The current Audi A8 has been on sale since 2003 and since that time has only received a minor facelift to keep it fresh alongside the updated Mercedes Benz S-Class, Lexus LS and new BMW 7-series. But as announced this week, Audi plans to reveal its new 2011 A8 in Miami Beach on November 30--just ahead of the 2009 L.A. Auto Show. The reveal will be held alongside an "Art of Progress" exhibition also being held in Miami but we can catch a glimpse of the car in the new teaser video.
While most of the details remain hidden, we can briefly see the new tail- and headlight design, part of the front fender and even the new grille.
The official November 30 reveal will take place at the Audi Pavilion, a temporary museum structure built on Miami Beach in proximity to the iconic Fontainebleau hotel. The reveal and exhibition will coincide with the Vernissage of "The Art of Progress" exhibit, which itself is inspired by key attributes of the new A8, as well as the Audi brand's core philosophy. The event is invitation-only, but High Gear Media will be there to bring you the car as soon as it's unveiled.
Despite the new car being shown in production trim within weeks, the minor styling changes implemented during the recent facelift will have to soldier on for at least another year as the 2011 A8, according to Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, won’t arrive until the second half of next year.
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 V-6 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.
The aluminum spaceframe body will carry over from the current model, saving engineers more than 330 pounds compared with a conventional steel body. The car’s final kerb weight is expected to range from between 3,630 pounds and 4,180 pounds 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 230 horsepower. Filling out the rest of the engine range will be a 250 horsepower 3.0-liter V-6 TDI, a 290 horsepower 3.0-liter V-6 FSI, a 340 horsepower 4.2-liter V-8 TDI, a 372 horsepower 4.2-liter V-8 FSI and finally a 620 horsepower 5.0-liter V-10 FSI reserved for the S8. A 12-cylinder engine is also expected to be offered but it could be phased out due to low demand and the all-important emissions regulations.