Taking a tour de tech in the new Audi A8.
Automotive technology has brought us to the point where cars are more than just a way of getting to one point from another. They’ve become increasingly interwoven into our lives thanks to increased connectivity and improved computer processing power. Ready to assist when needed, they help keep us informed and alerted in ways we couldn’t have imagined a decade ago.
We may think we’ve come a long way, but the recent unveiling of the next-generation Audi A8 shows that the future of mobility will be more interactive, automated and connected. As the signature sedan, the 2019 Audi A8 carries on the tradition of showcasing many of the newest engineering advances that are planned to be integrated into other Audi vehicles.
During its debut at the Audi Summit in Barcelona, Spain, in July 2017, Dr. Dietmar Voggenreiter, Head of Sales and Marketing, said Audi is transforming from a premium car company into a premium digital car company. This highlights the role computer-controlled technology will play in the transformation.
In Audi vehicles, the central role of computing and decision making will be taken on by an ultrafast zFas processor. About the size of a tablet computer, the single zFas processor helps reduce the number of electronic control units and is capable of 741 billion calculations per second. By gathering information from front- and top-mounted cameras, ultrasonic and radar sensors and LIDAR laser imaging, the processor can form a 360-degree virtual picture of the vehicle’s surroundings.
The zFas processor also plays in integral role in the new driver assistance systems in the 2019 Audi A8. Innovative features such as Parking pilot and Garage pilot will help the vehicle to perform parallel and perpendicular parking without driver assistance and from outside the vehicle. These parking functions are made by commands issued via the driver’s connected smartphone from outside the car. The 2019 Audi A8 is also the first vehicle developed to support Level 3 piloted driving through the Audi AI Traffic jam pilot, when certain road conditions are met (delayed availability). Audi AI Traffic jam pilot can help relieve the driver of driving duties during congested traffic by taking over steering, acceleration and braking control up to 35 mph and can inform the driver when it’s time to resume driving duties.
“Forget the car.
The A8 is more.
Audi is more.”
The A8 is more.
Audi is more.”
–Dr. Dietmar Voggenreiter, Head of Sales and Marketing
In the 2019 Audi A8, the ride is engineered to be smooth and controlled, thanks to its new Audi active suspension. A front-mounted camera and a laser scanner help to preview the road for imperfections and can prepare the electromechanical suspension system to absorb bumps and potholes. Audi active suspension can bring a new level of ride comfort along with enhanced handling control. An available feature known as predictive body control can detect unwanted chassis motion such as body roll during cornering and increase shock pressure to counteract body roll.
To help improve stability during lane changes and reduce the turning radius, the new Audi A8 features optional dynamic all-wheel steering. During highway driving situations, the rear wheels steer in the same direction as the front wheels to help aid stability when changing lanes. In the tight confines of a parking garage, dynamic all-wheel steering turns the wheels on the rear axle in the opposite direction to help reduce the turning radius.
During the vehicle’s introduction at the recent Audi Summit, Head of Design Marc Lichte spoke about the new design language featured on the 2019 Audi A8. Lichte based it on three key words: sportiness, progressiveness and sophistication. The result is a bold step forward in sedan design. The front features a low hood, narrow headlights and a wide Singleframe® grille to emphasize width. The angles are sharper and the edges are more defined compared to the previous Audi A8. The Shoulder line on the sides has been lowered to give it a sportier stance, and they leave room on top of the fenders for sculpted edges that pay homage to the flared fenders of the original Quattro coupe.
Lichte also highlighted the gradual, sloping roof line that gives the impression of sports coupe. The rear section features a wide-band taillight design that stretches from corner to corner to accentuate the vehicle’s width and available OLED technology. Lichte said many of the design elements were inspired by the Audi Prologue concept car that debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show® in 2014, and he called the new Audi A8 “the ultimate embodiment of status and sportiness.”
Inside the 2019 Audi A8 is a revolutionary design that replaces most of the switches and controls with high-resolution touchscreen panels on the center console and the center of the dashboard. The result is a minimalist aesthetic that incorporates an intuitive placement of controls. When the vehicle is turned off, the dashboard has the polished sheen of a black piano.
Operating the controls will feel similar to the interface found on tablet computers and smartphones. Users will be able to swipe or scroll through the menus, and haptic feedback will give the user confirmation upon selection. The air vents are hidden behind neatly integrated wood inlays on the upper section of the dashboard, folding open when the air conditioning or heating system is in operation. Unlike any other interior on the road today, the designers believe it will still look revolutionary ten years from now.
Driver and passengers will be surrounded by the finest materials, including naturally tanned leather and expertly treated wood inlays that help bring new levels of comfort and elegance. The right-side rear passenger can be treated to an available foot massager that’s integrated into the back side of the front passenger seat. Interior ambience can be enhanced with the available Audi Air Quality Package that can scent the air much like aromatherapy oils.
You can also expect smooth power delivery with the turbocharged 3.0- and 4.0-liter TFSI® engines. Both engines will be supported by an innovative 48-volt MHEV (mild hybrid electric vehicle) electrical system. This powerful system can supply energy to accessories and drive train systems to help take some of the load off the engine. And quattro® all-wheel drive will be standard on the 2019 Audi A8.
Voggenreiter said the new Audi A8 “embodies our heritage and our future.” It’s a heritage of leading through innovation. The 2019 Audi A8 signals an inflection point: the beginning of the company’s transformation from car maker to technology company. As he ended his presentation at the Audi Summit, Voggenreiter said to “forget the car. The A8 is more. Audi is more.” By now, we’ve come to expect nothing less from the Four Rings.