Since it began selling in 2003 the Audi A8 has received only a minor facelift just to make it appear fresh beside the Lexus LS, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the BMW 7-Series which was revealed just of late. This minor styling will have to suffice for at least one more year as the succeeding generation 'D' A8 which was reported to arrive in the middle of 2010 as a MY 2011 car.
Together with this, it is also reported that for the very first time a new entry-level version, which will come with a turbo-charged 4-cylinder unit, will be made available. A test model, which has kept under the present D3 body, has been seen going through cold weather testing several times already.
What gave it away as the next generation version are its extended fender flares, stretched wheelbase and broader track. The design of the upcoming model is a development of the present model as what can be observed from its illustrations. It will still come with the aluminum spaceframe body which will cut more than 150kg of weight in contrast to the conventional steel body.
The final curb weight of the new model will come between 3,630lb (1,560kg) and 4,180lb (1,900kg) contingent on the specs of the model. The latest illustrations are somewhat different from the initial previews with its new slotted lower air intakes in the front air dam and modified LED-edge headlamps. The distinctive elements include a large single-frame grill, LED daytime running lights and a profile like that of a coupe. According to Audi, the first generation was very rigid and inflexibly designed.
However, with the succeeding generation, the theme was styling with softer, smoother lines. With the third generation it will be more aggressive, sharper and clear-cut. It was further revealed that the latest A8 will be the beginning of a new styling language for the carmaker. Advanced illustrations of its future product lineup was released in 2008 by Audi which included the latest D4 A8. The production model will come with an extended version of the modular platform employed in the A4, but more striking materials will be used like aluminum and magnesium to cut on weight and enhance driving dynamics.
The basic model will keep its FWD configuration although AWD versions will highlight the newest Quattro torque vectoring SportDifferential, which allocates drive individually between axles and between the rear wheels for enhanced traction and steadiness. The air suspension will be equipped with electronic control and also the steering, pedal response and transmission systems.
The previously-mentioned 4-cylinder engine will generate 230hp (172kW). This 4-cylinder engine, which has already been tested in a number of A8 prototypes, will aid Audi come up with the new European emissions regulations. This new engine will not be available for the US but certainly some smaller V6 options will. The rest of the engine lineup will be filled out by a 250hp (186kW) 3.0-liter V6 TDI, a 290hp (216kW) 3.0-liter V6 FSI, a 340hp (253kW) 4.2-liter V8 TDI, a 372hp (277kW) 4.3-liter V8 FSI and lastly, a 620hp (462kW) 5.0-liter V10 FSI set aside for the S8. Also expected to be available is a 12-cylinder unit although, due to a low demand and new emissions regulations, it could be shelved.