When the brand-new Audi A8 first launched, the folks in Ingolstadt seemed to only want to point at the car’s autonomous driving systems. Admittedly, the Audi A8 is the world’s first Level 3 Autonomy-capable car, so Audi should be proud of it. However, that Audi AI Traffic Jam Pilot isn’t even road-legal just yet. So it’s a tech that customers can’t use for at least another year. So Audi should have spent some more time focusing on some of its other incredible features.
In this new video from Car TV, we take a look at some of the really impressive Intelligent Drive features of the new A8. To be honest, most of them stem from one feature — the A8’s impressive new suspension. More specifically, its Active Suspension.
The all-new active suspension on the Audi A8 is a fully active, electromechanical suspension system, which drives each wheel individually and adapts to the upcoming road conditions. Each wheel has an electric motor that is powered by the 48-volt main electrical system. Additional components include gears, a rotary tube together with internal titanium torsion bar and a lever which exerts up to 1,100 Nm (811.3 lb-ft) on the suspension, via a coupling rod.
This new active suspension is capable of raising the ride height of the A8, on a per wheel basis, for various different reasons. The typical reasons are for ride comfort and handling purposes. So if the car detects a bump in the road ahead, using its cameras, it will raise the suspension accordingly so passengers feel as little of the bump as possible. However, it also has some really unique features as well. For instance, if the new Audi A8 detects an incoming collision from the side, it will actually raise the soon-to-be-impacted side of the car as high as it can. The reason for this is the the lower sill of the chassis is the strongest part of it, allowing its strongest point to absorb the brunt of the impact, thus keep occupants as safe as possible.
But that’s not all. That suspension setup also features rear wheel steering, which can virtually shorten the wheelbase at low speeds by turning the rear wheels slightly in the opposite direction as the fronts, making it handle sharper. It can also virtually increase the wheelbase, by turning its rear wheels in the same direction as the fronts, increasing high-speed stability. What’s really interesting is that, with the Intelligent Drive options, the front wheels can completely disconnect from the steering rack and be controlled via steer-by-wire. That allows the front wheels to turn far more than they could when physically connected. Combine with rear-wheel steer, that system allows the A8 to make absurdly tight turns for such a big, heavy car.
The Audi A8 is a tech powerhouse, packed to the brim with more innovative and interesting technology than any other car in its segment. This video shows off a lot of the cool suspension features, as well as the other cool tech bits, of the new A8 and proves that it’s a pioneer in its class.