Audi Announces A8 Pricing, but Model Lacks Tech Promised for U.S.

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
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audi announces a8 pricing but model lacks tech promised for u s

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]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

Consumer advocate tracking industry trends, regulation, and the bitter-sweet nature of modern automotive tech. Research focused and gut driven.

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4 of 28 comments
  • Jmo2 Jmo2 on May 16, 2018

    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.

  • Sub-600 Sub-600 on May 16, 2018

    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?

    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on May 16, 2018

      Those should work in tandem with the ignition being on rather than the engine.

  • ToolGuy I appreciate the thoughtful comments from the little people here, and I would like to remind everyone that Ford Motor Company offers a full range of vehicles which are ideal for any driving environment including New York City. The size and weight our of product portfolio has been fully and completely optimized to be friendly to the planet and friendly to pedestrians while consuming the bare minimum of resources from our precious planet (I am of course a lifelong environmentalist). Plus, our performance models will help you move forward and upward by conquering obstacles and limits such as congestion and your fellow humans more quickly at a higher rate of speed. I invite you to learn more at our website.Signed, William Clay Ford Jr.
  • George Hughes What ever happened to the American can-do attitude. I know what, it was coopted by the fossil fuel industry in their effort to protect their racket.
  • 28-Cars-Later "But Assemblyman Phil Ting, the San Franciscan Democrat who wrote the electric school bus legislation, says this is all about the health and wellbeing of Golden State residents. In addition to the normal air pollution stemming from exhaust gasses, he believes children are being exposed to additional carcinogens by just being on a diesel bus."Phil is into real estate, he doesn't know jack sh!t about science or medicine and if media were real it would politely remind him his opinions are not qualified... if it were real. Another question if media were real is why is a very experienced real estate advisor and former tax assessor writing legislation on school busses? If you read the rest of his bio after 2014, his expertise seems to be applied but he gets into more and more things he's not qualified to speak to or legislate on - this isn't to say he isn't capable of doing more but just two years ago Communism™ kept reminding me Dr. Fauxi knew more about medicine than I did and I should die or something. So Uncle Phil just gets a pass with his unqualified opinions?Ting began his career as a real estate  financial adviser at  Arthur Andersen and  CBRE. He also previously served as the executive director of the  Asian Law Caucus, as the president of the Bay Area Assessors Association, and on the board of  Equality California. [url=][1][/url][h3][/h3]In 2005, Ting was appointed San Francisco Assessor-Recorder in 2005 by Mayor  Gavin Newsom, becoming San Francisco’s highest-ranking  Chinese-American official at the time. He was then elected to the post in November 2005, garnering 58 percent of the vote.Ting was re-elected Assessor-Recorder in 2006 and 2010During his first term in the Assembly, Ting authored a law that helped set into motion the transformation of Piers 30-32 into what would become  Chase Center the home of the  Golden State Warriors
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