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Welcome to Connoisseur Corner - Luxe Consulting and Executive Services

Marty Feldmann, The Connoisseur, is the highly sought after consultant who assists businesses and individual clients with the acquisition of the finer things life has to offer. Whether you are planning a weekend getaway to wine country, selecting audio equipment to outfit your home, planning your dream vacation or purchasing your ultimate transportation, Marty is your personal connection to the good life…

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2019 Audi A8 – Techno-Sled Extraordinaire

Whizzbangs and Gizmos...!  If you are a fan of future-tech, you will love Audi’s upcoming A8 flagship sedan. 

If, however, you are someone that loves to drive fine handling cars, you may sink further into depression.  The German manufacturers, once renowned for engineering “soul” into their vehicles, continue on a seemingly inexorable march toward bland autonomy.  All in the name of “my car is smarter than yours!”

Let me start with the upfront specs.  Length is up by 1.5 inches, but weight has been reduced, courtesy of a blend of aluminum, high-tensile steel, a dash of magnesium and a splendid carbon fiber-reinforced polymer.  The result is a chassis 24% more rigid than its predecessor.  Two engines will initially be available, including a 3.0L V-6 with 340 horsepower and a twin-turbo 4.0L V8 with 460 ponies and 487 lb-ft of torque.  The V6 will get waft the sedan to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds and I expect the V8 to get there closer to 5 seconds.  Both engines mate with an ultra-smooth and unobtrusive 8-speed automatic. 

The latest Audis continue to read fine in external view, but they have lost that sexy swagger from previous designs.  Sure, the new A8 is stately and classic in proportion, but I fear a bit too restrained in overall design.  The latest take on the Audi hexagonal grille is a bit of a wart as well, as it is too prominent in the front fascia.
The interior does live up to previously tasteful Audi standards, with rich materials and crisp design.  The big change you will notice here is the presentation of Audi’s MMI interface, with a second centrally mounted 8.6-inch touchscreen below the main 10.1-inch navigation/multimedia screen.  The lower screen is dedicated to HVAC and seat functions, replacing myriad buttons, knobs and doohickeys.  It is all very tastefully done and reasonably user-friendly and intuitive. 

Back to some of the crazy tech…
The 2019 A8 is being touted as the first production car capable of Level 3 autonomy.  Christened Traffic Jam Pilot, the system works from all stop up to 37 mph fully controlling steering, speed and brakes in traffic.

Who needs a driver?
On the good side of the ledger, the A8 has an available all-wheel steering option, which makes the sedan feel much smaller and nimbler on the road.  Another option is an electrically controlled active suspension that can literally lift a wheel over 2 inches to aid in traversing bumps.  It works freakishly well…

The overall driving impression is smooth, capable and quiet, with just a hint of that diving soul peeking out every so often.  Will it be enough to make enthusiasts happy?  Will the prodigious tech make luxe car fans happy? 
The Audi A8 is due in the fall of 2018 with a base price in the high $80,000 range.  Cheers...!