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2015 Audi A8 Updated and Upgraded, Debuts in Frankfurt

2015 Audi A8 Updated and Upgraded, Debuts in Frankfurt

By Jeff Youngs, August 27, 2013
What you see here is the 2015 Audi A8, which looks different than the current model but isn't a complete redesign. It continues to use the same Audi Space Frame aluminum construction as the current A8, and while the long-wheelbase model has been extended in length and wheelbase by 5.1 inches, the standard-wheelbase model is dimensionally unchanged.

In Europe, the new 2015 A8 is offered with no less than seven different powertrain combinations, several of which are more powerful and fuel-efficient than before.

Europeans can choose between two turbo-diesel models when the updated Audi A8 goes on sale. The 3.0 TDI is equipped with a turbocharged, 3.0-liter diesel V-6 engine, and in Europe will generate 258 horsepower--18 horsepower more than the U.S.-spec 2014 A8 3.0 TDI model. Audi says this engine receives a 10% improvement in terms of friction reduction, leading to an increase in efficiency.

The 4.2 TDI model has a turbocharged, 4.2-liter diesel V-8 engine, rated to produce 385 horsepower and 627 lb.-ft. of torque. For now, Audi confirms this engine choice only for the European market.

If diesel engines aren't of interest, Audi will continue to offer the 2015 A8 in 3.0T format, equipped with a supercharged, 3.0-liter V-6 engine. In Europe, this engine will deliver more horsepower, but still won't match the current U.S.-spec rating of 333 horsepower.

The A8 4.0T model has a twin-turbocharged engine, which increases from 420 horsepower to 435 horsepower, good for acceleration to 60 mph in about 4.4 seconds, according to Audi. This engine is equipped with Audi Cylinder On Demand (COD) technology, which operates the engine on fewer cylinders under certain driving conditions in order to conserve fuel.

The performance-tuned Audi S8 is equipped with a 520-horsepower version of the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8. It rushes to 60 mph in just over 4 seconds by Audi's stopwatch, and is equipped with COD. The S8 can be distinguished from other models by its sportier body styling.

At the top of the lineup, the A8 L W12 is equipped with a 6.3-liter W12 engine generating 500 horsepower. It, too, is equipped with COD, which turns the engine into a 6-cylinder power plant under low-load driving conditions in order to save gas.

Note that in Europe, Audi also sells the A8 Hybrid. It is equipped with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, an electric motor, and a Lithium-ion battery that, taken together, generate 245 horsepower and 345 lb.-ft. of torque. It is the only version of the new A8 to offer front-wheel drive, and it can be driven solely on electricity at speeds up to 62 mph and for a distance of 1.85 miles.

All 2015 A8 models have an 8-speed automatic transmission, and all except the A8 Hybrid have Quattro permanent all-wheel drive. A standard Audi Drive Select system allows the driver to configure various mechanical settings to create tailored vehicle dynamics. Options, depending on the model, include a sport-tuned adaptive air suspension, sports rear differential, Dynamic Steering, and carbon ceramic brake discs.

Audi says the new A8's exterior design is more "expressive" and "sculptured" than the model it replaces. Models with a V-8 engine get LED headlights, and in Europe the A8 will be offered with new Matrix LED headlights designed to maximize illumination while at the same time minimizing glare for other motorists. Audi also says the headlights use predictive route and road classification data from the navigation system to adjust the distribution of light based on current driving conditions.

In the rear, the new A8 features a new trunk design said to offer easier loading, flanked by LED taillights and underscored by integrated rhomboid dual exhaust outlets. Optional aluminum wheel designs are available up to 21 inches in diameter.

Inside, the A8's cabin is claimed by Audi to be quieter, and several models are offered with Active Noise Cancellation technology. New upholstery, inlay, trim, and color selections are available, and buyers can also choose from a range of exclusive Audi Design upgrades. Options, depending on the model, include 4-zone climate control, seat ventilation and massage, power-adjustable individual rear seats, continuous leather-wrapped center console, rear relaxation seat with a footrest, power door closers, beverage cooler, and more.

Additionally, the available Audi Connect technology turns the A8 into a Wi-Fi hotspot, and provides the driver with online services including traffic information, Google Earth images, Google Street View images, and more. The A8 is also available with a Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System and a rear-seat entertainment system with dual display screens and Bluetooth-linked headphones.

Safety features include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go functionality, expanded Audi Pre-Sense technology, Audi Side Assist, an improved Night Vision assistant, and a new Head-Up Display. Audi Active Lane Assist is also new, designed to automatically steer the car back into its lane, and the A8 is offered with a new Park Assist with 360 Display system, which automatically steers the car into a parking space.

The updated and upgraded 2015 Audi A8 debuts at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show next month, and goes on sale in Europe by the end of the year. Thereafter, the car is expected in U.S. showrooms.

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