Audi A8 Arrives In Frankfurt With Level 3 Self-Driving Capabilities

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Although it didn't drive itself to the show, it probably could.

It may look awfully similar to its immediate predecessor, but the 2019 Audi A8 is all new. Making its live debut here at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the new A8, according to Audi, is the most technologically advanced model it has ever built. It's the first car to offer level 3 autonomy – ahead of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and even the Tesla Model S. Thanks to its AI abilities, the A8's traffic jam pilot activates autonomous driving in slow-moving traffic at speeds of up to 37 mph.

What's interesting here is that, unlike the Model S, the new A8 doesn't need to be monitored while in self-driving mode; simply take your hands off the steering wheel, kick back, and enjoy the ride. Have no fear (according to Audi). When it comes to its exterior styling, well, it's an Audi; the more things change the more they stay the same. With styling inspired by the Prologue concept, the A8 has more crisp lines and the latest version of the brand's big front grille. It may be a bit hard to see from these images, but the character line directly above the door handles has been formed to create a near 90-degree angle.

The headlights are slimmer now, featuring incorporated LED daytime running lights. The sloping roofline contributes to a more coupe-like look. We particularly like the rear end styling, with the LED strip stretching between the taillights. The interior is a work of art. Everything from the comfortable soft leather to the wood and metal trim is top notch. The driver and front passenger can make full use of Audi's MMI infotainment system, featuring a total of three screens. Because this is the extended length A8, rear seat passengers benefit from additional legroom. They can also control the MMI with a set of controls placed in between the seats.

Under the hood of this particular A8 L is the brand's familiar and robust 3.0-liter TFSI V6 engine, producing 340 hp. Optional engines include a pair of V8s, with 435 and 460 hp and, later this year, a W12, boasting a beastly 585 ponies. Audi purposely chose to show a less powerful A8 here in order to focus on its Level 3 autonomy capabilities, and Audi has now positioned itself as an industry leader in that realm.

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