Behind the wheel, A8 L owners will experience driving the most sporty of luxury
sedans, with its advanced aluminum air spring suspension and shock absorber control,
quattro® permanent all-wheel drive system and powerful 4.2-liter V8 engine.
Passengers will enjoy tremendous seating comfort and space. Ergonomic power
front seats with available massage, heating and ventilation functions are designed to
envelop passengers, while the optional four-zone automatic air conditioning with
individual rear-seat settings provides a high level of comfort and well-being. Indirect
ventilation prevents drafts and ensures desired climate settings during every trip.
Additionally, the air conditioning’s quiet operation has highly refined acoustics.
The flowing lines of the new Audi A8 L clearly reveal the personality of this
nearly 17-foot-long sedan: a harmonious combination of clarity and sporting character,
grace and elegance. A low front with an unusually short overhang, a high, powerful tail
and the distinct wedge-shaped body of the new A8 L are all features of its dynamic
styling. The A8 L’s crouched silhouette and shoulder line rising to the rear underline the
sporty effect. The powerful, well-proportioned styling of the A8 L radiates both elegance
The extended wheelbase of the A8 L, at 121 inches, is neatly incorporated
between the B- and D-pillars. The rear doors, which are also increased by five inches,
allow for particularly convenient passenger entry and exit. Even more convenience
awaits the passengers inside. Head room in the rear, along with shoulder height and
elbow room has been increased as compared to the previous generation.
The Aluminum Body
The innovative aluminum body of the A8 L uses a further developed form of the
Audi Space Frame (ASF®) (see ASF release for details), and is the basis for the new
A8 L’s ride comfort, excellent road behavior and handling characteristics. Compared to
the previous A8 model, the number of body elements has been significantly reduced by
using more functional large castings and extruded sections.
The A8 L has a completely closed space frame and therefore has considerable
increase in static torsional rigidity — a decisive yardstick for dynamic driving and
freedom from vibration. The A8 L’s performance in these areas, and its balance of high
rigidity and low weight, challenges standards set in the luxury sedan segment.
Engine and Driveline
The 2004 A8 L features a 330-horsepower 4.2-liter V8 five-valve engine and
Audi’s legendary quattro permanent all-wheel drive system. The standard six-speed
Tiptronic® automatic transmission invites the driver to choose freely between the sporting
character of a manual- shift gearbox and the convenience of an automatic transmission.
The engine has gained significantly in terms of output and performance. An
additional 20 hp and 15 lbs. ft. of torque results in an estimated 0-60 miles per hour sprint
of just 6.3 seconds. The A8 L has an electronically governed top speed of 155 mph.
The A8 L features a new six-speed Tiptronic with Dynamic Shift Program (DSP).
Thanks to the additional ratio, power output and torque are always available in such
accurately controlled amounts that there are no further conflicts between spontaneous
power flow, high performance and refinement.
Those who prefer to shift manually will appreciate the convenience of the A8 L’s
adaptive electronics. A version of the DSP specially developed for the six-speed
Tiptronic helps to reduce the number of gear shifts, despite the additional ratio compared
to the previous five-speed unit.
The quattro permanent all-wheel drive, through which the A8 L transfers its
power to the road, remains an advanced feature in the luxury car class. It provides
excellent traction and stable cornering, and minimizes any self-steering tendency caused
by the influence of tractive force through the driveline. This is a precondition for high
cornering speeds and a high level of dynamic stability. The end result is maximum
driving pleasure and active safety.
The 2004 A8 L has an aluminum suspension with a four-link front axle layout and
a controlled toe-angle trapezoidal-link rear axle — both concepts that gave the A8 L’s
predecessor its renowned responsiveness and steering precision. Audi’s suspension
engineers have now purposefully developed its strengths. The braking system and
steering system with variable transmission ratio and Servotronic® are newly designed.
The adaptive air suspension (see Air Suspension release for details) is an air
suspension concept used for the first time in the luxury car class, which eliminates the
classic conflicting goals of satisfactory handling properties versus a high level of
suspension comfort. Lowering the ride height at high speeds improves the aerodynamics
of the A8 L and therefore helps reduce its fuel consumption.
The A8 L features sporty seven-spoke, 17-inch alloy wheels with 235/55R17 tires
— a combination that provides excellent handling and ride comfort. This equipment also
sets high standards for wet road grip and low rolling resistance.
Undeniably, it’s not the quantity alone but the special quality of the new A8 L’s
standard equipment that sets a benchmark in the luxury car class: The A8’s speedsensitive
Servotronic with new steering-angle sensing assists in matching the car’s speed
and steering wheel angle. The new six-speed Tiptronic and multifunction, four-spoke
steering wheel ensures a high level of handling confidence.
Additionally, Audi’s development engineers concentrated on improving the
automatic air conditioning system by reducing the likelihood of unpleasant currents of air
inside the cabin. Additional air outlets have been integrated into the top of the fascia,
from where the necessary air volume is distributed without any noticeable drafts. Air is
supplied to the rear seats through outlets in the B-pillars, at the rear end of the center
console and in the rear foot wells.
A newly developed moisture-sensing system in the A8 L reduces the risk of
fogged windows. The demisting performance of the air conditioning evaporator is based
on data from the temperature and moisture sensors and from an infrared radiation sensor
that determines the temperature of the windshield without touching it.
But that’s not enough. Forward-looking technologies such as the Multi Media
Interface (MMI) (see MMI release for details), the electro-mechanical parking brake with
starting assistant, and LEDs in the rear turn indicators and side repeater lamps are once
again confirmation of Audi’s advanced technology.
The same applies to passive safety equipment. The driver’s and front passenger’s
airbags have dual-stage inflation for optimum protection in frontal collisions; the driver’s
airbag is a ring pattern. In the event of a side collision, side-impact airbags in the
seatbacks and the SIDEGUARD™ head airbag system help provide occupant safety in the
outboard seating positions.
The A8 L’s interior ambience is governed by the fine wood décor that extends to
the sides. Various color combinations — from Black and Light Beige to Brown and
Matte Palladium — are available for the seat upholstery and trim. The striking aluminum
optics in the cockpit highlight the dynamic character of the A8 L, such as the MMI
terminal, the instrument panel’s tubular dial surrounds and the clip on the multifunction
The premium Bose® Surround Sound stereo/CD changer with dynamic noise
compensation offers the utmost in acoustics and keeps occupants supplied with up-todate
information. Four-way antenna diversity and 12 speakers provide premier reception
and sound quality for all seating positions. An equalizer matched to the car’s equipment
and trim specification takes into account changes to interior acoustics caused, for
instance, by the choice of upholstery.
The Bose system is a completely new design and assures listening pleasure via the
five amplifier channels. The channels distribute sound around the listener as in a concert
hall — an aural experience that is setting new standards in the automotive luxury class.
Distinction is of the highest importance when designing an automobile —
particularly in the luxury class. The new A8 L offers an almost inexhaustible list of
design, equipment and technical options.
Power front seats with massage, heat and ventilation functions, together with
four-zone automatic air conditioning, provide among the best in travel comfort. An
optional solar-cell sunroof produces enough electrical energy to supply the passenger
compartment continuously with fresh air via the blower — even with the ignition off.
Additional leather upholstery choices extend to the door armrests and center
consoles. With the selection of Amber Vavona wood or Beige Grained Birch, an
additional note of individuality is created in the A8 L interior. The extended aluminum
look with numerous applications on the center console and fascia underlines the sporty
flair of the A8 L cockpit.
The interior lighting package with ambient illumination has several pre-defined
profiles to ensure a light intensity in the interior that matches actual driving conditions.
Ambient illumination creates a new level of harmony with the entire interior design.
The 2004 Audi A8 L is backed by the Audi Advantage. This industry-leading
combination of warranties and protection includes:
• Four-year/50,000-mile no-charge scheduled maintenance
• Four-year/50,000-mile limited new vehicle warranty
• 12-year limited warranty against corrosion perforation
• 24-hour Roadside Assistance for four years
2004 AUDI A8 L WITH NEW ADAPTIVE AIR SUSPENSION
RAISES HANDLING, COMFORT, SAFETY
LOS ANGELES — As Audi’s flagship model, the A8 L exemplifies sporting character,
clear design, innovative technology and superlative quality. Featuring a new adaptive air
suspension, the all-new 2004 A8 L represents the utmost execution of Audi’s
commitment to that charge.
The adaptive air suspension of the A8 L resolves the classic conflict of achieving
superior sports car handling qualities while maintaining the suspension comfort of a
luxury-class vehicle. The unique system, which is standard on every 2004 A8 L, replaces
the entire conventional steel suspension system of the previous generation.
Reducing body movements while optimizing road manners, the adaptive air
suspension of the all-new A8 L has continuously variable damper settings and four predefined
settings — from overtly sporty to ultra-comfortable — for a suspension
characteristic to best suit the moment and the road ahead. In addition, the adaptive air
system allows the suspension to be raised or lowered to better match road and driving
conditions. When lowered, the center of gravity drops, significantly increasing
directional stability and optimizing aerodynamics for increased fuel economy. Raised,
the system produces a compliant ride and added ground clearance over uneven roads.
Adaptive Air Suspension with Continuously Adjustable Damping
The 2004 A8 L achieves absolute driving comfort by combining the adaptive air
suspension with an electronically controlled, continuously adjustable damping system.
Numerous sensor signals, including the rate of acceleration of the body, vertical
movements at the four wheels, steering angle and position of the brake and accelerator
pedals determine optimum suspension resistance.
When driving straight ahead on smooth roads, and if no higher damping forces are
required, the damper settings remain comfortably soft, while specific damping force
adjustment at individual wheels eliminates any body movements that might reduce
occupant comfort. The configuration also benefits dynamic handling properties by
reducing roll or pitch when starting, stopping and cornering.
Components and Function
The components of the adaptive air suspension on the 2004 A8 L are "layered" to
enable excellent running characteristics while maintaining the sensitive response needed
to handle minor roadway imperfections. At all four wheels, air-suspension bellows are
arranged concentrically around continuously variable twin-tube shock absorbers and airsuspension
struts that are pressurized by an electric air compressor in the engine
compartment and a pressure reservoir at the rear of the vehicle.
The bellows, constructed of a special multi-layered elastomer material with
polyamide cord inserts to increase strength, absorb the forces produced in the air spring.
Air lines connect the individual components, while electromagnetic valves
regulate airflow. Data from four sensors on the axles and three acceleration sensors on
the body are evaluated in the suspension control unit. Based on the driving situation
identified, the computer adjusts individual shock absorbers in milliseconds to maintain
optimum driving dynamics and ride comfort.
The adaptive air suspension system maintains vehicle suspension height,
irrespective of loads. Extra air is pumped into the springs at high gross weights, and
discharged when the load is removed. This function adapts the firmness of the springs to
the load situation at all times, resulting in a consistent ride and stance.
Attached to the aluminum chassis is a four-link front suspension and self-tracking,
trapezoidal-link rear suspension — concepts responsible for the characteristic agility and
high-precision steering found in its predecessor.
The four-link front axle of the 2004 A8 L has been moved forward by 2.5 inches
compared to the previous model, providing a much more favorable axle load distribution
to maximize handling advantages. Lightweight components help reduce unsprung
masses up front while sheet-metal shells with greatly reduced wall thickness at the
subframe reduce weight 20 percent compared to previous generations.
The trapezoidal-link rear suspension also has been advanced, with reduced toe-in
across the entire spring travel to enhance directional stability, steering precision and
handling. Further, the adaptive air suspension system allows for even more ride comfort
from this axle design.
As standard equipment, the 2004 A8 L has variable-ratio rack-and-pinion steering
and advanced Servotronic® speed-dependent power assistance. The variable ratio of the
rack and pinion improves steering stability at high speeds without compromising comfort
and convenience at lower speeds.
Servotronic enables a driver to maneuver into parking spaces with minimum
steering effort and maximum accuracy, and provides a clear response from the road at
higher speeds. Further, the system offers a higher level of sensitivity in the straightahead
position and more comfortable response. Steering kinematics have also been
optimized so that the longer wheelbase, all-wheel drive A8 L provides a turning circle
that is shorter than comparable class competitors with rear-wheel drive.
To ensure driving comfort, the A8 L’s steering wheel can be electrically adjusted
nearly two inches up or down and toward or away from the driver. Intensive detail work
where the steering column is attached to the body ensures vibrations through the steering
wheel are suppressed and isolated from driver feel.
Driver-influenced Driving Dynamics
The adaptive air suspension system of the 2004 Audi A8 L allows for driver
influence of suspension characteristics and operating dynamics. Via the car’s MMI
terminal (see MMI release for details), drivers can choose between four common
damping traits and ride heights, and two situation-specific modes:
• Automatic level, with an initial ground clearance of 4.7 in.
• Dynamic level, with a ground clearance of 3.9 in.
• Comfort level, with a constant ground clearance of 4.7 in.
• Lift level, with a ground clearance of 5.7 in.
• Trailer towing
While stationary or traveling up to medium speeds with typical road conditions,
Automatic level sets the vehicle at 4.7 in. of ground clearance. To maximize
aerodynamic advantages when speed exceeds 75 miles per hour for longer than 30
seconds, the vehicle is automatically lowered one inch to the "Motorway" setting of 3.7
in. of ground clearance. When aerodynamics are less of an issue, such as speeds below
44 mph for longer than 30 seconds, the vehicle automatically lifts to its original stance.
For more active driving response, the Dynamic level lowers the center of gravity
.79 in. and sets firmer springs and harder damping characteristics with 3.9 in. of ground
If speed exceeds 75 mph for longer than 30 seconds, aerodynamic advantages are
maximized by automatically lowering the vehicle an additional .20 in. to the 3.7 in.
Motorway setting. The vehicle automatically returns to the static Dynamic level of 3.9
in. of ground clearance when speeds stay below 44 mph for more than two minutes, or
immediately upon slowing below 22 mph.
In Comfort level, extra-smooth bump control is provided by less-frequent
adjustments to the damping force to maximize compression travel with a constant ground
clearance of 4.7 in.
For travel on uneven terrain, Lift level can be activated on demand at speeds
below 50 mph for an added .98 in. of ground clearance — to 5.7 in. To prevent topheavy
tendencies, the suspension automatically lowers to the most recent previously
selected mode when terrain and conditions permit speeds above 62 mph.
There are also two situation-specific modes available: Trailer towing becomes the
default setting whenever a trailer is hitched to maintain the suspension attitude and avoid
altering vehicle front height. Jack mode, meanwhile, interrupts all control processes to
prevent undesired automatic height changes during wheel and/or tire service.
Adaptive Air Suspension – Sport
A sport mode for the A8 L’s adaptive air suspension will be available as a late
introduction. The adaptive air suspension – Sport mode blends aggressive suspension
attitude with comfort — a combination unmatched by conventional sport suspensions.
Like standard adaptive air suspension, adaptive air suspension – Sport has four
modes, each with its own characteristic:
• Sport Comfort
• Sport Automatic
• Sport Dynamic
• Sport Lift
In adaptive air suspension – Sport, damper and suspension characteristics are
noticeably firmer, and at 3.9 in. initial ground clearance, vehicle level is approximately
.79 in. lower than the standard adaptive air suspension.
Adaptive air suspension – Sport Comfort provides slightly more aggressive ride
and handling characteristics than standard Comfort. In Sport Comfort, the shock
absorber damping forces are not increased as often in the lower speed range and, in order
to optimize full spring travel when driving at high speeds, the body level and ground
clearance are held constant.
Spring and damping rates in Sport Dynamic are slightly higher than in standard
Dynamic, as they are in Sport Lift mode, with the body raised .98 in. to a maximum 4.7
in. of ground clearance.
Sport Automatic is more aggressive than standard Automatic, and is the only
Sport mode that automatically adjusts suspension height according to vehicle speed to
Adaptive Air Suspension Evolution
The advantages of air suspension have been successfully demonstrated by the
Audi allroad quattro, combining the dynamism of a sports wagon with the capability of
an off-road vehicle. The adaptive air suspension of the 2004 A8 L, however, is
A key development target of the all-new A8 L was to resolve the conflict between
superior handling and a level of ride comfort befitting a vehicle of this class, while
maintaining driving dynamics and qualities that are entirely in keeping with the sporting
character of the A8 L.
With the technically advanced adaptive air suspension, a powerful V8 engine,
new six-speed Tiptronic® transmission, a low-weight aluminum body, Audi’s legendary
quattro® permanent four-wheel drive system and advanced aluminum running gear, the
2004 A8 L offers unrivaled comfort, handling and safety in a world-class luxury car.
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