Audi will unveil a new A8 with more powerful engines, lighter-weight construction, new assistance systems and Matrix LED headlight technology at this year's Frankfurt auto show.
Audi says the new A8 will put the automaker among the innovation leaders in the luxury class. It cites as an example the short-wheelbase A8 3.0-liter 4,034-pound curb weight, the best in its class for all-wheel-drive models. The body is mostly aluminum and weighs just 509 pounds.
Length, wheelbase and height are unchanged on regular models, while the A8L will be 5.12 inches longer, Audi says.
A8 design changes include a more expressive grille and more sculptured hood. The lower edge of the headlights is straighter than before. Overall, the car's front end looks a little more aggressive than its predecessor.
Audi will offer optional headlights with Matrix LED technology. The headlight's high beam has 25 individual light-emitting diodes per unit that can be switched on and off or dimmed individually depending on the situation. The headlamps also have intelligent cornering, new-look daytime running lights and dynamic turn signals. The rear LED lamps are flatter.
More details will come closer to the launch later this year, but Audi says it will offer the A8 on the German market with two gasoline and two diesel engines. These are the supercharged 3.0 TFSI V-6 with 310 hp, the V-8 twin-turbo 4.0 TFSI with 435 hp, the 3.0 TDI diesel with 258 hp and the 4.2 TDI diesel, which produces 385 hp. In the United States, Audi is also likely to offer the A8 with the 6.3-liter W-12 producing 500 hp.
The Audi S8 will come with a 4.0-liter TSFI V-8 developing 520 hp, good enough for a 4.2 second 0-100kph (0-62mph) sprint and will use an estimated 23.3 mpg.
The W-12 is likely to use 20.1 mpg thanks to cylinder-on-demand tech designed to deactivate the fuel injection and ignition on six cylinders at lower speeds.
Audi says performance is better with most engines. The most efficient engine is the 3.0 TDI diesel, using 40 mpg.
All A8s come standard with an eight-speed Tiptronic transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive. Audi also offers an optional sport differential for the rear axle, distributing the power between the rear wheels as needed. The sport diff is standard in the S8 and the Euro-market A8 4.2 TDI.
The interior includes optional ventilation and massage for the front seats, and individual executive-style rear seats are optional on the A8 and A8L. The L is also available with a leather-covered center console. Several options are also available from four-zone automatic air conditioning to a cooler. Customers can also choose from various optional assistance systems such as adaptive cruise control with stop-go, active lane assist, head-up display and night vision assist.
The new Audi A8 is scheduled to go on sale in Germany in November. Audi says prices for the new model start at 74,500 euros.