German carmaker Audi has just taken the veils off its new flagship model in Barcelona, where wheels is attending the Audi Summit showcasing the Ingolstadt company’s latest technologies.

The new A8 shows the direction Audi is taking for all its future models and introduces the carmaker’s new styling language. Audi Middle East representatives say the new flagship saloon will go on sale in its home market of Germany first, later this year, before arriving in our region in Q2 of next year. Prices should start from the Dh380,000 range for the standard wheelbase model, and from about Dh400,000 for the bigger A8 L.

Audi says the new A8 features the most capable automated driving features of any car on the market, including self-parking, and traffic jam pilot able to autonomously take over control at speeds of up to 60kph, provided the road markings are clear and the carriageways suitably divided.

At 5,170mm long, the new Audi A8 comes with air suspension as standard equipment, and every model available features all-wheel drive. The car will launch with a 3.0-litre V6 engine rated at 340bhp, before a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 joins the line-up followed by a 6.0 litre W12. The final powertrain option available will be a hybrid model with batteries and motors working in tandem with a V6 engine for a system total output of 449bhp and 700Nm of torque. Customers who choose the A8 L get a 130mm longer wheelbase freeing up more room in the back (with a footrest on-board, and even a foot massaging function).

Audi’s designers also completely changed the interior minimalising physical switchgear in favour of touchscreen everywhere. The digital instruments are complemented by a 10.1in screen in the dash and another touch display in the centre tunnel console replacing the traditional rotary knobs and panels for controlling air-conditioning and audio systems.