Audi promises improved steering feel and a more supple ride for future models, starting with the 2017 A8
Mark Tisshaw
19 September 2016

Audi will redefine the ride and handling characteristics of its cars as each new generation is launched, starting with the flagship A8 next year.

Engineers are believed to have been tasked with maintaining the sporty remit of the current-generation models while giving them a broader range of dynamic attributes. This includes developing more involving steering feel and more pliant ride settings, where appropriate.

Audi’s focus for mainstream models has long been a ride and handling balance that gives drivers the feeling that they are in a sporty car, but not one that is in any way tiring to drive, particularly on a high-speed motorway run. Current Audis ride significantly better than their forebears but are still frequently criticised for having uninvolving dynamics.

In the case of the next-generation A8, for instance, the goal is to rival the comfort of the best-selling Mercedes-Benz S-Class while enhancing the car’s dynamic capabilities.

A focus on long-distance comfort is set to remain, especially on larger mainstream models. However, advances in the calibration of electrically assisted power steering systems — made necessary by emissions regulations — and new suspension technology are set to provide a change in ride and handling characteristics.

In particular, faster S and RS models are also likely to benefit from the improved technology, with the ride and handling benefits said to be transferrable to all models.

Additionally, the A3 and A1 are set to get a much more compliant ride, because feedback suggests customers put more stead in a comfortable ride than a sporty one.

The advances will coincide with an all-new look for Audi under the leadership of design chief Marc Lichte, who joined the firm in 2014 from elsewhere in the VW Group after being asked to pitch his idea for how the next-generation A8 should look. The Audi Prologue concept gives the best indication of the sharper new design direction he is expected to unveil on the A8 next year. 

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Comments
11

19 September 2016
...Audi's tribute to the Ford Mondeo.

Are Audi's stylists not allowed out in public until they've finished their homework? I can just image whoever styled this, on the bus home, spotting a current-shape Mondeo coming the other way and thinking, "Oh, s**t"...

tlb

19 September 2016
I suppose the cynic might ask what company doesn't aspire to improve ride and handling as it develops its vehicles, but at least Audi is acknowledging and addressing what is evidently its weak point here. The problem they face from my experience is that whilst they have improved the ride substantially in recent models, the feel handling is getting worse if anything. Looking forward to this being rectified!

19 September 2016
.....for the new A4 then.

20 September 2016
erly5 wrote:

.....for the new A4 then.

Go and try one. I think you will like it a lot considering you prefer your Verso to your 3 Series. Don't be sucked in by the car mag reviews that determine how a car handles by blasting them down Welsh A roads and lapping them on test tracks, unless you drive those kinds of roads everyday. Audi's are really well tuned for town and motorway.

JJ

19 September 2016
"Additionally, the A3 and A1 are set to get a much more compliant ride, because feedback suggests customers put more stead in a comfortable ride than a sporty one."

First Citroën announce a refocus on ride comfort, now this.
Perhaps we should we be celebrating!

Ride comfort looks like it's finally becoming a serious priority again...

If they manage to get it right, then we should be able to drive their offerings both more quickly as well as calmly, instead of being put off doing so by the crashing, shuddering, skipping and general loss of composure characteristic of contemporary "sports" suspension.

Especially hate any of the above happening, mid-corner.

I'd take a suspension tuned for swift composure over sheer, bloody-minded brutality, any day!

19 September 2016
Heard it all before. The problem with Audi is that they calibrate their cars to drive a certain way - with the schporty feel, ja? - which makes them feel responsive on a test drive but otherwise inert. It used to mean a bone hard ride too, and I suppose they might be able to bring a little more subtlety to the steering, but the overall philosophy is very contrived. I don't like it.

19 September 2016
....suspension technology (=electronics) and calibration of power-steering systems (=artificial "feel").
First Clue - MOVE THE ENGINE FURTHER BACK!

No manual - no fun

19 September 2016
If Audi are serious about this they need to go RWD.
Like Lexus, Mercedes, Jaguar, BMW and Alfa. Only Honda (Acura) and Audi have tried to produce a premium, sporty FWD. It seems it cannot be done.

20 September 2016
I admit that the only experience of modern audis I have is from the back seat of the A8 taxi that the airline send for me, but that car is uncomfortable.

There seems to be an impression from the German manufacturers that sporty = hard. Surprisingly the only one that seems to get this isn't true is Porsche. Oh, and Alpina.

The suspension on my i3 is one of its weakest aspects. Certainly a lot worse than my old Lotus.

20 September 2016
Fit smaller wheels, use tyres that have a sidewall instead of the stupid rubber bands so common now.

And uninvent run-flats, godawful things. Every bump a cliff.

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