This is no run-of-the-mill luxury saloon, they said. At its launch in 2017, Audi claimed that the A8 would be the first production car developed expressly for what it described as “highly automated driving” or Level 3 autonomy in the near future. In layman's terms this implies that, under certain conditions, the driver can switch it to autopilot and focus on something other than driving.
That wasn't all. The A8, we were told, would also feature active suspension (similar to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class’s Magic Body Control), that would ‘read’ the road ahead and adapt to the suspension to any bumps before reaching them.
Sounds great, doesn't it? However, the 'near future' has come and gone without any sign of such features, so where does that leave the A8? Well, it offers a lot of other interesting technologies, including 48-volt electrics, rear-wheel steering to improve manoeuvrability and stability and a body that uses of a wide range of lightweight materials to make the A8 as light and efficient as possible.
But here's the crucial question: even without being the technological tour de force it was touted to be, is the A8 still good enough to beat the S-Class for luxury and the BMW 7 Series for driving dynamics? We'll answer those questions over the next few pages.
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