By on May 15, 2018

Audi recently announced pricing for the V6-equipped A8, arriving in dealerships this fall for the rock-bottom price of $83,800. Alright, so that’s not exactly chump change, but Audi promised tech that would embarrass practically everything else on the road — including the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

In some markets, it seems as if the brand will deliver on those promises. The sedan is practically dripping with technology, including the impressive-sounding Traffic Jam Pilot. The system offers a claimed hands-free experience at speeds below 37 mph, as the vehicle can crawl in heavy traffic without the need of a driver. You’ll still need to turn it off and take over in urban environments but, so long as it’s a relatively straight shot, the car will do all the work.

Unfortunately, Audi seemed to have axed its availability for the United States.

Audi claims America’s legal system, mixed-bag roadway infrastructure, and recent consumer issues has forced it to stall the technology. That doesn’t mean it won’t eventually get here, but it definitely won’t arrive when the A8 shows up in the autumn.

When Traffic Jam Pilot was announced, the automaker recommended only using the feature on straight roads where a “physical barrier separates the two carriageways.”

How relevant the suggestion is in regard to Audi’s decision, is debatable. It’s not as every roadway in Europe is separated by a center median. Our guess is that the growing safety concerns surrounding autonomous cars is the primary culprit here — with a dash of legal fears. Despite the federal government green lighting unproven technology from auto manufacturers and tech firms that would never in a million years be okay to test out on your garage build, there’s been moderate backlash against self-driving hardware following a string of high-profile accidents.

However, the 2019 A8 will still come with the sort of tech that may have contributed to those incidents. Instead of the hands-off Level 3 system, the car will be available with hands-on Level 2 adaptive cruise control with lane keeping and full braking support. It’s basically Audi’s version of Tesla’s Autopilot or Cadillac’s SuperCruise.

There’s still a lot of tech on offer here, though. The base model comes with ridiculously adjustable front seats, adaptive air suspension, and uses a 48-volt mild hybrid system with regenerative braking and stop-start (which nobody really likes in practice). There is also an enviable safety suite that’s chock full of driving aids.

Audi’s MMI infotainment system is split between two screens — a 10.3-inch top unit for entertainment or navigation and an 8.6-inch lower screen for in-car settings (climate control, seat warmers, etc). Meanwhile, a wildly customizable 12.3-inch gauge display keeps the driver abreast of the vehicle’s status. Leather everything is standard and you can kit the already well-equipped sedan out to a ludicrous degree if you want to spend more. But the only upgrade that really springs to mind is the engine.

The base model’s 3.0-liter V6 produces 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. While those numbers are serviceable, the heavy all-wheel drive sedan is only about as fast as a Volkswagen GTI (5.7 seconds to 62 mph, estimated). We don’t really see that as a problem, but some buyers of a prestigious super sedan are going to want to have the ability to embarrass as many cars as possible. For them, the V8 variant will be the way to go.

It isn’t slated to arrive until next summer and, unless Audi brings in Traffic Jam Pilot within the next 12 months, you’ll have to use your hands and eyes to drive it.

[Images: Audi]

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28 Comments on “Audi Announces A8 Pricing, but Model Lacks Tech Promised for U.S....”


  • avatar
    whitworth

    Mandatory Start/Stop is a deal breaker for me.

    I’d be far more impressed with the “technology” of not having a car break down at every stop light.

    • 0 avatar
      statikboy

      I’ve seen a lot of people comment about disliking Auto Start/Stop but I haven’t really understood why… What does it matter if your engine isn’t running while you’re stopped?

      • 0 avatar
        whitworth

        It’s the transition. It feels like the car has a transmission that’s about to go out.
        When you buy an expensive luxury car, part of the appeal is the smooth, luxury car ride. If you’ve driven one, you can absolutely tell.

        And the benefit of such a system is such a trivial amount in fuel, it’s absurd to think someone that buys an $80k plus flagship vehicle cares about saving 25 cents a week in gas.

        The solution is simple, make it 100% optional. On the Mercedes (and my guess most brands) EVERY time you have to manually select to turn this feature off.

        • 0 avatar
          Car Guy

          Automakers won’t make it optional. It has to be standard equipment to receive extra credits in meeting fuel economy standards.

          • 0 avatar
            whitworth

            Yet another stupid solution to a stupid law. Not everyone wants the “hybrid” experience in their luxury car.

            Can’t wait till the aftermarket figures out a way to permanently disable it.

            I’d like to see CAFE scrapped altogether. Let consumers decide how they want to save gas.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You get no freedumb.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        I hate, hate, hate stop start. The better iterations are fairly close to seamless from a restart speed and NVH perspective. But our summers are 95 degree soup and turning the air conditioning off at red lights, or ever, is just plain masochistic.

        On my truck it also takes a second after restart for the power steering assist to come back on so stop and creeping through a drive through line or parking lot maneuver feels very awkward.

        Just another kick in the balls from our friends at the EPA.

      • 0 avatar
        cbrworm

        When you come to a stop, the A/C fan slows down (you are already sweating), the engine stops, the A/C gets warm, and after about 30 seconds the engine restarts – while you are still stopped.

        Alternately, you pull up to an intersection in heavy traffic, ready to turn right. you stop, watch traffic and get ready to pull out and the engine stops, then restarts. It only adds a second, but now you are in danger.

        I’ve only driven BMW and Mercedes with the system, in both it is infuriating, but luckily you can disable it.

    • 0 avatar
      Car Guy

      I’ve driven a car with start/stop going on three years. Zero problems with probably thousands of start/stop cycles by now.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        I have only driven rental cars with the technology as my own cars are too old or were not offered with it. I kind of like the technology myself. Even in the more cumbersome of applications I find it makes me a more attentive to what is going on, as I want to release the brake a split second sooner to allow for the engine to re-fire. This is largely due to the fact that in spite my age I believe that every stop light is in fact a drag race.

    • 0 avatar

      The problem with Audi is that it may not start next time, stop part is easy. It is better to keep it running while it can.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    This has nothing to do with the tech that Audi’s offering here, but man, look at that interior.

    Cadillac needs to kidnap Audi’s interior design team, stat.

  • avatar
    ra_pro

    Is it just me but I feel like Audi peaked in their design 5-10 years and seems to be going backwards. Every new iteration of A4, A6, A8 is to my eye not as good looking inside and out as the previous generation. Even though beauty is in the eye of the beholder these are not handsome cars they way they used to be. I like Mercedes a lot better in terms of design.

    • 0 avatar
      celebrity208

      In some ways I agree with you. My ’05 A8L (with Amaretto leather seats and headliner, full burled steering wheel, and on and on and on) was gorgeous and even though they have brown interiors today that doesn’t include the headliner, and the wood steering wheel option is only partially wood. Nit picking I know but I likes what I likes. What I didn’t love was that VAG parts bin shifter gate. It was ok but didn’t match the rest of the car’s standards.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      I will agree that the proportions and flow on the D3 A8 were just about perfect. The D4 never really did it for me – always looked hacked together. The new D5 looks much better, but still not quite right.

      I’d argue that the B5 A4 was the best looking A4, the facelift B8 A4 looks very nice, and the B9, while not bad looking, certainly is lacking in character.

      The A6 seems to have gotten better looking each generation, with the face lift C7 being a very handsome car and the new C8 looking very sharp.

      Subjective, of course, but that’s my $.02

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I can’t believe they sell an $83,000 with a V6 and stop start. Great so you get an engine expected in a low rent midsize car with the technology in a bargain basement economy car.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      You’ll take it and you’ll like, prole!

      Actually, this is one of the reasons I like the Genesis brand. They haven’t gotten into an escalating price war, and they’re more likely to start you at twin-turbo V6 or a V8.

      Oh, but you might have to see an Elantra buyer. The horror!

  • avatar
    ernest

    $83000, a friggin’ V6, stoopid start-stop, and it’s almost as quick as my lowly Charger R/T. But with $40K change left over. I’m sure someone here can tell me the value story- just don’t lose sight of the fact this is an Audi we’re talking about.

    **I just read the post above. Same basic idea.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Stop/Start is gonna be real sweet in a black Audi with black leather upholstery, especially at a long stoplight on a day with 88 degree temp. and humidity. No thanks, I’ll be in my low class R/T where it’s cold enough to hang meat. My 5.7L will burn $.000175 more in fuel, but I’ll survive.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo2

      Why do you assume it doesn’t have an electrically driven AC compressor?

      • 0 avatar
        Sub-600

        It’s overkill. It’s silly. Al Gore wouldn’t want this junk technology in his car. Sane people no longer have agency when it comes to technology, governments foist it upon us. At least with a manual transmission if something goes wrong you can employ stop/pop start technology.

  • avatar
    jmo2

    Start stop systems vary widely by make and model. The one in the new 7 series is absolutely undetectible. Others totally suck. Don’t assume every system works the same.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Do airbags work if the engine is off? Suppose you’re sitting at a red light in stop mode and a Tesla on autopilot slams into you, head on, will the bags inflate?


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