The new Audi A7 gets its high-tech LED adaptive lighting from Automotive Lighting, which is a Germany-based a division within Italian supplier Magneti Marelli S.p.A. While LED headlamps and adaptive lighting systems have been around for some time, using the two in conjunction was introduced recently by the carmaker on the Audi A8 flagship sedan. LEDs have several advantages over other illumination systems. First, they are highly efficient, emitting light at an intensity of approximately 100 lumens per watt of power, making them around 10 times more efficient than conventional bulbs. Indeed, LED low beams consume just 40 watts per unit, making them more efficient than the xenon option. The longevity of LEDs is also beneficial since they may never need replacing. Audi first used LED headlamps on the Audi R8 supercar.
The A7's adaptive front lighting system has numerous features including automatic high-beam assist that raises or dips the headlamps in response to oncoming traffic and driving speed. There is also a curved lighting function to direct the lights to where needed most when cornering. This is all made possible by scanning the road with radar and a video to assess the driving situation. The system also uses information from the satellite navigation to prepare for conditions ahead. For example, if the system's maps identify a junction ahead the A7 will automatically engage the curve lighting capabilities. The vehicle also reacts to weather conditions. Rain sensors activate the daytime running lights, which comprise 18 LEDs positioned behind a translucent plastic screen (which diffracts the light to give a homogenous illumination).
Other important suppliers to the A7 include: Autoliv Inc., which provide the steering wheel/driver airbag, passenger airbag and the front and rear seat belts; Key Safety Systems Inc., which provides the curtain airbag; IEE S.A., which contributes the seat belt reminder; and ZF Friedrichshafen AG, which supplies the electronic damping system.
Audi assembles the A7 at its plant in Neckarsulm, Germany. Prices start at 51,650 euros ($70,230) in the German brand’s home market.