2011 audi a8 preview rendering 001
The new A8’s release date has been pushed back until the second half of next year, though it will be revealed this NovemberEnlarge Photo
Speaking at the carmaker’s annual meeting earlier this year, Stadler said the new A8 will be “the sportiest luxury sedan in its class" and that it will be unveiled for the first time in late November. Pricing hasn’t been announced but don’t expect much to change from the $74,875 starting price for the current 4.2L V8 model.
Recent reports have speculated that Audi may introduce a new four-cylinder version overseas. While this model will almost certainly miss out on a U.S. launch, a smaller V6 option may be heading Stateside for the first time and this could see the starting price of the range actually fall from current levels.
A prototype for the car has been spotted undergoing cold weather testing on a number of occasions, but always hidden beneath the current D3 body. Tell-tale signs that the prototype was the next-generation model included extended fender flares, a stretched wheelbase and wider track.
As this latest computer generated rendering suggests, the design of the new model will be an evolution of the current car. The aluminum spaceframe body will carry over, saving engineers more than 150kg compared with a conventional steel body. The car’s final curb weight is expected to range from between 3,630lb (1,650kg) and 4,180lb (1,900kg) depending on the model specification. The new rendering diverges somewhat from earlier previews of the car with new air intakes in the front air dam and redesigned LED-edged headlights.
Distinguishing features will be a large single-frame grille, LED daytime running lights and a coupe-like profile. In a previous interview, Audi's chief designer Stefan Sielaff explains: "The first generation was very dogmatic and product-design-like. With the second generation, the theme was 'elegance'—softer, flowing lines. The upcoming third generation will be stronger, sharper, and more precise."
Sielaff also revealed that the new A8 will be “the first of a new styling language at Audi”. In 2008 Audi released several teaser sketches of its future product lineup, including the new D4 A8.
Under the new sheet metal will be an extended version of the modular platform used in the A4, but expect to see more exotic materials such as aluminum and magnesium employed to help save further weight and improve dynamics. The base model will remain FWD but AWD variants will feature the latest quattro torque vectoring SportDifferential, which distributes drive individually between each axle and between the rear wheels for improved traction and stability. There will also be electronic control for the air-suspension, steering, pedal response and transmission systems.
The aforementioned four-cylinder engine will output around 230hp (172kW). Filling out the rest of the engine range will be a 250hp (186kW) 3.0L V6 TDI, a 290hp (216kW) 3.0L V6 FSI, a 340hp (253kW) 4.2L V8 TDI, a 372hp (277kW) 4.2L V8 FSI and finally a 620hp (462kW) 5.0L V10 FSI reserved for the S8. A 12-cyclinder engine is also expected to be offered but it could be phased out due to low demand and the all-important emissions regulations.