At the annual shareholder meeting held today in Ingolstadt, Audi’s CEO Rupert Stadler announced among other things the all-new A8 will be launched next year.

The third generation of Audi’s flagship model came out seven years ago and while many were expecting for a successor to hit the market this year, that won’t happen. The company with the four-ring logo revealed today plans to introduce the next-gen A8 in 2017 when it will become the company’s “first series-produced car capable of piloted driving.”

Thanks to a newly developed traffic-jam pilot system, the fullsize luxury sedan from Audi is going to drive itself on highways at speeds of up to 37 mph (60 kph). The technology is set to evolve in the years to come and Audi estimates it will have an entirely autonomous car on the road by 2025.

To recap what we know so far about the new A8 (D5 generation), it will be the first production car designed from the ground up by Marc Lichte and his team. That means it will borrow many styling cues from the rather stunning Prologue concept which we used to come up with our own speculative rendering (back in the WCF days) of the 2018 A8.

Set to ride on the MLB Evo platform, the all-new A8 is expected to lose as much as 441 pounds (200 kilograms) which will pay dividends as far as efficiency and performance. One of the engines that we already know will find its way under the hood is the new biturbo 600-hp, 664-lb-ft 6.0-liter W12 that debuted in the Bentley Bentayga which we reviewed just a few days ago.

Some of the tech goodies we are expecting include laser headlights, OLED taillights, e-turbo like in the SQ7, along with the best Audi has to offer in terms of infotainment systems. About that, some say the new A8 will pack OLED screens, gesture control support, and obviously a plethora of safety and assistance systems like you would expect from a flagship.

Audi doesn’t say exactly when the car will be out, but since it has been a long time in the making, it will probably be introduced in the first half of the year. That’s why we should look for an official debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March, with sales to commence a few months later. If not, the A8 will be unveiled in mid-September at the Frankfurt Motor Show and will reach dealerships before the year's end.

Check out the press release below to find out what Rupert Stadler had to say during the 127th Annual General Meeting in Ingolstadt today.

Source: Audi

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