The new Audi A8 made its debut at the opening night of ‘Spiderman Homecoming’. In a subsequent TV clip the ‘new’ Peter Parker used Tony Stark’s ‘prototype’ A8 to pass his driving test. Audi’s flagship ride always enjoyed a cool screen presence. The newest one should lure Jason Statham back into the driver’s seat of Transporter 5, suggests GQ motoring ed Dieter Losskarn.
In 2002 Jason Statham, alias Frank Martin, turned Audi’s A8 into an action movie star. He returned twice more in the popular Transporter franchise. Then in 2015 Ed Skrein took over his role in the fourth instalment. Not quite as cool, sweaty and raw as Jason. But at least the ride stayed the same. And the A8’s action scenes were once again epic. Jason was 35 when he starred in the first Transporter. He turned 50 in 2017.Time to do another Transporter with the newest version of his favourite drive: Audi’s A8. Yes Jason, you’re older now, but the new fourth generation hi-tech king A8 takes care of that. It is the most autonomous ride yet. And it is taking a lot of inspiration from Audi’s Prologue concept car. Such as the reshaped grille, tauter surfacing and new tail-light treatment. Inside it is clean and clutter-less with high-definition digital graphics.
And you can jump out, beat up baddies, while your car self-parks itself via the remote parking pilot. And in rush hour traffic, thanks to the traffic jam pilot, you can do some admin work, like organizing new transports, while in motion. It’s part of an array of 41 individual driver assist systems, taking over driving in slow-moving traffic up to a speed of 50km/h on motorways with a physical barrier separating the two carriageways. Cameras, radar, ultrasonic sensors as well as a laser scanner are taking over steering, braking, accelerating and starting.
Even car chases will be much less hazardous to your health. Thanks to dynamic all-wheel steering and Quattro. Well, and the crossing assist with its 360-degree camera, which detects an impending side impact, which happens quite often in the Transporter movies. The active suspension then lifts the body on the potential crash side up to 80mm within half a second. To better deal with the blow, by offering the other car a much harder part of the A8 to smash into.
And in order to keep cyclists alive, the new A8 detects dead angle riders and won’t let you open your door until they cleared the car. So the good old door-opening hit-the-bad-biker trick won’t work anymore.
But thanks to the new active suspension, similar to Magic Body Control in the S-Class Merc will make the ride so much more comfortable for your back. Cameras scan the road ahead 18 times per second, then alter damping and spring action accordingly and individually for each wheel. Ironing out those nasty speed bumps.
Talking about iron. As mentioned before Audi also managed to sneak into the popular ‘Ironman’ franchise. Robert Downey Jr’s character, inventor Tony Stark, is giving the ballistic R8 V10 Plus convertible as well as the new A8 convincing screen presence. During a recent road trip in a yellow Audi R8 convertible, even people as far in the Karoo as Prince Albert screamed ‘Tony Stark’ and ‘Ironman’, when I blasted past them.
A couple of years ago, in the first instalment of Iron Man, the new A8 would have been regarded as a proper futuristic science-fiction car. Now Audi made it a reality.
Audi A8 55/60/50 TDI
Engine 2.3-l. 4cyl. turbo diesel, paired with an 8-speed tiptronic
Power 250/338/210kW and 500/660/600Nm
Top Speed 175 km/h
0-100km/h 11.8 seconds
The Audi A8 is also available as an extended L version. And with the following engine options: 3.0-l. turbo-charged V6 petrol & diesel paired with 8-speed-tiptronic; 4.0-l. V8 diesel and 6.0-l. W12 petrol. The upcoming new S8 will boost a 4.0-l. turbo petrol, that is already powering the new Panamera Turbo. The green option will be an e-tron hybrid, combining petrol and electric power.
Redefining Superpowers: watch Peter Parker’s driver’s test in Tony Stark’s ‘prototype’ A8: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckzHqO8-nc0
Read this story in GQ March 2018