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Driving Aids, LED Lights, And Camera Assistance

2013 Audi A8L: Nvidia Graphics, Wi-Fi, LED Lights, And Google Earth
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In addition to all of the luxury inside of Audi's A8L, our test car also came equipped with the Driver Assistance package that includes adaptive cruise control with stop & go, side assist, lane assist, and pre sense plus technologies. The adaptive cruise control with stop & go automatically maintains a safe following distance behind the car in front of you. It relies on two radar sensors installed where you typically find fog lights, and a camera mounted in front of the rear-view mirror.

As its name suggests, the system can take Audi's A8L to a complete stop and accelerate again with the press of a button or the gas pedal. Adaptive cruise control is one of our favorite technologies, and Audi's implementation works just the way it should, making stop-and-go traffic far less stressful. We consider this a must-have feature.

Audi calls its blind spot monitoring technology side assist, but it’s no different than competing systems. There are radar sensors mounted on the back of the car that detect vehicles up to about 230 feet away. The A8L’s warning system is the best we’ve seen, though. Rather than utilizing a small indicator in the side mirror, Audi installs a cluster of LEDs inside its side mirrors. When the system detects a car in the blind spot, it flashes a quick blink that isn’t even noticeable unless you look for it. When you put on your turn signal and a vehicle is detected, however, the light flashes very brightly to catch your attention. It'd be pretty hard to miss in that case, even if you weren't looking.

We typically don't like lane departure warning systems because they're frankly obnoxious with the random dings and beeps. Fortunately, the A8L's lane assist technology is the least-obnoxious one we've ever tested. It relies on a camera mounted in front of the rear-view mirror to read lane markings. When you start to drift, the steering wheel vibrates a bit to warn you. Only the driver is alerted, and your passengers aren't left wondering why the vehicle is beeping. Despite this more subtle approach, I still don't like warning systems very much. I'd rather have an active system that automatically keeps the A8L in its lane. Audi has such a technology, but only offers it on the A6, A7, and flagship A8L W12.

The last feature in Audi's driver assistance package is the pre sense system, which is used for accident prevention. Audi implements three tiers of pre sense: front, rear, and plus. Our A8L came with the full pre sense plus system that does any and everything to prevent an accident or limit injury.

Say you're driving on snow or ice and slam on the brakes. There's no traction, so the vehicle skids and the stability control sensors are going crazy. Audi's pre sense system evaluates the situation and can turn on the hazard lights, roll up the window, close the sunroof, and apply tension to the seat belts before engaging the brakes to stop the car safely or slow it down enough to turn a major event into something less severe. I managed to trigger the pre sense warning systems a couple of times during my week with the A8L, but never tried pushing it to the point where it'd fully activate. This is one of those features you want to assume works the way Audi says.

LED Headlights

The A8L's LED headlights are simply amazing. They're odd-looking if you're accustomed to projector or halogen lamps, but they perform fantastically. Audi employs an array of 10 LEDs, each with its own projector. As a result, you get one of the brightest headlights we've ever used. A sharp cut-off keeps drivers ahead of you from being blinded, too. Audi charges $1300 for its LED headlight option, and I say this is something you absolutely have to add.

Camera Assistance Package

We love 360-degree camera systems, and the A8L delivers. This is a big car, and I appreciated a top-down view as I tried to park it. The stitched picture employs multiple cameras placed around the car, and there's a curb view as well. Parking sensors further facilitate pro parking jobs with warning beeps to indicate proximity. This is another feature that every large luxury car should include standard. Audi charges $750 for the option, and I consider it to be worth every penny.

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  • 3 Hide
    cypeq , January 24, 2014 12:34 AM
    Tom's add regular Refirgerator reviews they also get touchscreens built in.
  • 3 Hide
    vertexx , January 24, 2014 1:12 AM
    Aren't 2014 models out by now?
  • 3 Hide
    Zeh , January 24, 2014 2:08 AM
    One can always dream...
  • 1 Hide
    cozmium , January 24, 2014 3:02 AM
    Another prime example of how B&O are only made for big wallets and not discerning audio enthusiasts. Bowers and Wilkins, such as in the Jaguar XF, sound utterly fantastic. In a car you have a minefield of acoustic problems to overcome, and it takes more than slapping in fancy looking speakers.
  • 1 Hide
    Flicules , January 24, 2014 3:39 AM
    I would like to see an article about the new Infotainment system on the Mazda 3(MY14)
  • -3 Hide
    Nintendo Maniac 64 , January 24, 2014 3:39 AM
    *reads title*...so basically all the things Tesla already had in 2012?

    (wifi hardware was present but the software wasn't enabled since the first year of 3G was free)
  • 1 Hide
    vertexx , January 24, 2014 6:08 AM
    The 2014 A8 L features a Bose sound system, or perhaps that's the standard option.
  • -3 Hide
    Metalrenok , January 24, 2014 6:26 AM
    Car reviews? Seriously Tom's?
  • -7 Hide
    Metalrenok , January 24, 2014 6:44 AM
    Car reviews? Seriously Tom's?
  • 2 Hide
    bhaberle , January 24, 2014 7:07 AM
    So umm. It is important to know that even lower end Audi's like the S4 (standard) and the A4 (optional) have these features, such as wi-fi, etc. And yes the wifi hotspot was available in last year's versions of these cars (which actually is the 2013 ones.) The a4/s4 versions are not touch though, which is not really an issue.
  • 1 Hide
    user 18 , January 24, 2014 7:43 AM
    Kind of sad that such a nice car seems to only come with an auto transmission.
  • 1 Hide
    holmes4 , January 24, 2014 8:01 AM
    Regarding USB and audio inputs - Audi typically puts a connector for these in the glove compartment. You may need to buy a custom adapter cable depending on your device. At least on my 2013 A4, it can control an iPhone through the MMI this way, though I just use the Bluetooth integration.
  • 1 Hide
    tuanies , January 24, 2014 8:20 AM
    Quote:
    Another prime example of how B&O are only made for big wallets and not discerning audio enthusiasts. Bowers and Wilkins, such as in the Jaguar XF, sound utterly fantastic. In a car you have a minefield of acoustic problems to overcome, and it takes more than slapping in fancy looking speakers.


    I've never heard the B&W in the XF. The Meridian system in the XJL is quite good though. The Acura Krell system in the RLX is the best system I've heard so far.

    Quote:
    I would like to see an article about the new Infotainment system on the Mazda 3(MY14)


    It's on the list of vehicles to cover. It's a very good vehicle and the new system is a massive improvement over the terrible TomTom system in the 6 and CX5.

    Quote:
    *reads title*...so basically all the things Tesla already had in 2012?

    (wifi hardware was present but the software wasn't enabled since the first year of 3G was free)


    Audi had it in the A8 since 2011

    Quote:
    The 2014 A8 L features a Bose sound system, or perhaps that's the standard option.


    Bose is standard on Audi's. B&O is a $6300 option.

    Quote:
    Car reviews? Seriously Tom's?


    Yes
  • 2 Hide
    tuanies , January 24, 2014 8:23 AM
    Quote:
    So umm. It is important to know that even lower end Audi's like the S4 (standard) and the A4 (optional) have these features, such as wi-fi, etc. And yes the wifi hotspot was available in last year's versions of these cars (which actually is the 2013 ones.) The a4/s4 versions are not touch though, which is not really an issue.


    Yes the A4 has MMI as well, but the touch pad is quite excellent. Also the interior ergonomics and overall package are different. The next gen A4 will have touch. Audi has a combo touch / control knob that debuted in the A3. I imagine it will make its way to the next A4.

    Quote:
    Kind of sad that such a nice car seems to only come with an auto transmission.


    Unfortunately driving with a third pedal will be a forgotten art. However, the 8-speed ZF is a very good transmission. I love manuals and everything, but will gladly trade a third pedal for adaptive cruise control with stop and go and the 8-speed ZF for daily driving.

    Quote:
    Regarding USB and audio inputs - Audi typically puts a connector for these in the glove compartment. You may need to buy a custom adapter cable depending on your device. At least on my 2013 A4, it can control an iPhone through the MMI this way, though I just use the Bluetooth integration.


    You are correct. Ours only had the iPod connector, a 30-pin one at that. It's highway robbery that Audi sells the cables for about $70 to use a feature that should be standard by now.
  • 0 Hide
    xenol , January 24, 2014 9:40 AM
    I'm probably going to get downvoted for this but...I find it annoying people were all "make Google Glass illegal to wear while driving" because of the potential to distract the driver. And yet I see the smarts of this car having the same potential.
  • 1 Hide
    tuanies , January 24, 2014 9:48 AM
    Quote:
    I'm probably going to get downvoted for this but...I find it annoying people were all "make Google Glass illegal to wear while driving" because of the potential to distract the driver. And yet I see the smarts of this car having the same potential.


    People will always find ways to distract themselves if they aren't focused drivers. You can have all the electronic nannies and lock outs you want, but that doesn't stop a parent turning around to yell at their kids before plowing into the car in front of them IMO.
  • 0 Hide
    CaedenV , January 24, 2014 10:04 AM
    that is a lot of buttons... way too many buttons...Don't get me wrong, I love me some buttons to press, but if complicated games that have 100 different things going on can get by with using just a few of the 16 buttons and 2 sticks available on your average controller, then surely a car's navigation and infotainment system can make due with far less for a much simpler experience.Wake me up when cars get a proper HUD to control the car with rather than overly complicated center consoles that are needlessly complicated and difficult to operate while driving.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , January 24, 2014 10:27 AM
    I've never had 100 grand to drop on a vehicle, but I'd be satisfied with a car that doesn't require thousands of dollars in repairs after a few hundred thousand kilometers
  • 1 Hide
    3ogdy , January 24, 2014 2:37 PM
    Quote:
    Car reviews? Seriously Tom's?
    Upper part of the page, right under the Tom's Hardware logo:"The authority on TECH". So, what were you saying your problem was?
  • -1 Hide
    cypeq , January 24, 2014 3:18 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Car reviews? Seriously Tom's?
    Upper part of the page, right under the Tom's Hardware logo:"The authority on TECH". So, what were you saying your problem was?
    Nothing it's obvious sponsored advertisement article move a long nothing new.
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