(Pocket-lint) – Aback aback we advised the Audi A8 in 2017 it was apparently the best tech-crammed car we’d seen. To the point that we anticipation it was maybe aggravating to do a little too abundant with touch-based controls. And yet, three years on, best of Audi’s rivals are copycatting such interfaces. Because the A8 was, in abounding respects, advanced of its time.
So actuality we are, in 2020, with the acquired Audi A8: the ‘e’ version, anecdotic that this is a constituent hybrid. Conceivably it’s not the best acceptable applicant you’d apprehend in Audi’s agile with electrification – accustomed its accomplished history of alms V8 agent options – but accustomed the arduous amplitude of amplitude accessible in this continued wheelbase archetypal (hence ‘L’ in the name) there’s affluence of allowance for some array power. Already again, it’s showcasing approaching technology advanced of its standardisation.
Open the rear doors of the Audi A8 L TFSI e and it’s absurd not to be impressed. This is a car for chauffering; a car for controlling types; a car with no accommodation to amplitude and comfort.
From these rear seats there’s a host of controls at your fingertips, acknowledgment to a tablet-like arrangement that Audi calls Rear Bank Remote. This 8-inch touchscreen console lives in the centre armrest – alone it’s not anchored in place, as a columnist of the absolution button detaches it to be handled.
So whether you appetite to acclimatize the affection lighting, ascendancy the stereo, altitude controls, claimed lighting (the directional LED lights can be adapted for precision), bank heating, or abundant added – it’s all accessible at your fingertips.
That’s afore assimilation up the affluence of autogenous niceties – including a copse accomplishment and adequate covering seats – which makes the A8’s rear bank affiliated to a aboriginal chic apartment on wheels. There’s alike two headrest-mounted tellies – if you appetite to pay the added cash.
For this review, but of course, we spent 99 per cent of our time in the driver’s seat. It offers all the affluence of those rear seats, but the amplitude of agenda displays sometimes makes you feel added airline pilot than driver.
The A8’s birr wraps its way about the abounding amplitude of the car, about amphibian in its position, while two ample touchscreen panels are neatly chip to the centre tunnel. Aggregate appears as one distinct piece, there’s no knobs and buttons to affair yourself with, and alike the air conditioning vents are hidden from appearance – alone absolute themselves by electronically motoring their covers out of the way.
While these screens accept admission to a accomplished host of options, you can clothier your acquaintance by pressing-and-holding a accustomed figure and boring it into a ancillary console for added affluence of use. Furthermore some key functions – Drive Select (for Auto, Comfort, Sport and Individual), absorption control, hazard signal, and front/rear demist – assuredly abide on the lower area of the touchscreen, ensuring you’ll consistently apperceive area they are.
Having originally begin this somewhat busy, it now feels like added nature. And the haptic acknowledgment of these screens – a bit like the beating of a buzz – is so astutely advised that it’s adamantine to not accept you’re arena with concrete buttons.
When the avant-garde A8 hit the streets it did abroad with beyond V8 agent options of beforehand generations, instead opting for a 3-litre V6 (for the UK bazaar anyway; ancillary note: there is an alike added antic W12 option). It’s the aforementioned 3-litre in the constituent amalgam model, except you get added electrification to actuate you forth for up to 29 afar on a distinct charge.
That ability not complete like a lot of distance, but for a fuel-guzzling car it can accomplish a huge bulk of aberration to consumption. It’s an emissions account too, of course, as its 146g of CO2 per kilometre brings its anniversary agent tax bottomward by one footfall – meaning, compared to a non-hybrid agnate (at 158g/km) it’s able-bodied beneath bisected the amount per year in the UK (£215 vs £540 in this example).
Unlike abounding constituent hybrids it’s achievable to accumulate the A8 in EV mode, with abutment for electric-only at alike motorway speeds. You won’t get the abounding ambit if ambitious a lot from the battery, but we were accepting abutting to 27 afar per charge. We acquainted into a bank atrium at home, which takes a brace of hours to bushing the array – not the fastest ever, but still quick enough. Alike a three-pin bung will ample the array in beneath four hours.
The A8 will ameliorate activity from braking, too, so that will advice extend the battery’s abeyant ambit throughout driving. Indeed, the systems on lath actuality will admonish you aback to booty your bottom off the pedal – with a bifold ‘knock’ awareness to the sole of your bottom – to accumulate aggregate in best order.
Combined with the petrol agent and you’ll accomplish over 100mpg no problems, which is adequately able for such a big and abundant continued wheelbase vehicle. Over our anniversary of active the blackmail of visiting a petrol base never already became absoluteness afterwards abounding hours and afar on the road.
As a active acquaintance the A8 L e is as expected. It’s aesthetic and smooth, yet aback you advance things there’s some assured wallow from that ample body. That’s the affair about the continued wheelbase: it absolutely does feel big on the road, and it’s so continued that it’s a absolute affliction to esplanade (or conceivably not on your mansion’s all-embracing parking lot).
Which brings us neatly to the A8 e’s assurance systems, of which there are a stack. It’s the parking one that you’ll absolutely charge – as the 360-degree camera of Audi’s AI Parking Pilot depicts a awfully authentic on-screen 3D archetypal of the car in situ (including its surroundings), which is advantageous for parking such a continued agent after smashing into the kerb.
But you needn’t necessarily use such a affection aback abaft the wheel: the AI Remote Parking Pilot agency you can artlessly press-and-hold a button on your smartphone and, aback continuing alfresco the car, watch it esplanade itself into a bay or into a barn (if, again, you accept one that’s continued enough!)
This is all acknowledgment to a assemblage of sensors on board. There’s 12 accelerated sensors, four 360-degree cameras, bristles alarm sensors (four mid-range, one long-range), one laser scanner and one bittersweet camera. These accredit the car to be consistently attractive at its surroundings, acceptable the assurance systems, which accredit adventure avoidance.
In its amalgam anatomy the A8 comes adequately absolutely kitted out too, acceptation the amount of that array doesn’t absolutely construe abnormally to the buyer. The majority of tech setup, autogenous accomplishment and assurance appearance comes as standard, authoritative the constituent advantage a breeze over the petrol-only equivalent. Not that the ‘standard’ amount is in the realms of affordable for most: it’s advancement of £87k.
The way the Audi A8 L TFSI e constituent drives is about accessory to its cause, because this car is such a anchorage of tech and affluence that, as an controlling alehouse that’s best beheld as a aback bank driver, it’s a balloon of luxury.
As we said of the 2017 A8 aloft its launch, this agent is a eyes of in-car tech’s future. Now, in its amalgam ‘e’ form, it’s additionally a eyes of area things are activity in agreement of power. It continues in blame the envelope – and clashing abounding added plug-ins there’s alive emissions accumulation and applied uses of EV modes at your fingertips.
Writing by Mike Lowe.