May 17, 2019

What we're driving: 2019 Audi A8 L quattro

From the rear seat, you can control just about everything in the Audi A8. Photo: Audi

This week I am driving the luxurious 2019 Audi A8 L quattro, which is as delightful in the back seat as it is in the driver's seat.

Why it matters: The A8 is Audi's flagship, so it gets the latest technologies that will eventually filter down to other Audi models.

  • Unfortunately, it does not include the much-anticipated Traffic Jam Pilot, Audi's new Level 3 autonomy system.
  • Audi has shelved the system for now because of regulatory challenges in the U.S. and Europe.

Yes, but: This car's technology will still blow you away, though, like the predictive suspension that scans the road ahead to skip over potholes and the 4-wheel steering system that gives this 17-foot-long behemoth the turning radius of a nimble A4.

  • The interior is serene and inviting, with customized lighting and wood trim on the dash that retracts to reveal hidden air vents.
  • A new infotainment system, featuring 2 large touchscreens, is intuitive and responsive.

Rear-seat passengers can customize their experience using a smartphone-sized remote control that pops out of the rear center console, controlling everything from the deeply reclining seats and heated massaging footrest to the infotainment screens.

The intrigue: A8 is loaded with driver-assistance technology, even without the Level 3 system. New features include:

  • "Hands-on" traffic jam assist technology, which eases stress in stop-and-go traffic.
  • Intersection assist, which warns drivers of oncoming traffic when their view is obstructed.
  • Emergency assist, which detects if the driver is unresponsive and brings the car to a stop in its lane, turns on the hazard lights, and calls 911.

The bottom line: The A8 is a dream, but dreams can be expensive. The starting price is $83,800, but the loaded version I'm driving is $123,045.

Go deeper: See what else Joann has been driving

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 859,556 — Total deaths: 42,332 — Total recoveries: 178,300.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 189,510 — Total deaths: 4,076 — Total recoveries: 7,109.
  3. Business updates: Should you pay your rent or mortgage during the coronavirus pandemic? Find out if you are protected under the CARES Act.
  4. Public health updates: More than 400 long-term care facilities across the U.S. report patients with coronavirus — Older adults and people with underlying health conditions are more at risk, new data shows.
  5. Federal government latest: President Trump said the next two weeks would be "very painful," with projections indicating the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans.
  6. Coronavirus in custody: Inmates in all U.S. federal prisons are set to enter a 14-day quarantine on April 1. A federal judge on Tuesday ordered U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release 10 detained immigrants who are at risk of contracting COVID-19 while in confinement.
  7. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Captain of nuclear aircraft carrier docked in Guam pleaded with the U.S. Navy for more resources after more than 100 members of his crew tested positive.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll tops 4,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 4,000 people in the U.S. — with over 1,000 deaths reported in New York City alone, per Johns Hopkins data. The number of deaths are still much lower than those reported in Italy, Spain and China.

Of note: Hours earlier, President Trump noted it's "going to be a very painful two weeks," with projections indicating the novel coronavirus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans — even with strict social distancing guidelines in place. "They are going to be facing a war zone," he said of medical workers.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: UN warns of recession with "no parallel" to recent past

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus pandemic is the "greatest test" the world has faced together since the formation of the United Nations just after the Second World War ended in 1945, UN chief António Guterres said Tuesday.

The big picture: COVID-19 cases surged past 858,000 and the death toll exceeded 42,000 Tuesday night, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy reported more than 12,000 deaths.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health