What Changed for 2009:
- More power accessories added as standard equipment
- Advanced parking system with rearview camera standard
- Leather package and rear heated seats optional
- 20-inch Sport package has new wheel
- New Cold Weather and Technology packages
Audi's flagship A8 was introduced in 1994 to the European market, although it did not arrive in North America until 1997. It was the world's first car built on an aluminum platform, the \"Audi Space Frame,\" representing the pinnacle of Audi engineering, the company has said. The second-generation A8, introduced in 2004, employed an improved, next-generation Audi Space Frame and even more advanced technology. For 2008, Audi re-engineered the steering, recalibrated the standard adaptive air suspension, and added new soundproofing materials. In addition, they updated the front grille, wheels, exterior mirrors and taillights. In 2009, changes to the Audi A8/S8 include additional power accessories as standard equipment, an optional leather package and rear heated seats and changes to packages, including new Cold Weather and Technology packages.
All 2009 Audi A8/S8 models come with a 4-year/50,000-mile new-vehicle limited warranty that includes a 12-year limited warranty against corrosion perforation. Road America provides 24-hour roadside assistance for the first four years of ownership.
The range-topping 2009 Audi A8 platform is available in four different models: A8, A8 L, A8 L W12 and S8. All share the same basic chassis, with the exception of the \"L\" models, which have an additional 5 inches of wheelbase-translating directly to additional room for the rear-seat passengers. For 2009, additional standard equipment on A8/S8 models includes advanced key, Audi advanced parking system with rearview camera, power trunk opener, rear power sunshade and manual side rear door sunshades, power door closers, rear vanity mirrors (A8 L only), and 4-zone climate control (A8 L only).
The A8 and long-wheelbase A8 L offer V-8 power in a full-size luxury sedan. Standard cabin amenities include Valcona leather seating (with Alcantara available as an option), wood and aluminum dash inlays, 16-way power-adjustable heated front seats, adaptive bi-Xenon headlamps, and a DVD-based navigation system with voice control. The A8 and A8 L ride on a 4-corner air suspension with electronic shock absorption control. Standard wheels are 18-inch, 10-spoke alloy, with all-season tires. Optional wheels are 19-inch, 5-spoke alloy or 20-inch, 7-spoke twin-alloy.
Befitting a flagship model, the A8 L W12 is fitted with a W12 engine that pumps out 450 hp at 6200 rpm and 428 lb.-ft. of torque at 4000-4700 rpm. The unique engine is only offered on the long-wheelbase platform. The rear outboard passengers will enjoy power seating, power rear and side sunshades, and their own climate control. All passengers will appreciate standard dual-paned insulated door glass, further reducing noise levels in the cabin. Sharing the suspension design with the A8 and A8 L, the standard wheels on the W12 are cast alloy, 19 inches in diameter, with 20-inch, 7-twin-spoke high-polished alloy wheels available as an option.
The sportiest model in the 2009 Audi A8 lineup is the S8 sedan, equipped with a performance-tuned V-10 engine derived from the powerplant used in the Lamborghini Gallardo, rated at 450 hp. The S8 interior features bi-color sport seats and brushed titanium-gray inlays on the dash. It rides on standard 20-inch, 5-twin-arm wing design cast alloy wheels with high-performance tires.
The 2009 Audi A8 offers three engine choices. The A8 and A8 L are equipped with a 4.2-liter 8-cylinder engine rated at 350 hp at 6800 rpm and 325 lb.-ft. of torque at 3500 rpm. The EPA fuel-economy estimates for 2009 are 18 mpg city/23 mpg highway. The flagship A8 L W12 features a 6.0-liter 12-cylinder engine rated at 450 hp at 6200 rpm and 428 lb.-ft. of torque at 4000-4700 rpm, with EPA estimates of 13 mpg city/19 mpg highway. The S8 features a 5.2-liter 10-cylinder engine rated at 450 hp at 7000 rpm and 398 lb.-ft. of torque at 3500 rpm, with EPA estimates of 13 mpg city/19 mpg highway. A8 and S8 models feature Audi's quattro IV permanent all-wheel-drive system with torque-sensing center differential, mated to Audi's 6-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission with DSP and Sport Program.
All A8 models are built on the third-generation Audi Space Frame (ASF). The suspension for both the A8 and S8 is an Adaptive Air Suspension, of Audi's own design. Solving the age-old issue of balancing ride comfort with sport handling, the system utilizes air spring struts controlled via electromagnetic valves to adjust the individual shock absorbers for an optimal ride, says Audi. The driver can select among four different suspension settings and ride heights, or leave the system in fully automatic mode. Four-wheel disc brakes, with diagonal split anti-lock control (ABS), are standard across the Audi A8 model lineup.
Driver and front passenger in the 2009 Audi A8 and S8 are protected by two-stage, next-generation front air bags and knee air bags. Front seats are equipped with active head restraints and seat belts with pre-tensioners and belt-force limiters. Side-mounted air bag supplemental restraints and Sideguard head-protection air bags are designed to offer additional protection for both front and rear outboard occupants. The Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) system is standard in the rear outboard positions. All models include a tire-pressure-monitoring system.
The 2009 Audi A8/S8 has not been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Technology features in the 2009 Audi A8 include a standard Audi advanced parking system with rearview camera. Audi's \"side assist\" is a radar-based system designed to watch the driver's blind spots and alert to the presence of other traffic. If another vehicle appears to be rapidly approaching the A8's blind spot, or in the blind spot, the system will alert the driver via exterior mirror-mounted LED displays. According to Audi, this signal is almost impossible to miss. Audi \"lane assist\" warns the driver of unintentional departure from the road lane. A tiny camera observes the road to detect the lane marking lines. When the vehicle moves towards one of the lines without the driver indicating their intentions (via the lane blinker), the system will alert the driver through a vibration in the steering wheel. A new Technology package for 2009 includes adaptive cruise control, Audi side assist and Audi lane assist. A Bang & Olufsen advanced sound system with acoustic lens technology, proprietary digital signal processing and digital amplification is available as an option.