INGOLSTADT, Germany -- Audi will unveil a redesigned A8 in Spain this summer ahead of a sales launch later this year. The flagship sedan will feature advanced autonomous driving technology and will mark the start of a new styling direction for the brand.
The A8's Level 3 autonomous function will let the car take over driving in heavy traffic on highways at speeds of up to 37 mph (60 kph).
The A8 will be able to drive autonomously in countries where it is legally allowed, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler told journalists here last month.
The Level 3 feature, called "conditional automation" by the Society of Automotive Engineers, means drivers can take their eyes off the road to do other tasks but must still be prepared to take control when needed.
Other advanced features on the sedan will be a new operating system that Audi says will be highly intuitive and use "ground-breaking" computing power.
The A8's central driver assistance controller, known as zFAS and supplied by Delphi following development with Audi will be the brains behind all the driver control functions and enable the automated driving. It will also eventually wirelessly send information about driving styles to a cloud server to help Audi improve the automated functions.
The retooled A8 heralds a new styling direction that was primarily shaped by Audi design chief Marc Lichte, Audi said in its 2016 annual report released last month. It will borrow design cues from the Prologue concept first seen at the 2014 Los Angeles auto show.
Audi will continue to build the A8 at its factory in Neckarsulm, Germany. The company has installed new halls for parts assembly and a new body shop for the sedan.
The A8's body shell will comprise four different materials -- steel, aluminum, magnesium and carbon fiber -- for the first time, Audi said in a statement. Despite the use of lightweight components, the sedan's weight will increase because of new technology, media and other reports say. Audi did not provide details about the new A8's weight.