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13 July 2017

New Audi A8 Offers Level 3 Autonomous Features And Electrified Drive

Audi has just released the fourth generation of the A8, with its AI traffic jam pilot and 48-volt electrical system – and a plug-in hybrid is to follow.

During a launch ceremony yesterday at the Audi Summit in Barcelona, the company said the full-size sedan has a “systematically electrified drive” and will be the first production volume car in the world to have been developed for “highly automated driving.”

Automated driving features would be considered Level 3 by SAE standards, and will provide a few convenient functions through a parking pilot, garage pilot, and traffic jam pilot. Along with parking itself, the traffic jam pilot can take control of the car during slow-moving traffic and speeds up to 60 km/h (37.3 mph).

The driver can push an AI button on the center console. The traffic jam pilot can do the driving and manage starting, accelerating, steering, and braking.

All variations of the 2018 A8 will have a belt alternator starter (BAS), which is central to its 48-volt electrical system. The 48-volt system powers a number of functions increasing fuel efficiency, including an extended start/stop function and an energy recovery output of up to 12 kW. This will add as much as 0.7 liters (0.2 gallons) per 100 kilometers (62.1 miles) in real driving conditions in fuel savings.

For the 2018 model year, the A8 will start by being first sold in the German market. Car buyers can choose one of two engine options, one powered by diesel and one by gasoline – a 3.0 TDI and a 3.0 TFSI.

As for power output, the diesel version develops 210 kW (286 horsepower), and the gasoline engine produces 250 kW (340 horsepower).

Two eight-cylinder versions of the A8 – a 4.0 TDI with 320 kW (435 horsepower) and a 4.0 TFSI with 338 kW (460 horsepower) – will come to market at a later time.

The Audi A8 L e-tron quattro plug-in hybrid will also follow at a later date, possibly in the 2019 model year. The German automaker said it will still have to find regulatory approval. It will be powered by a 3.0 TFSI engine and an electric motor that can, combined, produce 330 kW (449 horsepower) of system power and 700 Nm (516.3 pounds-feet) of system torque.

SEE ALSO:  Next Audi S8 to Get Hybrid Power?

Audi said it will be able to go about 50 kilometers (31.1 mi) on lithium-ion battery power. That’s most likely based on Europe’s NEDC range standard, and it would be less when being rated in the U.S. under the Environmental Protection Agency’s standard.

It will be able to be charged by Audi Wireless Charging. Just drive the A8 sedan over a pad where power inductively transfers through a receiver coil in the car.

Other features on the fourth generation A8 being promoted by Audi include a 10.1-inch dashboard touch screen display that blends into the surrounding panel; a stylistically defined exterior and “luxury lounge” interior; and a new suspension based on all-wheel steering offering sporty steering combined with stability.

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