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Future models - Audi - A8

First look: Audi unveils an upgraded A8 flagship

Upper crust: A8 gets steering, suspension and running gear revisions.

Audi reveals a facelifted A8, due here by year's end, and more engines for the A5

8 Aug 2007

AUDI has announced an upgraded A8 sedan range in Europe, comprising changes to its adaptive air suspension, steering, running gear and noise suppression systems, plus a clean-burning and frugal new 2.8 FSI variant.

While the new entry-level A8 2.8 has not been confirmed for Australia, expect the revised version of Audi's most expensive model to go on sale here by the end of this year.

The revisions, which are claimed to deliver more direct steering feel and more comfortable ride quality, apply to the entire A8 range, including the top-shelf S8 and W12, and Audi Australia's top-seller, the brawny but frugal 4.2 TDI.

7 center imageAt the other end of the scale from the bullocking V8 turbo-diesel, 6.0-litre 12-cylinder and S-badged, V10-powered uber-limos is the new A8 2.8 FSI, which is claimed to add benchmark efficiency to the A8 menu, which Audi says has the "sportiest performance of any luxury-class saloon".

Powered by a 2.8-litre direct-injection V6 that delivers 154kW and peak torque of 280Nm between a still-broad 3000-5000rpm rev-range, the A8 2.8 FSI is claimed to dash to 100km/h in eight seconds and on to a top speed of 238km/h.

Yet, thanks to aluminium Audi Space Frame technology, which sees the A8 2.8 FSI weigh-in at a relatively respectable 1690kg, it consumes average EU fuel consumption of just 8.3L/100km and best-in-class CO2 exhaust emissions of 199g/km.

Apart from Audi's trademark FSI direct fuel-injection system, key technologies include the new "Audi valvelift system" (AVS), which varies valve-lift between two levels via electronically-operated sliding cam units mounted on the intake camshaft.

The front-drive A8 2.8 FSI comes with a seven-speed Multitronic continuously variable automatic transmission with manual-shift control.

All A8s score a modified version of Audi's rack-and-pinion steering with variable steering ratio and Servotronic speed-dependent power assistance, which is claimed to offer a more direct steering feel, while revised air suspension dampers, supports and tuning are also claimed to aid steering response.

Furthermore, the adaptive air suspension is now claimed to be "more sensitive in responding to fine bumps", thanks to the fitment of friction-reducing seals in the electronically controlled variable dampers, combined with retuned hydraulics and new valving.

Combined with a new insulation package, Audi claims the A8 "achieves the lowest rolling, road and ambient noise levels in its class".

New-for-2008 A8 equipment includes Assistance intelligent radar technology with lane-changing warning - Audi lane assist.

Rounding out the facelift are a modified single-frame grille, new exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals, new wheel designs and LED tail-lights, new exterior paint colours with aluminium trim inserts, and new interior trim schemes.

* Audi this week also announced two new direct-injection six-cylinder engines for the stunning A5 coupe on sale here from late this year: a 2.7 TDI diesel and a 3.2 FSI petrol, each mated to a continuously variable Multitronic transmission.

Audi Australia will import the 3.2-litre V6 but is as yet undecided about the turbo-diesel V6 variant.

The A5 2.7 TDI produces 140kW and an impressive 400Nm of torque from just 1400rpm (to 3250rpm), and sprints to 100km/h in a claimed 7.6 seconds. It has a top speed of 232km/h and claimed average fuel consumption of 6.7L/100km.

Meantime, the 195kW/330Nm petrol V6 version employs AVS to deliver claimed 0-100km/h acceleration in 6.6 seconds and average fuel consumption of 8.7L/100km.

In Europe, the A5 3.2 FSI is priced almost 10 per cent higher than the A5 2.7 TDI.

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