The A8 Sees Bumps Before it Hits Them

“I’m not drunk, I’m just avoiding potholes,” is the bumper sticker that adorns the rear of many a lowered car. Scanning the road for bumps need no longer concern the owners of Audi’s upcoming A8.

Tied to the car’s 48-volt “mild-hybrid” electrical system, the A8’s suspension will predict bumps to level them out.

“Predict,” might be a little overblown, but it will actually see them and react to them before they even arrive, by using its front-mounted cameras to look down the road.

Scanning the street 18 times a second, the A8 looks for bumps and prepares the right amount of suspension travel through its active actuators.

Effectively, the car sees a bumps, softens the suspension as it’s hitting it, and lets little to none of the jolt into the cabin.

A side benefit of the A8’s Electronic Chassis Platform (ECP) is that it allows the car to be taut and stiff when that’s what you want. So, if you’re driving enthusiastically, the car stays level and stiff, but on your commute home, the A8 is soft and pampering.

Even better, if you’re driving enthusiastically and hit a bump, the A8 has already seen it, so it doesn’t get unsettled. In combination with rear-wheel steering (which gives it a smaller turning circle than the A4), Audi argues that the new A8 will be eminently chuckable without giving up the luxurious comfort of a limousine.

The final trick up Audi’s sleeve, though, is that, for the first time ever, the ECP is also used to help protect occupants during an accident.

By raising the body by up to 3 inches when an accident is detected, the A8 moves the force of an impact down to the stronger parts of the car. Instead of hitting the windows, for example, the impact would hit the window sill, lowering the load on occupants by up to 50%.

The A8 will be presented to the public on July 11 in Barcelona, but will first be seen in “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” premiering on June 28.