April 16, 2010.
All-new 2011 A8 Normal Wheel Base (NWB) and A8L Long Wheel Base (LWB) - Key Summary Points:
• The new generation of the Audi brand’s flagship, introducing a new era in progressive excellence. Combining dynamic exterior and luxurious interior design with sporty driving characteristics, while providing the highest level of comfort and convenience equipment in the segment.
• The D4 (fourth generation flagship sedan) stands for a unique combination of aluminum space frame, MMI user interface, interior craftsmanship, quattro all-wheel-drive and adaptive air suspension.
• The Audi brand icon with the perfect execution of sporty, progressive, and sophisticated character.
• Differentiators from competition are sportiness, superior quality and progressiveness. Progressiveness is expressed by the A8 through technological innovation expertise and forward looking design.
• Showcases Audi design, innovation, craftsmanship, and excellence.
• Audi Space Frame (aluminum) weighs 40% less than a comparable steel frame and offers 25% more torsional rigidity than its predecessor.
US-Market specific information:
• Key competitors are the Mercedes-Benz S Class and BMW 7 Series.
• NWB shown in Detroit. LWB is the core model in the D Segment in the U.S., and will be revealed at the Beijing Motor Show in late April, 2010. Differentiation: The NWB A8 is positioned more of the ‘driver’s car’, with sportiness and driving dynamics in focus, while the LWB balances prestige, sportiness and comfort.
• Segment sales and pricing will be announced in Fall 2010, shortly prior to both NWB and LWB launching simultaneously at U.S. dealers.
Compelling Differentiators for the new Audi A8 in the D Segment fall into 3 main categories:
1. Exceptional Technology: Audi engineers developed cutting edge, innovative, and progressive technologies for the D4:
• Audi Space Frame (latest generation all-aluminum chassis innovation). The 1997-2003 D2 A8 was the first series production car with an aluminum space frame, and the 2011 D4 continues Audi’s leadership in aluminum design and manufacturing:
o 25% increased static torsional rigidity and new welding technologies which lead to better fuel consumption and better handling coupled with benchmark-levels of passive safety (all in comparison to the 2004-2010 D3 A8), 40% less chassis weight than a comparable steel structure.
• Bang & Olufsen Advanced sound system (optional, BOSE Surround Sound is standard)
o 19 speakers, 19 channels and more than 1400 watts of B&O-patented ICE-Power output for a theater – like sound experience (previous 2004-2010 D3 A8 had 1000 watts in the B&O system).
o The system was designed and developed as part of the design process of the D4 to ensure organic integration. Audi and B&O: two great design brands working together for an exceptional experience.
• Industry-first full-LED front headlamps with high and low beam, daytime running lights, cornering lights and turn signals in LED.
o Audi’s leadership in lighting technology has turned the headlights into a true design element. With the full-LED headlights, the light modules can be arranged as part of the design of the car, and do not require the traditional round look of xenon headlights.
• quattro (standard) with sports differential (optional). Continuously variable torque distribution on the rear axle.
o Noticeably reduces understeer and increases driving agility and traction.
o The A8 is the only car in segment with all-wheel-drive standard, and the only car with the torque-vectoring differential available.
• Driver Assistance Systems:
o Latest-generation driver assistance systems; Adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, Night vision assistant with pedestrian detection highlighting, Audi lane assist, Audi side assist.
o New generation of ESP stability control with electronic all-wheel-drive torque vectoring. Integrated with Dynamic steering and quattro Sport differential when equipped. Cleans the brake discs and pre-fills the brake system pressure when accelerator released abruptly, improving brake reaction times.
o Audi braking guard (in combination with ACC) warns the driver of critical situations with warning sound and then braking jolt.
o Automatic emergency braking (in combination with ACC and side assist) is autonomously carried out in the case of an unavoidable collision to minimize the impact.
• Audi pre sense:
o Various vehicle systems can categorize different driving situations and, where necessary, implement actions for preventive occupant protection or for collision reduction.
o Reversible belt tensioners; if instability is detected, holds passengers in the optimal seating position.
o Adjustment of seats to optimal seating position.
o Closing sunroof and side windows to help shield the passenger compartment.
o Air suspension shock absorbers adjusted to improve braking and performance.
o Two-stage activation of partial braking
o Hazard warning lights activated
2. The Search for Perfection – in developing the D4, Audi spared no expense or effort to make the perfect luxury-performance sedan:
• Fit and finish, interior and exterior. Audi engineers are always challenged to find the optimized solution to design challenges.
o One example of this design focus and effort on the D4 is the so-called “Koenigsfuge,” or “King’s Joint,” where the door and the dashboard meet.
• 4 different materials and design lines meet at this joint (wood inlay, aluminum inlay, leather dash, and plastics) and must line up on the door and the dashboard for the interior design to flow around the passengers. A compromised solution could have been to change the design to simplify manufacturing, but Audi showcases its quality in the A8 in many such ways.
• Next-generation MMI 3G+ Multi Media Interface with innovative ‘MMI touch’.
o The industry-first MMI touch recognizes handwriting for entering letters and numbers for Navigation destinations, and is backlit to allow it to change to a pointer for map functions, a number pad for radio functions and can be used to scroll lists in the MMI. This system recognizes a wide spectrum of languages, including Cyrillic (Russia), Chinese, Cantonese, Japanese, and Korean characters.
• These language capabilities will only be offered for each respective country, but nevertheless the system is a sign of the Audi international approach toward luxury vehicle development.
o Audi’s ‘joy of use’ concept for the MMI touch provides the optimal solution for driver-car interaction.
• Night vision assistant (optional) with thermal-imaging camera (infrared).
o Shown in the driver information display, the pedestrian detection software highlights people and animals and determines if a critical situation is imminent.
o While Audi was not the first to market with this feature, the A8 brings the optimal solution with intelligent pedestrian detection and dynamic range adjustment based on vehicle speed.
3. A New Dimension in Look and Feel – the style, design and driving experience of the A8 and A8L takes the driver and passengers to a level never before experienced in a luxury car:
• Exterior design is clear and logical Audi design, with focus on dynamics, generous proportions and elegance.
• Interior design focus was to give the sense of spaciousness, intuitive control, comfort and luxury. Elements within the interior were designed to take up as little room as possible, e.g. the MMI screen which folds away. The wrap-around ‘skyliner’ design gives a sense of roominess while connecting the driver and passengers, and the ambient lighting gives a feeling of ‘lightness’ to the interior and a ‘floating’ center console.
• New shift-by-wire gearshift lever in the style of a yacht throttle lever serves as an ergonomic hand rest for operating the MMI and gives the feeling of the ‘center of power and control’ at the driver’s fingertips.
• Audi drive select (standard) allows the driver to change the character of the car to their desires, and means that there is no compromise between a sporty and comfortable car.
o Adjustments include suspension, steering, accelerator, transmission, sport differential, adaptive light and seat belt tensioner. Modes: Dynamic / Comfort / Auto / Individual.
Drivetrain Highlights for the USA:
• Optimized 4.2 FSI V8 specifications:
o FSI direct injection
o Audi Valvelift System (AVS) variable intake valve lift
o 8-speed automatic transmission for improved fuel economy, responsiveness and driving comfort
o 372 hp (D3 A8 had 350 hp)
o 328 lb-ft (D3 A8 had 325 lb-ft torque)
o 0-100km/h (62 mph) in 5.7 seconds (est.)
o 15% improvement in fuel consumption estimated vs. current A8 (EPA figures TBD)
o quattro® AWD – latest generation with asymmetric rear-biased torque split (40/60)
• W12 FSI specifications (this twelve cylinder engine is available late Spring 2011 at U.S. dealers, pricing TBD)
o FSI direct injection technology added
• Audi is the only car company in the USA who sells 100% of its gasoline engines with direct injection, meaning more power and fuel economy at the same time, without performance compromise
o 500 hp (previous W12 had 450 hp)
o 460 lb-ft (previous W12 had 428 lb-ft)
o 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.9 seconds (est.)
o 12% improvement in fuel consumption estimated vs. current A9 (EPA figures TBD)
o Note: A8L W12 was not for sale in the USA after model year 2009. 2010 is the final model year for the outgoing generation, but only with the 4.2 V8 FSI engine with 350 hp / 325 lb-ft). S8 (normal wheelbase only) was also discontinued after model year 2009, and no word yet on timing of a replacement).
Frequently Asked Questions for the U.S. market:
Where will the A8 be manufactured? It will be built in Neckarsulm, Baden Wuertemberg, Germany, home of Audi’s Lightweight Construction Center. This is the same location where the R8, A6, and A5 / S5 Cabriolet are manufactured.
When will the A8 go on sale in the U.S.? The all-new 2011 model year A8 and A8L will go on sale in the U.S. in Fall 2010.
How much does the A8 cost? While we are not prepared to discuss the price of the new A8 at this early stage, it can be expected that it will maintain its relative position in the market, with even more product substance and technology.
How many A8’s does Audi plan to sell in the U.S. per year? The D3 A8 reached almost 6,000 units (5,943 in 2004) and just under 7% segment share. However, the premium luxury segment is under tremendous pressure now (-39% at the end of 2009). Even so, Audi plans to increase market share relative to the D3 with this exciting new flagship.
Besides the A8 NWB shown in Detroit, what other A8 models are planned for the United States? Today we are introducing the new A8, and its first model will be the V8 NWB model. Other models will follow to create a full A8 model line including performance, prestige and alternate-fuel variants. The A8L being shown in Beijing for the first time in late April 2010 is one of those additional models.
How much does the A8 weigh? Official figures/specifications, including EPA fuel economy estimates for the A8, are not yet available, however, the new A8 will weigh about the same as the current A8, even though the car is bigger (3 in. longer, 2 in. wider) and has more standard equipment (8-speed auto transmission, pre sense basic, keyless go, power trunk, etc.) Versus normal wheelbase competitors: ~50lbs less than S Class RWD, and >200lbs less than S Class AWD; >200lbs less than 7 Series RWD and >400lbs less than 7 Series AWD. The Audi Space Frame is 40% lighter than the comparable steel frame of the segment competition.
Who are the A8 customers? A8 customers are highly affluent consumers with a median income close to $500,000, and are most likely worth over $1,000,000. Median age is around 58, which is similar to the BMW 7 Series, and younger than the S Class and Lexus LS. They are highly educated, with almost half having a post-graduate level degree, and are mostly married with few children still in the household. They enjoy traveling, both domestic (e.g. skiing/spa) and international (e.g. Italy/France). Typical publications that they enjoy include the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, The Economist and Barron’s.