Sporty elegance

Sporty elegance

Audi has introduced the A8 L, an innovative lightweight powerhouse

Audi Thailand has launched the A8 L flagship model featuring minor changes. It comes with exterior design changes as well as upgraded interior features to help it compete against arch rivals like the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

In Thailand, there are two A8 L trim levels to choose from -- the A8 L TFSI Quattro Premium priced at 6,999,000 baht and the range-topping A8 L 55 TFSI Quattro Prestige priced at 8,250,000 baht.

First introduced in 1994, the A8, which was the successor of the Audi V8, is the marque's most prestigious luxury saloon model that features the latest technical innovations. The fourth generation A8 was introduced in 2017.

"This year, Audi Thailand has introduced six new models covering many segments and before the upcoming Thailand International Motor Expo, we are launching the flagship Audi A8 L which comes with several improvements for the 2023 model," Grisnagorn Sawetanant, CEO of Audi Thailand, said.

While the current A8 came with Audi's future design language launched five years ago, the changed version enjoys slight design updates both front and rear.

The A8 L is a long-wheelbase version -- 3,128mm compared to 3,000mm for the standard A8. The A8 L measures 5,320mm in length, 1,945mm in width and 1,488mm in height.

The base of the single-frame front grille is wider with larger chrome angles from bottom to top, while the side air intakes are more upright and the headlights have also been restyled.

Thailand-bound A8 models do not come with Audi's latest Digital Matrix LED headlights that can illuminate the road in high resolution and instead are equipped with lower-spec HD Matrix headlights. Nevertheless, as soon as the camera on the windscreen detects other vehicles or city limits, the controller switches off individual LEDs or dims them in 64 stages, creating several million possible light patterns. The Matrix LED lights mask out other vehicles while continuing to fully illuminate the zones between and adjacent to them.

The rear is dominated by wide chrome clasps, a customisable light signature with digital OLEDs and a continuous, segmented light strip. The diffusor insert in the bumper has been redesigned with horizontal bars.

The digital OLED rear lights are available with two rear light signatures to choose from -- when the "dynamic" Audi drive select mode is chosen, the lights change to a wider signature only available in that mode.

In conjunction with assistance systems, the rear lights have a proximity indication feature: if other road users approach the stationary A8 from behind within 2m, all OLED segments are activated automatically. Additional functions include dynamic turn signals as well as coming home and leaving home sequences.

The body features the Audi Space Frame (ASF) concept, which is as much as 58% aluminium. Audi says the passenger compartment consists of hot-formed steel components supplemented with an ultra-high-strength, extremely torsionally-rigid rear panel made of a carbon-fibre reinforced polymer. Magnesium strut-tower bars also contribute to the car's lightweight construction. The outstanding body rigidity results in precise handling, excellent comfort and improved cabin acoustics.

The interior boasts a 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit display along with two centre console touchscreens (10.1-inch and 8.6-inch). The A8 L 55 TFSI Quattro Prestige comes with a 730W Bang & Olufsen sound system with 17 loudspeakers as well as individual relaxation rear seats that offer numerous adjustment options and a footrest with warming and massage functions. The relaxation seat package includes a back massage with 18 pneumatic cushions, electrically adjustable comfort headrests and four-zone automatic air conditioning which can be controlled via a 5.7-inch tablet.

Rear passengers each get new 10.1-inch displays with full HD resolution attached to the back of the front seats. They display content from passenger devices and can receive numerous audio and video streams via casting, including from well-known streaming platforms or TV media libraries.

In terms of performance, driving power comes from a 48V mild-hybrid 3.0-litre V6 engine capable of producing 340hp and 500Nm, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission delivering power to all four wheels via the Quattro system.

Audi claims 0-100kph acceleration in 5.7sec and an electronically-limited top speed of 250kph.

Comfort and road-holding are enhanced by adaptive air suspension that combines sporty driving with comfort, due in part to the distinct driving profiles the Audi drive select handling system offers.

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