Like it or loth it, Audis new look is going big. The bold new nose with the large, trapezoidal in-your-face grille, first introduced on the Nuvolari coupe concept back in 2002, has become the new corporate face for Audi, and starting now, it will be featured on all models of the A8 luxury sedan.
The decision, confirmed at this years Los Angeles Motor Show, comes as an early update for Audis top-of-the-line flagship sedan, which debuted in late 2002 as a 2003 model. Though most people associate the "Nuvolari Nose" with the new-generation A6 and the new VW Golf-sized A3 Sportback, the $117,400 A8 W12 L was the first production car to receive the bold look. Since then, the aforementioned cars as well as the face lifted A4 Sedan and Avant wagon have received the treatment.
Despite being the first vehicle that the nose was offered on, this special treatment was reserved for the top-tier W12 models only. Regular A8 and A8L models, regardless of their powertrain configuration, continued with the much more handsome separated-grille appearance, at least in my opinion. Discounting the low-volume, European-only A2 and A3, only the soon to be replaced allroad and TT, as well as the A4 Cabriolet have escaped the update. Given time, the Dr. Werner Man treatment (the German plastic surgeon that performed Michael Jacksons latest nose job) will transform the look of all Audis.
Aside from the addition of the single frame grille, the second biggest change is the availability of adaptive cornering bi-xenon headlamps which swivel up to 15 degrees to help illuminate corners. Audis system automatically operates at speeds above 45 mph, if the driver significantly turns the steering wheel, or if the turn signals are used. While the concept of swiveling headlamps dates back to the 50s Citroen DS and the even earlier Tucker Torpedo, and is currently available from other luxury brands, the A8 will be the first Audi to feature a digitized version of this technology.
Also new to the A8 is a state-of-the-art hi-fi sound system developed by Danish specialists Bang & Olufsen. The B&O Advanced Sound System was designed and engineered specifically for the A8, taking into account factors such as the interiors space and shape, plus ambient road, tire and wind noise. Each of the systems fourteen loudspeakers is encased in a closed aluminum cabinet, powered by individual amplifiers which have a total of 1,000 watts of power.
While these two additions take the cake for opulent upgrades, the A8 will also feature light and rain sensors to automatically activate the cars headlamps and windshield wipers, as well as rear ISOFIX child tether latches, a new steering wheel with a trapezoid metal accent and an available DAB digital audio head unit.
Engine Size and Type: 4.2-liter V8
Engine Horsepower: 335 at 3500 rpm
Engine Torque: 317 at 3500 rpm
EPA Fuel Economy (city/highway): Expect a range from 18/24
Curb Weight: 4,399 lbs.
Competitors: BMW 7-Series, Infiniti Q45, Jaguar XJ8, Lexus LS 430, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Volkswagen Phaeton,
For more information on this and other Audi models you can visit their website at: www.audiusa.com