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All-new Audi A8 to gain active suspension

Four-wheel steering, active suspension on the agenda for 2018 Audi A8

Audi logo23 Jun 2017

By ROBBIE WALLIS

AUDI has continued to release details of its forthcoming A8 luxury sedan, with the German car-maker announcing the fourth-generation model will feature active suspension and four-wheel steering.

Due for a public reveal at the Audi Summit in Barcelona on July 11, the new A8 utilises a front-facing camera that generates information on the state of the road 18 times per second in order to detect bumps or potholes and adjust the suspension accordingly.

Components in the suspension set-up include electric motors for each wheel, a rotary tube integrated with an internal titanium torsion bar, and a level which can exert up to 1100Nm of force on the suspension via a coupling rod.

The A8’s electronic chassis platform combines with the electromechanical air suspension to control each wheel individually in real time, and helps ride smoothness not only with road conditions but driving inputs as well.

Rolling when cornering and pitching when rapidly braking or accelerating can be minimised by the active suspension, and it can even be used to help minimise damage in a crash.

Using the car’s 360-degree camera safety system, in the event of an imminent side impact at more than 25km/h the suspension can be raised on the side of the incoming crash by up to 80mm in half a second.

Raising the suspension to meet the crash allows the stronger areas of the car, namely the side sills and floor structure, to take the brunt of the impact, reducing the load on the occupants by up to 50 per cent compared to when it is not raised.

The active suspension is powered by the 48-volt main electrical system that will also power the mild-hybrid powertrain on six- and eight-cylinder variants of the new A8, which Audi says can reduce fuel consumption by as much as 0.7 litres per 100km compared with a petrol-powered V6.

To help counter its large dimensions, the new A8 will also feature four-wheel steering for the first time, using an electromechanical set-up front and rear.

Audi claims that the four-wheel orientation has resulted in a smaller turning circle than its more diminutive A4 sibling.

As previously reported, the smoothness of the ride will be further enhanced by a coasting function that switches the engine off between 55km/h and 160km/h for up to 40 seconds, as well as a start-stop system that switches exclusively to electric power when travelling at speeds of 22km/h or lower.

The system is also capable of enabling regenerative braking, and can switch between coasting and braking by determining which option is more efficient for the situation.

Another feature to be integrated into the A8 is the Audi AI remote parking pilot, which can park itself into spaces such as garages without a driver needing to be inside the car.

After its reveal in Spain on July 11, the A8 is expected to go on sale locally in 2018.

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