Tech highlight: fully active suspension in new Audi A8

In honour of the upcoming release of Audi’s redesigned flagship, the fourth-generation A8, we put the spotlight on an interesting piece of onboard technology: a fully active, electromechanical suspension. 

There are other vehicles that utilize a similar concept, continuously altering dampening settings according to road conditions, but the electromechanical setup in the Audi is actually quite ingenious in design. Powered by the main electrical system, it enables the occupants to be in constant comfort whether the executive sedan is travelling over a pothole-ridden road, or carving high-speed corners.  

audi a8 active suspension closeup

An electric motor with built-in gears is mounted to each individual wheel. A camera mounted on the front of the car scans the driving surface ahead and pre-emptively adjusts the suspension settings so that by the time the tires roll over say, a small rock, everything is already calibrated to relay minimal noise, vibration and harshness to the cabin. 

Aside from absorbing vibration over bumps, rolling movements normally induced by excessive g-forces, as well as changes in pitch from hard braking and acceleration, are mitigated.  

audi a8 active suspension safety

The active hardware also serves to increase safety in a passive manner. Sensors detect risks of collision from any direction 360 degrees around the vehicle. For example, if a side impact occurring at speeds greater than 25 km/h is unavoidable, actuators raise the suspension, and in turn the body, on the affected side up to 80 millimetres within half a second. This causes the stronger areas such as the side sills and floor structure to absorb the brunt of the oncoming forces. Audi says this results in a 50 per cent improvement in load reduction to the passenger compartment. 

Consumers can get a closer look at the technology when the 2018 A8 is launched in North America later in the year. 

Top three cars from Paris Motor Show 2016

Paris Motor Show 2016 entrance
The Mondial de l’Automobile Paris Motor Show 2016 runs now until Oct. 16. 

Sadly, in Canada, we won’t be seeing any of the Peugeots or Renaults making their debut at the Paris Motor Show on local roads anytime soon. But there were many brands, recognizable to any North American, also unveiling some really cool vehicles and concepts at the event, some which may even eventually make it to our shores. The following are three of our favourites.

Volkswagen I.D. concept front

Volkswagen I.D. electric concept

VW is showcasing its new MEB compact electric vehicle design language with the I.D. concept. Expected to become a reality by 2020, the highly automated, zero-emissions four-door is powered by a 168-horsepower electric motor boasting a range of up to 600 kilometres on a single battery charge.

Volkswagen I.D. concept sliding doors

Some interesting features include rear-swivelling backdoors, a trunklid that extends across the full-length of the car and LED headlights made to resemble a human eye, capable of responding to the environment. The interior is completely digitized, anchored by a retractable steering wheel. The wheel disappears when the driver touches the centre Volkswagen logo activating autonomous driving mode.

Audi RS 3 sedan front

Audi RS 3 sedan

For the first time in the brand’s history, the Audi RS emblem is attached to a compact sedan. Immediately recognizable by its signature 3-D honeycomb mesh grille bearing a Quattro logo on the bottom half, the RS 3 has a 20 millimetre-wider front track and rear wheels spaced 14 mm further apart than the standard A3.

Audi RS 3 sedan side

A new 2.5-litre TFSI (Turbocharged Fuel Stratified Injection) engine drives the car, and at 400 hp it makes 33 more than the outgoing model. Mated to a S tronic seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the dash from 0 to 100 km/h takes only 4.1 seconds.

Honda Civic Type-R front

Honda Civic Type-R prototype

Fans of Honda, Japanese sports cars or just automobiles in general have been waiting for the ultra-high-performance Type-R version of the latest Civic with bated breath.

Honda Civic Type-R rear

Many details on the car that hint at its racy heritage, like bulging body panels, winged splitter mounted underneath the front bumper, red accents and badging, smoked headlamp housings, piano-black 20-inch wheels and a towering rear trunk spoiler. More information should be available when the CTR makes its North American debut at the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show in Las Vegas next month.

New OpenRoad Audi Boundary dealership embodies Vorsprung durch Technik

OpenRoad Audi Boundary
The new OpenRoad Audi Boundary flagship store is now officially open following a launch party on June 23. Photos by Kim Bellavance.

The approximate English translation of Audi’s slogan Vorsprung durch Technik is “advancement through technology.” The phrase is usually in reference to the German manufacturer’s vehicles, but it is also the perfect way to describe OpenRoad’s latest flagship store, OpenRoad Audi Boundary.

Just down the road from the previous location that operated for over 10 years, the new 113,000-square-foot, $19 million state-of-the-art dealership officially opened last Thursday with a launch party featuring plenty of surprises. 

Trevor Guthrie

To name a few, there was a performance by Trevor Guthrie, Juno award winner and former frontman of Canadian pop group soulDecision; catering courtesy of celebrity chef Vikram Vij and his three Lower Mainland restaurants; and an exclusive showcase of aluminum art by artists Noah Deledda and Robert Davidson, complementing the vehicles on display such as the 2017 Audi Q7 that has dropped 700 pounds thanks to use of the lightweight metal in 41 per cent of its construction.

“This building is about advancing your automotive experience. We’ve built this building for you. We’ve built it to make your car buying and servicing experience legendary,” said general manager Brad Beckett, who kicked off a series of presentations by Audi representatives and OpenRoad president and CEO Christian Chia.

Christian Chia

“We have a 12-car drive through that I please ask you to visit. Come in out of the rain and get service. We have a 24-bay shop, the most advanced shop in the Lower Mainland. We have this beautiful 18-car showroom — we can exhibit every car in the Audi lineup. And right above me is a brand new indoor, stay dry, used car showroom we’re so proud to have.”

The reimagined store was designed at Audi AG headquarters in Inglostadt, Germany and planned by Vancouver architect Christopher Bozyk. The project utilizes the automaker’s “terminal” concept that, like its products, focuses on sophistication, sportiness and the illusion of movement, translated through prominent application of the colour aluminum, an asymmetrical layout and an abundance of glass and natural light. 

OpenRoad Audi Boundary window

OpenRoad Auto Boundary is located at 3701 Lougheed Highway, and is now the largest dealership in Western Canada and the second largest in the country. For more information, visit

More photos:

OpenRoad Audi Boundary Vij's catering

OpenRoad Audi Boundary aluminum artwork

OpenRoad Audi Boundary wine

OpenRoad Audi Boundary painted models

OpenRoad Audi Boundary food

OpenRoad Audi Boundary dessert

OpenRoad Audi Boundary R8

OpenRoad Audi Boundary balcony

OpenRoad Audi Boundary racecar model