Audi has confirmed its biggest sedan is being updated for 2022, with several changes on the design and technology fronts and a new top model for the Chinese market.
To reset, the full-size A8 sedan was all-new as a fourth-generation model in 2017 and is currently sold in Canada in three main variants: A8 L in either 55 (V6) or 60 (V8) form, A8 L TFSI e (plug-in hybrid) and a performance-oriented S8. All models are the long wheelbase variant. This basic lineup will carry over when 2022 models begin arriving next summer.
On the design front, the 2022 A8 features a wider Singleframe grille with chrome edges on all sides, with redesigned air intakes and new Digital Matrix LED headlights. At the rear, chrome trim has been added to the new Digital OLED taillight signature and into the bottom diffuser, which has also been redesigned. A chrome exterior package will be offered as an option for ’22, as will an S Line exterior package, a first for the A8. A black appearance package will also be available, and 11 exterior colours will be offered, along with five matte finishes.
Audi designers have also made incremental changes to the A8’s bodywork. Among the changes are a flatter dome roof, wider wheel arches and a concave-shaped rocker panel that finishes with a downward shape that points towards the ground.
Dimensionally, the 2022 A8 is essentially the same size as its predecessor, but the S8’s length will grow by about one centimetre. As was the case with the outgoing car, the ’22 is built with the Audi Space Frame which is roughly 58 per cent aluminum. Areas such as the passenger compartment are made from hot-formed steel, while the rear panel is made of carbon-fibre reinforced polymer for increased torsional rigidity.
On the inside, the 2022 A8 will continue to offer a finely tailored lounge, with a range of seating and seat equipment, especially in the rear. The relaxation seat, for example offers a wide array of adjustment options, along with a footrest on the back of front passenger seat. It can be used by passengers to warm and massage the bottoms of their feet, while the rear seatback offers a back massage that uses 18 pneumatic cushions.
The relaxation seat package also has electronically adjustable headrests, an optional fold-out table, four-zone automatic air conditioning and new 10.1-inch HD screens. And, in case you were wondering, yes, a cooler and bar compartment are available as an option.
As for the seat coverings, the 2022 A8 will be offering Valetta leather as standard equipment, with Valcona leather available as an option in several colours, including new cognac brown. A new material, Dinamica, a microfibre material partially sourced from recycled textiles and plastic bottles, is available as an option for door panels, pillar trim and roof lining.
On the tech front, the A8’s multimedia interface (MMI) uses two touch panels, 10.1-inch and 8.6-inch units, that support voice recognition (Hey, Audi!) for a number of functions. MMI Navigation Plus is standard, which incorporates the company’s third gen modular infotainment toolkit, along with Car-2-X (car-to-car communication) services from Audi connect. Finally, as was the case before, the ’22 A8 will feature Audi’s virtual cockpit instrument cluster.
The updated A8 also has an array of driver assistance programs. Audi says the car has roughly 40 of them, including those such as pre sense basic and pre sense front safety systems, which are standard issue. Optional kit is clustered into three primary packages: park, city and tour.
The signature of park, as the name suggests, is remote park assist plus, which can automatically manoeuvre the vehicle into and out of a parking space, and it works with the driver outside of the car.
The city package comes with a host of features including intersection assist, cross-traffic assist, side assist, exit warning and Audi pre sense safety 360, which comes with a side crash enhancement feature that works in combination with active suspension. As for the tour package, its primary feature is adaptive cruise assist, which adjusts longitudinal and lateral guidance throughout the A8’s speed range.
As for engines and transmissions, they carry over. The 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 for the A8 L 55 puts out 335 horsepower and 369 lb-ft, while the 4.0-litre biturbo V8 in the 60 grade produces 453 horsepower and 487 lb-ft. The S8 receives a more powerful version of the V8 that produces 563 horsepower and 590 lb-ft. Both engines utilize a 48-volt mild-hybrid system and are paired with an eight-speed automatic and quattro all-wheel drive.
Finally, the plug-in, the A8 L TFSI e, pairs the 3.0-litre turbo V6 with an electric motor and 14.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that produces a combined 456 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. The former number represents a 13 hp gain over the outgoing model. The tiptronic eight-speed automatic and quattro all-wheel drive are standard, as they were previously.
As mentioned at the top, China will get its own unique model, the A8 L Horch. The Horch name comes from August Horch, the founder of Audi. The A8 L Horch is the longest A8, with a length that is 130 mm (5.1 inches) longer than the A8 L. Its interior will feature diamond quilting, logo-embossed cushions, and deep pile floor mats. Its exterior will have unique design cues, including a model specific Singleframe grille, along with chrome mirror housings and rear light signatures.
Other details include a larger panoramic roof, Horch badging on the c-pillar, H-crown rim design and standard relaxation rear seat. A two-tone colour option will also be available.