Audi has revealed the 2011 A8 at a launch in the Audi Pavilion at the Miami Design Centre. Due at the end of 2010 it is bigger and lighter than the old A8.
Update: UK prices for the new Audi A8 added at the bottom.
Well, Audi certainly made a meal of the reveal of the next generation Audi A8r in Miami in the early hours of this morning. They roped in a Charlies Angel (Lucy Lui) to play host for the evening and, despite her charms, the launch was a bit of a drawn-out, back-slapping fest. I expected the second coming at least by the time they finally took the covers off the A8 after nearly an hour.
Still, the new A8 has been much hyped so expectations were high that we were in for a real treat. And I suppose the A8 is a big leap forward, although the best way to describe it is probably as super-sized A4. There is no new leap in design or direction, despite the promise that the design was all and the decision to reveal Audi’s new flagship at the heart of Miami’s Design Centre in a specially built Audi Pavilion.
And it’s a big bugger – bigger even than that ‘Merchant Banker’ car, the Mercedes S Class – although the styling is clever enough to mask most of the bulk. It’s three inches longer and two inches wider than the outgoing model and, despite more equipment, it’s also lighter. Audi consider its main competitors to be the Mercedes S Class and the BMW 7 Series, and they consider the Lexus LS and the new Jaguar XJ to be ‘Secondary’ competitors. Hmm. I think they may find the new XJ to be a bit more than a ‘Secondary’ competitor.
When the new A8 launches at the end of 2010 it will come with the choice of just two V8 engines – a 4.2 litre TDI diesel and a 4.2 FSI litre petrol. The diesel has 350bhp compared to the petrol’s 372bhp, but the diesels big chunk of torque (590lb/ft compared to 328lb/ft) actually makes it quicker to 62mph – 5.5 seconds compared to 5.7. A new 3.0 litre diesel is promised by launch and a hybrid is in the works. But no mention of the Audi S8 or W12, which we reported some time ago won’t be made. We’ll have to wait and see.
All new A8s will get and eight-speed auto ‘box and quattro all wheel drive, with a sports diff that shifts torque around as needed, together with air suspension and a pre-tense system which does stuff like shut windows and roof, tension the seatbelts and stick on the hazards if the A8 is braked fully.
Audi only showed the NWB (normal wheelbase) A8 last night, although there will be a LWB by launch. The interior has had a full make over and now has an electronic gear shift which Audi say is like a powerboat thrust lever and the MMI has now moved from the centre console to the facia and allows you to write on it to input data.
A Tour de Force, no doubt, but a bit underwhelming. And we’ll have to wait another year before the A8 becomes a reality.
All the details in the 2010 / 2011 Audi A8 Press Release
2010 / 2011 Audi A8 UK Prices
|4.2 FSI quattro|
|3.0 TDI quattro|
|4.2 TDI quattro|