Since 1994, the Audi A8 has acted as Audi’s flagship vehicle, often the most advanced and luxurious option in the lineup. Now 23 years on, and Audi is ready to revive its largest sedan once again for the 2018 model year.
The new A8 will make its debut in just a few days' time, and here’s everything we know about it so far.
What Is It?
Simply put: it’s an A8. Though its name may not carry the same weight as rivals like the Mercedes S-Class or BMW 7 Series, Audi’s longstanding luxury moniker should be instantly recognizable for fans of the brand and casual bystanders alike.
An all-new aluminum platform will make it more rigid, an advanced new powertrain will make it more efficient, and hopefully Audi will get around to giving it a proper redesign, highlighting its upscale, technological vibe. Though, we’re not holding our breath on that last count.
What Will It Look Like?
Gallery: 2018 Audi A8 New Spy Photos
Based on early spy shots, it doesn’t look like the A8 will gain much in the way of an aggressive new look. But maybe it will be just enough of a change to keep things interesting. The same subtle styling cues will carry over from the previous generation, albeit updated, with the only significant change coming in the rear. The A8 is expected adopt the Prologue concept’s unique light bar .
The concept above paints a clearer picture, as well as a quick glimpse of the rear courtesy of a Spider-Man: Homecoming teaser. Subdued, scalpel sharp, but still handsome nonetheless. Will it be enough to rival the elegant beauty of the Mercedes S-Class or the sporty cues of the BMW 7 Series? That remains to be seen.
What’s Under The Hood?
The new A8 will be the first large vehicle in the Audi lineup to come standard with 48-volt mild hybrid technology. It’s still unclear exactly which engine it will be paired to – likely a lower-output V6 – but Audi’s head of hybrid systems, Alexander Kruse, promises that the technology will move "very quickly" to other models. A new teaser suggests that the sedan will be able to be driven at "up to 100 mph" on pure battery power.
The more-powerful S8 could see a new 4.0-liter biturbo V8 from the Porsche Panamera, or a 6.0-liter W12 off the Bentley Bentayga – the latter of which seems less likely – with as much as 550 horsepower (404 kilowatts) on tap. Overall we know that the package will be about 100 pounds heavier than the outgoing model, meaning more power will have to make up for that weight gain.
What Kind Of Technology Will It Have?
Reports suggest that the new A8 will include Level 3 autonomous driving, or what Audi calls "Traffic Jam Pilot." The system will be functional in "certain conditions" at speeds of up to 35 mph (56 kmh) with the ability to "turn over steering, throttle, and braking functionality" to the driver at a moment’s notice. The chassis will also include bump detection technology and four-wheel steering, as well as remote parking capabilities.
Inside, the A8 will adopt Audi’s new Virtual Cockpit, seen previously on models like the A6, TT, and even A3 E-Tron. Already we've seen the technology and the Virtual Cockpit teased leading up to the A8's debut in the new Spider-Man: Homecoming film.
One of the most unique features, though, will be what Audi calls a "relaxation seat." When activated, the system will release an electronically operated panel mounted on the rear passenger seat, and begin to massage your feet.
How Much Will It Cost?
The 2017 A8 has a starting price of $82,500, so don’t expect the new model to cost any less than that. A starting MSRP of around $85,000 seems well within reason, with certain trims expected to bring the cost up to as much as $130,000.
When Will We See It?
The 2018 Audi A8 is scheduled for its official debut on July 11 at the Audi Summit in Barcelona before making its auto show debut in Frankfurt later in the year.
The luxury sedan will make its on-screen debut in the new film Spider-Man: Homecoming, and already we've seen plenty of promotion leading up to the debut, including Spiderman riding on the hood of a camouflaged prototype at the red carpet premier.