For model year 2015 the Audi A8 and its “sportier” sibling, the S8 will be mostly more, but less in one way. More power, more driver aids, more elaborate lighting technology, but less fuel consumed. The A8 is the big huge Audi sedan. Conservatively styled, it is the fax machine to the A7’s PDF file. Sort of old fashioned, but useful to a select few.
With so many full size SUVs that can do it all, and so many great looking, and incredibly fast Audi cars to choose from, it is hard to envision who would prefer to drive the A8. Perhaps it is the type of person who just wants the most and the best. Since it is the largest, perhaps that is perception that some have of the A8 and thus, they buy it. Or their company leases them one. Audi has averaged about 25,000 of these most years, but for the past two years has sold about 35,000 in all markets combined.
For 2015 those who drive or ride in the back of the A8 will have be carried along by some fantastic engines. The 4.0 TFSI eight cylinder is the gem. It can propel the A8 to 60 MPH in just 4.5 seconds. To make the driver feel better about the environment four of the eight cylinders can deactivate to save fuel while the car is on the highway en route to the board meeting. There is also a diesel and a hybrid. The engine that Audi markets as the top dog is a W12. It isn’t faster than the V8, or at least Audi isn’t boasting about it in its recent announcement. The fastest version of the Audi 8 is the S8 with the 4.0 TFSI. That car can shave 3/10ths of a second off the A8’s time to hit 60 in just 4.2 seconds from a dead stop. As if anyone would. All versions have an 8 speed automatic and all-wheel drive, except the hybrid which is front wheel drive.
The A8 is often sold as an A8L, which means long wheelbase. Nearly everywhere on Earth that car is a limo. Here in the US some people navigate them to work and the country club. That version is 5 inches longer in the wheelbase.
The lighting in the A8 is fascinating in a way that is handy at Christmas parties. The owner can explain that the lights actually work with the navigation system. The lights ask where the car is going and then plan how they will best illuminate the road as the trip unfolds. Audi explains that the system uses predictive route data to pre-determine the distribution of light that will be used. 25 LEDs make up the high beams and they can be individually activated or deactivated as needed.
The tailpipes are not round anymore, but rather rhomboid. Wheels are available up to 21 inches in diameter. Carbon ceramic brakes are available. The leather is called Unikat, which Audi says is very soft and breathable. The new heads up display can recognize animals and humans before the driver can and alert the driver to them. Parking is now automatic, requiring no inputs form the driver at all, and the car will make steering adjustments on the highway to help keep the car in its lane.
The 2015 (yes model year 15) will appear in German dealerships in November 2013. Allowing for the time difference between Germany and the US, that will still make this car two years ahead of its calendar year for a bit, so it may arrive just a bit later in the US. Prices are expected to start at almost exactly $100,000 using today’s Euro/dollar exchange rate, but with the goodies mentioned above will be somewhat higher.