Just call it your friendly neighborhood luxury car.
Normally, automakers try to keep their future models as far away from the public as possible. But Audi couldn’t resist the potential publicity of the latest Spider-Man movie. So it wrapped its next-generation A8 sedan in camouflage and sent it down the red carpet at the TCL Chinese Theatre for the premiere of Spider-Man: Homecoming. The A8 also appears briefly in the movie itself.
Audi’s association with the so-called Marvel Cinematic Universe goes back to its first movie. In Iron Man, the armor-clad superhero’s alter ego Tony Stark drives an R8. Audis have appeared in numerous other Marvel movies since then. Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau, who play Iron Man/Tony Stark and Happy Hogan, respectively, in the Marvel movies, showed up at the Homecoming premiere in an R8 Spyder.
Audi doesn’t have a monopoly on Marvel automotive product placement, though. Acura and Lexus vehicles have appeared in various Marvel movies and television shows over the years, and the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray had a high-profile cameo in Captain America: The Winter Solider. Superheroes need a lot of cars, apparently.
It may not have the ability to shoot webs or swing from skyscrapers, but the new Audi A8 will have some trick new features. The headline tech piece is expected to be an advanced driver-assist system called Audi AI Traffic Jam Pilot, which allows the car to take over the steering, throttle, and brakes under some circumstances in stop-and-go highway traffic. The A8 will also feature an active suspension system that uses a camera to scan the road ahead to detect corners and road imperfections, allowing the suspension to adjust itself accordingly.
The A8 is Audi’s flagship luxury sedan, competing with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, and Lexus LS. In this class of big luxury sedans, manufacturers love trying to one-up each other with tech features, some of which eventually trickle down to their less-expensive models. The A8 seems to be doing well in that area, but flashy tech will mean nothing if the car itself isn’t nice to drive, or ride in.
The next-generation Audi A8 will be unmasked July 11 at the Audi Summit in Barcelona. Spider-Man: Homecoming hits U.S. theaters July 6.