The 2011 Audi A8 is out, and we have official photos and details on the brand new flagship sedan. Even with a welter of technology and advanced design principles at work, the question of beauty wasn't lost in the presentation of the A8, nestled as it was among the art at the "Art of Progress" exhibition in Miami this evening. But does it come across in the final product?
The new look is all high-tech and sleekness, with bright full-LED head lights giving a dramatic accent to the car's front end and LED tail lights at the rear end. The flowing lines and smooth surfaces reflect the car's mechanical goals as much as its aesthetic.
Powered by a pair of diesel and gasoline V-8 and V-6 engines--one each--the new Audi A8 promises to be the sportiest of the large luxury sedans while also delivering on efficiency. With a coefficient of drag of just 0.26, the car seems prepared to do both, but we'll withhold final judgment until Audi puts us behind the wheel.
With a 372-horsepower V-8 4.2 FSI engine in the U.S.-market normal wheelbase launch vehicle, there's no shortage of power, however. That power is sent to the front two wheels in base configuration, with the quattro all-wheel-drive system an optional upgrade. Whichever drive system you choose, however, the standard transmission is an 8-speed tiptronic unit that should prove smooth and efficient.
A long wheelbase version is due to debut next year, but Audi is already targeting the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7-Series with its new car, calling the Jaguar XJ and Lexus LS "secondary competitors."
Lightness is a mission and a theme throughout the new 2011 A8, and accordingly, Audi says the car is about 50-200 pounds lighter than the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and 200-400 pounds lighter than the BMW 7-Series, depending on whether the cars are fitted with two-wheel- or all-wheel-drive systems. Unmentioned is the largely aluminum Jaguar XJ, however, which presumably comes in as light as or lighter than the A8.
An adjustable air suspension system, updated MMI infotainment, high-tech radar-adaptive safety systems, night-vision pedestrian detection and more optional upgrades are available. The car is expected to go on sale some time next year, and though pricing hasn't yet been released, we'd expect it to fall somewhere around the current model's $74,550 starting price and go up from there as you pile on the options.