The present Audi A8 has been on sale beginning in 2003 and from that time has only experienced a minor design change to maintain its freshness together with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Lexus LS and lately unveiled BMW 7-series. The minor modifications in style made during the latest revision will have to continue for a few more years as the next-generation 'D4' A8 is expected to arrive in the second half of next year, according to some reports, after an introduction in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
An archetype for the vehicle has already been seen going through cold weather testing, hidden under the body of the present D3. Betraying signs that the trial model was the next-generation version included expanded fender flares, a lengthened wheelbase and broader track.
As the illustration suggests, the design of the latest version will be an improvement of the present vehicle. The aluminum spaceframe body will remain the same, saving engineers more than 150kg in contrast with a regular steel body.
The vehicle's ultimate kerb weight is anticipated to go from between 1,650kg and 1,900kg contingent on the model spec. Distinctive highlights will be a big single-frame grill, LED daytime running lights and a coupe-like silhouette.
Talking with Car and Driver, Audi's chief designer Stefan Sielaff says "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." It was also revealed by Sielaff that the latest A8 will be "the first of a new styling language at Audi".
Early last year Audi made available several teaser illustrations of its future product range, together with the latest D4 A8. Beneath the new sheet metal will be an expanded variant of the modular platform utilized in the A4, but it is anticipated observe more interesting materials such as aluminum and magnesium used to further save on weight and enhance dynamics.
The basic version will remain FWD but AWD versions will highlight the most current quattro torque vectoring SportDifferential, which spreads drive individually between each axle and between the rear wheels for enhanced traction and balance. Available also is an electronic control for the air-suspension, steering, pedal response and transmission systems.
The latest engine range will highlight a 250hp 3.0L V6 TDI, a 290hp 3.0L V6 FSI, a 340hp 4.2L V8 TDI, a 372hp 4.2L V8 FSI and lastly a 620hp 5.0L V10 FSI made solely for the S8. It has not yet been finalized by Audi whether it will open a 12-cylinder variant or not, however, there are intentions for a fresh mild-hybrid model. There will also be more supercharged engines together with increased application of Audi's most current valve-lift system. The 6.0-Liter W12 unit is reportedly being phased out because of high costs and emissions.