This is no run-of-the-mill luxury saloon. Audi claims that the A8 was the first production car to have been developed expressly for what it describes as “highly automated driving” or level 3 autonomy; under certain conditions, the driver can switch on an autopilot and focus on something other than driving.
That’s right, a laser-guided system called Traffic Jam Pilot can take control of accelerating, braking and steering at speeds of up to 37mph while you focus on, well, watching the onboard television. Groundbreaking stuff, then? Yes, or at least it will be when the technology arrives later in 2018, as scheduled.
The tech assault doesn’t stop there, though. The A8 also features active suspension (similar to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class’s Magic Body Control in that it ‘reads’ the road and adapts to bumps before it reaches them), rear-wheel steering to improve manoeuvrability, and a body that makes use of a wide range of lightweight materials to stay as light as possible.
So the A8 is a technological tour de force and in theory sounds good enough to beat the S-Class for luxury and the BMW 7 Series for driving dynamics. But is that the reality? That’s what we’ll tell you over the next few pages.
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