The new Audi A8 focusses strongly on luxury and cutting-edge technology
With its long bonnet, arching parabolic roof and squared-off rear section, the new A8 is a stunner. Everything about it spells avant-garde luxury, right from the design and build to the hint of muscle under the hood and the promise of tightly packed technology. The detailing, however, is generic Audi. The headlights, the grille and tail-lights are all familiar (maybe a bit too familiar for some) and this makes the car look similar to its stablemates.
But in the flesh, the car is sensational. The feature that simply stands out is the very strong styling crease along its wide shoulders. This fold stretches all the way from the headlights to the tail, where it uniquely branches off vertically and horizontally. These bold lines are part of Audi's new design language and it delivers a very strong, confident look to the car.
The A8 is the biggest car in its class now and, as a result, has a massive amount of additional presence on the road. Unlike its competitors, however, this car uses a spaceframe chassis, with body panels bolted on. To keep the weight down, both of these are made of aluminium, just as on the current A8. And there is Audi's famous four-wheel-drive system, Quattro, with its 60:40 rear bias.
Audi is also likely to make an ultra-light and efficient version of the car, which will sport only front-wheel drive and the C02 rating of a much smaller car. There will be two 4.2-litre V8 motors, a diesel and a petrol, and both will make it to the Indian market when the car is launched, towards the end of this year. The prospect of driving a big, light four-wheel-drive Audi powered by a 350bhp diesel V8 with limitless torque is just too much.
Audi's biggest step forward, however, can't be truly appreciated till you sit in the A8. Even for its lofty standards, the interiors are a massive step forward. The design is a blend of aircraft cockpit and luxury yacht and it all feels unstressed and effortless. Just like any Audi.