- Soft, ambient lighting reveals the levels of luxury in the interior
- Full beam reveals a clever trick that doesn’t blind you
- And why feeling blue leaves the A8 with much cleaner emissions
If you have been lucky enough to stay overnight at a premium hotel you will have spotted those muted lights that cast a soft, relaxing hue.
It is a trick that the car industry has picked up on with luxury cars now sporting subtle light strips and hidden LEDs that project pleasing glows into such places as foot wells, door bins and door handle recesses.
It’s all rather soothing and helps contribute to air of relaxed, easy-going sumptuousness.
Ambient interior lighting
The Audi A8 has one of the more sophisticated approaches to ambient lighting. Yes, it has the soft white LED strips across the top of the pillar, around the centre overhead console and in the footwells.
There is additional soft lighting in the door handle recess as well as on the outside (called ‘pool lights’). The extra trick is that you can control the light colour via the car’s central controller.
It allows you to change the colour in the footwells, light strip between the two grab handles, illuminated door pockets and roof-mounted central console with a choice of two colours.
And there’s more with the light guide for front and rear doors with a three-colour LED, and the same again for the centre console to make it look like its floating. Colour choice is Ruby, Ivory or Polar or red, white or blue to you and me.
The Ambient lighting pack is available as standard on the entry-level SE and may seem like frippery but it does have a soothing effect and help reduce driving stress at night. Given it's winter that is a useful addition.
Audi has also added a new trick to the car’s main headlights. Automatic main beams have been with us a while and are making their way down to mainstream family cars.
To keep their luxury limo ahead of the curve Audi has gone one better than just automatically dipping the lights when either closing on another car or there’s an on-coming car.
New headlight design with segmented full beam
Thanks to a new headlight design the main beam consists of several segments. When the car detects an on-coming car it kills the beam that only shines out on the right-hand side of the car so the on-coming driver isn’t blinded but the offside is still well lit.
It gets even better when approaching another car because this time the main beam is dipped in the middle, leaving the headlights to shine round and beyond the slower moving vehicle.
Ok, the driver in front may well think they are having an encounter of the third kind, but for me it means I can see well in front to check for a safe overtake. This works particularly well when stuck behind someone who is driving on dipped beam even with a clear road in front.
For night time driving on country roads I found it especially useful and where I would normally hesitate from overtaking, the new trick headlights showed me whether the road ahead was clear or not. Now that is a light fantastic.
Emissions that leave you blue
Manufacturers are always focusing on reducing fuel consumption and lowering emissions, and that focus has been applied to the big V8 diesel that powers our A8.
Pop-open the fuel flap and you'll be greeted with not one but two caps. The black one is the standard diesel one and the blue one is for AdBlue. This is part of a new system specifically designed to reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions (or Nox in short) that have been indentified as harmful to health.
It's basically an ammonia solution that in vapour form mixes with the exhaust gas, combines with Nox to form a harmless byproduct.
The amount of liquid held in the reservoir is designed to be enough to last between service intervals so reality is you shouldn't need to bother with this task yourself. Which is nice.
To read the full Parkers Audi A8 review click here.