Audi A8 tech secrets revealed ahead of 2017 launch

25 May, 2015 4:15pm  written by Jonathan Burn

New styling direction, advanced new technology and electric turbocharged engines confirmed for next-gen Audi A8

Audi bosses have lifted the lid on some of the revolutionary tech that will make its way into the next-generation Audi A8 saloon when it arrives in 2017.

Everything from Audi’s piloted driving autonomous car tech to gesture control, and organic LED lighting will find its way into Audi’s flagship saloon, ensuring it becomes the technological showcase it needs to be to tackle the Mercedes S-Class. The new A8 will also be the first model from Audi to feature the brand’s new design language as showcased by the Audi Prologue concept at the LA Motor Show last year.

• Audi A7 drives itself on public roads

“The A8 will be the next-generation of the every successful vehicle model for Audi, so what we are doing is looking at which future technologies make sense for our customers, what do they expect and how can we surprise out customers,” Audi’s technical development chief Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg told Auto Express. “The next level of sophisticated technology will be in the A8.”

New A8 to drive itself with Audi Piloted Driving tech
Revolutionary piloted driving tech has been confirmed for the A8. Long-range radar sensors, 12 ultrasonic sensors, laser scanners and hi-resolution video cameras will constantly monitor the car’s surroundings, with the system also able to guide a car safely through traffic jams at up to speeds of 37mph.

Audi believes up to 90 per cent of all innovation in the automotive sector will come from electronics, with lighting playing a significant part. Matrix LED technology is still relatively new but Audi is already working to move the game on further. “We are working on the integration of organic LEDs,” said Ricky Hudi, Head of Electronics at Audi. He claims the advancement will enable “new forms of expression and differentiation”, with their main use expected to be in a car’s digital displays.

Audi Prologue Allroad concept interior
Those displays will also be operated by gesture control, a feature also confirmed for the facelifted VW Golf due next year. “We are already working on a new gesture control system as an advanced development,” said Hudi. In-car operations such as adjusting the temperate, answering incoming calls and switching between radio stations will move from button operation to gesture control.

“The A8 is a good car to introduce some of these technologies because it is always good to start with a premium offering,” added Hackenberg.

Electric turbos for new Audi engines
But advancements won’t stop at in-car technology with Dr. Hackenberg also confirming the A8 will feature electric turbocharging. “We are preparing the production of such systems and it will be in the market with the A8 as well as other models in the future”, he said.

Audi Prologue Driverless Concept rear side
With the next-generation A8 to be based on the new MLB platform, around 200kg of excess weight is expected to be shed, while new and revised V6 and V8 engines will be offered. A plug-in hybrid version under Audi’s e-tron strategy is also certain, with the brand committing to having a plug-in hybrid model in each of its model ranges.

All of this technology will be wrapped up in a whole new look for the A8, too. It will be the first model from Audi to feature the new design language from the Prologue concept penned by new design chief Marc Licht. Expect bolder styling, exaggerated proportions and a new take on the trademark wide-mouthed grille.

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Businessman leaves ‘£8m’ Ferraris to RNLI in its most generous gift ever

Two rare Ferraris are to be sold at auction in order to buy a new RNLI lifeboat.

Hannah Furness writes…
A businessman has bequeathed the proceeds of his “lifelong passion”, two remarkably rare Ferraris he drove for 130,000 miles around Europe, to the RNLI, in what could become the most generous gift the charity has ever received.
Richard Colton, who died earlier this year, was said to be “nervous” of the sea and wanted to leave a donation to the British charity to help future seafarers in danger.
He has now left two sports cars, his pride and joy in life, to be auctioned by H&H Classics, with proceeds which could total around £8million to go to the RNLI.
Mr Colton’s godson, who is carrying out his wishes, will oversee the sale of a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB and 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 from his collection, in what experts have described as a sale of “national significance”.
Although there is no official estimate on the cars, two similar vehicles have recently sold for a total of £8million.
The sum would make the bequest the most generous legacy ever accepted by the RNLI, following an anonymous gift of £7.4m in 2013.
The 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB and 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 are to be sold (H&H Classics)
The donation is intended to find a new lifeboat for the charity’s Northamptonshire branch, to be named Richard and Caroline Colton after its benefactor and his late wife.
Mr Colton, a businessman who died in March at the age of 82, was said to be “nervous” of the sea himself, despite regularly travelling by ferry to take his prized cars to Europe.
A prominent member of the V12 section of the Ferrari Owners’ Club, he owned a collection of ten cars in later life, often taking them on jaunts around the continent.
The 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB is one of just ten supplied new to the UK, ordered by famed car dealer Col. Ronnie Hoare to launch Maranello Concessionaires, and has been described by auctioneers as one of the “most beautiful cars in the world” as well as one of the most valuable.
The second, a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4, was one of 27 of its kind in the UK.
The late Richard and Caroline Colton (The Colton family)
Between them, the carefully maintained cars travelled more than 130,000 miles around Europe with their owner and a small pet dog for company.
They will now be sold by H&H Classics on October 14, 2015, at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, Cambridge.
Guy Rose, legacy manager at the RNLI, said the charity was “deeply grateful and humbled” by Mr Colton’s generosity.
“The impact of his incredible generosity will be directly felt by our volunteer crews and the people whose lives they save for many years to come,” he added.
Simon Hope, chairman of H&H Classics, which holds sales across Britain, said: “We are honoured to have been chosen to handle this sale which is of national significance.
“These stunning motor cars have been with Richard Colton for 40 years and meant a very great deal to him. So we are absolutely committed to realising the maximum amount for the cars. It promises to be an historic sale.”