2011 Audi A8 L European pricing review and pictures

Posted on Wednesday, 14 July 2010 , 16:07:38 byAlina

Filed under AudiEuropeanGermanPricingSedan

Audi A8 L European pricing

The redesigned 2011 A8 L is available with five different engines. You get two 3.0-liter V6 units: a TDI with 184 kW (250 hp) and a TFSI producing 213 kW (290 hp) and two V8 engines options: a 4.2 liters TDI producing 258 kW (350 hp) and the FSI 273 kW (372 hp). The 6.3 liter W12 petrol engine delivers 368 kW (500 hp).
Inside, the cabin is fitted with individual power-adjustable rear seats (with heat), a full-length center console and seat ventilation and massage.

The new high-tech flagship of the brand - The Audi A8 L


The full-size A8 sedan embodies the Vorsprung durch Technik for which Audi is renowned. The brand now presents the new top version of its flagship: The long-wheelbase A8 L sets standards for luxury, dynamics and efficiency. It will debut in fall 2010 with five engines, including the powerful twelve-cylinder with 368 kW (500 hp).

The Audi A8 L impresses with a presence of powerful confidence - it is a large, distinguished luxury sedan. Length and wheelbase have both been stretched by 13 centimeters (5.12 in) versus the standard version; the A8 L measures 5.27 meters (17.29 ft). All of this added length is to the benefit of the rear seat passengers.

Audi offers two power-adjustable and heated individual seats as an option for the rear, which can be paired with the optional continuous, elegantly-styled center console with large storage compartments. The individual seats can also be equipped with optional ventilation and massage functions, and features such as a folding table and a cool box make the passengers' stay even more enjoyable. The top version is the relaxation seat with power footrest. It comes complete with every available luxury option, including a rear seat entertainment system.

Audi also offers a number of attractive multimedia modules, including a high-end sound system from Bang & Olufsen and advanced online services. The Audi A8 L is the first automobile in the world to be available with an integrated WLAN hotspot. A UMTS module provides the connection to the Internet.

The interior of the A8 L enchants with its new, light lines, with a craftsman's level of fit and finish and with extraordinary attention to the smallest of details. The comfort on board is first class - from the ambient lighting to the four-zone automatic climate control system.

The Audi flagship combines a new level of technical intelligence with intuitively simple operation. Its multimedia interface (MMI) includes a pioneering innovation: In conjunction with the optional MMI navigation plus navigation system, it has a touchpad. The MMI enables the driver to control many functions intuitively. The navigation destination, for example, can be entered by tracing the letters on the pad with a finger.

MMI navigation plus is tightly integrated with the assistance and safety systems in the new Audi A8 L. It reads the road ahead and provides the data to the control units for the automatic transmission, the headlights and the advanced adaptive cruise control with stop & go function.

With their increased intelligence, these systems can recognize complex scenarios and predictively support the driver. The new Audi pre sense safety system can reduce the severity of accidents and their consequences in many cases. The night vision assistant with its highlighting of detected pedestrians and the speed limit display enhance the driver's safety and convenience.

Timeless elegance: the design


The Audi A8 L is a sedan of classic, timeless elegance. Its body is an aluminum Audi Space Frame (ASF), weighing about 40 percent less than a comparable steel structure. Audi offers optional LED headlights that use light emitting diodes for all light functions (standard with the W12). These represent a revolution in lighting technology with respect to both the technology and appearance.

The new A8 L is debuting with five engines: two TDI and three FSI gasoline units. All of the engines feature increased power and torque, while fuel consumption has improved considerably: by as much as 22 percent. This is due to Audi efficiency technologies such as the recuperation system and the innovative thermal management.

The engine lineup spans a wide range. It begins with two three-liter V6 units: a TDI with 184 kW (250 hp) and a TFSI producing 213 kW (290 hp). The two V8 engines both have a displacement of 4.2 liters, with the TDI producing 258 kW (350 hp) and the FSI 273 kW (372 hp). Topping the lineup is the W12, a gasoline engine with superior power and cultivation. It develops 368 kW (500 hp) from a displacement of 6.3 liters.

The transmission also plays a major role in the efficiency of the A8 L. The eight-speed tiptronic has a very high overall gear ratio and is controlled electronically using either the elegant selector lever or paddles on the steering wheel. The quattro permanent all-wheel drive has a distinctly sporty and rear-biased character. The optional sport differential dynamically distributes the forces between the rear wheels; this feature is standard with the A8 L 4.2 TDI.

The new A8 L offers both luxurious ride comfort and sporty handling. Its wheel control arms are made of aluminum. The adaptive air suspension with controlled damping is standard equipment and is integrated into the versatile Audi drive select dynamics system. The optional dynamic steering completes the range of chassis options.

The Audi A8 L will be rolling into showrooms toward the end of the year. Base prices are €79,900 for the 3.0 TDI; €80,400 for the 3.0 TFSI; €94,300 for the 4.2 FSI; €95,800 for the 4.2 TDI; and €137,000 for the opulantly equipped W12.

The full-size A8 sedan embodies the Vorsprung durch Technik for which Audi is renowned. The brand now presents the new top version of its flagship: The long-wheelbase A8 L sets standards for luxury, dynamics and efficiency. It will debut in fall 2010 with five engines, including the powerful twelve-cylinder with 368 kW (500 hp).

The Audi A8 L impresses with a presence of powerful confidence - it is a large, distinguished luxury sedan. Length and wheelbase have both been stretched by 13 centimeters (5.12 in) versus the standard version; the A8 L measures 5.27 meters (17.29 ft). All of this added length is to the benefit of the rear seat passengers.

Audi offers two power-adjustable and heated individual seats as an option for the rear, which can be paired with the optional continuous, elegantly-styled center console with large storage compartments. The individual seats can also be equipped with optional ventilation and massage functions, and features such as a folding table and a cool box make the passengers' stay even more enjoyable. The top version is the relaxation seat with power footrest. It comes complete with every available luxury option, including a rear seat entertainment system.

Audi also offers a number of attractive multimedia modules, including a high-end sound system from Bang & Olufsen and advanced online services. The Audi A8 L is the first automobile in the world to be available with an integrated WLAN hotspot. A UMTS module provides the connection to the Internet.

The interior of the A8 L enchants with its new, light lines, with a craftsman's level of fit and finish and with extraordinary attention to the smallest of details. The comfort on board is first class - from the ambient lighting to the four-zone automatic climate control system.

The Audi flagship combines a new level of technical intelligence with intuitively simple operation. Its multimedia interface (MMI) includes a pioneering innovation: In conjunction with the optional MMI navigation plus navigation system, it has a touchpad. The MMI enables the driver to control many functions intuitively. The navigation destination, for example, can be entered by tracing the letters on the pad with a finger.

MMI navigation plus is tightly integrated with the assistance and safety systems in the new Audi A8 L. It reads the road ahead and provides the data to the control units for the automatic transmission, the headlights and the advanced adaptive cruise control with stop & go function.

With their increased intelligence, these systems can recognize complex scenarios and predictively support the driver. The new Audi pre sense safety system can reduce the severity of accidents and their consequences in many cases. The night vision assistant with its highlighting of detected pedestrians and the speed limit display enhance the driver's safety and convenience.

At a glance

The Audi A8 L


Body

  • Lightweight and yet ultra-strong aluminum body with ASF design
  • 13 centimeters longer than the standard version, measures 5.27 meters (17.29 ft)
  • Timelessly elegant and harmonious lines, optional LED headlights
  • Panoramic sunroof comprising two glass elements


Interior and controls

  • Power-adjustable individual rear seats, with luxurious relaxation seat available as an option
  • Craftsman-level fit and finish, generous list of standard and optional equipment
  • Advanced MMI control system standard; as MMI touch navigation system with pioneering character recognition

Assistance and safety systems

  • Night vision assistant with pedestrian marking, adaptive cruise control with stop & go function, additional high-performance driver assistance systems
  • New Audi pre sense safety system for avoiding accidents and for minimizing their consequences

Infotainment systems

  • Latest generation navigation system tightly networked with the assistance systems
  • State-of-the-art online services including WLAN hotspot, high-end audio systems


Drivetrain

  • Two TDI and three gasoline engines, with power ranging from 184 kW (250 hp) to 368 kW (500 hp)
  • Groundbreaking efficiency: 3.0 TDI emits only 176 grams CO2 per km (283.24 g/mile) Twelve-cylinder FSI with a displacement of 6.3 liters
  • Newly developed, electronically controlled eight-speed tiptronic standard
  • quattro all-wheel drive standard, sport differential available for the rear axle

Chassis

  • Lightweight suspension, balanced axle load distribution
  • Audi drive select driving dynamic system including standard air suspension and adaptive damping, optional dynamic steering

Interior

Audi has its own unique philosophy when it comes to luxury. Luxury does not mean excess, but rather elegant, cultivated style. For Audi, luxury means selecting all materials carefully and lovingly processing them using a high degree of technical expertise. The result of this is an integrated work of art like the interior of the A8 L.

The interior of the full-size sedan is a rolling lounge - an island of tranquility that spoils all of the senses. Customers for the top model value comfort, style and prestige, which is why Audi designed the long-wheelbase version for both those with chauffeurs and those who drive themselves. Every bit of the additional 13 centimeters (5.12 in) benefits the rear seat passengers.

The ultimate in luxury: the rear seats


The rear of the A8 L spoils passengers with opulant amounts of head, shoulder, foot and knee room. The Audi luxury sedan offers considerably more head room than its key competitors. The longer rear doors make entry extremely comfortable. A glass sunroof and electric sunblinds for the rear window and rear side windows are standard equipment.

The A8 L comes standard with a classic, three-seat rear bench. Audi also offers the option of two comfortable individual seats (standard with the W12) while still retaining the third seat. The individual seats feature three-level heating and electric controls for adjusting the length, the inclination of the cushions and headrests and the pneumatic lumber support. A memory function and the additional fold-down compartments in the rear armrest of the doors are standard. Additional equipment features include deluxe headrests, a passenger seat that can be moved forward and back from the rear seat and the four-zone automatic climate control system.

Among the options Audi offers for the individual seats are ventilation and a pneumatic massage function with two selectable programs and three intensity levels. Another attractive option is the continuous center console, which forms an elegant wave flowing into the structure of the center tunnel. Leather and fine wood veneers imbue it with a sumptuous look.

The switches for adjusting the seats are located on the flanks of the long console, while the top sports a wide and comfortable armrest. This houses a large storage compartment that accomodates the optional car phone and a 230 volt outlet. An additional compartment in the rear wall of the cabin is hidden behind covers with additional wood applications. The control unit for the separate rear seat air conditioning is located at the front of the console. Audi offers a number of optional components, such as fold-down tables and a cool box that can hold two one-liter bottles and is illuminated by two LEDs.

The top option in the Audi A8 L is the relaxation seat on the passenger side in the rear, which offers first-class luxury as in an airplane. Passengers sitting there can rest their feet on a power-adjustable footrest on the back of the passenger seat. The passenger's back is massaged by ten air cushions according to four programs, each with five intensity and speed levels that can be selected using a remote control. The programs target different things. One massages the entire back, while another concentrates on the shoulders.

In addition to all of the standard features of the individual seats, the relaxation seat also comes standard with the long center console, seat ventilation and the rear seat entertainment system. The ambient lighting further refines the atmosphere.

The left rear seat also offers a massage function, here with two programs and three intensity levels. An easy entry and exit function automatically moves both rear seats to the rearmost position when the corresponding door is opened.

Rearward looking radar: Audi side assist


Audi side assist activates at a speed of 30 km/h (18.64 mph). Two 24 gigahertz radar sensors in the rear monitor what is happening behind the and beside the sedan to a distance of 70 meters. Their data are analyzed by a computer. If another vehicle moves into the critical zone - if it is riding in the blind spot or approaching rapidly from the rear - the so-called information stage is activated. A yellow LED indicator illuminates in the casing of the driver's side mirror; the driver sees it only when looking directly into the mirror.

If the driver activates the turn signal to change lanes in spite of the warning, the indicator become brighter and flashes at a high frequency. This signal - the warning stage - can hardly be overlooked. The visual signal is designed so that in practice it is only visible to the driver. Its brightness adapts to ambient light conditions and can also be controlled via the MMI control terminal.

Keeping on course: Audi lane assist
At speeds above roughly 65 km/h (40.39 mph), Audi lane assist issues a warning if the driver is about to leave the lane inadvertently. A camera mounted in front of the rear-view mirror observes the road to a distance of 60 meters (197 ft) and a coverage angle of 40 degrees. It delivers 25 high-definition images per second. Software processes the images and identifies the lane markings and the course the A8 L is following between them.

If the driver allows the car to wander in the direction of a lane marking but has not indicated that he or she intends to make a turn, Audi lane assist warns the driver by vibrating the steering wheel. Vibration intensity and the point at which the warning starts can be selected in three stages. Audi lane assist has become much more powerful compared to the earlier version. For instance, the color camera can differentiate between the yellow line in construction zones and the white ones.

The camera of Audi lane assist also serves a number of functions in addition to these tasks. It provides imagery for the ACC stop & go, and its data also go into the startup function in slow-moving traffic. The camera also plays an important role in emergency braking initiated by Audi pre sense front and for the continuous headlight range control.

Always informed: the speed limit display


The camera-based system in the Audi A8 not only detects speed-limit signs on the side of the road and their supplemental panel, it also detects temporary speed limits posted on digital displays. It also performs situational analysis if the roads are wet or if speed limits apply only during certain times. It can even consider whether the driver is towing something. Country-specific regulations are incorporated by synchronizing data with the navigation system. The driver can choose between a variety of display options in the instrument cluster and is kept constantly informed of the applicable speed limit.

Long-range vision in the dark: the night vision assistant


Another high-end system in the Audi A8 L is the night vision assistant, which marks the persons detected. The heart of this system is a thermal imaging camera in the single-frame grille. It has a wide, 24-degree angle of view, and its protective window is cleaned when dirty and heated when cold. As a far infrared system (FIR), the camera reacts to the heat radiated by objects. A computer converts the information from the camera into black-and-white images and displays them on the driver information system display.

Far infrared technology has significant strengths compared to competing systems. Independent of driving speed, it can look as far as 300 meters (984.25 ft) ahead, far beyond the range of the high beams, and therefore is not blinded by headlights and similar light sources. Most importantly, it concentrates on that which is most important: animals and people. They are conspicuously bright in the image due to the heat they radiate, whereas the cooler road appears dark.

The image processing software can detect persons at a range of up to 100 meters (328.08 ft). They are highlighted with yellow markings on the display. If the control unit assumes a hazard because a person is walking on the road close to the car, for example, the person is marked in red and a warning gong sounds. Like every assistance system, the night vision assistant also works within certain, liberal system limitations.

Informative: the parking assist systems


Audi offers a choice of two parking assist systems in the A8 L. The parking system plus (standard in the W12) uses eight ultrasonic sensors to indicate the distance acoustically and graphically on the large onboard display. The front sensors also monitor the starting zone immediately in front of the car for the ACC stop & go when the sedan is creeping along in traffic.

The parking system plus with reversing camera also uses an extremely light-sensitive external camera. Mounted in the trunk lid, its fish-eye lens covers a broad, 130 degree field of view. The images generated by this camera are input and displayed on the MMI operating system monitor. Guidelines and fields show the driver the projected path of the car.

100 control units: the network


The onboard network of the new Audi A8 L is shaped like an H, with the horizontal member located in the vicinity of the rear seat. The seatback forms a protected space into which as many as 15 control units are integrated. A conventional onboard network in a large sedan comprises up to 1,500 individual wires and weighs roughly 50 kilograms (110.23 lb). In the new A8 L, Audi reduced its weight by 8 kilograms (17.64 lb) despite the many new functions. The network comprises a total of seven bus systems and roughly 100 control units.

The electronic nervous system in the new Audi flagship is so complex that it required a new architecture. The A8 L uses the FlexRay bus system, which makes the transmission of data between the individual control units significantly faster and more reliable.

Safety



The Audi A8 L protects its passengers in new, intelligent ways: with a high-strength body, adaptive restraint systems and the new Audi pre sense safety system. It is available in a standard version and in three expanded levels.

In the standard variant - Audi pre sense basic - the system uses the information from the ESP stabilization program. If they signal a critical situation, such as skidding or maximum braking, the control unit intervenes. Depending on the situation, it activates the hazard warning lights and closes the side windows and the sunroof; it also partly or fully tensions the front seat belts. Small electric motors trigger this process, which is reversible; if the situation is averted without an accident, the belts are released again.

The new safety system is available in a number of versions, two of which are Audi pre sense front and Audi pre sense rear. They are tightly coupled with the optional assistance systems adaptive cruise control with stop & go function and Audi side assist, making them particularly differentiated and capable.

The Audi pre sense front system protects against rear-end collisions with moving vehicles ahead. It warns the driver in three stages. If the sedan is approaching a slower moving car ahead, a warning gong sounds while a red signal lights up in the driver information system display. Parallel to this, the brake system is prefilled and the air shocks and dampers of the suspension are set to hard. The warning is intended to persuade the driver to apply the brakes or take evasive action, which is often the better strategy.

If the driver remains passive, the acute warning - a warning jolt produced by the rapid generation of pressure in the brake system - is issued in stage 2. The seatbelts are lightly tensioned at the same time. If the driver now depresses the pedal, the hydraulic brake assist system handles precise braking relative to the preceding vehicle. The fact that the system is already prefilled saves between 0.1 to 0.2 seconds, or more than seven meters (22.97 ft) at a speed of 130 km/h (80.78 mph).

Should the driver also ignore the warning jolt, the third stage is activated - partial braking that initially slows the A8 L at a rate of 3 m/s2. The windows and sunroof are closed, and the hazard warning lights are activated.

The last resort: maximum braking


If the sedan is equipped with the full version of Audi pre sense - Audi pre sense plus, which is part of the assistance package - a fourth stage follows, if necessary. The system now increases deceleration to 5 m/sē and pulls the belts tight. This is followed by a final braking phase with maximum braking. It begins about half a second before impact - at this point there is no longer any time for evasive action. The force of the collision and its consequences are greatly reduced, for by impact the A8 L has cut its speed by as much as 40 km/h (24.85 mph).

Audi pre sense rear mitigates the consequences of a rear-end collision; it closes the windows and sunroof and tightens the belts. If the A8 L is equipped with seats with a memory function, the upper backrest of the front seats and the optional individual seats in the rear, plus the front headrests are moved into a position that reduces the risk of whiplash. In addition, the (optional) pneumatic side bolsters in the front seats are filled with air.

Excellent protection: crash safety


The new Audi A8 L has a body that offers excellent protection against all types of collisions. In a frontal collision, four load paths distribute the forces optimally to each side of the vehicle. Two of these are located in the upper portions of the fenders, the others in the longitudinal members and the buffers installed in front of the subframe for the engine and the front axle. The other vehicle involved in the accident also benefits from the homogenous shape of the front.

A crossmember manufactured out of a double-box section and bent into the shape of an omega provides additional protection for the passenger cell. The crossmember is located on a line with the footwells and diverts the forces into the floor and the A-pillars. The longitudinal members in the floor panel come together in the shape of an arrow below the rear bench seat. Together with the center tunnel they constitute the body's strongest node. Large beams in the rear protect the passenger cell; the rear wheels are braced against the side sills in the event of a collision.

Standing guard in the large sedan's cabin is the adaptive restraint system. It is networked with Audi pre sense and draws its own information from eight pressure sensors and acceleration sensors. It intelligently manages the interplay between the airbags and the belt force limiters to offer outstanding protection to passengers of any size.

Sensors on the front seat rails detect how far forward or back the seat is positioned. Because the control unit then knows the approximate position of the passenger, it can ensure that optimal use is made of the distance over which the upper body is slowed by the belt and the airbag. Audi pre sense reduces this distance by roughly ten centimeters (3.94 in) because the belts are tensioned before the crash occurs.

If a passenger - typically a smaller person - is sitting close to an airbag, a portion of the air is quickly expelled via valves after the airbag inflates so that the head and chest are gathered in more gently by the airbag. In a hard crash or with large occupants who sit farther back, the valves remain closed longer. The variable belt force limiters are likewise designed to be adaptive. They control belt tension so that chest loading remains as low as possible.

The structural design of the seats and headrests is another important element of safety design, especially in the case of a rear-end collision. These types of accidents frequently occur at traffic lights, usually with impact speeds between 15 and 50 km/h (9.32 and 31.07 mph). The integral head restraint system from Audi acts here to counter the risk of whiplash injuries.

Four side airbags in the backrests of the front seats and the outside rear seats stand at the ready to catch the pelvic area and chest of the occupants in the event of a side-impact collision. Stretching from the A- to the C-pillars, the head airbag system opens like a curtain from the roof frame to the door sill. All of the seats in the new A8 L have three-point automatic seatbelts with tension limiters. The rear seats are equipped with Isofix fixtures for the safety seats of the youngest passengers.

The new A8 L satisfies all legal requirements for the protection of pedestrians in the event of a collision. A foam between the front bumper and its crossmember makes the impact slightly easier on the knees. If the head should hit the hood, the aluminum panel can deform over a wide range. The gap between it and the hard components in the engine compartment is large.

The standard insurance category crash - a parking lot crash - has no major financial consequences. The aluminum crash boxes bolted in front of the crossmembers at both the front and at the rear of the car are relatively easy to replace.

The front and rear sensors remain undamaged in the event of a low-speed parking crash because they are cleverly integrated into the deformable covering of the bumpers.

Infotainment systems



The Audi A8 L leads the pack when it comes to multimedia. The optional MMI navigation plus system (standard in the W12) provides its data to other technology modules, taking the intelligence of the large sedan to a whole new level. Its operating concept with the MMI touch touchpad is another pioneering solution.

MMI navigation plus is a high-tech system. Numerous components, including the DVD drive, are integrated in the main unit in the center console. A8 L owners can use a third of the 60 GB hard drive to store music files. Two processors ensure that all applications such as navigation, voice control, telephony and audio remain fast and fluid when used simultaneously.

A dedicated graphics processor generates the three-dimensional images in high quality. The map is a highly detailed 3D terrain model, and 3D maps of many cities are also provided. The driver can choose between route guidance using the classic arrows or a new, animated display rich with detailed information. A second grouping of the MMI navigation plus, the radio unit, combines the functions of tuner and sound system.

MMI navigation plus works closely with the assistance and safety systems on board the new Audi A8 L. Its database precisely describes the entire European road system. The navigation system analyzes these data predictively, reading the current course of the sedan but always thinking a bit ahead. The information flows via a data bus to the computers that manage such elements as the Audi adaptive cruise control with stop & go function, the headlights and the eight-speed tiptronic. This enables these systems to precisely adapt their function to conditions in advance.

On the highway, the radar-assisted distance control system can also compute the lanes in curves. On curving country roads the eight-speed tiptronic does not make unnecessary upshift on short straight stretches. And in the city, the junction lights already switch on as the new A8 L approaches the intersection even if the driver does not signal.

Groundbreaking: the MMI touch


The operation of MMI navigation plus, which uses black panel technology, is groundbreakingly new. To enter the destination or phone number you simply trace the letters or numbers on the touch-sensitive panel with your index finger. The same method can be used to navigate with the map.

The new input technology functions intuitively and takes no time at all to get used to. The right hand rests comfortably on the selector lever of the eight-speed tiptronic. The finger traces the letters and numbers as if automatically - and the driver's attention remains focused on the road. The system acknowledges the input after each character with an acoustic feedback signal. If you make a mistake, a stroke is all it takes to delete the wrong character. In contrast to voice control, touchpad input is possible even while speaking or listening to an audio source.

Behind the new technology is a network that has been fed with millions of character samples from all around the world. This allows the MMI touch to be used internationally; it also recognizes symbols in Asian character sets. An additional feature is the black panel technology: Here the pad becomes a control panel containing six freely selectable radio stations.

Along with MMI touch, the new A8 L also offers conventional Audi operation using the MMI rotary pushbutton. The optional voice control understands complete words. Places and roads can now be spoken as commands, and it can even be used to access music data.

Wellness for the ears: the sound systems


A wide range of hi-fi and communication modules are available in the A8 L. The luxury sedan comes standard with the Audi sound system, comprising a 180 watt, six-channel amplifier, ten speakers, a DVD drive, two SD card readers for audio files and a radio tuner.

Audi also offers a DAB dual tuner for digital radio, a digital TV tuner and a DVD changer as options. The Audi music interface (AMI) provides an interface for a portable player or an external video source. It displays the directory structure on the monitor so that MMI can be used to control playback.

The next hi-fi level is the Bose surround sound system (standard in the W12), in which a digital amplifier drives more than 600 watts to 14 speakers, including a subwoofer, with a finely balanced and simultaneously powerful sound backed by strong base. The system can also play stereo recordings in five-channel surround sound.

The top of the line is the Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System. It is impressive for its sparkling brilliance, detailed resolution and broad, finely differentiated frequency range. The Danish specialists use a proprietary algorithm to generate sound reflections like those that occur in a concert hall. The music resounds from a splendid virtual stage.

The heart of the Advanced Sound System is a pair of amplifiers with more than 1,400 watts of total power. The amplifiers' digital output stages, which have been designed in part to be extremely energy efficient, direct this power through 19 channels to 19 speakers. The acoustic lenses to the left and right in the cockpit are visual highlights. The two elegantly styled tweeters are mounted down out of sight and emerge from the dashboard when the system is switched on. The speaker grilles are made of polished aluminum.

Communicative: rear seat entertainment


The optional rear seat entertainment system (standard with the relaxation seat) brings information and communication to the rear seat of the Audi A8 L. Two 10.2-inch displays - an extremely thin 16 millimeters thick - are mounted on the back of the driver and front passenger seats. The inclination of the monitors is adjustable, and they can separately display different content. Sound is supplied via the audio systems or two sets of Bluetooth headphones.

The rear seat entertainment system includes its own DVD drive, a hard drive jukebox, two slots for SD memory cards, and a separate Audi music interface. It also has full access to the onboard radio, the TV tuner, the DVD changer and the navigation system. A separate large MMI controller in the rear center armrest controls the system - another instance of first-class convenience.

Audi offers a Bluetooth hands-free system and the online Bluetooth car phone (standard in the W12) for easy phone calls. Drivers can leave their mobile phone in their jacket pocket; if the mobile phone supports SIM Access Profile, the car phone pulls the data from the SIM card and phone storage via Bluetooth.

The online Bluetooth car phone online uses the car's antenna, which ensures optimal reception. A digital voice processor delivers excellent hands-free call quality, with voice signals transmitted via the sound system. The system can be optionally expanded to include two wireless handsets for discreet telephony, one mounted up front and the other in the back.

Internet services



The new A8 L is far ahead of the competition, including where Internet connectivity is concerned. An optional UMTS module provides a connection to special services from Google and to the World Wide Web. The top version turns the large sedan into a rolling WLAN hotspot - another major innovation from the brand with the four rings.

A8 L owners can already use the GPRS module to access the specialized services from Google to bring news and weather information from the Internet to the large sedan. The search function for points of interest can find terms such as "restaurant" or "cigar shop" when planning a route. Drivers can plan their routes down to the last detail on their computers at home, upload them to a section of the Internet site www.audi.de and from there download them to the navigation system of the A8 L on starting the trip.

The UMTS module of the online Bluetooth car phone is another optional interface to Google. The A8 L uses the fast connection to download three-dimensional satellite and aerial images from Google Earth and display them in a bird's eye view on the monitor; the computer fills in the streets. In addition to the images, a lot of additional information about the destinations is also delivered to the car.

With the top version of the system, the A8 L provides a full-fledged Internet connection. It is the first vehicle worldwide to be available from the factory with a WLAN hotspot on board. Passengers in the front and rear can simultaneously connect up to eight terminal devices - from laptops to Apple iPads to netbooks - to the Internet through the car's integrated WLAN module and via UMTS.

Communication with the Internet uses the roof-mounted antenna of the Audi A8 to delivery maximum connection stability and excellent reception. WPA2 encryption provides the necessary security for the transfer of data.

The WLAN hotspot is remarkably simple to use. The driver places a data-capable SIM card in the online Bluetooth car phone to activate the very fast Internet connection, which supports speeds up to 7.2 Mbit/s. Alternatively, an Internet connection can be established via Bluetooth by using a compatible mobile phone with a SIM Access Profile. The existing mobile phone contract is sufficient in most cases; no additional fees or separate contracts are required for the new data links.

Body



The aluminum body of the new Audi A8 L is big, strong, sturdy and amazingly light. Its weight of 241 kilograms (531.31 lb) is a central factor for the sedan's high dynamics and exemplary efficiency. Including its standard quattro all-wheel drive system, the A8 L 3.0 TFSI (minus driver) weighs in at only 1,880 kilograms (4,144.69 lb), much less than its competitors. Audi, the lightweight design pioneer of the automotive industry, once again demonstrates its leadership role.

The Audi Space Frame (ASF) technology results in a roughly 40 percent weight advantage over a comparable steel body. The layout of the ASF body follows bionic principles. Its frame comprises extruded sections and pressure diecast parts of aluminum; the aluminum panels - such as the roof panels and the side panels - are joined by friction connections.

Like the bones in a skeleton, all of the components combine optimal function with low weight. The material is used only where necessary and always in a tailored configuration. Audi uses 13 different grades of aluminum in the new A8 L.

Castings are made primarily from advanced alloys. They are used wherever high forces are induced locally and there is a need for versatility and design freedom. The A-pillar node, for example, is one such multifunctional component. It connects the longitudinal member, the windshield crossmember, the roof frame, the strut mount, and the omega bracket in front of the footwell.

Most of the 25 castings are manufactured using the very high-precision vacuum casting process.

The extruded sections also stand out with their design flexibility, with each one optimized precisely for its intended purpose. The roof arch of the new A8 L, for instance, is hydroformed. Its cross-section changes multiple times over its length, with smooth transitions.

Audi has increased the strength of the higher-strength body components in the A8 L by as much as 25 percent, thereby reducing both material thickness and weight by up to 20 percent. This achievement is due in part to an innovative composite material for the aluminum panels called a fusion alloy, which alone saves 6.5 kilograms (14.33 lb). 15 fusion panels are used for the load-bearing parts of the structure - the center tunnel, the cross bracings in the floor, the windshield crossmember, and in the area of the rear seats.

The most recent stage in the evolution of the ASF principle is composite construction with steel to further improve crash safety. The B-pillars of the A8 L are mode of hot-shaped steel. The blanks are heated in a pass-through furnace to roughly 900 degrees Celsius during production and fed into the hydraulic press directly thereafter.

Cold water flows through cooling tubes cast into the die of the press, cooling the panel to approximately 200 degrees. This produces a structure with an extremely high tensile strength - 1,500 Newtons per square millimeter in the upper section of the pillars; somewhat lower in the lower section because this is where most of the energy is dissipated in the event of a side impact collision.

Innovative processes: body assembly


With the ASF skeleton of the A8 L, the steel B-pillars cannot simply be welded into the aluminum body. Self-tapping screws are used for a secure hold and the utmost precision. The flow drill screws (FDS) are installed by a high-speed robot working with high axial forces. The screws melt the material slightly and tap their own threads. A structural adhesive further improves the strength of the joint.

The hot-shaped B-pillars make up 9 percent of the weight of the A8 L body's material matrix, with most of the rest being aluminum - 35 percent panels, 34 percent cast components and 22 percent extruded sections. The joining of these wrought components and the individual parts comprising the body of the A8 L is a high-tech process. Audi uses a wide variety of joining techniques - punch riveting, self-tapping screws, spot welding, MIG welding (MIG = metal inert gas), laser welding, combined bonding and spot welding.

Laser welding is an Audi domain. Because the seams exhibit high strength and rigidity, it can be used to join large panels to the structure. One area where laser welding is used is the aluminum invisible seam between the roof and the side of the car. This is an area at the focus of all of Audi's precision during the design and body assembly processes - the maximum tolerance for the outer skin is only 0.1 millimeters (0.004 in). The A8 L has no roof trim strips or visible joints.

The development engineers have also trimmed every unnecessary gram of weight from the add-on components. The lower crossmember of the front end, for instance, is made of a novel matrix of fiber-reinforced plastic reinforced by three embedded aluminum panels. Weighing just 5.2 kilograms (11.46 lb), it is significantly lighter than a comparable solution of solid aluminum. Even the doors are particularly lightweight, thanks to a new, fully integrated concept for incorporating the window frames.

That peaceful Audi feeling: vibrational comfort


The ASF body is not only lightweight, it is also very rigid. Its static torsional stiffness has increased by 25 percent versus the predecessor, which was already a leader in the field. Dynamic torsional rigidity of improved by 15 percent, while lightweight quality - the relationship between weight, torsional stiffness and size - improved by 20 percent.

The ASF principle ensures comfortably low levels of vibrations and impressive quietness on board for that typical Audi feeling.

The development engineers for the A8 L targeted and minimized all vibration levels at the contact points between the passengers and the body - the floor panel, the seats, the steering wheel, and the rearview mirror. Considerable attention was focused on the sound radiation of the large sheet metal panels and on local rigidities. All points at which force inputs take place when the car is in motion were designed specifically to meet requirements.

The front axle subframe, for instance, distributes excitation from the wheels through a framework structure of members and sections, thus significantly reducing tire noise in important zones. Acoustic bulkheads, insulation and foam layers prevent the large cavities of the body from vibrating, and fine seam seals close joining sites and thus seal out airborne sound. The cabin is also carefully insulated; a new, lightweight microfiber fleece plays an important role here.

Slicing through the wind: the aerodynamics


The new A8 L glides calmly, sleekly and quietly through the wind. The drag coefficient of the 3.0 TFSI quattro is just 0.26, with the frontal area measuring 2.41 m2 (25.94 sq ft). Low lift coefficients at the front and rear axles ensure confident stability at highway speeds.

The flow of air through the engine compartment also had a high priority in the requirements specification. The area around the single-frame grille is thoroughly sealed so that the inflowing air reaches the radiator with almost no losses instead of becoming turbulent. Another major area of work was the underbody, the wheels and the wheel wells, an area in which a car produces 40 to 50 percent of its total air resistance.

The nearly full underbody panel developed by Audi leaves only the exhaust system and the rear axle exposed. A NACA vent directs the slipstream to the transmission fluid cooler. At the rear of the car, a cover plate and the mufflers form an upwardly angled diffuser surface. Fine tuning of the underbody improved the drag coefficient by somewhat more than 0.03 - 13 percent of the total drag. The plastic underfloor panels also protect the sheet metal of the bodyshell and the mechanical assemblies against salt, moisture and stone impact.

Fine-tuning in the wind tunnel greatly enhances the efficiency of the new Audi A8 L. Compared to the first draft design, the aerodynamics engineers were able to reduce the drag coefficient by 0.05. In the EU driving cycle, this improvement saves nearly 0.15 liters of fuel per 100 km - a good 4 g of CO2/km (6.44 g/mile). The effect is much greater in everyday driving. At an average highway cruising speed of 130 km/h (80.78 mph), it is good for a saving of 1.3 liters per 100 km.

The Audi A8 L is also at the head of its class in wind noise comfort. The Audi engineers came up with numerous solutions in the details to reduce the noise of the slipstream. A water-catching strip with a rounded leading edge, a complex door seal concept with three sealing lines, and an acoustically highly comfortable sunroof all work together to reduce wind noise.

The standard windshield of the new A8 L also offers acoustic advantages. It is made of composite safety glass, and a special intermediate film provides further insulation against noise. If desired, Audi can also provide noise-insulating side windows of dual-pane acoustic glass, with tinting optional. The insulating acoustic glass (standard in the W12) has a metal vapor coating that reflects the infrared component of sunlight, thus reducing heating of the interior. This option can be combined with a heated windshield.

Good environmental balance: recycling


Audi regards the development of a new vehicle as a holistic mission, and efficiency and sustainability were also an important focus during the development of the new A8 L. During the development process, the engineers prepared an environmental balance sheet in which the ecological effects of each process step were described.

The overall energy balance sheet reveals that the new A8 L achieves better results than its predecessor for the criteria greenhouse effect, summer smog and CO2 emissions. This balance sheet covers the entire life of the vehicle, from production of the materials to recycling. The usage phase accounts for 70 percent of the total CO2. It is primarily the new engines and the technologies from the modular efficiency platform that have a positive effect here.

The lightweight aluminum used in the body is also far greener than steel with respect to CO2. Although it consumes more energy during primary production, its major weight advantage offsets this after only 50,000 kilometers (31,068.56 miles) of driving. When the vehicle reaches the end of its life, all of the aluminum components can be recycled using just a small amount of energy. The body of the new A8 L now comprises 38 percent ecologically produced secondary aluminum.


Incredible scope: Audi drive select


Another high-end feature in the Audi A8 L is the Audi drive select system, which extends the scope of the entire driving experience by an incredible amount. In the standard version, it integrates the adaptive air suspension, the eight-speed tiptronic, the servotronic power steering, the Audi pre sense basic safety system and the engine control unit. The system modifies the characteristics of the shock absorbers, the air springs and the accelerator, and adapts the shift points, power steering boost, and the trigger time for the belt tensioners.

The driver can vary the function of these components between the three modes "comfort," "auto" and "dynamic." Drivers can - within certain limits - also compose an "individual" mode corresponding to their own personal ideal by choosing settings from the portfolio.

Audi drive select proves to be very versatile in the new A8 L. Additional optional components - the sport differential for the variable distribution of power between the rear wheels (standard in the 4.2 TDI), adaptive light, ambient lighting and dynamic steering - can also be integrated into the system.

Dynamic steering is another high-end Audi feature. It uses a superposition gear to vary the steering ratio by nearly 100 percent as a function of driving speed and the setting in Audi drive select. In city traffic it is very direct; at highway speeds it is indirect to avoid unnecessary constant steering adjustments. At the cornering limit it minimizes oversteer and understeer by automatically countersteering with tiny steering inputs. It also prevents the car from pulling to one side when braking on surfaces with different friction values.

The dynamic steering needs less time for its corrections than the brake system needs to develop pressure at the wheels. In many cases it does most of the work without the driver ever noticing, eliminating the need for numerous braking actions.

The Audi A8 L comes equipped with a powerful, durable and lightweight brake system. All discs are inner-vented. Stainless steel pins connect the friction rings, which are made of a newly developed cast iron material, to the aluminum brake caps - a concept from sports car design that prevents the transfer of temperature peaks, reduces the risk of fading and reduces the weight by as much as four kilograms (8.82 lb). Optional ceramic brakes that are extremely lightweight, robust and durable will be available from Audi at a later time.

The standard brake discs have different diameters depending on the engine. The front discs measure 365, 380 or 400 millimeters (14.37, 14.96, 15.75 in); the rear discs 330 or 356 millimeters (12.99, 14.02 in). Two-piston (six-piston in the W12) calipers are used up front and single-piston calipers in the rear. The calipers of the W12 are painted matt black. The auto release function, standard on the A8 L, makes it easier to start out on slopes.

The ESP stabilization system offers a sport mode. In this mode, engine intervention is largely deactivated and brake intervention somewhat reduced. This allows experienced drivers to move the sedan very dynamically on winding roads. The standard tire pressure indicator is also integrated into the ESP.

The Audi A8 L rolls on large wheels. The V6 versions sport 17-inch alloy wheels shod with 235/60 tires. With the V8s, the sizes are 18 inches and 235/55, and the W12 stands on 19-inch wheels with 255/45 tires. Optionally available from Audi are wheels and tires between 18 and 21 inches in attractive designs - semi-polished, polished, high-gloss polished, machine-polished finish, two-color and titanium look.

Run-flat tires are available for the 19-inch wheels. The range of winter tires extends from 17 to 20 inches. A tire repair kit comes standard; a space-saving spare tire is available for an additional charge.