2011 Audi A8 Photo
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Quick Take
Suave styling, an impeccable cabin, innovative cabin tech, and a lean, athletic driving feel earn the 2011 Audi A8 a spot in the top tier. Read more »
8.8 out of 10
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TheCarConnection.com's editors have written this preview of the 2011 Audi A8 from press information and from a preview of the new sedan in late 2009. Editors will update this with a hands-on road test when test vehicles become available.


  • Statesman styling
  • Diesels and hybrids--and better fuel economy
  • Divine interior finishes
  • Three ways to control audio and climate


  • Not as advanced as the hype
  • Not as lightweight as hoped
  • Three ways to control audio and climate

Change is coming to Germany--more precisely, to Ingolstadt--as Audi prepares to launch the fourth generation of its flagship A8 sedan. The 2011 A8 hits showrooms late next year, with a new set of aluminum body panels, a broad spectrum of drivetrain choices, and a new MMI system that goes the iPhone route for fingertip navigation. With a base price of about $75,000 and a top price over $100,000, the new Audi A8 competes with the BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and will have the 2011 Jaguar XJ and Lexus LS also in its sights--and, Audi hopes, will vault its name and its four-ringed logo forever into the elite ranks of luxury sedans.

The 2011 Audi A8 will come in two flavors, the shorter of which--dubbed "Normal Wheel Base (NWB)"--was unveiled in November 2009 in Miami. The long-wheelbase version will be revealed next year. The new look is all high-tech and sleekness, with bright full-LED headlights giving a dramatic accent to the car's front end and LED taillights at the rear end. The flowing lines and smooth surfaces reflect the car's mechanical goals as much as its aesthetic. Drag is low at just 0.26 coefficient of drag, roughly equivalent to that of the Toyota Prius--quite a feat for a large luxury sedan. Inside, the cabin's been upgraded with wood, leather, aluminum and plastic trim, a sueded headliner and rich colors. The shifter is patterned after a yacht throttle, and all the A8's controls have been styled and finished for a dramatic, tailored appearance. A note of whimsy--the pop-up Bang & Olufsen speakers that mushroom up in the corners of the dash.

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