12.7.2017New Audi A8 to get e-tron model
Audi has launched its new A8 flagship saloon, with advanced piloted driving systems, mild hybrid powertrains, and an e-tron PHEV due too.
The A8 will be available with a total of five 'conventional' models by the time all variants have been rolled out, and all of them will use mild hybrid technology to assist in reducing emissions and improving performance.
Considering the size of these units, made up of two diesels and three petrol engines - featuring 3.0 six-cylinder, 4.0 eight-cylinder, and 6.0 W12 options - the mild hybrid systems will only make a small difference to overall economy figures, but larger percentage gains are on offer.
The good news is that Audi will filter mild hybrid technology - which uses a 48-volt integrated belt alternator starter - will filter down to other models in future. In the A8, as much as 0.7 litres per 100km (62 miles) of fuel will be saved in real-world driving conditions.
More importantly though is the e-tron model due at a later date. Powered by a 3.0 litre TFSI petrol engine and electric motor, the A8 will have a combined 449hp at its disposal. The quoted electric driving range is around 50km (31 miles) though this is yet to be officially tested. Audi will offer the A8 with wireless charging too.
Audi's piloted driving system will see semi-autonomous driving available from the A8, with the car able to accelerate, brake, and steer in traffic at speeds of up to 60 km/h (37mph), on roads where a physical barrier separates the carriageways.
Although the system isn't as advanced as others available currently, such as Volvo's Pilot Assist, Audi has said that it will allow 'hands-off' driving where laws allow, so that the driver can do other things such as watch the in-car TV. Current systems and laws require the driver to keep their hands on the wheel so as to remain in control of the car.
Remote parking pilot is also offered by Audi which, like BMW's system premiered on the A8-rivalling 7-Series, allows the driver to park and remove their car from a spot while outside of the vehicle. Audi's system uses the driver's smartphone to control the car, with a 360 degree view available while the car steers and drives itself.
The Audi also showcases a new suspension system that combines all-wheel steering for more precise and safer handing. The suspension is active to allow for a stiffer or more comfortable ride which is common place in the A8's market now. However, one new feature is that a safety system will sense if the car is about to be involved in a lateral collision, and will raise the ride-height up in a fraction of a second, reducing the risk of injury for occupants.
Available in Germany in late Autumn, the A8 in both standard and L longer-wheelbase form will likely go on sale in the UK towards the end of this year or the beginning of 2018. UK specifications and pricing are yet to be confirmed, but the new A8 will cost from 90,600 euros, roughly £81,000.