The A8 is Audi’s flagship massive luxurious sedan, which signifies that it has to cleared the path for the remainder of the model with the perfect consolation, expertise and facilities that the German automaker has to supply. That is why the 2019 Audi A8 is so thrilling; it guarantees to be the latest of the brand new, the perfect of the perfect.

I lately hit the street in one of many earliest examples of the 2019 Audi A8 55 and, whereas I am nonetheless getting used to the automaker’s new naming conference, I used to be in a position to put the sedan’s promise to the check. And it delivered.

Audi AI, autonomy-ready

Essentially the most fascinating options demonstrated have been the upcoming Audi AI piloted driving techniques. The posh sedan rolls off of the road prepared for the following era of autonomous driving with a powerful suite of sensors — ultrasonic, brief and long-range radar, cameras, even a laser scanner — that grant the A8 a fairly full view of its world and allow self-driving options.

Audi AI Traffic Jam Pilot is a very self-driving, degree three autonomous system, so the motive force does not have to look at the street when lively. It solely works in low-speed visitors (restricted to about 37 mph) and handles steering, acceleration and braking whereas the motive force checks e-mail, reads a ebook or no matter. As soon as the move picks up, Site visitors Jam Pilot notifies the motive force to retake management of the wheel. I requested if Audi has plans for a hands-off highway-speed autonomous drive system like Cadillac’s Tremendous Cruise and was met with a really well mannered, “We’re engaged on it, however can not decide to a timeline.”

There’s additionally Audi AI Distant Storage Pilot, a parking help system that strikes the A8 into tight parking areas by way of distant management. Simply level the automotive at an open house or storage door, press the Audi AI button begin the system, get out of the automotive and, on a smartphone, maintain a button to remotely transfer the A8 into the spot. It does not even should be completely lined up and might steer itself into place.

Additionally demonstrated was an Audi AI enhanced model of the Parking Pilot system that may steer, speed up and brake and even shift gears robotically when parallel or perpendicular parking — right now’s techniques solely deal with the steering half.

The catch is that whereas the 2019 A8 will launch with the improved sensor bundle wanted for these autonomous aids, the Audi AI options themselves will almost definitely not be obtainable on the fall 2018 launch of the sedan. The timeline is a bit firmer in Europe, the place the parking help options ought to be part of the characteristic set in 2019 and the Site visitors Jam Pilot will roll out someday afterwards. Nonetheless, within the US, timing will rely upon the place autonomous driving legal guidelines find yourself.

New MMI Contact infotainment

One of many first issues astute Audi-philes will discover when settling behind the wheel is that that spherical MMI management knob has disappeared for this era. As a substitute is MMI Contact Response, a twin capacitive touchscreen setup with haptic suggestions.

The higher display is the primary show. It contains a vertical financial institution of shortcuts alongside the left edge that shortly leap to the 5 mostly used capabilities. The bar will be custom-made by dragging and dropping icons from the primary menu. Past every of those icons, all the submenus have been redesigned for extra touch-friendly use. I am going to must spend extra time to make certain, however the studying curve does not really feel too steep and all the things feels acquainted sufficient and properly organized.

The brand new A8 drops most of its bodily infotainment controls in favor of a dual-screen MMI Contact Response system. Watch these fingerprints, although.


Audi

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay make return appearances this era and are simpler and extra pure to make use of with contact than they have been with the management knob.

The brand new decrease display adjustments format and performance relying on what’s occurring upstairs. Normally, it is residence to local weather and seat temperature controls, however seek for a vacation spot and the decrease display adjustments to a writing pad the place I may merely write my vacation spot. The additional house, relative to the previous contact floor, feels extra pure and allowed me to put in writing complete phrases comparable to “HOME” reasonably than ready for one letter at a time.

In the meantime, each shows supply haptic suggestions. Press a digital button to activate the ventilated seats and the display offers a little bit of a tactile click on that makes it type of really feel like urgent an actual button. And with the 2 screens, Audi was in a position to tremendously cut back the variety of bodily buttons on the console; I solely counted six or seven left. Even the vent controls are neat little capacitive surfaces with haptic suggestions.

If there’s one weak point to going all-in on shiny touchscreens, it is fingerprints. My testing came about on a damp Spanish day and my barely sweaty mitts saved leaving prints of my varied swipes, faucets and phrases. You will wish to hold a microfiber wiping fabric within the glove field.

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Audi’s Digital Cockpit digital instrument cluster is again and nonetheless appears to be like incredible.


Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

Additionally current are the head-up show projected onto the windshield and the Audi Digital Cockpit digital instrument cluster. Each of those techniques behave as they did earlier than and are simply nearly as good. I am excited that Digital Cockpit is normal on the 2019 A8; I am a fan of this technique’s ease of use and its skill to place a variety of low-distraction data, even full satellite tv for pc maps, within the driver’s sightline.

Lasers, OLED and NFC

This latest A8 has probably the most superior lighting of any earlier era. It may be outfitted with each LED matrix headlamps and laser excessive beams… in Europe. Within the States, probably the most superior headlight tech is not but street-legal. Fortunately, the usual full-LED headlamps ought to nonetheless look fairly dope and have sequential flip indicators and a brand new daytime mild signature.

Out again, an optionally available OLED illumination improve provides a three-dimensional look to the taillights whereas LED mild bars add security with sequential flip indicators and pizzazz with a brand new animation sequence at car begin and shutdown that actually attracts consideration to the brand new linked taillight design.

Throughout my check drive, I wasn’t given a key to the A8. Slightly, I used a smartphone to unlock and lock the doorways by way of close to area communication (NFC). Simply faucet the paired smartphone to the deal with to unlock the doorways and place the cellphone in middle console — the place it may also be wirelessly charged — to allow the starter. I did not even must unlock the cellphone; simply faucet and go. After all, the A8 does have a standard key fob for these not able to belief their telephones.

Again inside, a large middle console folds down between the rear seats to disclose a contact show the place passengers can management their local weather and infotainment or, if outfitted, optionally available therapeutic massage seats and rear-seat leisure. The show’s coolest trick is that it may be popped out and used wirelessly, so passengers can use it with out stretching. Simply strive to not let your children lose it.

Delicate hybrid energy prepare

Okay, we have talked quite a bit about car tech, however what in regards to the automotive?

Within the US, the Audi A8 — particularly, the 2019 Audi A8 L 55 — will launch with a three.Zero-liter, turbocharged gasoline engine that makes 340 horsepower and 370 pound-feet of torque. The motor is mated to an eight-speed computerized transmission and normal Quattro all-wheel drive.

In Europe, the A8 additionally launches with a three.Zero-liter diesel V6 possibility. And, post-launch, we’ll see a plug-in hybrid etron model of the V6 engine be part of the ranks together with a four.Zero-liter V8 engine. A 6.Zero-liter W12 engine may also be obtainable, however most likely on on this aspect of the pond.

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I needed to pop the hood to test there truly was an engine below there. It is that quiet and that clean!


Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

The V6 feels highly effective and accelerates strongly, however what stood out most was the quietness and smoothness of the ability prepare. Even when accelerating arduous for passing or climbing uphill, the V6 and eight-speed combo was as clean as eggs and as quiet as a church mouse. It is virtually too quiet, barely registering greater than a hum even in its most dynamic mode at full throttle. For the posh purchaser, that is an excellent downside to have.

Apparently, this era of A8 can be what Audi’s calling a gentle hybrid (MHEV) with a 48-volt starter-generator built-in into its energy prepare and a small 10Ah lithium-ion battery. The MHEV system captures power by way of regenerative braking and makes use of it to energy a sophisticated stop-start system that is extra aggressive about shutting down the combustion engine whereas idling or coasting and extra easily restarts the engine. I virtually did not discover it in motion; that is how clean it’s. The 48-volt system additionally powers the accent techniques for dealing with.

The Audi AI Energetic Suspension makes use of electromechanical motors at every nook, rising or lowering the load on every wheel instantaneously to create the specified dealing with traits. Within the Dynamic setting, for instance, physique roll and dive are countered by the actuators to assist hold the massive sedan flat whereas cornering. In Consolation mode, the trip will be extra compliant and clean. The Energetic Suspension enhances pneumatic trip peak changes that enable the sedan to sit down nearer to the bottom in dynamic mode, trip even decrease for higher freeway gasoline economic system and even elevate to clear tall obstructions.

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The A8’s Audi AI suspension improves dealing with, consolation and security with its mixture of pneumatic and electromechanical actuators.


Audi

The Energetic Suspension additionally comes into play as an lively security characteristic. If these 360-degree sensors detect an imminent aspect affect above about 15 mph, the suspension on the endangered aspect can immediately rise by three.1 inches so the A8 is struck on its sill reasonably than the center of the door. This can be a stronger a part of the physique that may higher take in and unfold affect forces across the cabin and will increase security for passengers by minimizing the potential for intrusion.

The opposite large dealing with trick is Dynamic All-Wheel Steering. This technique principally provides steering to the rear axle (as much as 5 levels) in sure conditions. At low pace and excessive steering angles, the rear wheels flip the other way to the fronts to scoot the rear finish round tighter bends, nearly decreasing the turning radius of the lengthy sedan. At excessive speeds, the rears flip in the identical path because the fronts, rising stability for lane adjustments or evasive maneuvers.

Arriving fall 2018

The brand new Audi A8 begins at 90,600 euro in Europe (about $106,000 transformed), however U.S. pricing for the 2019 Audi A8 L — we solely get the lengthy wheelbase within the US — has not been introduced or finalized.

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The 2019 Audi A8 L arrives within the US in late 2018. Anticipate the autonomous options to affix its bag of tips someday in 2019.


Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

Total, the brand new A8 makes a robust first impression with clean and quiet efficiency and a tech-centric strategy to luxurious that I actually loved. Between the brand new dashboard tech and the promise of Audi AI autonomous options, the A8 is a top-tier tech automotive — that the tech is straightforward to make use of and perceive is even higher. Plus, the cabin really feel extra spacious and cozy than I bear in mind the earlier era being.

As a complete bundle, the brand new Audi A8 L feels extra aggressive than ever with the likes of the brand new Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW’s upcoming 7 Series refresh.

Editors’ observe:Roadshow accepts multiday car loans from producers so as to present scored editorial evaluations. All scored car evaluations are accomplished on our turf and on our phrases. Nonetheless, for this characteristic, journey prices have been lined by the producer. That is widespread within the auto trade, as it is extra economical to ship journalists to vehicles than to ship vehicles to journalists. The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s editorial staff are our personal and we don’t settle for paid editorial content material.

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