2011 Audi A8: News and Pics

We’re at the tail end of ’09 and already Audi has planted the seeds of excitement for 2011 with the reveal of the new Audi A8. While not all of us can take trips to Miami for the big reveal, we still have some details and pics for your enjoyment here.

The 4th Generation of the A8 looks to continue the trend of sophistication and engineering that Audi has come to be known by, judging by the looks of the aluminum body built with the Audi Space Frame architecture, that maintains modern strength and safety demands while still being light for the sake of sporty agility and fuel efficiency. Official numbers on this are scarce as of yet, but the 2011 A8 is expected to weigh as much as the current gen model (3,682 lbs), despite being a few inches wider and longer.

Under the hood is a 4.2 FSI V8 that produces 372 hp, a 22 hp increase as well as 328 ft-lbs of torque. Fuel efficiency has been increased by 15% due to thermal management and kinetic energy recuperation systems. This promises a 0-62 time of 5.7 secionds and is electronically limited to 155 mph.

The transmission is an 8 speed tiptronic shift-by-wire setup with a dynamic shift program (DSP) that handles it all in cruise and sport mode. an interesting note is that the DSP communicates with Audi’s MMI navigation system, and if route data is supplied, it will incorporate this data as you speed along, intended to avoid unnecessary gear changes.

AWD is of course standard as the A8 sports Audi’s current quattro AWD system that features the 40/60 torque split with rear wheel bias. The sport differential is an option as well if you plan to truly give the A8 the business, as well as dynamic steering. This all sits on an adaptive air suspension with adaptive damping to give the optimum ride comfort and smoothness depending on the situation.

On the inside is the quality styling we expect from Audi, with an emphasis on giving the interior a more spacious feeling than its predecessor. The latest MMI navigation and console will be incorporated, which displeased me in the R8, but came to appreciate with more current incarnations. A prevailing design element is the “wrap-around” curve that forms “an elegant belt line as on a yacht” and that the instrument panel is “neat and tidy” and “shaped like a gentle wave,” descriptions which I can conjure James May in my mind saying aloud and then following with “I don’t know what all that means, but I quite like it.” In any case, the interior is to be just as stylish and comfortable as current models, if not better.

Expect pricing details to effervesce nearer to the fall of 2010 when they will begin to appear in dealers in the U.S., but have in mind that it will be one of its factors in competing with cars like the Mercedes-benz S Class and Jaguar XJ. As always, of the utmost importance is the experience behind the wheel, and if Audi’s latest offerings are anything to go by, the 2011 Audi A8 should be one hack of a ride.


-Alex K-

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