World premiere of facelifted Audi A8 image

Audi has just released the first official pictures and info regarding the midlife update of the sedan flagship, aiming at keeping it competitive with new look, more equipment and better powertrain.

The new Audi A8 will officially arrive in “flesh” and metal at the IAA 2013 Frankfurt motor show, as a timely refresh in order to tackle the just arrived W222 Mercedes Benz S Class. Almost everything, from design to the lightweight body construction has been updated and as a result Audi praises its flagship as one of the innovation leaders in the luxury segment.

Design wise, not too many differences can be spotted from the beginning, but if you look closely you can distinguish the new elements: the brand’s trademark “Singleframe grille” has gotten smaller, diminished in height and losing one of the horizontal blades (seven instead of eight); a singular lower air intake stretches now across the width of the car (the S8 keeps two); there is a new contour for the headlights and the restyled taillights are connected by a strip of chrome.

Length (5.14 meters -16.86 ft), wheelbase (2.99 meters – 9.81 ft), width (1.95 meters – 6.40 ft) and height (1.46 meters – 4.79 ft) remains unchanged, save for the A8 L, which gains an additional 13 centimeters (5.12 in) in both length and wheelbase. There is now a new trunk layout and additional noise damping measures.

For the German market, Audi delivers any V8 model with the LED headlights as a standard feature and as we already know there is also the option of the new Matrix LED technology – the high beam features 25 individual light-emitting diodes per unit that can be switched on and off or dimmed individually depending on the situation. Unfortunately, the U.S. market will not have this technology available, because 1960s legislature banned active headlamps.
Additional features are the intelligent cornering light, new-look daytime running lights and dynamic turn signals. Also, the lighting system in the A8 uses predictive route data from the navigation system to adjust the distribution of light in response to the current driving situation. In combination with the optional Navigation plus with MMI touch, the system recognizes route data contained in the navigation system, such as curves and road classifications.

The interior only features revised equipment and materials, with little new data on the roster: we have some new materials to select from and finally a head-up display. Equipment wise there are numerous additions, of which many would see a geek crying of joy: we have now a new active lane assist system that overrides driver commands when necessary and a park assist system with 360° display. Also, there are several new features for web connections: an integrated UMTS module is used to connect the new A8 to the Internet and passengers and surf and e-mail freely via a WLAN hotspot. For the driver, the system delivers the tailored online services from Audi connect to the car, such as online traffic information, Google Earth, Google Street View and online news.

Some of the engines were upgraded and some were not – the ones that missed on new goodies are the top performers, the W12 that remains unchanged at 500 bhp and the S8 that delivers 520 bhp from its turbocharged V8.

The smaller siblings are now upgraded and have better performance and efficiency. The supercharged 3.0 TFSI now has 228 kW (310 hp), the V8 twin-turbo 4.0 TFSI goes to 320 kW (435 hp), while the highly efficient 3.0 TDI clean diesel now has 190 kW (258 hp); also, we should mention the extremely high-torque 4.2 TDI clean diesel, which produces 283 kW (385 hp) and 850 Nm (626.93 lb-ft).

With quattro all-wheel drive, the new 4.0 TFSI accelerates the A8 from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds and the most efficient engine is the 3.0 TDI clean diesel, with 5.9 l/100 km (39.87 US mpg). We should not forget about the Audi cylinder on demand (COD) system that deactivates four of the 8 cylinders with the V8 engines and the presence of a hybrid model in the range, that combines a 2.0 TFSI and electric motor to produce a system output of 180 kW (245 hp) and system torque of 480 Nm (354.03 lb-ft).
The lithium-ion battery in the rear enables purely electric driving at up to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) with a range of roughly three km (1.86 miles). The A8 hybrid consumes on average 6.3 l/100 km (147 g CO2/km – 37.34 US mpg/236.57 g/mile).