The all-new 2019 Audi A8 luxury sedan is packed to the gills with technology that makes driving a relaxing, holistic, and an experience of well-being.

The new 2019 Audi A8 (speculated as the Horch) is the automaker’s all-new luxury flagship sedan, which offers a wide variety of seamless, technological advances, including semi-autonomous driving features that make driving safer and less stressful for the well-heeled crowd. Here’s what you need to know:

The 2019 Audi A8 Horch: Is Horch making a comeback?

Recently, various sources have reported that Audi may bring back their heritage brand, Horch.  Much like Mercedes-Benz did with Maybach, Audi is looking into bringing back the name in association with the Audi A8. While a company spokesperson couldn’t confirm those reports, Audi did say that they “are always considering future models and trims across the portfolio.”

The beginnings of the Horch name originates from the late 1800’s, when August Horch, a former production manager for Karl Benz, and his business partner, Salli Herz, decided to start a new car company.

That company, called Horch & Cie Motorwagenworke Aktiengesellschaft, hired a CFO with which Horch didn’t get along. Eventually, the tension caused Horch to leave and pursue his own car company.

However, Horch didn’t have the rights to use “Horch” as a brand name. The automotive pioneer didn’t allow this setback to dissuade him. Instead, he selected “Audi,” a Latinization of “Horch,” for the name of his new car brand.

Over time, August Horch’s company merged with two other automotive companies, DKW and Wanderer, the new group evolved into Auto Union AG. Following World War II, Auto Union GmbH was established and Audi was officially born. Decades after August Horch left the company, Volkswagen bought Audi in 1965.

Horch could make a comeback in roughly two to three years, when the A8 goes through its mid-cycle refresh. Should it make a return, the A8 Horch is rumored to receive either a V8 or W12 engine, as well as a longer wheelbase.

The Audi A8 is available in Europe with a variety of engines including the V8. In the U.S., the Audi A8 is available with the V6 engine only.

Technology as a simplifier in the 2019 Audi A8

With a price that starts around $85,000, the Audi A8 is one of the most technologically advanced vehicles on the market today.

As Audi’s top-of-the-line vehicle, you can expect to see some of these technological features trickle down into other, lower-line vehicles in years to come. Curious to see if a dealer near you has the 2019 Audi A8? Check this out or use a car finder.

Serenity through Fewer Buttons: the 2019 Audi A8 has only four

When you climb into the inside of the Audi A8, the first thing you’ll notice the absence of buttons. There are just four buttons and one volume knob inside the front cabin.

Designer Mark Lichte, said he would have rid the car of every button if practical.

Haptic feedback touchscreens, natural langumage and handwriting recognition, as well as dual-screen interfaces, are all part of the new 2019 Audi A8. Lichte’s design team removed more than 30 buttons from the interior, creating a simple, elegant and tech-forward cabin experience.

To replace the buttons, the team created two gorgeous screens that greet you, as part of Audi’s newly redesigned MMI system, called the MMI Touch Response system.

The lower screen acts as control panel, handling things like temperature control and seat heating, cooling, and optional massage settings. It also acts as a place to use natural writing to input information like addresses for the navigation system.

Natural writing means that you don’t need to learn a special style of writing in order to use the system. Instead, you can simply use your finger to write the letters the way you would on a piece of paper. As you write on the screen, it gives haptic feedback, buzzing under your touch to let you know that the letters have been recognized.

The upper screen behaves more like a tablet or smart phone, enabling you to:

  • Move icons
  • Change views
  • Make adjustments to everything from your radio station to your navigation view
  • Pinch and zoom
  • Set up your car by selecting various settings

Even air vents get haptic feedback buttons that buzz gently as you slide your finger along them to open and close the vents.

If you decide to step up to the Executive Rear Seat package that Audi offers on the 2019 Audi A8, your backseat passengers will be treated to an additional removable remote touch screen that controls everything from music volume and radio channel selection, to massage, seat settings, and heating and cooling of rear seats.

You can also use the rear-seat remote to control the overhead reading lights in the rear, adjusting the size and angle of the light beam to meet you where you are.

Image of 2019 Audi a8 controller

Courtesy Abigail Bassett

The 2019 Audi A8 is packed with high-tech safety and comfort features

Because the Audi A8 is at the top of Audi’s line-up, Audi has packed it full of the most technologically advanced safety and comfort features that it offers.

It comes equipped at the entry level with everything from advanced driver-assistance packages to smartphone-like touchscreens. A few of the noteworthy standard tech touches include:

  • Android Audi “Pre-Sense City”: At speeds up to 52 mph, the camera mounted at the windshield scans the road ahead up to 328 feet. If the system detects a vehicle or pedestrian, the car will give the driver warnings (both audio and visual), and if a collision becomes imminent, the system will automatically apply the brakes.
  • Android Auto and Apple Car Play as well as Audi’s smartphone application: Android Auto and Apple Car Play come standard. The new Audi app has been updated so that owners can access service, car stats and other information all in one place. While there is a fee for this service, it’s well worth the cost. The app can do things like:
  • Help locate the vehicle
  • Set curfews
  • Keylessly lock and unlock the car
  • Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, which made its debut in the 2016 Audi TT, now comes standard on the 2019 Audi A8. The Virtual Cockpit offers a configurable driver-centric dash that can show everything from fuel efficiency and RPMs to your navigation and radio station information. It’s clear, bright, and easy to read in all kinds of light. And, you can even get your map into the center stack, ensuring that you won’t miss your next turn.

Additional packages offer even more technology in the 2019 Audi A8

Stepping up to additional packages makes the Audi A8 even more technologically advanced — adding driver assistance and safety features that continue to move the car toward nearly-autonomous or self-driving operation.

Options include things like:

  • Audi’s Pre-Sense 360: This system is one of the most impressive on the market. Using the multiple systems on board, the car can detect potential collision hazards on all sides. The system can:
  • Take the A8 to a full emergency stop
  • Pre-tension seatbelts to help hold passengers in place in case of an impact
  • Raise windows and close the sunroof to prep for airbag deployment
  • Audi’s Predictive Active Suspension: Think of this system as an on-demand road crew for your long, rough-road commute. While it’s not currently available in the U.S., Audi says it will be available by next year. It can:
  • Raise or lower each wheel individually in 300 milliseconds, controlling the body motion as the car travels over a pothole or a bump

We got a chance to try this feature during the drive event, and it was impressive. With the system off, the car rocks and rolls as you would expect. With the system on, going over the same bump, you barely notice the car jostle.

Gif Audi A8 2019 going over bumps

Courtesy Abigail Bassett

  • It uses a forward-facing camera mounted on the windshield to anticipate any irregularities that may be ahead
  • It will also raise the side of the car to protect passengers in a side collision. The movement happens in less than five-hundredths of a second and raises the car up to 3.1 inches as the seatbelts simultaneously increase tension for impact

Image Audi A8 2019 side impact from outside

Courtesy Abigail Bassett

Gif of Audi A8 2019 side impact from inside

Courtesy Abigail Bassett

  • Dynamic all-wheel steering: The system makes the 208-inch-long vehicle turn as if it’s the size of a smaller Audi A4. That means that you can wheel the large vehicle into a tight spot without having to do a multiple-point turn. The system reduces the turning radius of the A8 down to just 38.7 feet.
  • Audi’s Adaptive Cruise Assist: A nearly-autonomous or self-driving system that requires the driver to keep hands on the wheel and uses the first-ever car-mounted laser scanner, cameras, and radar systems to help ease the stress of driving. The system can:
    • Help maintain distances in traffic situations (starting and stopping with the flow of traffic)
    • Brake and steer at highway speeds
    • Find the edges of the lane and keep the Audi A8 centered

I tried Audi’s Adaptive Cruise Assist on the winding roads leading out of Monterey and the system is surprisingly subtle and adept.

In traffic, the car came to a nearly complete stop (the system requires your input when a complete stop is needed) and maintained a comfortable distance from the car ahead.

It left just enough gap in case someone decided that they wanted to move into my lane at the last minute, but it didn’t leave so much that I was letting every car in ahead of me.

Often times these systems cause the car to veer from one side of the lane to the other like a ping pong ball.  In this case, Audi’s system was incredibly adept at keeping the car centered, and it didn’t bounce from one side of the lane to the other. Overall, the system was comfortable enough to use in city traffic.

What’s the 2019 Audi A8 like to drive?

The 2019 Audi A8 is a quick, surprisingly nimble and enjoyable large luxury sedan from behind the wheel. I got a chance to drive it along the gorgeous Pacific Coast Highway in Big Sur. In spite of traffic, rough roads, and unaware tourists wandering into the road to take photos of the breathtaking vistas, the 2019 Audi A8 proved to be a surprisingly relaxing and agile place to spend time.

For 2019, the Audi A8 gets a turbocharged, TSFI 3.0-liter V6 engine that makes 335 horsepower and 369 lb. ft. of torque. It is mated to an eight-speed Triptronic automatic transmission and comes standard with Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system. Audi says that the 2019 A8 will do zero to 60 mph in just 5.6 seconds.

In addition to the engine, Audi has added a 48-volt mild hybrid system that helps even out the start-stop fuel-saving feature, helps to power the systems on board and provides some low-end torque.

The technology systems both inside and out of the 2019 Audi A8 are unnoticeable and allow both driver and passenger to have a calming, engaging, and luxurious experience, making the 2019 Audi A8 well worth its hefty price tag. P.S. There are ways to pay less than the stated MSRP – read on.

2019 Audi A8 Photos (exterior)

All image credits to Audi unless otherwise specified 

2019 Audi A8 Photos (interior)

All image credits to Audi unless otherwise specified 

Why buy the new 2019 Audi A8 (Horch?) - Hands on Review
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Why buy the new 2019 Audi A8 (Horch?) - Hands on Review
Exclusive hands-on review of the new 2019 Audi A8 (Horch?). See the all-new luxury flagship sedan packed with technologically advanced features.
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Abigail Bassett is an Emmy-winning journalist, video content producer, and manager who has covered a wide range of world-impacting events including everything from the invasion of Iraq to Katrina and the financial and housing collapse. She has covered premiere automotive and lifestyle launches and unveilings all over the world over the last 15 years. Abigail has also extensively covered personal finance for a variety of outlets and start-ups including CNN Business, Money Magazine, and LendingTree. She spent more than ten years as a Senior Producer at CNN in New York and was most recently the Senior Director of Photo, Video and Social Media at Edmunds. She currently lives and works as a freelance writer and content manager in Los Angeles. Her clips have appeared in top-tier publications including Autoweek Magazine, Forbes, Arstechnica, Motor Trend, TheDrive, Fast Company and Fortune. She is also a U.S. juror for the World Car Awards.

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