Audi A8 tech secrets revealed ahead of 2017 launch

Audi bosses have lifted the lid on some of the revolutionary tech that will make its way into the next-generation Audi A8 saloon when it arrives in 2017.

Everything from Audi’s piloted driving autonomous car tech to gesture control, and organic LED lighting will find its way into Audi’s flagship saloon, ensuring it becomes the technological showcase it needs to be to tackle the Mercedes S-Class. The new A8 will also be the first model from Audi to feature the brand’s new design language as showcased by the Audi Prologue concept at the LA Motor Show last year.

Audi A7 drives itself on public roads

“The A8 will be the next-generation of the every successful vehicle model for Audi, so what we are doing is looking at which future technologies make sense for our customers, what do they expect and how can we surprise out customers,” Audi’s technical development chief Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg told Auto Express. “The next level of sophisticated technology will be in the A8.”

New A8 to drive itself with Audi Piloted Driving tech 

Revolutionary piloted driving tech has been confirmed for the A8. Long-range radar sensors, 12 ultrasonic sensors, laser scanners and hi-resolution video cameras will constantly monitor the car’s surroundings, with the system also able to guide a car safely through traffic jams at up to speeds of 37mph.

Audi believes up to 90 per cent of all innovation in the automotive sector will come from electronics, with lighting playing a significant part. Matrix LED technology is still relatively new but Audi is already working to move the game on further. “We are working on the integration of organic LEDs,” said Ricky Hudi, Head of Electronics at Audi. He claims the advancement will enable “new forms of expression and differentiation”, with their main use expected to be in a car’s digital displays.

Audi Prologue Allroad concept interior

Those displays will also be operated by gesture control, a feature also confirmed for the facelifted VW Golf due next year. “We are already working on a new gesture control system as an advanced development,” said Hudi. In-car operations such as adjusting the temperate, answering incoming calls and switching between radio stations will move from button operation to gesture control.

“The A8 is a good car to introduce some of these technologies because it is always good to start with a premium offering,” added Hackenberg.

Electric turbos for new Audi engines

But advancements won’t stop at in-car technology with Dr. Hackenberg also confirming the A8 will feature electric turbocharging. “We are preparing the production of such systems and it will be in the market with the A8 as well as other models in the future”, he said.

Audi Prologue Driverless Concept rear side

With the next-generation A8 to be based on the new MLB platform, around 200kg of excess weight is expected to be shed, while new and revised V6 and V8 engines will be offered. A plug-in hybrid version under Audi’s e-tron strategy is also certain, with the brand committing to having a plug-in hybrid model in each of its model ranges.  

All of this technology will be wrapped up in a whole new look for the A8, too. It will be the first model from Audi to feature the new design language from the Prologue concept penned by new design chief Marc Licht. Expect bolder styling, exaggerated proportions and a new take on the trademark wide-mouthed grille. 

Now watch the Audi A7 Piloted Driving Concept in action on video…

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