Though Audi’s understandably mum on pricing for now, it has said the new A8 and A8 L are expected to land in South Africa in the second half of 2018.
In its release about the A8 Audi says the A8’s interior resembles a “lavish, spacious lounge”. We can’t argue. If the youngins think they’re eating chocolate ice cream in the back seat they’re sorely mistaken. Especially because, with the A8 L, the optional “relaxation seat” is intended for the grownup that paid for the car.
“In this seat, the passenger can warm and massage the soles of their feet on a unit with multiple settings incorporated into the back of the front-passenger seat. The new comfort head restraints complete the experience. The rear passengers can also control an array of functions such as ambient lighting, the new HD Matrix reading lights and seat massage, plus make private phone calls, via a separate operating unit. The rear seat remote, with its OLED display as large as a smartphone, is a removable unit housed in the center armrest.”
Sounds like bliss to us.
But it’s the self-driving features that have us really excited. “The Audi AI traffic jam pilot takes charge of driving in slow-moving traffic at up to 60 km/h on freeways and highways where a physical barrier separates the two carriageways,” Audi says. “The system is activated using the AI button on the centre console.” Audi says it’s managed this feat thanks to array of included radar sensors, a front camera, ultrasonic sensors and something called a laser scanner.
“The introduction of the Audi AI traffic jam pilot means the statutory framework will need to be clarified in each individual market, along with the country-specific definition of the application and testing of the system,” it warns.
Remote parking is also supported, and drivers needn’t be in the car to do it. They can oversee the process — and control other things like the car’s climate control — using the myAudi mobile app and the A8’s 360-degree cameras.
Normally seeing someone reading in traffic is alarming, even in Johannesburg, where we’re pretty immune to such even the most shocking, selfish or otherwise abhorrent driver behaviour. But with the new A8, all manner of alternative activities could become commonplace behind the wheel. If it means we get closer to properly self-driving automobiles we say bring it on.