At the very top of the sedan food chain are the rare few who define the industry. These are the cars from which features will eventually trickle down: futuristic additions make their debut in the most luxurious sedans on the market. Among this exclusive number is the 2019 Audi A8, which brings a host of new technology for a ground-up redesign. It sets a bright new benchmark for autonomy, safety, and sophistication.
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2019 Audi A8 Overview
What's New for 2019
The Audi A8 is all-new for 2019.
Choosing Your Audi A8
At launch, the 2019 A8 will arrive in a single engine and trim level, starting at $84,795 (including the $995 destination charge). The heart is a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine producing 335 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. The engine is assisted by what Audi calls a "mild" hybrid system, which adds a small electric boost to smooth out power delivery, aid efficiency, and power the A8's many gadgets. A V8 engine will be available in the summer of 2019.
All-wheel drive is standard, as is an eight-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy hasn't been released yet, but expect it to at least match the previous generation's 19 miles per gallon city, 29 mpg highway, and 22 combined.
Front and center in the cockpit are two stacked touchscreens. The upper screen, measuring 10.3 inches, controls traditional infotainment functions. The lower 8.6-inch screen controls HVAC and seating settings and allows considerable customization. The sole remaining knob is the one for volume. Audi prides itself on its technology integration, which means that smartphone connectivity and control are more complete than ever.
The rest of the car doesn't lose out on luxury either. Leather surfaces are standard, as are powered soft-closing doors, power sunshades, wood and aluminum inlays, a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, four-zone climate control, and neat motorized vent shutters. Equally impressive is the safety technology, which begins with Audi's usual suite of active features and runs up to near autonomy.
To get most of it, though, buyers need to dive into the package selections. Take a deep breath here, because what the A8 lacks in trims it makes up for in feature bundles.
The packages start off simple with the Cold Weather Package ($800), which heats up the rear seats, the front dash surfaces, and the steering wheel, and adds adaptive wipers for good measure. The Executive Package ($4,150) is where the fun begins, adding a phone box, top-view camera, surround-view parking system, head-up display, rear cross-traffic alert, and a new safety feature that warns you before opening your door if a bike is approaching. Acoustic glass, ventilated massaging 22-way front seats, and a heated steering wheel round out the package.
For a more plush interior, the Luxury Package ($4,250) includes ambient lighting, even more leather-covered surfaces, Valcona leather, Alcantara headliner, aluminum buttons, an air ionizer, and an in-car fragrance system. Alternatively, the Full Leather Package ($4,500) covers every conceivable surface in cow skin with decorative stitching. For the exterior, packages include either a Lighting Package ($3,400), which upgrades the LED head- and taillights, or 20-inch spoke alloy rims with all-season tires ($1,200).
For passengers who like to conduct their business in the rear, kingly levels of luxury are available. The Executive Rear Seat Comfort Package ($7,550) adds heated rear seats, a full-length rear console with folding tables, ventilated massage rear seats, a smart rear touchscreen remote control, matrix LED reading lights, rear footrests, and a passenger-side seat with a foot-massager tucked into the back of the front seat. The Rear Seat Comfort Package ($3,500) picks a few of those features while still allowing seating for five, adding just the upgraded seats, the reading lights, and the remote control.
For the tech-focused passenger, the Rear Seat Connectivity Package ($3,250) includes a dual tablet entertainment system, a rear DVD changer, rear USB music interface, and a power outlet. The Driver Assistance Package ($2,750) adds the rest of Audi's driving and safety technology, including adaptive cruise control with autonomous features, active lane assist, traffic sign recognition, and an intersection accident prevention system.
The final new safety feature is a standalone option, a night-vision and pedestrian detection system for $2,300. Other notable options include a four-service bundle of Audi Care ($1,179) and a Bang & Olufsen sound system with a staggering 23 speakers ($5,900). Alcantara or cloth headliner are no-cost options.
The new 2019 Audi A8 can be optioned up to a palace on wheels, but the price will soar well north of $100,000. If it were us, we'd stick to getting the best of the technology in the Executive and Driver Assistance Packages.
2019 Audi A8 Review
Audi debuted the 2019 A8 in July, showing off its upcoming Level 3 automated driving technology and 48-volt mild-hybrid powertrain. Despite all these technological upgrades, Audi is still Audi, and it kept the stylistic changes in this new-generation mild. Can the A8’s tech upgrades push buyers to look beyond the mild styling changes in the new generation? Continue reading to find out.
The 2019 Audi A8 won't feature traditional trim levels like many vehicles. Instead, it will come as a single trim with an array of packages and standalone options to spruce things up. The base Audi A8 L 3.0 TSFI will come loaded with tons of luxury and tech items, including heated 18-way power front seats, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a Valetta leather interior with Fine Nappa extended leather, gloss-black touch-sensitive buttons with haptic feedback, dual display screens, myAudi app, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 19-inch wheels, an adaptive air suspension, and LED headlights and taillights.
The big news on the 2019 A8 is the new Level 3 automated driving, so you’ll want to maximize this new tech with the $2,750 Driver Assistance Package, which also requires the $4,150 Executive Package.
- Model: 2019 Audi A8 L 3.0 TSFI
- Engine: 3.0-liter turbocharged V6
- Output: 335 hp / 369 lb-ft
- Transmission:Eight-speed automatic
- Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
- MPG: Not yet available
- Options: Driver Assistance Package ($2,750, adaptive cruise control, predictive efficiency assist, intersection assist, traffic sign recognition, lane keeping assist), Executive Package ($4,150, Audi side assist with exit warning and rear cross-traffic alert, collision warning, automatic emergency braking, Audi phone box, topview camera, park assist with surround-view camera, a head-up display, 22-way front seat adjustment, ventilated and massaging front seats, heated steering wheel)
- Base Price: $84,795 (including a $995 destination fee)
- Best Value Price:$91,695
The 2019 Audi A8’s Level 3 autonomous driving system allows the driver to let the car drive itself at speeds of up to 37 mph, leading to less stressful commutes. When you're in control, the A8’s 335-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 delivers enough power to launch this big sedan to 60 mph in just 5.6 seconds and up to a 130 mph top speed.
Comfort and handling are also front and center on the 2019 A8 – its standard adaptive air suspension system that adjusts to road conditions every 18 seconds is evidence of this focus.
On the downside, though, local laws limit where you can legally use the Level 3 automated driving features. Plus, the optional V8 engine won’t be available until later in production, and there are no plans for a W12 engine.
Audi did a great job reworking the interior, eliminating virtually all the buttons that cluttered things up and replacing them with touch-sensitive buttons. There are also premium materials slathered all over the 2019 A8’s cabin, enveloping you and your passengers in luxury. While those touch-sensitive buttons clean up the clutter, some vehicles have failed in making them easy to use, making them more of a distraction than anything. The jury is still out on Audi’s execution of these buttons.
Thanks to its long wheelbase, leg room is plentiful at 41.5 inches up front and a whopping 44.3 inches in the rear. For such a large sedan, trunk space is limited at just 12.5 cubic feet, and you cannot lower the rear seats for additional room. Also, while most Audi buyers are used to the lack of stylistic changes, new buyers to the brand may not appreciate the mild styling evolution the 2019 A8 went through.
The Best and Worst Things
The upcoming Level 3 autonomous driving functions are huge and can revolutionize the industry and the daily commute.
The 12.5-cubic-foot trunk is a head-scratcher as there are compact sedans with significantly more luggage capacity.
Right For? Wrong For?
The 2019 Audi A8 is perfect for the professional who often shuttles around business associates. With its large rear seats, it's also great for those who frequently use a professional driver and spend most of their time in the rear seats.
Despite its size, Audi didn’t tune the 2018 A8 for families due to its tight trunk that'll struggle to hold sports equipment or the entire family's luggage for a weekend trip.
The Bottom Line
Audi isn't one for significant visual changes, but for what the 2019 Audi A8 lacks in visual upgrades, it gains in tech updates. This modern technical marvel is a glimpse into the future of driving and will serve as a great real-life tester for future automated driving advancements in the mass market. The problem is the A8 is a huge, expensive luxury car with limited family-friendly capabilities, so its target market will be limited to just businesspeople looking for a posh sedan.
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