By: IOL Motoring Staff
Johannesburg - Audi is about to launch a rolling onslaught on the luxury end of the South African car market with a series of revised A8 sedans, starting this month.
There are new long-wheelbase derivatives, uprated engines, new driver aids and optional new Matrix LED headlights (standard on the top-of- the-range models).
They start this month with the three-litre V6 TDI quattro and 4.2-litre V8 TDI Quattro - in both standard and long-wheelbase format - to be followed in May by the all-new S8 and the A8 W12 6.3-litre long-wheelbase model.
The A8 Security will be released in South Africa later in 2014 in both four-litre V8 turbopetrol TFSI and W12 6.3-litre versions.
THE LIGHT STUFF
While the all-aluminium bodyshell is unchanged at 5140mm long on a 2990mm wheelbase (add 130mm to each of those for the 'stretched' version) 1950mm wide and 1460mm high, the bonnet, grille and front bumper are more deeply sculptured and the lower edge of the headlight units is straighter.
Each high-beam projector in the Matrix LED headlights has 25 individual light-emitting diodes that can be switched on and off or dimmed individually depending on the situation, so the lights can react precisely to other vehicles while always illuminating the road.
The lighting system in the A8 uses route data from the navigation system to adjust the distribution of light to upcoming corners and even road classifications.
The A8 will be available locally with a choice of two petrol aand two diesel engines; the oilburners - which require ultra-low sulphur diesel - are the three-litre V6 TDI quattro, rated at 190kW and 580Nm, and the 4.2-litre V8 TDI quattro with 283kW and 850Nm.
The authoritative four-litre TFSI V8 is carried over from the previous model, with 382kW and 850Nm on tap for a 0-100km/h time of 4.2 seconds at a combined-cycle cost of 11.2 litres per 100km, partly due to the cylinder-on-demand system, which deactivates four of the eight cylinders under partial load.
Also available in the S8 is an active noise cancellation system which uses precise anti-phase noise to compensate for intrusive noise in the cabin when operating on four cylinders while active engine mounts dampen vibration.
Due in South Africa in May 2014, the top-of-the-line model is the A8 L W12 quattro with 367kW at 625Nm and quoted consumption of 11.7 litres per 100km. It also has cylinder-on-demand, running on six pots under partial load with active noise cancellation for acoustic comfort.
All A8s come with an eight-speed tiptronic transmission and quattro permanent all-wheel drive; a sport differential for the rear axle, which distributes the power between the rear wheels as needed, is optional on the three-litre and 6.3-litre variants, standards on the 4.2 TDI and S8
Air suspension is standard across the range, as is the drive select system, which modulates throttle and steering response, gear-shift pattern and the adaptive damping to suit the driver's mood.
Every A8 is furnished in genuine Valcona leather in a wide range of colours, with an equally generous choice of materials and colours for the trim elements - and a smorgasbord of optional features.
They include adaptive cruise control with idle stop and an expanded version of the standard pre-sense basic safety system, a side assist programme, also bundled with the expanded pre-sense system, and an integrated UMTS module to connect to the internet.
Passengers can browse the internet and e-mail freely via a Wi-Fi hotspot while the driver gets tailored online services such as Google Earth and Google Street View.
Then there's a head-up display, an improved night-vision routine that can now also recognise larger animals as well as pedestrians.
Audi’s rear-seat entertainment system - standard on all long-wheelbase models - includes two LED displays, Bluetooth headphones and a DVD changer with separate hard drive for storing music and video files.
A8 3.0 TDI quattro tiptronic - R1 101 500
A8 3.0 TDI quattro LWB - R1 257 500
A8 4.2 TDI Quattro - R1 390 000
A8 4.2 TDI Quattro LWB - R1 545 500
These include a standard five-year/100 000km maintenance plan. Pricing and specification details for the A8 W12 6.3 quattro and Audi S8 will be released closer to the launch of these models in May 2014.