So we have had the blind test at Audi headquarters now it was time for the big reveal. The moment the car world was looking forward to. Audi’s all new A8.
The Flagship And Top Mark Of The Audi Family
I must say they couldn’t have picked a better backdrop than Barcelona. Memories of my time there in 1992 at their amazing Olympics came flooding back. As did memories of my childhood reflecting on the Audi’s that were part of my ‘car love’ and experiences through the 70’s and 80’s. Little did I know that Audi had more than an A8 launch in mind. Let me explain.
The A8 launch was part of a much bigger event, the ‘Audi Summit’, the first ever world convention of the Audi’s entire range. Over 2000 professional and guests were invited to be wowed by the brand, its history and future aspirations of the Audi approach.
The stage was set and Audi took us on a whistle stop tour or their history from quattro to quattro, rally drivers to SUV premium models. The only thing missing from the presentation was a red carpet for the stars of the show, the cars. That being said, the shinny mirrored black surface of the exhibition space was more than suitable for the cars to vogue past a totally focused and hungry audience.
I had a brief run around backstage before the extravaganza began, just so I could gaze at the models waiting to make an appearance, far from the awaiting madding crowd. I enjoyed the silence, the uninterrupted vista of vintage Audi rally vehicles. Boyhood passions realized – now back to the event. In fact Audi herald this gathering as ‘The Event’. Which, judging by the anticipiation of the audience was a view they also shared.
Audi reminded us of the cars that launch the manufacturer into a new dominate rally phase. One which was the bedrock for ‘vorsprung’.
Audi was not just showcasing its history and pedigree, but also its expertise and future intent. With AI(artificial intelligence) playing a bigger part in the design and functions of cars, Audi was determined to demonstrate that they are not only key players in this field but significant leaders in many areas.
Audi A8 – The Reveal
First thoughts and impressions, wow, sleek and low.
The designers took us through the company’s thought process and key objectives for the new model. The front of the car has a new wider menacing grill which demands attention and commands respect. A driver would be rather distracted viewing that front grill heading towards them in their rear view mirror on the autobahn.
Having said that, once over taken by the mark the rear view is quite impressive too. Audi has taken the bold decision to continue the braking light system across the boot lid with sleek and simple red line running right along it.
It has stately look from the side, which is further pronounced on the long wheel based model. The styling is definitely sharper and more focused on a sporty stance. A phrase that came to mind was ‘tidy and tight’, don’t ask me why.
The lines of the car flow effortlessly and in harmony with Audi’s objectives of style, sportiness and sophistication. Something MSF readers enjoy, demand and expect.
The interior is rather delicious, the craftsmanship of the leather work, the stitching, the way they formed the seats, that are shaped to ensure comfort and support once again shows Audi’s future intent. AI and AI, this is in relation to artificial intelligence as I stated earlier but also Audi’s Intent. One that is embracing the future capabilities of autonomous driving. The A8 is at the third level of this technological curve. The company itself is making this way of thinking and the protocols connected to autonomous driving one of its major priorities for future models. Clean cars for clean cities, intelligent cars for intelligent drivers. Smart cars for smart cities. All of these things are being developed so as to create ‘premium mobility’. Something they are working on in Bejing.
The interface of the main driving console reflects the ‘My Audi’ philosopy in terms of their central intent to move from Level 3 Autonomous driving to Level 4. If you can use and love your smartphone, then you will be totally at home in this cockpit.
The controls are easy to access and navigation is straightforward and logical.
This car makes you feel not only important, but cared for, in a sophisticaled manner. The mix and blending of materials give positive and relaxed feelings to all the senses, but also create an air of excitement. Future mobility is firmly on the agenda for Audi, as is the definition of car travel. What will that look like in 5, 10 or 15 years? We are not sure but one thing is for certain, Audi are giving the people some delicious options.
One feature that really caught my attention was the satellite navigation. On one of the screens you can type the destination in but also use your finger to write the place’s name. Just like tablets and touch screens at home. This means you could be scrawling Barcelona down with each letter written onto of the first. Then options will appear on the screen above. Some smart tech for smart people.
But for those MSF readers who love opulence but also love to relax as well as travel in style, the rear accommodation has so much to offer. Leg room and height for almost every CEO and dignitary to enjoy. An infotainment console, which allows you to use voice activation as well as removable tablets for so one can chose to work or catch up on their latest box set. You even have the option of a foot massage function which is housed in the back of the front seats as well as the standard massage function in the rear seats. As I stated earlier – delicious!
Once the A8 had been unveiled, ravished and pawed over, Audi then treated us to ‘The Event’ which was I must confess appropriately billed as ‘Audi Summit’. I had a brief chat and well done with the CEO, his look and smile seemed to say it all. ‘Arrival’, Audi have turned a significant corner and are on the rise.
Listening to Dr. Bernd Martens showed us the Audi AI and also took us through the technical and future ambitions of the manufacturer set the participants up for all the treats which in the rest of the exhibition space.
Prof. Rupert Stadler leading from the front.
The CEO – confident and determined, a reflection of Audi’s intent.
The Audi Summit was a multi-sensual and intellectual feast, one which showed Audi’s intent, the ins and out of Audi’s brands and mark. Some might say the future is bring, others might say it is Audi, I prefer to say the future is ‘vorsprung’….you know the rest.