Audi has unveiled its all-new A8 luxury flagship – a car it claims offers both the sportiest and the most efficient drive in its class, with claimed fuel economy of up to 47mpg.
As before, the new Audi A8 is constructed using Audi Space Frame technology – which means it’s made entirely from aluminium, giving it a structure about 40% lighter than traditional steel.
The engines are between 13 and 22% more efficient than before, thanks to the introduction of Audi’s ‘recuperation’ technology, which recovers energy that would otherwise be lost whenever the car is braking, plus what’s described as ‘innovative thermal management’.
Essentially this means the A8 can manage the warm-up cycle and heat distribution throughout the various elements of the car – engine, gearbox, etc – to further reduce energy losses.
Audi A8 engines
At launch, the new A8 will be available with a 246bhp 3.0-litre V6 TDI turbodiesel, a 345bhp 4.2-litre V8 TDI turbodiesel or a 367bhp 4.2-litre V8 petrol.
The petrol produces 21bhp more than before, yet is 13 per cent more fuel efficient, returning a claimed 29.7mpg. CO2 emissions are 219g/km and the 0-62mph dash takes 5.7 seconds.
The 4.2-litre diesel is billed as the highest performance version. This has a mammoth 590lb ft of torque (pulling power) and apparently ‘accelerates the A8 like a sports car’. It reaches 62mph in just 5.5 seconds and is the only A8 to be fitted as standard with Audi’s rear ‘sport differential’, which helps control the car through high-speed turns.
Power is up by 23bhp and torque up by 110lb ft over the previous model, while fuel economy improves by 19% to an official 37.1mpg, with CO2 emissions of 199g/km.
Stop/start for A8 V6
The 3.0-litre TDI returns 42.8mpg combined – a 22% improvement on its predecessor – and emits 174g/km CO2, with 0-62mph taking 6.6 seconds.
However, a 201bhp version of this engine is coming later, and will improve fuel economy to 47.0mpg while reducing CO2 to an impressive 159g/km – the lowest ever in this sector. Both V6s have a stop/start function.
Every A8 comes with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, and all feature Quattro four-wheel drive except the 201bhp V6, which will be front-wheel-drive only.
High-tech sat nav
Innovations for the new Audi A8 include the use of LED headlights, highly advanced satellite navigation, ‘pre-safe’ crash safety, night vision with pedestrian marking, a speed limit display (coming later in 2010), ‘emotionally charged’ ambient lighting and power operation for all seats.
The optional sat nav adds a touchpad to the Audi Multimedia Interface (MMI) system, meaning users can enter destinations by tracing letters – a world first. Beyond this, ‘MMI Navigation Plus’ integrates so thoroughly throughout the car it pre-empts the route, anticipating necessary gearchanges and helping the driver deal with ‘complex situations’.
The full suite of ‘Audi Drive Select’ systems is also offered, giving control over the air suspension, adaptive dampers, throttle response, gearshift programmes and even the steering. Multimedia options include a 1,400-watt, 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo and ‘state-of-the-art online services’ – eventually including Google Earth in real-time 3D to aid navigation.
Audi A8 prices
The new Audi A8 is available to order now, with prices ranging from £54,760 to £66,240.
First deliveries are scheduled for spring 2010.
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