Audi’s next-generation A8 is set to be the company’s most high-tech model yet. In addition to being built on a new brand-exclusive platform, the luxury sedan will also use the most advanced active suspension system yet fitted to an Audi. The so-called electromechanically actuated suspension system is part of the car’s 48-volt electrical architecture and MLB Evo underpinnings. It uses a front-mounted camera to analyses the road ahead 18 times per second and then prepares the suspension accordingly. Audi rights that this technology can also advance passive safety in the event of a crash, by lifting the side of the impending impact. It says this concentrates the impact on the strongest parts of the car, such as the side sills. Another component of its 48-volt architecture is the electromechanical rear-axle steering which improves stability at speed by steering in the same direction as the front wheels, and also the maneuverability by turning in the opposite direction in tight situations. It’s also claimed to improve steering feel. Full front and rear styling shots have been shown in earlier footage, suggesting that the car draws heavily from the design of Audi’s Prologue concept of 2014, with a large central grille, geometric headlights and a light bar spanning the width of the car’s rear. The large, intricate wheels also seem to be slighter, more production-friendly versions of the Prologue’s 22-inch wheels.
Another preview also demonstrates the car’s hands-off driverless technology. It will be the first car in the brand’s line-up to be available only as a hybrid, as Audi looks to electrify its entire line-up in the coming years. Entry-level cars will be mild hybrids, though it’s likely that plug-in hybrid versions will seem higher up in the range, with better electric-only driving capability. A demonstration image of the car’s powertrain confirms a V6 petrol engine will feature in the range, too, with electric power supplementing the internal combustion engine. The sedan will offer a fully autonomous driving mode, using Audi’s piloted driver technology, which can completely control the car at speeds of up to 60kph. It is also claimed to use its autonomous systems to save fuel and increase smoothness when driving. Other key technological features will include gesture controls and the latest organic LED headlight technology.