Audi's next-generation A8 has been spotted as a prototype for the first time.
The car is confirmed for a market launch in 2017, which means we'll likely see it arrive as a 2018 model.
The new A8, the nameplate’s fourth generation, is the first model to be styled under the guidance of Marc Lichte, who took over the design reins at Audi in late 2013.
Audi Prologue Concept, 2014 Los Angeles Auto ShowEnlarge Photo
He’s already previewed the new look with the series of Prologue concepts, which, judging by our latest spy shots, the A8 will closely resemble. The size of the vehicle isn’t changing much, though the nose looks to be a little longer than on the current A8.
Under the new sheet metal is Audi’s MLB evo platform, an evolution of the MLB platform found in the current A8 and several other Volkswagen Group models. The MLB evo made its debut in the 2017 Q7 and brings significant weight savings and compatibility with alternative powertrains.
The basic engine lineup should be similar to the current A8’s offerings, meaning V-6 and V-8 units. A W-12 is also likely to be offered once more, and we should see a plug-in hybrid option and possibly even a battery-electric option later in the life cycle. Some models are also likely to feature an electric compressor, particularly diesels. It’s unclear if a diesel will be offered in the United States, though one will almost certainly be offered in other markets.
2018 Audi A8 spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-MedienEnlarge Photo
There will also be loads of new technologies to aid the driver. For example, the new A8 will be the first Audi capable of handling some situations in full autonomous mode. It will be able to handle parking situations as well as driving in traffic at speeds of up to 37 mph thanks to a new feature called Traffic Jam Pilot.
Other advancements should include a new infotainment system with gesture control and new lighting technologies including organic LEDs in the taillights.
A reveal should take place late this year or early next.