Audi on Tuesday unveiled an updated version of its A8.
The current A8 is the fourth generation of the flagship sedan and its latest updates constitute a mid-cycle refresh. The current A8 has been on sale since the 2019 model year and we should see this updated version arrive in 2022 as a 2022 or 2023 model.
The changes are subtle, which is normal in this segment. The biggest departure from the current A8 is the new front end which features more advanced matrix LED headlights, plus a revised grille and front fascia with a more technical design. At the rear, there are new OLED taillights that have various options for the light signature. They also have a proximity indicator that enables them to light up when another vehicle comes near them. The rear fascia also features a new diffuser sporting horizontal bars.
Updated Audi A8 L
For the first time, Audi is making the A8 available with an S Line sports package that borrows some visual cues from the sporty S8 grade. For instance, it adds additional blades near the side intakes of the front fascia, just like on the S8. A package that adds black accents to the exterior will also be available.
There aren't any real changes in the cabin to note. There's still a digital instrument cluster and two more displays for the infotainment system. A head-up display remains available, as are screens for the rear-seat passengers that attach to the backs of the front seats. These can control some vehicle functions as well as display content from passengers’ mobile devices, and stream content. A Bang & Olufsen audio system with 23 speakers is also available.
In the powertrain department, we expect the updated A8 to match the current model's offerings here in the U.S. This means 55 TFSI, 60 TFSI e, 60 TFSI, and S8 grades.
Updated Audi A8 L
The 55 TFSI consists of a 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 good for 335 hp. The 60 TFSI e is a plug-in hybrid setup that mates the V-6 to a single electric motor. Specs for the updated version haven't been announced but the current setup is good for 443 hp.
The 60 TFSI and S8 both feature a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8, rated at 453 hp in the 60 TFSI and 563 in the S8. Buyers of the S8 can expect 0-60 mph acceleration in 3.8 seconds or less. To help save fuel, the V-8 features cylinder-deactivation technology.
An 8-speed automatic, all-wheel drive, and mild-hybrid tech are standard across the range.
Updated Audi A8 L
Unique to the S8 are additional performance upgrades fitted as standard. These include predictive suspension, a sport differential, and speed-sensitive all-wheel steering. The predictive suspension relies on cameras that scan the road surface ahead and then, via actuators, adjusts the level of movement of each wheel to suit. The system can also adjust the level of body roll when cornering to maintain stability and ride comfort.
The A8 isn't a big seller for Audi, with the U.S. sales figure in 2020 coming in at just 2,406 units. Even the pre-pandemic total in 2019 was only slightly better at 2,963 units. However, sales have been strong enough in China to warrant the development of a Chinese-market exclusive ultra-luxury version featuring revived Horch branding.
The Horch name comes from Audi founder August Horch. He started the Horch brand in 1904 but quickly ran into financial troubles and left to start the original iteration of Audi in 1910. The special A8 the name is attached to is designed to target the Mercedes-Benz Maybach S-Class and features an extra-long body stretching 17.88 feet, or 5.1 inches longer than the long-wheelbase A8 L we get standard in the U.S., and 11 inches longer than the standard-wheelbase A8 sold elsewhere.
2022 Audi A8 L Horch
Pricing for the updated A8 in the U.S. will be announced closer to next year's market launch. As a guide, the 2021 A8 starts at $87,495, including destination.
For more on the Audi A8, read the in-depth reviews at The Car Connection.