While Mercedes-Benz is introducing new versions of the S-Class one after another with new features and engines, Audi is spending a lot of time and effort into the lighting system of their new A8. After reveling a highly sophisticated Matrix LED headlight, they are now introducing a new dynamic turn signal system.
They work pretty much in the same way as the rear indicators of the Mustang that light up sequentially in the turning direction. Audi says it’s a very effective safety feature, as the lights provide a visual signal that can be clearly and quickly perceived, even at long distances and in poor visibility.
The Audi Matrix LED headlights consist of 25 light-emitting diodes, while these indicators get 18 each. That is a lot of LEDs in just one unit. They are programmed very carefully for the optimum effect. During flashing, the blocks are sequentially activated at 20 millisecond intervals, from the inside outwards in the desired turning direction. After 150 milliseconds, all segments are bright; for another 250 milliseconds they illuminate with full intensity. Afterwards, the turn signals go dark before repeating the lighting sequence.
There is no doubt that these indicators are far superior to the normal ones we currently have, but there are a couple of question marks above them. First, are they really worth the effort, and second, are they doing the car any favour in terms of design? These new headlight units with all those LEDs seem to give the A8 a weird look.