Audi A8 (D3) 2002-2009
Audi A8: the new dimension in sporting luxury
With its compelling handling, pioneering technology and exclusive design and equipment, the new Audi A8 redefines the notion of sports appeal in the luxury segment. The saloon unites technical properties that set it clearly apart from the competition in its class. As the brand flagship, the A8 embodies the characteristics of the future Audi generation through sporting dynamism and clear design, innovative technology and top quality.
The long-wheelbase version of the Audi A8 is without doubt the ultimate luxurious long-distance saloon car. With its wheelbase extended by 130 millimetres to 3074 millimetres, the Audi A8 L offers not only the dynamic potential of the A8, but also the opportunity to travel in style in the spacious rear compartment.
Audi A8 – The concept
Aluminium body: progress through lightness
The innovative aluminium body, based on a refined version of the Audi Space Frame ASF, provides the high-strength basis for low weight, a dynamic performance and excellent handling. The number of components on the fully enclosed ASF has been reduced considerably compared with the first A8 generation through the use of large functional castings and extruded sections. Static torsional rigidity has been increased by 60 percent and ensures a substantial improvement in vibrational comfort, safety and dynamic handling potential.
Suspension: even more dynamism if the driver so chooses
The Audi A8 has an aluminium chassis with four-link front suspension and self-tracking trapezoidal-link rear suspension. The brakes and steering system with variable ratio and servotronic are a new design.
The standard-fit adaptive air suspension – an electronically controlled air suspension system with continuous damper control – solves the classic conflict of aims between very good handling properties and high suspension comfort commensurate with the luxury class. The data from four sensors on the axles and three acceleration sensors on the body is evaluated in the adaptive air suspension's central control unit. This computer prompts the adjustment of the individual shock absorbers in a matter of milliseconds, based on the driving situation identified, thereby assuring optimum handling and ride comfort at all times.
The driver can choose between four predefined settings, for a suspension characteristic ranging from overtly sporty to ultra-comfortable. The ride height can also be varied in this way.
In recognition of the affinity of many A8 drivers for sporting characteristics throughout the vehicle, Audi offers the option of adaptive air suspension – sport. This optional sports suspension permits a level of driving dynamics that represents a new dimension in the segment of luxury-class saloons.
The A8 has rack-and-pinion steering with a variable ratio and speed-dependent power assistance, servotronic, as a standard feature. The result is improved steering precision and clear feedback at high speeds without any loss in comfort at low speeds.
With high-performance brake system
In conjunction with the powerful V8 engines, the Audi A8 has a newly developed high-performance brake system with generously dimensioned aluminium floating-calliper brakes. With 360 millimetre brake discs at the front and 310 millimetre discs at the rear, the system now achieves a braking performance in conjunction with 17-inch wheels that was previously only found in combination with 18-inch systems. The brake system is assisted by the electronic stabilisation program ESP.
Electromechanical parking brake
As well as performing all the tasks of a conventional handbrake, the electromechanical parking brake on the Audi A8, which is operated at a pull/push control on the centre console, offers functional benefits. A starting assist function makes it easier to pull away smoothly on hills without the driver even having to release the brake. The parking brake additionally has an emergency brake function which is significantly more efficient than a conventional handbrake.
PAX run-flat system with tyre pressure monitoring system
The A8 is the first luxury-class vehicle to be offered with cast aluminium wheels with run-flat tyres, the PAX system. Their design means that the driver can continue for up to 200 kilometres at a maximum speed of 80 km/h even if a tyre is fully deflated.
MMI operating concept: maintaining diversity, reducing complexity
With its integrated user interface MMI, Audi offers an infotainment platform and user concept for the new A8 that keeps operation simple through stringent logic. MMI in the first instance comprises the control panel (MMI terminal) on the centre console with a control button that can be turned and pressed and four control keys grouped around it.
On either side of the terminal – apart from the Return key for exiting the menu level – there are a total of eight function keys with which the user can call up the most important main menus directly. The second central component of the MMI, a 7-inch colour monitor, is positioned above the centre console in the dashboard and therefore at an optimum angle of view for the driver.
The basic geometry of the monitor display corresponds in detail to the layout of the control keys and button in the MMI terminal. There is thus an intuitive link between visual perception and hand movements. The more frequently a function is used in the car, the higher up the menu structure it is placed, thus making it quicker and easier to access.
The field of electronics has long since advanced into automotive technology. This applies in particular to the luxury segment where driver expectations regarding communication and convenience systems naturally play a very important role.
The new A8 therefore offers numerous innovative technologies in this area, some of which are available for the very first time in an Audi. These include, to name just a few examples, the advanced key access and authorisation system, one-touch memory personalisation and the radar-assisted distance control system known as adaptive cruise control.
As well as the two new V6 versions, there are three powerful V8 engines available for the Audi A8 and A8 L:
• a petrol engine developing 246 kW (335 bhp) from a capacity of 4.2 litres;
• a petrol engine developing 206 kW (280 bhp) from 3.7 litres;
• the world's most powerful eight-cylinder diesel engine in a production saloon, developing 202 kW (275 bhp), the 4.0 TDI quattro.
The 6-speed automatic transmission with tiptronic function constantly assures an optimum transition between the various speed stages. quattro permanent four-wheel drive translates engine performance into superbly effective propulsion and cornering stability.
The A8, built from 1994 to 2002, firmly established the Audi name in the luxury segment. Its successor is equal in every respect: with its compelling handling, pioneering technology and exclusive design and equipment, the new Audi A8 has redefined the notion of sportiness in the luxury segment since it was launched in autumn 2002. The second generation of the Audi A8 has picked up an array of awards. A total of more than 26.600 ship model had been produced by the end of 2003. The most popular engine version in the latest Audi A8 generation is the 246 kW (335 bhp) V8 petrol engine with a capacity of 4.2 litres.
I'm going to eat breakfast. And then I'm going to change the world.
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