Audi has cemented its reputation for high-quality, premium automobiles with the likes of the A3 and A4, as well as its all-conquering SUVs.

But no Audi represents the brand’s luxury capabilities better than the A8, and the ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ carmaker has just revealed an all-new iteration of its flagship saloon.

The first official images of the fourth-gen A8 have emerged online and as the range’s top-level saloon, the S-Class rival has a lot riding on it.

New look

For starters, the new A8 debuts a new design language for Audi, giving us the first hint at what future Audis may look like, with the styling quirks seen here set to be rolled out across the range over the coming years.

New self-driving features

The Audi A8 is also the first production car in the world to have been developed for highly automated driving.

This means that from 2018, Audi will gradually put new self-driving and self-parking features into production.

One of the more intriguing features is AI traffic pilot, which takes care of accelerating, steering and braking in slow-moving traffic at speeds up to 37mph on major roads if a physical barrier separates the two carriageways.

It’s a major step towards self-driving cars and rather than waste time in boring congestion, drivers can get on with something more interesting like watch the on-board TV or catch-up with emails (national laws pending, of course).

Meanwhile, Audi’s AI remote parking pilot and remote garage pilot can autonomously steer the A8 into and out of a parking space or a garage.

The driver doesn’t even need to be sitting in the car, with the option of starting the process from their smartphone.

New engines

The A8 will be the first car to make use of two extensively re-engineered three-litre V6 turbo engines: a 282bhp TDI diesel and a 335bhp TFSI petrol.

A brand-new eight-cylinder four-litre 429bhp TDI unit will join the range in 2018, while an epic six-litre W12 will be available from launch.

New length

Compared to the third-gen model, the new A8 is notably longer, and just like before, will be offered in two lengths.

The standard model now measures at 5.17 metres, while the A8L extends the wheelbase by 13cm.

This means passengers can now relax in even more luxurious surroundings. Speaking of which…

New luxury

Luxury is a given with this flagship Audi, but one of the A8’s most sought-after areas is surely going to be the rear left seat, which features four different adjustment options, a footrest and electric heating.

Other rear passengers don’t lose out though, benefiting from comfort head restraints and adjustable ambient lighting, HD matrix reading lights, massaging seats, and the option of making private phone calls through a separate operating unit.

When you can have one

Production will be handled by Audi’s Neckarsulm plant in Germany, with orders being accepted from September ahead of the first models arriving on UK roads before the end of 2017.

UK prices haven’t been confirmed yet, but on the continent, prices start from 90,600 euros (£80,679) and 94,100 euros (£83,796) for the extra-long A8.

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