Audi's A8 flagship sedan has been refreshed for the 2015 model year and now boasts engines that are even more powerful and efficient, a bevy of new assistance systems and in certain markets innovative Matrix LED headlights with integrated sequential turn signals.
The updates are crucial in light of the arrival of a brand new S-Class and a recently updated BMW 7-Series, and should keep the A8 fresh until a successor arrives around 2016.
Designers have tweaked the exterior styling, though you'd have to be an Audi die-hard to spot the changes. The patterns in the lights are new and the grille and lower bumper more sculpted. At the rear, the lights have been made flatter and all models, except the S8, now have square-shaped exhaust tips.
The Matrix LED tech debuting on the 2015 A8 will allow drivers to leave the high-beam permanently on. The lights use an array of individually controlled LEDs that can automatically split a beam to block out sections that may blind other motorists.
The sequential turn signal, meanwhile, uses individual LEDs that illuminate in a defined sequence in the direction that the driver wishes to take. But as yet, we've not been given confirmation that the high-tech feature will come to Australia.
ENGINES AND TRANSMISSIONS
As for the drivetrain lineup, the 3.0-litre V6 TFSI now boosted by 15kW to 228kW and 420Nm, while the 4.0-litre V-8 TFSI rates at 320kW (up 11kW) and 600Nm. Also unchanged is the output of the range-topping S8's 382kW/650Nm twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8.
The 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 also gets a boots of 6kW to hit 190kW and 550Nm, while the twin-turbocharged 4.2-litre V8 diesel is lifted 25kW and 50Nm to deliver 283kW and 850Nm. The current eight-speed automatic transmission continues as standard, with the S8 and 4.2-litre diesel quattro getting a sport differential.
For the interior, Audi now offers more options including ventilation and massage functions on more models. Electrically adjustable, individual rear seats are also available as an option across the range. Otherwise, things inside haven't changed much. 2015 Audi A8 owners are still coddled in the finest leather and wood trim, and they still have access to all of the car’s various electronic features via the MMI navigation plus interface.
What is new are some of the electronic assistance systems. These include lane assist, parking assist, a head-up display and a night vision assist that can recognise both animals and pedestrians. Though it hasn’t been announced yet, expect the range to offer full 4G LTE high-speed broadband support. The 2015 Audi A8 range makes its official world debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show on September 10 and should land in Australian showrooms mid next year.