Audi revealed the 2015 A8 L W12 facelift yesterday, and mild is the right description. This mid-cycle refresh brings improved performance, fuel mileage and technology, but little styling change outside. New adaptive Matrix LED headlights and a broader panel of LED brake lights appear out back, while scrolling sequential LED turn signals add some R8 flair to this long-wheelbase executive flagship.
This A8 L W12 quattro barely needs any extra charm school, but its nose now features a metallic mesh grille for the center shield as well as the lower air intake ducts. It is a nice touch that is subtle enough to make the W-12 unique versus its lesser siblings: the A8 TFSI, TDI or Hybrid models.
In the ultra-limo category of this 12-cylinder model, the A8 is actually far more understated and anonymous than piloting a Bentley Flying Spur or Porsche Panamera Turbo Executive , the new long-wheelbase version aimed at Chinese businessmen. It takes a closer look or a truly eagle-eyed car guy to know that this monster luxury limo is not another everyday Audi A4 .
Click past the jump for the full preview of the 2015 Audi A8 L W-12 quattro, with all the latest updates to its exterior LED style and interior technology.
The style revamp for the new A8 L W12 quattro is extremely mild, with new internal optics for the LED headlights and a new look for the wider LED tail lamps and flush-mounted rectangular exhaust finishers. Considering the heavy amounts of camouflage the 2015 A8 wore during its outdoor testing protocol, the lack of any major changes to the aluminum body panels is very surprising - and disappointing.
The new W12 model is the most glamorous from the front, with the checkered mesh bright work emphasizing the credentials of this luxury flagship. A subtle "W12" badge appears in the grille, and new detailing for the lower bumpers integrates the black radar projectors in a clean and unobtrusive way.
Black projector balls flank each side of the lower bumper where the fog lights would normally reside - but these are not lights. They are the short, mid and long range radar and laser scanner arrays for the A8’s upcoming safety technology.
The A8 still keeps its ungainly cut lines in the front, drastically cheapening the appearance of Audi’s most expensive sedan. The large vertical ridge to the outside of each headlamp and tail lamp is a big style issue for the A8, because it makes the car look like it has the proportions and style of a 1980’s Chevy Caprice. The long front overhang and long rear overhang are less noticeable on this stretched A8 L model, but overall the A8’s design is still quite sour and unpleasant.
The new exterior mirrors bring fiber-optic turn signal repeaters and a larger mirror face for better rearward visibility. Unfortunately, the slab sides and unrefined rear arches are even more visible now from the driver’s seat.
The A8 L W12 looks extremely bloated in back on the small wheels of these press images, while the Toyota Avalon-style champagne exterior color is a million miles from what most A8 W12 buyers will want: massive and super-expensive wheels and glass that is tinted darker than Secret Service Suburban.
In this regard, the A8 L W12’s facelift is a huge missed opportunity to correct the previous issues with the A8’s vulgar bumper shut lines and boring panel surfacing. This A8 L W12 looks more comfortable shuttling the retirement gals to the golf course once a week than it does with Jason Statham behind the wheel at 150-plus mph.
The interior of the A8 L W12 continues to be a spectacular treat, regardless of whether in the driver’s seat or relaxing in the reclining rear bench. This generation of A8 W12 features a greatly improved rear seat ambiance, connectivity and roominess, thanks to its 5-inch wheelbase stretch versus the standard A8.
Worth noting is that all Audi A8’s are quite small inside versus their competition from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. One downside of the A8’s all-aluminum construction is that the car is narrow and has a higher floor height than most sedans. Despite the tall-looking roof, headroom is a concern.
The A8’s luxury materials and Design Selection color and wood choices are beyond reproach for quality and variety of colors and themes. From ultra-traditional black with brown wood, to a lovely rich tan color, to the cream hides in these images.
Taste is always subjective, and these German-market press photos show a pretty dour combination of grey wood and perforated white leather all around. The U.S. spec models will generally be much warmer and richer inside than this company car blandness.
Extremely limited trunk space is also a serious problem for the A8 - but the new model is said to have a new trunk floor layout that makes loading and unloading large bags easier.
Drivetrain, Engine and Brakes
The 6.3-liter W-12 engine carries over last year’s power outputs but brings an improved efficiency program for the transmission and the ’Cylinder on Demand’ system that runs only half the engine under light throttle loads or coasting.
Audi boasts of best-in-class fuel economy, which is not too surprising versus the turbocharged V-12’s employed by BMW and Mercedes - which are both also much quicker than the A8 L W12. Acceleration data was not provided for this engine, but the smaller supercharged V-6 and turbo V-8 each promise quicker sprint times.
A modest 0.2-second improvement is likely, taking the A8 L W12 down to just 4.2 seconds to 60 mph. While quite impressive for this long-wheelbase version of the A8, the new S8 will still be the drag race champ at its projected 3.9 seconds to 60 down. With room for a CEO board meeting inside, those scores are absolutely remarkable.
The sub-4-second German premium car class is rapidly leaving American and Asian luxury brands in the dust.
2015 Audi A8 L W12 quattro - Mechanical Details:
|0-60 mph||4.2 seconds, est|
|Top Speed||155 mph|
|EPA Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Combined)||18/25/20, est|
The pricing is not yet set for this future model, but the 2014 model’s $135,000 price is expected to rise to about $138,000 on this 2015 A8 L W12 before options.
Speaking of slow competitors, the Lexus hybrid LS brings up the way back of the $100,000 luxury limo segment with its 5.5 second 60 mph time. The Lexus also has a compromised trunk area with its integrated hybrid components and optional second air conditioner / cool box unit. Even so, it beats the A8’s tiny 12 cubic-feet of trunk space.
Speaking of fast competitors, the Panamera Turbo is still a sports car even with the latest tech gadgets and extra space in back. Clawing its way to 60 mph in under 4 seconds, the Panamera is also far more alive and entertaining to drive on twisty roads.
Both the Porsche and the Audi have similarly small trunk and back seats versus the S-Class.
Despite harsh criticisms of the 2015 A8 L W12’s face lift, it is still inherently a very modern and likable sedan. It just does not reach the same purity of design as the A6 to some eyes.
On the plus side, the rear trunk and three-quarter angle is now much smoother and more seamless. Five new wheel designs up to 21 inches will also allow buyers to order the A8 W12 in the gangster specification so popular everywhere from Moscow to Manhattan.
Improved performance and economy. Is it enough to lure first-time Audi exec buyers from BMW and Mercedes-Benz? Time will tell.
- Scrolling turn signals front and back are cool
- Matrix LED lighting standard on all V-8 and above A8 models
- New taillights and exhaust outlets look classier than before
- Boring colors for the exterior and interior versus other A8 options and choices when buying
- Small trunk is a major problem for a luxury limo
- Not as quick as cheaper S8
Composure redefined – the Audi A8
- Audi is honing the character of its flagship model
- More powerful engines, new assistance systems and innovative Matrix LED headlight technology
- Fuel consumption reductions across the board
The new A8 places Audi among the innovation leaders in the luxury segment. One great strength of the big sedan is its lightweight construction. The Audi A8 3.0 TFSI with the normal wheelbase has a curb weight of just 1,830 kilograms (4,034.46 lb) – best-in-class for models with all-wheel drive. The body is made almost entirely of aluminum; an Audi Space Frame (ASF) design, it weighs just 231 kilograms (509.27 lb).
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]) remain unchanged, making the Audi A8 the sportiest sedan in the segment. The A8 L gains an additional 13 centimeters (5.12 in) in both length and wheelbase. Both body variants feature a new trunk layout for easier loading. Additional noise damping measures reduce the already low interior noise level even further.
The dynamic design of the big sedan has become even more expressive. The engine hood, the Singleframe grille and the front bumper are even more sculptured; the lower edge of the headlight units is straight. In the German market, LED headlights are standard in all models with a V8 engine. Audi also offers optional headlights featuring Matrix LED technology, which sets new benchmarks with respect to design and technology. With these headlights, the high-beam comprises 25 individual light-emitting diodes per unit that can be switched on and off or dimmed individually depending on the situation.
This enables the headlight system to react extremely precisely to other vehicles while always brightly illuminating the road. Additional features of the new headlights are the intelligent cornering light, new-look daytime running lights and dynamic turn signals. 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 LED lamps at the rear of the new Audi A8 have also become flatter. In all models except the S8, the redesigned bumper houses two rhomboid tailpipes. New chrome strips and high-gloss black window frames round out the differentiating design details. There is a choice of twelve colors, including five new ones. Wheels are available in sizes up to 21 inches.
The engines: more power and efficiency
Audi offer the A8 on the German market with two gasoline and two diesel engines. These are the supercharged 3.0 TFSI with 228 kW (310 hp), the V8 twin-turbo 4.0 TFSI with 320 kW (435 hp), the highly efficient 3.0 TDI clean diesel with 190 kW (258 hp) and the extremely high-torque 4.2 TDI clean diesel, which produces 283 kW (385 hp) and 850 Nm (626.93 lb-ft).
Performance has increased with most engines. When paired with quattro all-wheel drive, the 4.0 TFSI now accelerates the A8 from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.5 seconds. Under partial load, the Audi cylinder on demand (COD) system deactivates four of the eight cylinders. The most efficient engine is the 3.0 TDI clean diesel, which consumes just 5.9 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers (39.87 US mpg), which corresponds to 155 grams CO2 per kilometer (249.45 g/mile) All engines satisfy the Euro 6 standard. Friction-reducing measures reduce consumption by as much as 10 percent.
These variants are joined by three additional models. The top-of-the-line model is the luxuriously equipped Audi A8 L W12 quattro. Its gasoline engine is particularly short and lightweight thanks to its W layout. Displacing 6.3 liters, it produces 368 kW (500 hp). It also boasts best-in-class fuel consumption of 11.7 liters per 100 kilometers (20.10 US mpg), corresponding to 270 grams CO2 per kilometer (434.52 g/mile). It also has a COD system that was designed specifically for it. At low load, it deactivates the fuel injection and ignition for six cylinders. The available Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) ensures excellent acoustic comfort.
With 380 kW (520 hp), the S8 is Audi’s big sports sedan. Paired with quattro all-wheel drive, its sonorous 4.0 TFSI accelerates the S8 from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.2 seconds. Average fuel consumption for the S8 is just 10.1 liters per 100 kilometers (23.29 US mpg), corresponding to 235 grams CO2 per kilometer (378.20 g/mile). The COD system plays a key role here, too. Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), a technology that is also used in the A8 4.0 TFSI quattro, the A8 L W12 quattro and the A8 hybrid, uses precise antiphase noise to compensate for intrusive noise in the cabin while operating on four cylinders while active engine mounts dampen vibration. The chassis and many body details reflect the sporty positioning of the S8.
The Audi A8 hybrid 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 engine’s power flows to the front wheels via a modified tiptronic. 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 kilometers (1.86 miles). The A8 hybrid consumes on average just 6.3 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (147 grams CO2 per kilometer [37.34 US mpg/236.57 g/mile]).
The new A8 comes standard with a fast and smooth-shifting, eight-speed tiptronic. The electronically controlled automatic transmission is paired with quattro permanent all-wheel drive. Audi also offers an optional sport differential for the rear axle, which distributes the power between the rear wheels as needed. The sport differential is standard in the S8 and the A8 4.2 TDI clean diesel quattro.
The sedan owes its sporty character in large part to the sophisticated chassis. The Audi drive select system, which varies the function of various technology modules, is standard. It also controls the adaptive air suspension with adaptive damping. Audi offers the air suspension with a sporty setup upon request. The power steering uses an efficient electromechanical drive. Dynamic steering, which varies boost as a function of the speed driven, is available as an option. Carbon fiber ceramic brake discs are available for V8 models and the A8 L W12 quattro.
Another option is for 9 J x 20 aluminum-technology wheels which are based on forged support wheels. A special process joins the support wheel to a ten-spoke design element of high-strength polymer.
Hand-built character: The interior of the Audi A8
The interior of the Audi flagship dazzles with its elegant lines and generous spaciousness. Options for the front seats include ventilation and massage. Electrically adjustable, individual rear seats are available as an option for the A8 and the A8 L. The A8 L is also available with a continuous, leather-covered center console. The first-class solution here is the relaxation seat with power footrest. A large number of additional features are also available, from four-zone automatic air conditioning and power-assisted closing to a cooler.
All components in the new A8 have been carefully chosen and processed with the utmost precision. Each of the lovingly executed details documents the hand-built character of the interior. A new range of choices for seat coverings, inlays and colors is available in many areas. New additions include the woods Fine grain poplar brown-silver and Fine grain ash brown-gold natural as well as the leather Unikat, which is particularly natural-looking, soft and breathable.
The Audi design selection offers a preselection of exclusive materials and colors for the interior, including sycamore gray/marble gray. The design selection black/vermont brown with Carbon twill copper inlays is available for the Audi S8. The Audi exclusive range offers additional individualization options for particularly discerning customers.
As is typical for Audi, the new A8 features exemplarily clear controls despite the abundance of functions. Taking center stage is the MMI control element on the tunnel’s center console. MMI navigation plus also includes a touchpad. The driver draws characters on the pad (MMI touch) to control numerous navigation and multimedia functions.
For more composed driving: the assistance systems
Driving is even more composed with the optional assistance systems. The adaptive cruise control with Stop&Go function is coupled with an expanded version of the standard Audi pre sense basic safety system. The same applies to Audi side assist. New in the A8 are Audi active lane assist, which makes slight steering adjustments when necessary, and the park assist system with 360° display, which handles steering when parking. The head-up display, which is also new, projects important data in the driver’s field of vision on the windshield. The night vision assistant can now also recognize larger animals in addition to pedestrians.
Audi connect including car phone is available as a supplement to MMI navigation plus. It uses an integrated UMTS module to connect the new A8 to the Internet. Passengers can 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. The multimedia highlight is the Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System. The Rear Seat Entertainment system includes two displays, Bluetooth headphones and a DVD player.
The new Audi A8 is scheduled to arrive at German dealerships in November. Despite the upgraded trim level (standard LED headlights in all V8 models) and the powerful engines, prices are changing only slightly. Prices in Germany for the new Audi model start at 74,500 euros.