British media is reporting Audi has decided to postpone the launch of its next-gen A8 flagship model because they want to work more on the autonomous driving technology.

Ingolstadt's range-topping model was supposed to come out towards the end of 2016 but apparently it has been postponed by approximately 12 months as Audi is perfecting the electronic architecture for supporting the semi-autonomous driving technology which has already been confirmed. Autocar says this is only one of the reasons which caused the delay, but more details are not available at this point.

Mules of the next-gen Audi A8 have been caught on camera since July last year wearing the body of the current A8 facelift. It will keep roughly the same dimensions as today's car but the styling will be significantly different as the new A8 will be Audi's first production car designed by Marc Lichte. It will be heavily influenced by the Prologue concept so it should be more stylish than the outgoing model.

Gallery: Next generation Audi A8 reportedly delayed until late 2017 to perfect autonomous tech

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