After releasing multiple teasers and little chunks of information for some time, Audi has now finally unveiled the all new, fourth generation A8 at the first ever Audi Summit in Barcelona, Spain. The new A8 is based on the MLB platform and has a wide, upright single-frame grille along with a fluid and muscular body. It has HD Matrix LED headlights with laser lighting at the front and OLED tail lamps with LED strips at the rear that display unique light animations as the driver approaches and leaves the car. It is 37mm longer, 17mm taller and 4mm narrower compared to the outgoing model.
As revealed earlier, the new A8 comes equipped with a 48-volt mild-hybrid powertrain as standard. It consists of a water-cooled 48-volt belt alternator starter (BAS) and a 10Ah lithium-ion battery. Moreover, most of the controls of the car have been moved to touchscreen panels. There's a 10.1-inch touchscreen on the dashboard and a second touchscreen display on the centre tunnel console through which air conditioning and comfort functions can be controlled. The touchscreens provide acoustic and tactile feedback which makes them safe, intuitive and quick to use.
Apart from the standard A8, the German automaker has also unveiled the A8L which has a 130mm longer wheelbase and optional relaxation seat with massage functions for the soles of the feet. The rear passengers can also control multiple functions like ambient lighting and the new HD Matrix reading lights. The centre armrest houses a removable remote with an OLED display as large as a smartphone. This could be the model that we may get in India whenever Audi plans to launch it here.
Audi also claims that the new A8 is the most advanced car as far as self-driving is concerned. It will come with Audi AI traffic jam pilot that controls the car in slow-moving traffic up to 60 kmph. With the help of radar sensors, front camera, ultrasonic sensors and laser scanners, the new A8 can start, accelerate, steer and brake itself. Moreover, the A8 can park itself, and the driver needs not be in the car for this. BMW also offers a similar tech in the 7 Series and the new 5 Series in India, so we expect Audi to offer this feature in the Indian market as well.
As far as the engines as concerned, it has a 3.0-litre diesel and 3.0-litre petrol engine on offer which produces 290PS and 344.8PS respectively. Apart from these, two 4.0-litre V8 petrol and diesel engines and 6.0-litre W12 petrol engine will be introduced later. All the engines will be coupled to an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The new A8 will go on sale in the European market from autumn 2017. However, its India debut can be expected by mid-2018. Also, Audi is more likely to launch the A8L in the country as it will give a better competition to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series and the Jaguar XJ. Currently, the A8 starts at Rs 1.12 crore and goes up to Rs 1.91 crore (ex-showroom, Delhi).