The idea of having a suspension system predict the road ahead and prepare itself accordingly isn’t actually all that new. Mercedes-Benz developed such tech a few years ago with the new S-Class. However, Audi is now adding this sort of technology to its latest flagship luxury car but with an impressive twist. Starting this year, the Audi A8 will be getting Predictive Adaptive Suspension with electromechanical actuators to sense the road ahead and adjust the suspension to handle bumps before it even reaches them.
Using these electromechanical actuators, in combination with the adjustable air suspension, the Audi A8 is capable of adjusting the level of suspension travel for a bump before it’s even reached. A front-facing camera detects bumps ahead of time and sends that information to the suspension, so it can raise or lower itself to handle the bump in real time, rather than reacting to the bump as it moves the wheel up or down. This allows for minimal body movement over rough pavement, therefore reducing the amount of impact felt my interior occupants.
Not only that but it can also improve cornering performance. This system adjusts itself based on the car’s Drive Select modes. So in Dynamic mode, it allows the Audi A8 to stay flat through corners and more taught when driving hard. So it drastically improves handling capabilities. In Comfort Plus mode, it keeps the suspension nice and squishy, allowing passengers to be blissfully unaware of any sort of road imperfections. In fact, Audi claims this new suspension system to be so effective at reducing body movements over bumps that full cups of coffee will not spill, even over the harshest of pavement.
Even brake dive and acceleration squat are evened out for passengers. So under hard braking or acceleration, the body of the Audi A8 will remain flat, so that passengers aren’t thrust back into their seat or into their seatbelts. If anything, sometimes the system will intentionally overcompensate to lean the passengers into their squishy seats but not so hard that it’s uncomfortable. The Audi A8 can also raise one side of the body 50 mm when a door is opened, to allow for easier entry and exit. It’s called the “elevated entry” function.
The very same function can also be used as a safety feature. So if the Audi A8 detects it’s about to be in a side-impact crash, it can actually tilt the side of the body about to be hit up 80 mm. This makes the lower sill of the chassis, which is the strongest point of the structure, take the brunt of the impact. It also moves passengers further away from the actual impact itself. That small function can actually help save lives. (The video below demonstrates this well)
This Predictive Active Suspension setup will only be available in Europe beginning in August. Unfortunately, there’s no word on when or if it will come to the US market. In Europe, it will cost €5,450.