The benchmark

The flagship of the Audi range, the new A8 continues to set the standard in luxury and technology.

The last word in luxury and cutting-edge automotive technology, the upgraded Audi A8 impresses anew with sharper styling and presence.

2 November, 2021

The new Audi A8 is expected in Australia around the middle of next year

Since it first glided into the rarified ranks of the world’s finest large, luxury sedans in 1994, the Audi A8 has epitomised all of the key elements of the Audi brand. A prestigious car offering absolute luxury and superb finish, showcasing the very latest in automotive technology, from design to construction, safety to driving experience. But the A8 has also furthered its reputation with a spirited side not always associated with the top end of the luxury market. With a level of  performance and agility in a class where customers often prefer to ride in the back, the A8 adds a generous helping of sportiness to the equation, and that’s before we even mention its high-performance sibling, the S8.

Although the model range and specification for the Australian market will not be announced until closer to the local release (around mid 2022), the A8 offering internationally is extensive. European markets will once again see the addition of plug-in hybrid A8 models in the A8 60 TFSI e quattro and A8 L 60 TFSI e quattro, while an S line version will be added to the range for the very first time. There will also be the A8 L long wheelbase model as part of the range and for those who do like spend time in the luxurious rear seats – it will once again be available with the benchmark foot massage function – perhaps the pinnacle of automotive luxury.

In addition to these, the Chinese market will also see the addition of a further model variant called the A8 L Horch, a super-sized A8 that adds 13cm to the already impressive length of the A8 L model as well as a host of other distinctive elements specific to the Chinese market.

The new A8 continues the proud tradition built by its predecessors, but as always, adds significantly to the legacy. Most noticeably in the new model is the sharp new styling that although not a radical departure, gives the new model a distinctive new look that is at once elegant but with the unmistakably aggressive edge. The Audi Singleframe grille immediately catches the attention with a completely new treatment, that looks at first glance like a large gauge wire grille finnish, but on closer inspection is an eye-catching, intricate pattern made up of chrome angles that increase in size from bottom to top. The grille itself is wider, which further accentuates the already significant width of the car at 1.95 metres. New headlights also add to the distinctive look of the front end, the Digital Matrix LED headlights representing the state-of-the-art in automotive lighting with their digital micro mirror technology.

The rear end too features new styling and new lighting tech, with Digital OLED rear lights  which allowed different lighting signatures and safety features (proximity warning for when following traffic gets within two metres of the car’s rear).

The A8 is a big car, measuring 5.19 metres in length, with a three-metre wheelbase, and yet, despite its grand presence, it manages to look sporty, with is coupe-like roofline and the muscular wheel arches housing alloy rims that range from 18 to 21-inches depending on preference.

A true heavyweight in all but actual weight, its lightweight Audi Space Frame (ASF) construction, comprising 58 percent aluminium, hot-formed steel and carbon fibre reinforced polymer resulting in a supremely strong and rigid body that nevertheless is light enough to contribute to the car’s tremendous performance and agility.

The Audi A8 is a true heavyweight in everything but its actual weight, which benefits from its lightweight Audi Space Frame construction

Add to this the standard air suspension with controlled damping and progressive steering and you have a vehicle with performance and handling that belies its size and elegant character

To that end, the new A8 launches with the choice of four engine variants, with V6 3.0 TDI and TFSI options, as well as V8 4.0 TFSI variant for A8 and S8 in various output levels that also boasts Cylinder on Demand (CoD) technology and the aforementioned e plug-in hybrid models.

The 3.0 TDI delivers 210kW of power and 600Nm of torque to see both the A8 50 TDI quattro and A8 L 50 TDI quattro hit 100km/h from standstill in 5.9 seconds – no slouch for a large, luxury limousine.

The petrol models in the A8 55 TFSI and A8 L 55 TFSI up the ante to 250kW while the 4.0-litre V8s  top the list with 338kW and 660Nm of torque in the 60 TFSI models and nail the 0 to 100km.h sprint in 4.4 seconds flat.

Step up to the S8 and those outputs increase to 420kW and 800Nm of torque and the sprint time is further sharpened to just 3.8 seconds – supercar performance in a large, luxury four-door Sedan. 

Each engine mates to an eight-speed tiptronic transmission and of course quattro all-wheel drive with self-locking centre diff is a standard feature across the board, while a sport differential (standard on S8) can also be added to the mix.

Add to this the standard air suspension with controlled damping and progressive steering and you have a vehicle with performance and handling that belies its size and elegant character – a car that rewards the driver on the right road, while giving nothing away in terms of absolute luxury and ride when the going gets, well, more sedate.

Customers can also opt for the Dynamic all-wheel steering to further sharpen the handling – a system that is standard fair on the S8 model – and then there’s the predictive active suspension, which brings with it a new level of ride comfort and control. With its ability to load or unload each wheel individually, it is able to literally remove bumps and imperfections in the road surface for unequalled ride, or firm up the ride and remove body roll during truly spirited driving.

So advanced is this system that it is able to elevate the side of the body on the outside of a curve and lower the one on the side so as to ‘tilt’ the car into the curve up to three degrees keeping the ride essentially flat. Between 80 and 130km/h and during acceleration of up to 0.4g, cornering then becomes barely noticeable at all.

It also raises and lowers the body of the A8 by up to 50mm to make getting in and out more comfortable. It’s the little things that make the biggest impression after all.

Indeed it is a combination of absolute cutting-edge technology and a plethora of beautiful touches that truly set the A8 apart. From the superb interior that is the very pinnacle of execution from a brand renowned for its interior finishes, to the likes of the aforementioned foot massage in the A8 L, that make this the next level automotive luxury. 

Subtle and elegant, the interior sports everything from Valetta leather as standard, MMI Navigation plus, Car-2-X services from Audi connect, Bang & Olufsen Advanced 3D Sound System with 1920 Watt amplifier and 23 speakers, climate control and rear seat remote which allows numerous comfort and infotainment functions to be controlled from the sumptuous rear seats.

Indeed it is a combination of absolute cutting-edge technology and a plethora of beautiful touches that truly set the A8 apart

This is the model in which every conceivable luxury item, new piece of technology, safety equipment and state-of-the-art drive component first sees service 

From here, customers can tailor the interior of their A8 to suit their lifestyle and personal preferences, with everything from the ambient light package plus rear seat Matrix LED reading lights, to a relaxation seat package with back massage with 18 pneumatic cushions, an optional continuous centre console and fold-out table, a cooler with bar compartment, Valcona leather  and even the air quality package which boasts its own custom A8 fragrances.

Of course customers will also be able to choose between trims and finishes including the new S line interior package and three different packages will be offered in Europe – the City assist package, Tour assist and remote park assist plus, that allow further personalisation over and above the wealth of safety and driver assistance systems offered as standard.

The new A8, as with its illustrious forebears, again represents the pinnacle for the brand and showcases the very best of the automotive world. This is the model from which every conceivable luxury item, new piece of technology, safety equipment and state-of-the-art drive component originally comes before filtering down through to the other Audi models in the range.

Whether up front behind the wheel, or riding anywhere in the sumptuous interior, it has always been as good as it gets on four wheels, and the new model looks set to continue that proud tradition when it touches down in Australia next year.