Fetch the cigars and book the chateau; Audi has unveiled its new-look benchmark A8 sedan in three different trims.
The four rings showcased its new A8, long wheelbase A8 L, and performance-orientated S8 overnight for the first time, with each model purporting to offer more tech, more performance, and much more bling.
Visually the big change is chrome (and in some cases, the lack thereof). The new chrome exterior package brings a big meaty chrome grille, helping rid the model of its former subtle wallflower appearance.
Those who aren’t fans of the look needn’t worry. An S Line package will be available, replacing most of the chrome with stealthier black trim. This is also the easiest way to identify the new S8 at a glance, along with its quad exhaust pipes, sportier wheels, and stance.
There’s other exterior identifiers, too. Each model gets new digital matrix LED headlights featuring 1.3 million micromirrors in each unit. The model gets Audi’s OLED tail-lights for the first time, too.
In terms of dimensions, the long-wheelbase A8L measures in at 5.32m long; some 130mm longer than the standard A8. The Chinese market, famed for its love of premium limo cruisers, gets its own even longer A8 model called the Horch, measuring in at 5.45m.
Four powertrains have been detailed at launch, with Audi confirming a fifth is on the way, too. To start with the A8 will be offered with either a 3.0-litre V6 petrol, a 3.0-litre turbodiesel, a 4.0-litre V8, or a bi-turbo 4.0-litre V8 in the S8 variant. Audi will eventually add a plug-in hybrid to the mix.
The V6 churns out 250kW/500Nm, and the standard 4.0-litre V8 338kW/660Nm. The bi-turbo in the S8, meanwhile, develops a credible 420kW/800Nm, and is capable of roaring to 100km/h in 3.8 seconds. Predictive active suspension, a sport differential, and all-wheel steering help it wield the extra power and torque.
Tech has always been the A8’s biggest catchcry, and the new model is no exception. The cabin is screens galore, comprising a 10.1-inch digital cluster, dual 8.6-inch touchscreens in the dash for infotainment and air conditioning controls, and two 10.1-inch screens for rear passengers.
Audi’s Matrix LED tech isn’t exclusive to the headlights. It uses the same hardware inside for the rear passenger reading lights. In fact, most of the comfort tech is orientated around the rear passengers.
They also get Audi’s ‘relaxation seat’ as an option. It features massage functionality with 18 pneumatic cushions, a foot rest in the back of the front passenger seat, and more. Four-zone climate control, a 1920-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system, fragrancing, and a bar compartment between the back seats are also available.
New Zealand timing and pricing for the new A8 range has yet to be confirmed, although we’d tip an arrival in the first half of 2022. European deliveries are scheduled to kick off next month.