The next generation of Audi A8, which was revealed in Miami
on the 1st December 2009, represents the natural progression
of Audi's flagship model. This is certainly not a revolutionary
In fact aside from the fancy LED daytime running lights and
bigger single frame grille you'd be forgiven for confusing it
with the previous generation - at least from the front view
anyway. At the rear the changes are a little more obvious -
with the taillights undergoing a redesign, and the tail section
getting a sloping rear deck and shorter overhang. This is designed
to give the A8 a more coupe-like profile. But is this what luxury
executive car owners want? Personally I think the chunky and
solid stance of the previous generation was more impressive.
One area the 3rd generation A8 excels, just like the previous
models, is the technology and engineering packed within.
The all-aluminium monocoque
chassis/body unit, called the Audi Space Frame (ASF), is both
lightweight and strong. In its basic design the ASF body brings
a latticed framework to mind. Its skeleton comprises extruded
sections and pressure diecast parts of aluminum. The aluminum
panels such as the roof and the side panels are
joined by friction connections. Audi has substantially increased
the strength of the higher-strength body components in the new
A8, thereby significantly reducing both material thickness and
Besides the low weight, the ASF body of the A8 also offers a
torsional stiffness increase of 25 percent compared with the
The full LED headlights offer a number of functional advantages
in everyday situations. With a color temperature of 5,500 Kelvin,
their light resembles daylight and thus is much less tiring
to the eyes. They also offer efficiency advantages. The low
beams, for example, consume only 40 watts per unit, a bit less
than the already highly efficient xenon plus headlights.
As you'd expect the interior is a nice place to be. With room
for four people the interior offers a mixture of luxurious and
high quality materials and the latest technology.
The driver information system (DIS), which serves as a fully
fledged information and control center, has a new layout. Its
center display has increased to a 7-inch diagonal, showing all
functions according to an easily understandable concept. It
is operated at the equally improved multifunction steering wheel.
The center tunnel in the 2011 A8 is wide and evenly inclined.
As an ergonomically ideal control console, it contains the control
panel for the automatic air conditioning and the terminal of
the MMI control and multimedia system, now in a new version.
It forms a clearly organized touch & feel arrangement of
three zones, one of which is reserved for audio. Operation is
totally stress-free: The driver's wrist on the selector lever
of the 8-speed tiptronic, asymmetrically located on the center
tunnel, leaving the hand at ease to touch and turn switches.
A new ambient lighting system adds extra drama to the interior
at night. In Audi's own words; "The ambient light package
is an emotional overall orchestration, providing effective illumination
and making the center console seem to float. Many LEDs here
are two-colored or three-colored the color schemes of
ivory, polar and ruby can be selected at the MMI. In other words,
the same LEDs can change between two and three colors. "
The standard front seats feature 12-way electric adjustment.
The comfort seats offer even more luxury with their 22-way adjustability,
also incorporating the sides of the seats. Audi also offers
optional seats with a sporty look and top-stitched diamond patterns.
Three-staged ventilation is offered in addition to the heating.
Another luxury extra is the pneumatic massage, in which twin
air chambers pulsate in the backrest the driver and front
passenger can regulate them in five programs, with the intensity
graduated in three stages.
At it's unveiling Audi released information on the 4.2 litre
V8 model. Although depending on your location a range of different
petrol and diesel engines will be offered. Producing 372 horsepower
and 445 Nm (328 lb-ft) of torque
@ 3,500 rpm, the 4.2 litre V8 features direct fuel injection
and uses 15% less fuel than the previous unit.
With this engine the 2011 A8 can hit 60mph in 5.7 seconds and
go on to reach an electronically limited 155mph top speed.
The transmission is handled by a new 8-speed tiptronic system
and permanent quattro AWD.
A dynamic sport differential
is also offered as an option.
The 8-speed tiptronic is a totally newly developed automatic
transmission. Its great strength lies in the high overall gear
ratio of 7.0:1 between the shortest and longest gear ratio,
reducing the fuel consumption by about six percent.