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Audi A8 gets a mid-cycle refresh

Facelift, improved fuel-economy and new features enhance Audi's flagship sedan

Published: August 28, 2013, 10:00 AM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 3:03 PM

2015 Audi A8

Audi's A8 flagship sedan is getting a facelift, fuel-economy enhancements and some new features for 2014. The revised A8, along with its S8 performance variant, will make their world debuts in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

They will go on sale in Europe this fall and arrive in North America next year as 2015 models.

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Styling tweaks to the big sedan include a more sculpted front fascia that houses a new grille and distinctive LED headlamps. In the German market, optional headlights with innovative matrix LED technology will be available, but they won't be legal in this market.

Their high-beams each comprise 25 individual light-emitting diodes that can be switched on and off or dimmed individually depending on the situation. The lighting system also features sequential directional signals.

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LED lamps are also found at the rear, where a redesigned bumper, new chrome strips and high-gloss black window frames complete the design differences. A new trunk layout is said to enable easier loading.

As with the current models, light weight is a key feature of the new A8s, which feature a body structure made almost entirely of aluminum. With a mass of just 1830 kg (4,034 lb) in standard wheelbase form, it is said to be the lightest AWD vehicle in its class.

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Inside, there are several new trim choices and additional noise damping measures to reduce the already-low interior noise level even further. There's also an enhanced version of Audi's Pre-Sense basic safety system and side-assist system, as well as a new head-up display and an improved night-vision assistance package.

Audi will offer the basic A8 with two gasoline and two diesel engines in Europe: a 310-horsepower supercharged 3.0-litre TFSI V-6; a 435-horsepower twin-turbo 4.0-litre TFSI V-8; a 258-horsepower 3.0-litre TDI V-6 clean diesel; and a 385-horsepower 4.2-litre TDI clean diesel that produces an astounding 627 lb-ft of torque.

The first three, in lower-powered form, are offered in North America in the current A8, as is a 6.3-litre W-12 in A8L models, which will continue to be offered in Europe. The S8 gets a twin-turbo 4.0-litre TSFI V-8, that will be rated at 520-horsepower in European spec in its updated form.

No word yet on which of these engines will be offered here in the new model, but all but the big diesel is a good probability.

An A8 hybrid, comprising a 2.0 TFSI four-cylinder engine and electric motor that produces a combined 245 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque, driving the front wheels only, will also be available in Europe, although it's unlikely to be offered here.

Audi says performance has increased with most engines and that various friction-reduction technologies should help reduce fuel consumption by up to 10% as well.

All new A8s come with a standard eight-speed tiptronic transmission paired with quattro permanent all-wheel drive (except for the hybrid). An optional sport differential for the rear axle – standard on the S8 and 4.2 TDI – distributes power between the rear wheels as needed.

Audi's drive select system, which varies the function of various technology modules, is standard. It also controls the adaptive air suspension with adaptive damping.

True to Audi form, the A8's interior oozes elegance as well as craftsmanship. Options for the front seats include ventilation and massage, while electrically adjustable, individual rear seats are available as an option for the A8 and the A8 L.

Available driver assistance systems include adaptive cruise control with Stop&Go function, coupled with an expanded version of the standard Audi pre sense safety system and side assist.

New to the A8 are active lane assist, which makes slight steering adjustments when necessary, and a park assist system with 360-degree display, which takes over steering when parking.

A new head-up display projects important data onto the windshield and the night vision assistant can now recognize larger animals in addition to pedestrians.