A New Dimension in Sporting Luxery
With its compelling handling, pioneering technology and exclusive design and equipment, the 2003 Audi A8 redefined the notion of sports appeal in the luxury segment. The saloon combines technical properties that clearly separate it from the competition in its class. As the brand flagship, the A8 embodies the characteristics of the future Audi generation through sporting dynamism and clear design, innovative technology and top quality.
The idea of ease provides a link between the development priorities on the new Audi A8: design and lightweight construction, dynamism and electronics. Ease in the sense of design harmony, ease of acceleration, ease in the sense of weight, the ease with which it can be handled - the driver of an A8 does not have the impression of handling a large saloon car - and, finally, ease of operation.
Its design gives visual expression to the unique character of the new A8. Expansive, strikingly arched surfaces are bordered by precisely plotted lines. The silhouette of flat front and short body overhangs, plus the highly contoured rear end, provide clear dynamic signals.
Drive: Power Used to the Full
The powerful V8 engine displaces 4.2 liters, with an output of 335 bhp. The 6-speed automatic transmission with tiptronic function constantly assures an optimum transition between the various speed stages. As an option, it is also possible to change gear - in addition to the selector lever - via shift paddles mounted on the steering wheel; the ergonomic advantages of this concept have already been demonstrated on the Le Mans champion model, the Audi R8. Drivers can also change gear when cornering, without having to take their hands off the steering wheel.
Aluminium Body: Progress Through Lightness
The innovative aluminium body, based on a refined version of the Audi Space Frame (ASF), provides the high-strength basis for low weight, a dynamic performance and excellent handling. It was possible to considerably reduce the number of components on the continuous ASF compared to the first A8 generation through the use of large functional castings and extruded sections. Static torsional rigidity was increased by 60 percent and ensures a major improvement in vibrational comfort, safety and dynamic handling potential. The body shell weighs 50 percent less than a steel body: minimum mass combined with maximum stability.
Running Gear: Further Increased Dynamism if the Driver So Chooses
The new Audi A8 has a refined aluminium chassis with four-link front suspension and self-tracking trapezoidal-link rear suspension. The brakes and steering system with variable ratio and servotronic are a new design.
adaptive air suspension - a 4-corner air suspension system with continuous damper control - solves the classic conflict of aims between good handling properties and suspension comfort commensurate with the luxury class. The adaptive air suspension system has the right characteristic for every driving situation, reduces body movements with its continuously adjusted damping and thus optimises roadholding and comfort.
The data from four sensors on the axles and three acceleration sensors on the body is evaluated in the adaptive air suspension`s central control unit. This computer prompts the adjustment of the individual shock absorbers in a matter of milliseconds, based on the driving situation identified, thereby always assuring optimum driving dynamics and ride comfort.
The driver can choose between four predefined settings, for a suspension characteristic ranging from overtly sporty to ultra-comfortable.
High Performance Braking System
The Audi A8 is fitted with a newly developed high-performance brake system that is fully in keeping with the demands and the character of a sports saloon in the luxury segment. This applies both to deceleration potential as well as to stability and braking comfort.
The brake system on the eight-cylinder versions of the new A8 is much larger than on the predecessor model: aluminium floating-calliper brakes are fitted at the front and rear. With 360 millimetre brake discs at the front and 310 millimetre discs at the rear, the system now also achieves a braking performance in conjunction with 17-inch wheels that was previously reserved for 18-inch systems.
The brake system is supported by the Electronic Stabilisation Program ESP 5.7 with ABS, ASR traction control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution EBD, Electronic Differential Lock EDL and hydraulic brake assist.
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