 17-speaker B&O sound system. Safety equipment is also bolstered with the inclusion of crossing assist, lane change warning, cross-traffic assist rear, a 360-degree camera and Parking Assist plus with remote parking.
S8 equipment and spec
Where luxury and performance meet, highlights of the S8 line-up include 20-inch ‘five-double-spoke’ S design alloy wheels, quattro all-wheel-drive and sports differential, dynamic all-wheel steering, predictive active suspension, comfort contour seats in sports look, electric and heated front seats, 17-speaker B&O sound system, a 12.3-inch HD Audi Virtual Cockpit and a wealth of active and passive safety systems.
S8 Black Editions benefit from larger 21-inch Audi Sport ’10-Y-spoke’ alloy wheels, black exterior styling pack including front and rear black rings, carbon fibre gear selector and upper inlays.
Top-spec Vorsprung editions gain Digital Matrix LED headlights, a panoramic glass roof, front-seat ventilation with massage function, extended leather pack, four-zone auto air-conditioning, electric sunblinds and Audi’s Rear Central control unit comprising a 5.7-inch touchscreen OLED display.
Even more prestige and authority: the exterior design
The Audi A8 is a saloon that represents status and exudes authority – now that it has been reworked, its exterior is even more representative, confident, and athletic. The base of the Singleframe grille is now wider and chrome angles that increase in size from bottom to top adorn its grid. The side air intakes are more upright and just as freshly styled as the headlights, whose lower edge on the outside creates a distinctive contour. To summarize, the newly designed and precisely orchestrated design elements in the front area significantly increase the A8’s presence and authority and sharpen the profile of the brand’s top model.
From a side view, the luxury saloon’s progressive character is particularly eye-catching. The roof dome runs flat. Stretched lines in the body of the car emphasize its length, wide wheel arches hint at the standard quattro drive system. In all model variants, the rocker panel area has a concave shape and ends in a blade pointing toward the road. The rear is dominated by wide chrome clasps, a customizable taillight signature with Digital OLEDs, and a continuous, segmented light strip. The diffusor insert in the bumper is delicately accentuated and redesigned with horizontal bars. The Audi S8 presents four flow-optimized pipes under a circumferential contour – typical of the Audi S model. They are one of its characteristic sporty design details.
Beyond the basic exterior, Audi is offering its customers the chrome exterior package and the new S line exterior package. The latter gives the front a dynamic touch and differentiates even more from the basic model: a distinctive blade in the area of the side air intakes augments the frontal view – very similar to the S8. The look is even more defined with the additional black appearance package. The colour swatch for the A8 includes eleven colours, among them the new metallic district green, firmament blue, Manhattan grey, and ultra blue. Also new in the Audi A8 are five matte colours – Daytona grey, florette silver, district green, terra grey and glacier white. In the Audi exclusive program, the car is painted in the customer’s chosen colour.
5.19 meter (17 ft.) body
The product enhancements only minimally change the dimensions of the Audi flagship in the luxury saloon segment. The A8 has a wheelbase of 3.00 meters (9.8 ft.), length of 5.19 meters (17 ft.), width of 1.95 meters (6.4 ft.), and height of 1.47 meters (4.8 ft.). The S8 is about one centimetre longer. The body of the A8 follows the same principle as the Audi Space Frame (ASF): it is made up of 58 percent aluminium parts. The passenger compartment consists of hot-formed steel components supplemented with an ultra-high-strength, extremely torsionally rigid rear panel made of a carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer. Magnesium strut-tower bars complete the lightweight construction concept. The body’s commanding rigidity lays the foundation for precise handling, excellent comfort, and acoustic tranquillity onboard.
Digital Matrix LED headlights and OLED rear lights
Comparable with video projectors, the Digital Matrix LED headlights use DMD (digital micromirror device) technology. Each headlamp contains approximately 1.3 million micromirrors which dispersed the light into tiny pixels, which means that it can be adjusted with the greatest precision. One new function that this enables is lane and orientation lights for highways. Here, the headlights emit a carpet of light, which illuminates the driver’s lane particularly brightly. Above all, the orientation lights particularly help drivers intuitively stay in their lane at road construction sites. The Digital Matrix LED headlights can generate dynamic coming home/leaving home functions upon unlocking and leaving the car. They shine like projections on the ground or the wall.
The enhanced A8 comes with Digital OLED rear lights (OLED = organic light-emitting diode) as a standard feature. When ordering the car, there are two rear light signatures to choose from – three with the S8. When the “dynamic” Audi drive select mode is chosen, the lights change to a further signature that is only available in that mode.
In conjunction with the assistance systems, the Digital OLED rear lights have a proximity indication feature: if another vehicle comes within two meters (6.6 ft.) of a stationary A8 from behind, all the OLED segments are activated. Additional functions include dynamic turn signals as well as coming home and leaving home sequences.
Reduction as a design medium
The interior of the A8 is comparable with a spacious, widely tailored lounge – it offers an open, feel-good space. Its architecture is strictly horizontally oriented to emphasize its width. The formal language is still always restrained. In the dark, the ambient light package plus (standard with the S8) elegantly stages the interior and there are reading lights in the rear that use Matrix LED technology.
New solutions: Navigation and Audi connect
MMI Navigation plus is standard in the enhanced Audi A8. It is supported by the third generation modular infotainment toolkit (MIB 3).
The likewise standard online and Car-2-X services from Audi connect augment the navigation system. They are divided into two packages: Audi connect Navigation & Infotainment and Audi connect Safety & Service with Audi connect Remote & Control.
For modern demands: the new screens in the back
Attractive options are also available for the infotainment hardware. The new screens in the back are tailored to the expectations of today’s rear-seat passengers. That means two 10.1-inch displays with full HD resolution attached to the backs of the front seats. They display content from passengers’ devices and can receive numerous audio and video streams via casting, including from well-known streaming platforms, TV media libraries, or cellular networks.
The rear seat remote, which is now firmly mounted to the centre armrest, allows many comfort and infotainment functions to be controlled from the back seat. The control unit, with its OLED touch display, is about as big as a smartphone.
Three packages: the driver assistance systems
There are about 40 driver assistance systems available in the enhanced Audi A8. Some of them – including the Audi pre sense basic and Audi pre sense front safety systems – are standard equipment for the series. Options are clustered into the “Park,” “City,” and “Tour” packages. The assistance package plus consolidates the packages.
The highlight of the “Park” package is the remote park assist plus: it can automatically manoeuvre the large saloon into and out of a parallel or bay parking space. The driver does not even need to be in the car for it to do that.
The “City” assist package includes intersection assist, cross-traffic assist, side assist, exit warning, and the Audi pre sense 360° safety system, which induces a side crash enhancement in combination with the active suspension.
The “Tour” assist package, which is standard in the UK, is particularly comprehensive. Its central system is adaptive cruise assist, which adjusts longitudinal and lateral guidance throughout the vehicle’s speed range. Behind the assistance systems in the Audi A8 is the central driver assistance controller (zFAS), which continuously calculates a model of the environment.