Audi invited us to Miami for the worldwide launch of the all-new A8, their flagship sedan, held in conjunction with the opening of Design Miami. Tom Dixon and Stefan Sielaff (Audi’s Head of Design) were part of a panel that spoke about the importance of innovation in design, and how core both are at Audi. Tom then spoke about “Light Light,” a piece he made in celebration of the car’s launch. Commissioned by Audi, the sculpture took four weeks from brief to completion, and was inspired by the car’s impressive use of aluminum and LED and interior ambient lighting.
New from top to bottom, the aluminum-framed A8 features innovations in all areas—the most impressive perhaps are in the bodywork, next generation multimedia controls and the LED lights. One interesting evolution is the nav system, which allows gesture-based input on a small touchpad. Instead of scrolling or touching the display to select characters, you simply draw them with your finger (similar to Graffiti on the old Palm Pilots). It was surprisingly easy and accurate. Phone numbers and character based languages are also supported, and you can enter while listening to music or talking. The touchpad features black panel technology, which allows different screens to appear when needed, such as the six presets for your favorite audio sources. The A8 comes in two eight-cylinder models, the 4.2 FSI and the 4.2 TDI. Two six cylinder models will follow, both TDI. Despite increased engine performance and mileage, fuel consumption is lower in all of the engines.