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Audi's Ultra-Cool Flagship Gets A Trick New Comfort Feature

Technology / 5 Comments

The A8's cushy ride leverages 48-volt system to get even cushier.

Looking for the plushest ride of any vehicle on the road? Then you'll probably want to check out a full-size sedan from one of the leading luxury automakers in the industry. Something like, say, the Audi A8, which is now getting an even more advanced suspension.

The new predictive active suspension just announced for Ingolstadt's flagship limousine can raise or lower each of the four wheels individually by 3.3 inches, up or down, in just five tenths of a second, helping the big sedan compensate for road-surface imperfections or keep the vehicle flat under hard cornering.

The system uses compact put powerful electric motors at each corner, powered by the car's 48-volt electrical system and producing 811 lb-ft of torque, yet requiring just 10-200 watts to operate – considerably less than it would take for traditional hydraulic actuators.

What's more is that the new suspension tech still works with the standard drive-select system, so it adapts its damping according to what mode the driver's put it in. In Comfort Plus mode, for example, it uses the front camera to scan the road – 18 times per second – and adjust each wheel for a smoother ride.

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It even proactively "leans" the vehicle (up to three degrees) into a bend in the road to keep the cabin level so that even a full cup of coffee in the cupholder won't spill, and raises the nose to counteract diving under braking or lower it under acceleration. And in Dynamic mode, it acts to limit hard-cornering roll to just 2 degrees (instead of 5 in the standard suspension).

It all sounds rather impressive, and it's being rolled out starting next month on TFSI versions of the A8 in Germany and other European markets as a €5,450 option. Here's hoping it soon reaches America, too.