Audi will unveil the new, fourth-generation A8 on July 11 at an event in Barcelona, Spain.
Describing the upcoming flagship sedan, CEO Rupert Stadler said the car will be “generously dimensioned” and feature “a completely new operating concept.”
The operating concept he’s referring to is a driver assist feature with Level 3 self-driving capability. Level 3 is where the car can handle certain situations with no need for monitoring by the driver. In other words, a hands-off, eyes-off experience.
2019 Audi A8 spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
All self-driving systems to date are at Level 2, because they require constant monitoring by the driver. Level 5, the ultimate goal, is where a car can handle all situations by itself and no longer requires a driver on board.
Audi says its new A8 will offer Level 3 self-driving capability in traffic jams at speeds of up to 37 mph. The car will also be able to handle some parking maneuvers by itself, as previewed in the teaser video.
Evolutionary styling is clearly on the menu for the new A8. The wheelbase has been increased slightly which should lead to a bit more space in the cabin. Audi's series of Prologue concepts hint at the new look.
Fourth-generation Audi A8’s multi-material spaceframe
Regardless of the powertrain, the A8 will feature a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. Mild-hybrid systems replace the separate starter motor and generator (commonly referred to as an alternator) by a single, powerful motor-generator. This motor-generator aids the engine during high-load situations and recovers energy under braking.
The new A8 will go on sale in 2018, as a 2019 model.