The Audi A8 is a full-size luxury sedan manufactured and marketed by the German automaker Audi since 1994. Succeeding the Audi V8, and now in its fourth generation, the A8 has been offered with both front- or permanent all-wheel drive—and in short- and long-wheelbase variants. The first two generations employed the Volkswagen Group D platform, with the current generation deriving from the MLB platform. After the original model's 1994 release, Audi released the second generation in late 2002, the third in late 2009, and the fourth and current iteration in 2017. Noted as the first mass-market car with an aluminium chassis, all A8 models have used this construction method co-developed with Alcoa and marketed as the Audi Space Frame.
A mechanically upgraded, high-performance version of the A8 debuted in 1996 as the Audi S8. Produced exclusively at Audi's Neckarsulm plant, the S8 is fitted standard with Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system. The S8 was only offered with a short-wheelbase for the first three generations, being joined by a long-wheelbase variant for the fourth generation.
In 1982, Ferdinand Piëch signed an agreement with Aluminum Company of America. The objective was to design and develop a car that would be substantially lighter than any other vehicles in its class (to compensate for the fact that standard all-wheel drive was around 100 kg (220 lb) heavier than competitors' rear-wheel drive). In the late 1980s, it was decided that the target vehicle would be a successor to the V8 (Typ 4C) flagship introduced in 1988. By 1990, a final design by Chris Bird and Dirk van Braeckel was chosen and frozen for series production in mid-1991. In September 1993, the Audi Space Frame (ASF) Concept was unveiled at the 1993 Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) as a D2 Typ 4D prototype in polished aluminum. Pilot production began in December 1993 and development ended in early 1994, at a total cost of $700 million (£418.1 million).
The Audi A8 (Typ 4D) was presented in February 1994 and debuted at the 1994 Geneva Auto Show in March, with full-scale factory production commencing in June 1994, although it was not until October 1996, for the 1997 model year that it became available in North America. Unlike its predecessor, the Audi V8 model, which was built on an existing steel platform, the A8 debuted on the then-new Volkswagen Group D2 platform, an all aluminium monocoque, marketed as the "Audi Space Frame" (ASF), which helped to reduce weight and preserve structural rigidity. The saloon/sedan was offered in both the A8 (standard wheelbase), and the A8 L extended or long-wheelbase (LWB) version. The A8 L adds 5 inches (127 mm) of rear legroom. Updates to the car in 1997 included the addition of six interior airbags. The A8 was designed as a competitor to fellow German rivals Mercedes Benz S Class and the BMW 7 Series. It also competed against the British Jaguar XJ and the Japanese Lexus LS.
In 1997, Audi introduced the first series production electronic stability control (ESP) for all-wheel drive vehicles (Audi A8 and Audi A6)– the world's first production cars with both front and rear side airbags.
For 1997, the new A8 was available with either front-wheel drive (FWD), or the Torsen-based quattro permanent four-wheel drive. The FWD models are powered by a 2.8-litre V6 engine, producing 142 kW (193 PS; 190 bhp), and a 3.7-litre V8 engine producing 169 kW (230 PS; 227 bhp), while the quattro received a 4.2-litre V8 producing 221 kW (300 PS; 296 bhp).
The A8 is available with standard luxury amenities, including dual-zone climate control, wood and leather interior trim, 14-way power and heated seats, and an enhanced Bose audio system.
In 1998, upon assuming office, German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder chose A8 to be his official state car, marking a break from tradition, as his predecessors had preferred Mercedes-Benz S-Class models. Upon being re-elected to second term in 2002, he moved on to the next generation A8's sister model Volkswagen Phaeton.
In 1999, Audi's flagship received side curtain airbags, new colours, and restructuring of option packages. The North American "warm weather package" added a solar sunroof which allows the interior ventilation fans to run, keeping the interior cool while the car is parked with the engine turned off. Changes to all models included a larger passenger-side mirror, and a first aid kit located in the rear centre armrest.
In 1999 for the 2000 model year came a minor front-end restyle, with new, larger, clear headlights, a revised grille, and lower front valance with standard projection fog lamps. On the interior, the seats received a new, horizontal stitch pattern. Also, the 3.7-litre V8 FWD model was dropped, leaving the 2.8 V6 model and the long-wheelbase and short-wheelbase 4.2-litre quattro. These restyled cars also featured revised external door handles and an integrated radio antenna. For 2000, the North American A8 line-up was expanded to include the A8 L.
In 2001, Audi introduced its new W12 engine, a compact 6.0-litre unit developed by effectively mating two VR6 engines together at the crankshaft. The engine quickly became available in the A8, though only to European and Asian customers. From its introduction through its discontinuation in 2003, only 750 of the D2 "W12" models were produced. 2001 also marked the debut of the high-performance S8 variant in North American markets. It produced 360 hp.
In 2002, the A8 L received standard xenon high-intensity discharge lamp (HID) headlights, and a heated steering wheel. A tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS), an updated Symphony II stereo, and new exterior colours were also added. For 2002, all A8 variants received a trunk/boot interior release lever to facilitate escape in the event an individual became trapped within.
Factory production of this generation ceased at Number 105,092 on August 4, 2002.
In 1997, IVM Automotive of Munich, Germany built a two-door Audi A8 Coupé. The car was unveiled at the 1997 Geneva Motor Show. Audi contracted IVM to build the prototype, and was considering production of the vehicle. The coupé had a re-engineered aluminium body, shorter than the production A8 saloon. Like the Mercedes-Benz CL-Class, there was no central "B" pillar, giving the car a seamless design with a gradually sloping roofline. The car included custom leather seats which could seat four. Ultimately, Audi decided not to put the A8 Coupé into production, citing lower-than-expected sales figures for the similar BMW 8 Series (E31) and Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupé. Only one A8 Coupé was ever built. The single prototype, painted in a colour called "Ming Blue pearl", remains the property of IVM Automotive, and resides in Munich. Its last public appearance was in 2002 on a series of test drives.
Audi introduced the S8 4.2 quattro into the European market in 1996. The S8 followed the naming convention of other high-performance Audi "S" models such as the Audi A6-derived S6 and was similar in vein of Mercedes-Benz AMG models. In some markets such as the UK, the S8 was only available with the automatic transmission. Cosmetically, Audi differentiated the S8 from the A8 with solid aluminium alloy door mirror housings, chrome-effect beltline and lower front grille trim, and polished twin exhaust pipes, along with subtle "S8" badging. 14-way power adjustable and heated sports front seats with memory function were fitted as were heated rear seats. Standard alloy wheels were 18-inch cast aluminium alloy "Avus" six-spoke style. After the 1999 facelift, 20-inch polished nine-spoke RS wheels became an option. In 2002, 18-inch nine-spoke RS wheels became a no-cost option.
At the same time of the A8's facelift in late 1999, the S8 received the same cosmetic upgrades. This update marked the release of the S8 to the North American market. Production of the D2 series S8 ended in September 2002.
The D2 series S8 featured an uprated, 250 kW (335 hp) version of the 4.2-litre V8 with four valves per cylinder. From late 1999, Audi increased this to five valves per cylinder with power increased to 265 kilowatts (355 hp) and 430 newton-metres (317 lb⋅ft). From launch in 1996, European-market models came standard with a six-speed manual transmission. A sports-recalibrated version of the ZF 5HP24 five-speed tiptronic automatic, featuring "Dynamic Shift Programme" (DSP) was released a year later and was the only transmission available in most other markets.
A retuned, 20-millimetre (0.8 in) lowered sports suspension included a 30 percent stiffer spring rate and 40 percent more compression damping in the shock absorbers. Speed-sensitive "servotronic" power assisted steering was also standard.
The brakes featured Bosch 5.3 anti-lock braking system (ABS), with electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD), and worked radially ventilated front discs. From 2002, an upgraded Bosch 5.7 electronic stability programme became standard fitment.
The second-generation Audi A8 (Typ 4E) built on the Volkswagen Group D3 platform was unveiled via press release in July 2002 and introduced in November 2002 in Europe and in June 2003 (as a 2004 model) in the United States. The model was longer than the previous generation, with room for four or five large adult occupants in the cabin, depending on rear seat configuration. The D3 development program began in 1996, with the design process commencing in Ingolstadt in 1997. The whole Audi design studio based in Ingolstadt first contributed sketch proposals, from which numerous different themes emerged. Six of them were developed into full-size clay models and worked up in a traditional manner adjacent to full-size tape drawings. At least three one-quarter scale models were produced to explore other design variations.
The six full-size exterior clay models were reduced to two in late 1998 and these continued to be refined in parallel for a year. At the end of 1999 the final theme selection was made, by Miklós Kovács and Imre Hasanic the main contributing designers. This lengthy development time was in part due to the body being made from aluminium, a material less able to take the small radii of sharp feature lines such as those on the (steel bodied) A4 (B6) designed in 1998.
In parallel to the exterior design development the interior design was progressed with a total of four full size models produced and the production car's horizontally themed instrument panel design dominant from early on, with Norbert Schneider, Mark Bergold and Enzo Rothfuss the main contributing designers.
Grouping major controls nearer the driver for a more driver focused identity whilst creating a more airy and spacious feel were early priorities for the interior design team was headed by Jurgen Albamonte. This was in part facilitated by the Multi Media Interface (MMI) designed by Jurgen Schröder, that pioneered on the D3 A8 after the Audi Avantissimo concept car preview, and also by class leading colour and trim from Barbara Krömeke and Melinda Jenkins.
Under the supervision of Dany Garand, during the first half of 2000 exterior and interior clay models were digitized and developed using digital design tools in a supporting, not leading, capacity. The D3 final production design was later frozen in the summer of 2000 for an August 2002 start of production.
The A8 was previewed at the 2001 Frankfurt Motor Show by the Audi Avantissimo concept car. This concept introduced much of the technology later available on the series production A8 D3, including: Multi Media Interface, 6-speed automatic transmission with shift paddles, V8 biturbo engine (RS6), self-levelling adaptive air suspension with continuously controlled damping, electric park brake, bi-xenon headlights with static Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS) curve headlights, dashboard, driver identification systems with fingerprint scanner.
As with the previous version, two body variants of the second generation A8 are offered, the A8 (standard, or short wheelbase), and the long-wheelbase (LWB) A8 L. The A8 L adds 120 mm (4.7 inches) to the rear legroom and 11 mm (0.43 in) to the overall height of the car.
For quattro all wheel drive models, a ZF 6HP26-A61 (lower torque capacity 6HP19 version for 6 cylinder models) six-speed tiptronic automatic transmission with "Dynamic Shift Programme" (DSP) and "sport" mode, with optional steering wheel mounted paddle-shifters, is the only transmission offering. Output is transmitted via Audi's quattro generation IV all-wheel drive system using the Torsen T-1 centre differential with a default 50:50 torque split front/rear. If the road conditions change, the purely mechanical Torsen differential responds without any delay; it can divert up to 70 percent of power to the front or rear axles.
In 2005, new internal combustion engines became available. For European and Asian market customers, the entry-level 3.0-litre V6 engine was replaced with a new 3.1-litre unit (badged as "3.2") featuring Fuel Stratified Injection (FSI), which it shared with the Audi B7 A4 and Audi C6 A6. The top-of-the-line W12 version debuted that year. The advantage of the W12 engine layout is its compact packaging, allowing Audi to build a 12-cylinder sedan with all-wheel drive, whereas a conventional V12 could only have a rear-wheel drive configuration as it would have no space in the engine bay for a differential and other components required to power the front wheels. In fact, Audi's 6.0-litre W12 is actually slightly smaller by overall dimensions than the 4.2-litre V8. This model was also the first to be offered with LED running lights.
In addition to the added power trains, Audi restyled the D3 platform A8 range slightly in 2005, giving all variants a taller, wider trapezoidal single-frame grille. The top-of-the-line W12 engined W12 version was the first model to be equipped with this grille; V8 engined models were fitted with the new grille the following year. The W12 variant was known for its appearance as the hero car in Transporter 2, and its sequel, Transporter 3.
The D3 generation A8 introduced the 235 kW (315 hp) 4.1-litre Turbocharged Direct Injection (TDI) V8 engine (subsequently uprated to 240 kW (322 hp)). It is badged as the "4.2 TDI" and is based on the "4.0 TDI" badged 3.9L turbodiesel engine. It uses two turbochargers and two intercoolers, with each turbocharger functioning exclusively for one bank of four cylinders.
The adaptive air suspension gives the vehicle clearance a range from its normal 120 mm up to 145 mm in lift mode and down to 95 mm in the Autobahn mode, which is automatically activated when a speed of more than 120 km/h (75 mph) is maintained for more than 30 seconds.
In September 2005 Audi became the first car maker to offer the 1,000-watt 14-channel ICEpower sound system option from Bang & Olufsen.
After Audi's success at Le Mans the A8R was produced in very limited numbers, to commemorate Audi's victory. Based on the flagship A8 Quattro, it carried all the standard options. All had Quattro drive systems and we're only available with the 3.7 BFL Petrol V8 powerplant.
New Optional Features:
The A8 L W12 quattro Security is an armoured vehicle with B6+ and B7 (European standard) ballistic ratings. It includes a W12 engine rated at 331 kW; 444 hp (450 PS) and 580 N⋅m (428 lbf⋅ft) of torque, emergency exit system featuring pyrotechnic blown-out doors, fire extinguisher system with spray jets located in the engine compartment, underbody and in the wheel arches; smoke extractor in passenger compartment, run flat tires, bullet proof windows, the full protection plus package and LED flashers in the exterior mirrors. Buyers are also offered facility to dispatch two drivers on a special training course.
The A8L W12 was featured as the protagonist's car in the Transporter film series.
The S8 high-performance sports variant, now called the "Audi S8 5.2 FSI quattro", was announced in the last quarter of 2005 and full production started in June 2006 and ended in September 2009.
The S8 includes subtle detailing to distinguish it from its related A8. The trapezoidal "single-frame" grille bears the characteristic Audi "S model" vertical strut detail which are highlighted in a chrome finish. "S8" badging is displayed front and rear, whilst "V10" badges are displayed on each front wing above the side-repeater indicators. The rear boot-lid incorporates a subtle rear spoiler, and the rear is finished with four chromed oval exhaust tailpipes. Adaptive Xenon-plus high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps include static turning lights, along with "swiveling" dynamic cornering lights. Daytime running lamps are five light-emitting diodes (LEDs) incorporated into a cloverleaf designed reflector, incorporated into the main headlamp housing.
The D3 series S8 features a 5.2-litre all-aluminium alloy four-valves per cylinder V10 petrol engine. This engine, a first for Audi, is often incorrectly referred to as a derivative of the Lamborghini 5-litre V10 engine fitted to the first-generation Gallardo. The 5.2-litre V10 in the S8 is based on Audi's 4.2-litre V8 FSI. Lamborghini replaced its own 5-litre engine with the 5.2-litre engine from Audi R8 for the second generation Gallardo and its successor, Huracán
A sports-optimised ZF 6HP26-A61 six-speed tiptronic automatic transmission with "Dynamic Shift Programme" (DSP) and "sport" mode, with steering wheel mounted paddle-shifters, is the only offering. Output is transmitted via Audi's quattro generation IV all-wheel drive system, initially using the Torsen T-1 50:50 dynamic centre differential, and from 2007 for the 2008 model year, utilising the Torsen T-3 asymmetric dynamic centre differential, with a "default" torque distribution of 40 percent to the front axle and 60 percent to the rear. If the road conditions change, the purely mechanical differential responds without any delay; it can divert up to 85 percent of power to the rear wheels, and as much as 65 percent to the front wheels.
The S8's top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h (155 mph). Audi's factory performance claims indicate a 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) time of 5.1 seconds whilst consuming 98 RON unleaded petrol. The S8 has similar performance to Audi's own top-of-the-line A8 L W12, though the W12 is more expensive, has more torque, and built on a longer wheelbase. Compared to the A8 L W12, the S8 has sportier mechanical features such as a firmer suspension, larger wheels, and ceramic brakes. The shorter wheelbase and 10-cylinder engine save weight for better handling, but at 5.4 seconds from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) the S8 trails the W12.
The S8, like its related A8, utilises a multi-link suspension layout front and rear, with pressurised air springs. However, for the S8, the effective spring and damper rates are noticeably firmer, along with re-engineered suspension mounts.
The brake system consists of radially ventilated discs all round. The discs are clamped with gloss-black painted dual-piston calipers up front, and a single-piston sliding caliper at the rear, coupled to an electro-mechanical parking brake. A Bosch ESP 5.7 (later upgraded to ESP 8.0) electronic stability control, with ABS, brake assist, EBD complete the brake system. Optional "Audi ceramic" carbon fibre-reinforced silicon carbide (C/SiC) composite front and rear brakes are available, which use radially vented, and floating SGL Carbon discs, with anthracite grey painted twelve-piston fixed Brembo monobloc alloy calipers. Standard alloy wheels consist of 20-inch "S design" alloy wheels.
The A8L Centennial Limited Edition (奧迪A8L百年限量版) is a limited (800 units total) version of the A8L 3.0 FSI with multitronic and the A8L 6.0 W12 quattro for the Chinese market, commemorating Audi's 100th anniversary. It includes a horizontal chrome-plated front grille (from the A8L 6.0 W12 quattro), "V6" metal logo at the upper left of the air-inlet grille (A8L 3.0 FSI), LED daytime running lights, 19-inch 12-spoke polished aluminium alloy wheels, heated steering wheel in grey leather with beige stitching, Bang & Olufsen advanced audio system, Alcantara equipment bag, Assam ash red veneer, floor mat with aluminium trim and a metal 'Audi exclusive' commemorative logo at inner door trims.
The vehicles went on sale on the 18 October 2009 as 2010 model year vehicles.
In North America, only the 4.2 V8, 5.2 V10, and 6.0 W12 petrol engines were available. The 4.0 TDI was discontinued when the 4.2 TDI was introduced.
The third-generation Audi A8 (L) (Typ 4H) is based on the Volkswagen Group MLB platform, but retains the Audi Space Frame aluminium construction of the previous A8, making it the lightest all-wheel drive car in the full-size luxury segment, while also giving it best-in-class fuel economy. The quattro all-wheel drive system splits torque with a default bias of 40 percent front and 60 percent rear.
The vehicle was unveiled at Design Miami 2009 on 30 November 2009, followed by the 2010 North American International Auto Show.
Early models include A8 4.2 FSI quattro (372PS), A8 3.0 TDI quattro (250PS), A8 4.2 TDI quattro (350PS). A8 3.0 TDI (204PS) was added later.
Initial internal combustion engine options comprise 4.2-litre Fuel Stratified Injection (FSI) petrol and Turbocharged Direct Injection (TDI) diesel V8s, with 273 kW (366 hp) and 258 kW (346 hp) respectively. A 3.0-litre V6 TDI with either 184 kW (247 hp) or 150 kW (201 hp) will be available later. A 6.3-litre W12 engine only for the long wheelbase model was made available in 2010, and compared to its predecessor it has a larger displacement and direct fuel injection. All engines are mated to the new eight-speed ZF 8HP automatic transmission. Although other Audi vehicles such as the 2010 Audi S4 and 2011 Audi A7 had switched from the 4.2 L V8 to the 3.0 L supercharged V6, the Audi A8 retained a higher-output 4.2 L V8 as the base engine for the 2011 and 2012 model years in North America.
Taiwan models went on sale on the 11th November 2010. Early models include 3.0 TFSI quattro (290PS).
The vehicle was unveiled at Auto China 2010, followed by the 2011 Taipei Motor Show (A8 L W12 quattro).
German models went on sale in the fall of 2010. Early models include a 3.0 TFSI quattro (290PS), a 4.2 FSI quattro (372PS), a W12 6.3 FSI quattro (500PS), a 3.0 TDI quattro (250PS) and a 4.2 TDI quattro (350PS).
Taiwan models went on sale on the 11th November 2010. Early models include a 3.0 TFSI quattro (290PS) and a 4.2 FSI quattro (372PS). The A8L W12 quattro was added in 2011. The A8L 4.0 TFSI quattro was added in 2012.
Chinese models went on sale in 2011. Early models include an A8L 3.0 TFSI low quattro (289PS), and an A8L 3.0 TFSI high quattro (333PS).
The concept vehicle includes a 2.0 TFSI engine rated at 211 PS (155 kW; 208 hp) and 350 N⋅m (258.15 lbf⋅ft) of torque at 1,500–4,200 rpm, a disc-shaped electric motor rated 45 PS (33 kW; 44 hp) and 211 N⋅m (155.63 lbf⋅ft) of torque, lithium-ion battery, luggage space of 400 litres (14.13 cubic feet), 21-inch wheels with 265/35 tires, Prism Silver body colour with Spectra Flair accent colour, 'hybrid' lettering on both front fender and illuminated doorsteps with 'hybrid' insignia.
The vehicle was unveiled in 2010 at the Geneva Motor Show.
It is a version of the A8 L demonstrating 4G long-term evolution (LTE) broadband technology. Developed in collaboration with Alcatel-Lucent, the car's mobile broadband connection is a fourth generation (‘4G’) technology with data transfer speeds of up to 100Mbit/s.
During the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Rupert Stadler, chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, announced that LTE technology would be used in cars by early 2011. The A8 L prototype was unveiled weeks later.
The A8 L Security is an armoured version of the A8 L with class VR 7 ballistic protection standard (tested as per BRV 2009 guidelines), resistance to explosions against a military hand grenade (tested as per ERV 2010 guidelines), with certain areas of the armouring complies with the criteria for class VR 9 and VR 10, a core safety cell made from hot-formed armoured steel, aramid fabric, ceramics, special alloyed aluminium and multilayer glass; overlapping protective materials at the joints, aluminum side sills with solid steel sections, aluminum alloy armored floor, side windows, windshield and rear window made of special glass with a polycarbonate coating; optional electromechanical window openers, closing assist feature comes standard for the doors, communication box in the luggage compartment (light ceramic doors, aluminum frame), optional battery and the fuel tank protection, two-way communication system with a speaker in the single-frame grille and microphones for the cabin and exterior, an emergency exit system with pyrotechnical separating screws in the hinges, fire extinguisher system, emergency fresh-air system with two oxygen cartridges, a smoke extractor for the passenger compartment, an LED signaling system for convoy travel, flashing lights, a siren, a preparation for professional mobile radio systems, a flag holder, a permanently installed telephone, an accident data recorder, an additional rearview camera and a heated windshield plus partially heated side windows, four-zone climate control system with an ionizer to freshen the air, electric rear blinds, the sonorous Bose surround sound system and a TV tuner, rear are two individual seats with power adjustment, front comfort seats with heating and optional massage and ventilation functions, standard full-leather package, optional relaxation seat (adjustable right-hand rear seat with a power-adjustable footrest, heating and massage), optional center console with large storage compartments and rear seat entertainment system with two 10.2-inch displays, optional folding table, optional refrigerator optional parking heater, Bluetooth car phone online, integrated UMTS module, optional separate telephone handsets, 19-inch forged wheels featuring in semipolished two-tone finish, 255/720 tires with a high load index of 117, synthetic rings on the rims, optional full-size spare tire.
The first model includes a W12 engine rated at 368 kW; 493 hp (500 PS) and 625 N⋅m (461 lbf⋅ft) of torque. Deliveries began in late summer 2011. An additional engine model with improved fuel efficiency went on sale in 2012.
The vehicle was unveiled at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show.
Deliveries began in late summer 2011.
The production version includes an electric motor rated at 40 kW; 53 hp (54 PS) and 210 N⋅m (155 lbf⋅ft) of torque, 1.25 kWh lithium-ion battery, 18-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels in turbine blades design (optional 19-inch), hybrid badges, metallic paint finish (optional Arctic Silver body colour), three-zone automatic air conditioning, LED headlights, and a BOSE sound system. Pure electric mode is available for either a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph) or for up to 3 km (2 mi) at a constant speed of 60 km/h (37 mph). It went on sale in 2012.
The vehicle was unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.
It is a limited (50 units) version of the A8 L W12 with seats upholstered in Cognac-colored leather by Poltrona Frau, inlays made from the wood olive ash natural, light gray-brown veneer, sill trims with "Audi exclusive concept" lettering, deep-pile carpeting.
The vehicle was unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.
The long wheelbase version of the A8 hybrid was unveiled in 2010 at the Beijing Auto Show.
The D4 series Audi S8 4.0 TFSI quattro went on sale in 2012. The D4 S8 was based on the A8 platform, considered in America to be the "short wheel base" comparative to the A8L. Like the previous iteration, the D4 S8 costs less than the A8 L W12.
The S8 can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) in 4.2 seconds. It is powered by a 4.0-litre TFSI biturbo V8 engine with 382 kW (512 hp). The engine utilises cylinder deactivation so it can run as a V4 for better fuel economy. The S8's engine is shared with the Bentley Continental GT, while a detuned variant of the engine makes 420 hp (313 kW; 426 PS) which is found in the 2013 Audi S6, Audi S7, and Audi A8. Direct competitors include the BMW Alpina B7 and Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG, which also have biturbo V8 engines.
The vehicle was unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto show, and went on sale in spring 2012.
Taiwan models went on sale in 2013.
The S8 was discontinued in the United States of America, to be replaced by the S8 Plus for the latest iteration of this generation before the facelift in 2018. In other parts of the world customers had the choice between the two variants.
Based on the same chassis and underpinnings as the D4 S8, the D4 S8 Plus became the sole option for ordering the S8-variant of the Audi A8 line in the US, in the 2016 and 2017 model years. The S8 Plus was dialed up to 605 hp (451 kW) out of the same powerplant as the previous S8, by remapping the turbo boost and fuel delivery of the engine. Additionally, the Carbon Ceramic braking system is standard on the S8 Plus in some markets. The vast majority of options on the S8 Plus were identical to the previous S8; however, it had darkened tail lights standard, and the option for adding carbon fiber styling elements such as the mirror caps, rear lip spoiler, rear diffuser, and front lip. Different markets had different standard packages combining elements of the external carbon package, the dynamic package and the interior design package. A high-optioned build of the S8 Plus would outprice the nominally higher-end A8 L W12 whose production ceased after the 2018 model year. Unlike the regular S8 which was built by Audi on the regular assembly line alongside other A8 variants, the S8 Plus was built by Audi Sport (formerly Quattro GmbH) and has a VIN that starts with WUA to identify it.
As part of the Audi A8 launch in Taiwan, Audi built an Audi pavilion in Xin-Yi district, with Tom Dixon invited for the launch event. Yu-Cheng Chou and Chun-Ten Lin's art works were displayed with A8. The Audi A8 3.0 TFSI quattro (290PS) was used in Transporter: The Series. Audi S8 was used in Avengers: Age of Ultron, alongside Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Early German A8 models include 3.0 TFSI quattro (290PS), 4.0 TFSI quattro (420PS), 3.0 TDI (204PS), 3.0 TDI quattro (250PS), 3.0 TDI clean diesel quattro (250PS), 4.2 TDI quattro (350PS), A8 L W12 quattro (500PS), A8 hybrid 2.0 TFSI. Early German A8 L Security models include 4.0 TFSI quattro, W12 6.3 FSI quattro.
The updated A8 uses LED headlight technology, with automatic high beam lighting, Osram supplies the LEDs while Hella supplies the headlamp itself.
Early US models include the A8(L) 3.0 TFSI quattro (333PS), the A8(L) 4.0 TFSI quattro, the S8 4.0 TFSI quattro and the A8 L W12 6.3 FSI quattro. The A8 3.0 TFSI quattro and A8 4.0 TFSI quattro replaced the A8 4.2 FSI quattro. The A8 3.0 TDI clean diesel quattro (240PS) was unveiled at the 2012 L.A. Auto Show, and was set to go on sale in Spring 2013 as a 2014 model year vehicle. The A8 L 3.0 TDI clean diesel quattro (240PS) was set to go on sale in Spring 2013 on sale as a 2014 model year vehicle.
Chinese models include the A8L 30 FSI (204PS), the A8L 40 hybrid, the A8L 45 TFSI quattro (290PS), the A8L 55 TFSI quattro (333PS), the A8L W12 FSI quattro and the S8 4.0 TFSI quattro.
The A8 L 2.0 TFSI hybrid is sold as an A8L 40 hybrid in China.
The A8 L 3.0 TFSI quattro (290PS) is sold as an A8L 45 TFSI quattro in China.
All models include an eight-speed tiptronic transmission.
2013–2014 Audi A8 and S8 vehicles equipped with a standard sunroof, manufactured between March 12, 2013, and July 15, 2013, were recalled due to possible shattering of sunroof glass panel.
As part of the 2013 S8 4.0 TFSI quattro launch in the US, a TV commercial called 'Suspect' was produced in association with Venables Bell & Partners, USA, Furlined, The Whitehouse, 740 Sound Design & Mix, Lime Studios; starring Abigail Spencer. The ad takes cues from quintessential heist films with the S8 taking center stage against a mysterious and suspenseful bank robbery scene. The spot closes with the tagline "Heighten Every Moment." The commercial was premiered during the 2012 NFL season kick-off game on 5 September 2012. The "Suspect" commercial featuring the Audi S8 also aired on CBS and NBC, and select cable networks, including: Food, FX, National Geographic, ESPN, USA, CNN, and AMC. A 30-second version would also be viewable on CNN.com, Reuters.com, Wired.com, Yahoo! and more.
The A8 Audi Exclusive Concept is a limited (50 units) version of the A8 L W12 quattro with interior leather upholstery from Italian furniture manufacturer Poltrona Frau in the color Agatha cognac, inlays are made of fine grain olive ash natural silver brown, Tierra Del Fuego body colour. Production was set to begin at the quattro GmbH facility in Neckarsulm starting in March 2014.
The Audi S8 includes a four-cylinder mode with ANC, two elliptical dual tailpipes, dynamic steering, sport differential, adaptive air suspension sport with an S-specific setup, 20-inch wheels, S8 emblems on front brake calipers, optional Audi design selection black/Vermont brown with Carbon twill copper inlays.
The Audi A8 hybrid includes a custom Audi luggage set for the trunk.
The vehicles were unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, followed by the 2014 Detroit Auto Show and the 2014 Toronto Auto Show.
German models arrived at German Audi dealerships in November 2013. Early A8 models include 3.0 TFSI quattro (310PS), 4.0 TFSI quattro (435PS), 3.0 TDI quattro clean diesel (258PS), 4.2 TDI clean diesel quattro (385PS), A8 L W12 quattro (500PS), A8 hybrid 2.0 TFSI (211/245PS), S8 4.0 TFSI quattro (520PS).
US models went on sale as 2015 model year vehicles. Early models included A8 3.0 (L) TFSI quattro (310PS), A8 (L) 4.0 TFSI quattro (435PS), A8 L 3.0 TDI quattro clean diesel (258PS), A8 L W12 quattro (500PS), S8 4.0 TFSI quattro (520PS).
Engines are the same in Canada as the US but PS ratings are higher due to less emission control devices needed.
Available in V8 4.0 TFSI or W12 FSI engines, the A8 L Security is an armoured version of the A8 L with VR9 ballistic protection standard in accordance with the BRV 2009 guideline, with VR10 in certain areas, and explosives resistance tested in accordance with the ERV 2010 guideline (Explosion Resistant Vehicles). The occupant cell is made of heat-formed armor steel, aramid fabric, ceramic, a special aluminum alloy, and multi-laminated glass, with protective materials overlap at transitions. The aluminum side sills incorporate ballistic-proof profiles. The armor-plated vehicle floor made from a special aluminum alloy for explosive weapons resistance. Door windows, windshield and rear window incorporate special glass with a splinter-inhibiting polycarbonate layer on the inside, with doorstop function and optional electromechanical side windows. Other optional security equipment include emergency exit system with pyrotechnic fracture bolts in the hinges detach the door from the body, fire extinguisher system with two tanks and nozzles spray to wheel arches, onto the underbody and tank, and into the engine compartment; emergency fresh-air system with two pressurized cartridges housed in the protected zone, security start with remote radio signal engine start, selective unlocking of doors, a smoke extractor for the interior, an LED signal system for convoy driving, pennant holder, flashing lights, a siren, a preparation for or installation of analog and digital radio networks for security authorities and organizations, a built-in phone, an accident data recorder, an additional rear camera, a heated windshield including partly heated side windows. Other features included LED (V8 4.0 TFSI) or Matrix LED (W12 FSI) headlights, quattro permanent all-wheel drive, armor-plated (ceramic doors, aluminum frame) communications box in the trunk with a supplementary battery, optional battery and fuel tank protection, intercom system with a loudspeaker in the Singleframe grille and microphones for the interior and the vehicle's surroundings, two electrically adjustable individual seats in the rear, front comfort seats with optional with massage and ventilation functions (optional front-passenger relaxation seat with electric-control footrest, ventilation and massage function), optional continuous center console with large storage compartments is also available, rear seat entertainment with two 10.2-inch displays, optional folding table, a cool box and auxiliary heating; new Unicum leather interior upholstery, forged 19-inch wheels, 255/70 tires with high load index 117, polymer rings on the rims, direct-measurement tire pressure monitoring system, optional spare wheel, 4-zone automatic air conditioning with an ionizer, electric rear blinds, Bose surround sound system, a TV tuner, parking system plus with surround view camera.
Deliveries began in the third quarter of 2014.
Based on the short wheel base S8, the S8 plus includes increased engine power to 605 PS (445 kW; 597 bhp) and 700 N⋅m (516.3 lb⋅ft) of torque, with overboost to 750 N⋅m (553.2 lb⋅ft) of torque, as well as unique 21-inch wheels with 275/35R21 tires in Germany.
The vehicle was unveiled at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show.
German model went on sale in end of November 2015 for a base price of 145,200 euros.
US model went on sale in December 2015 as 2016 model year vehicle for US$114,900.
All models include an eight-speed tiptronic transmission.
The A8's aluminum chassis was built at Neckarsulm plant.
As an April Fools' Day joke on 1 April 2015, Audi Japan announced a special edition A8 5.5 with a rice cooker on the rear center console. The 5.5 designation is a play on the Japanese words "go" (five) and "han" (half); when combined, they become "gohan" (悟飯), which is the Japanese word for "rice". Audi S8 was used in The Transporter Refueled. Audi S8 was used in Avengers: Age of Ultron, alongsideSpider-Man: Homecoming. A blockbuster style commercial film Suspect was published for the Audi S8 in 2012, which features an unnamed male model as driver.
The design of the A8 and A8 L was based on the Audi Prologue concept. The new generation, code-named D5, was unveiled at the Audi Summit in Barcelona on 11 July 2017 and presented at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. The standard wheelbase A8 went on sale in November 2017, and the long wheelbase A8 L was launched in 2018.
The higher performance version, S8, was introduced in the late 2019 for 2020 model year. Unlike the previous generation S8s which were only built upon the short-wheelbase A8 variant, the D5 generation will be available in both short-wheelbase and long-wheelbase, with North America having only the long-wheelbase S8 (i.e. S8 L). The S8 has higher output of petrol V8 as fitted to A8 and A8L 60 TFSI quattro.
Traffic Jam Pilot is the new feature, consisting of Level 3 autonomous driving, that allows the car to travel in the heavy traffic on the highway up to 60 km/h without any assistance from the driver. Due to the complicated legal regulations, Audi cancelled the launch of this feature for the United States market in 2019.
As part of the deal between Marvel Studios and Audi, the fourth generation of A8 first premiered in the "Driver's Test" commercial that premiered on June 19, 2017, as a tie-in to Spider-Man: Homecoming movie. In the commercial, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) takes the car, a prototype belonging to Tony Stark, for a test-drive alongside his driving instructor played by J. B. Smoove. The car also had a small product placement appearance in the actual movie itself.
On October 29, 2021, Audi revealed the facelifted A8 ahead of its Chinese introduction at the Guangzhou Auto Show and later next year in Europe the Facelift also included the Revival of the Horch (A8L Horch Founder Edition) brand to compete against other ultra-luxury sedans in China with Europe also a possibility.
At the launch, A8 had two engine options: one 3-litre petrol V6 (55 TFSI quattro) and 3-litre diesel V6 (50 TDI quattro). For 2019, the engine range was expanded to include the petrol and diesel V8 engines (60 TFSI quattro in 2020 and 60 TDI quattro in 2019, respectively). The plug-in hybrid version (PHEV) with 3-litre petrol V6 and electric motor (60 TFSI e quattro) was launched in 2019. No hybrid system is fitted to the diesel engines. The petrol V8 engine fitted to 60 TFSI quattro and S8 TFSI quattro have 48-volt MHEV system that use the electric motor as starter and for power assistance. No W12 engine has been announced yet as of January 2021.
All A8, A8 L, and S8 feature quattro all-wheel-drive system and 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission.
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