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The most technologically advanced car

Audi claims the 2018 Audi A8, its flagship sedan, is the most technologically advanced car in its class.

Andrew Muzamhindo,Analyst

It is not just a luxurious land yacht capable of covering large distances in astounding comfort — it can also soothe the restiveness of a typically hectic urban trip as well. That’s a big boast for a congested segment that includes the BMW 7 series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Jaguar XJ, the Lexus LS and many more.

From its lights to its camera to its cockpit, it makes a captivating argument for best-in-class tech. After a hard day in your dingy office, you will be forgiven for thinking that you have entered into a luxurious modern office when you ascent into an A8.

Audi used to be the odd man out in the luxury car market but not anymore. It has now gained respect for well-made, high-end vehicles, and that status is passed on to its buyers. Results prove it has sunk a lot of cash into research and development in recent years.

Audis have been known for attractive but conservative styling, however, the company is starting to step things up with sexier models that stand out on the road. Over the years, it has embraced its young market and has been designing more models with this age group in mind. They offer undeniable quality, the latest tech gadgets and styling inside and out that speak the young at heart and modern generation.

Its target market is mostly professionals and opulent individuals who will spend for an internationally branded luxury car. Locally it’s not a brand used by the flashy “rich and famous”. Suffice to say it’s not for them but for affluent professionals.

The 2018 Audi A8 is the first series production road car to have been developed expressly for what Audi describes as “highly automated driving”, including functions like traffic jam pilot system that can take full control of driving function at speed of up to 50km/h on highways where a physical barrier separates the two carriageways.

The new A8 is an evolution, not a revolution, for the previous Audi A8. Its body is 58% aluminium. It has crisper, flatter lines and a bigger, wider version of Audi’s trademark singleframe grille. Lighting is upgraded with high-definition Matrix LED headlights and rear lamps with organic light-emitting diode technology and startup features that Audi calls a “dynamic light show”.

The interior has an all-new design that integrates multiple touchscreen displays, premeditated to take the place of nearly all switchgear, once again sculpted after earlier models. Back seat passengers aren’t overlooked either, with an available modular infotainment system that uses a quad core processor from NVIDIA that is claimed to be 50 times faster than the first generation unit.

It forms part of an extensive list of options that also include a head up display unit, a revised Bang Olufsen sound system, conversational voice control and a navigation system featuring self-learning competences that are claimed to provide greater accuracy than existing systems.

Its available in five engines, all turbocharged V6 and V8s, starting with a 3.0-litre direct injection petrol engine capable of 250kW or an optional 3.0-litre V6 common rail diesel engine producing 210kW, a step-up of 17kW compared to the car it replaces. There is a turbocharged 4.0-litre direct injection petrol V8 producing 338kW and a turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 common rail diesel with 320kW, taking the place of the previous 4.2-litre V8 engine, but stepping power up by 37kW.

The flagship variant is the A8 L W12, which matches the long wheelbase body to a revised version of the Volkswagen Group’s 6.0-litre turbocharged W12 direct injection petrol engine with 430kW of power available despite a 300cc reduction in size.

Reinforcing the new Audi is an advanced, aluminium intensive suspension featuring a combination of double wishbones up front and a five-link arrangement at the rear. Hydraulically operated air springs are expected on basic variants, with a new active suspension also available, that Audi claims as the most advanced series production car system yet.

Like the Magic Body Control system offered on the Mercedes-Benz S-class, the system scans the road ahead 18 times per second via windscreen mounted cameras to and can adjust the damping and spring characteristics via electric actuators within the spring towers on each individual wheel.

Further tech highlights include a new four-wheel steering system on selected new A8 models to reduce the turning circle at low speeds and increase stability at high speeds, and a remote parking pilot and remote garage pilot feature that allows the car to be manoeuvred at low speeds via a smartphone app.

If you are after a luxury saloon, distinguished image, supreme comfort, a premium badge and perfect refinement, then this could be your ride. — andrew@muzamhindo.com

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