4H Audi A8 facelift: world first matrix headlights; S8 coming to Oz

Audi has updated its flagship A8 sedan with a subtle facelift that incorporates a world first: matrix LED headlights.

The optional matrix LED headlights features an array of LEDs — 25 per unit for high beams — that can be switched on and off individually. Paired with the A8’s other detection faculties this allows the new matrix headlights to blank out the high beam for other road users. Also new are LED indicators that light up dynamically in an attention seeking manner and the ability to predicatively adjust lighting based on navigation data.

Other tech goodies available on the facelifted A8 include an MMI system with handwriting recognition, adaptive cruise control that works in stop/start city traffic, surround view camera system, head-up display, night vision, built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, Bang & Olufsen sound system, and a rear seat entertainment package.

Powering the updated A8 range, at least in Europe, are a range of force-fed 6- and 8-cylinder petrol and diesel engines (see below), as well as a W12 motor shared with various Bentleys and a 2-litre turbocharged hybrid model. Cylinder deactivation and active noise cancellation is available in some models, while an 8-speed auto is standard across the range. Unfortunately Australian buyers will only be offered with the diesel engine options in the A8, with the only petrol option being the turbo V8 in the S8.

The revised Audi A8 will go on sale in Australia during the second quarter of 2014. It will be joined by the S8 at around the same time; the current pre-facelift 4H S8 isn’t sold locally.


Length: 5,140mm (A8), 5,270mm (A8L)
Width: 1,950mm
Height: 1,460mm
Wheelbase: 2,990mm (A8), 3,120mm (A8L)

Engines, power, performance, economy

Supercharged 3-litre 6-cylinder petrol: 228kW
Twin-turbo 4-litre V8 twin-turbo petrol: 320kW, 0-100km/h in 4.5s, cylinder deactivation
Twin-turbo 4-litre V8 twin-turbo petrol (S8 only): 380kW, 0-100km/h in 4.2s, 10.1L/100km, 235g/km CO2, cylinder deactivation
6.3-litre W12 petrol: 368kW, 11.7L/100km, 270g/km of CO2

Turbocharged 3-litre 6-cylinder diesel: 190kW, 5.9L/100km, 155g/km of CO2
Turbocharged 4.2-litre V8 diesel: 283kW, 850Nm

Hybrid electric and turbo 2-litre petrol: 180kW, 480Nm, 6.3L/100km, 147g/km CO2

Derek Fung

Derek Fung

Derek has a lifelong love for all things automotive, from the dullest Camry to record shattering Bugattis. Prior to starting up Between the Axles he was a reviewer for CNET Australia and the founding editor of its Car Technology channel. [Read more]