What is it? Audi introduced the redesign of its flagship A8, which will be two inches longer and wider than the old base model. A stretched L version will arrive in about a year. It uses a similar all-aluminum space frame as before.
Despite the physical change, the new car isn't revolutionary, but it is awash in new high-tech features. For instance, it has a standard navigation system that allows destination inputs by writing words and letters on a touch pad with your finger. Other notables include the first full-LED headlight system and adaptive cruise control that integrates traffic data from the navigation system. Like other recent Audis, the door handles become a contemporary pull-type rather than a lift up type.
The A8's direct-injected V8 has 22 additional horsepower (for 372 total), and it is mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission for better fuel economy. (The outgoing A8L returned 17 mpg overall in our tests.) Standard equipment includes all-wheel drive, adaptive air suspension, pre-collision avoidance system, and a lengthy roster of power amenities.
The A8 can be further outfitted with radar-guided cruise control, rear collision sensor, and lane-change warnings. With these systems, if the driver fails to slow down when approaching an obstacle, the A8 will sound an alarm. If there's still no response, it will vibrate the steering wheel and begin to apply the brakes.
When will it be available? End of 2010.
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