We Caught The New Audi A8 At The Nurburgring: BMW And Mercedes May Have A Problem

Spy Shots / Comments

With autonomous capabilities and an even better interior, we think it has what it takes.

Unfortunately for Audi, things don't look too good for its flagship sedan, the A8. It's a shame too, because unbeknownst to most S-Class loyalists and 7 Series aficionados, the A8 is one of the best packages available on the market. But for some reason it gets no love from name-brand loving buyers and its sales numbers reflect this. Unsurprisingly, especially after the new S-Class debuted, the A8 ranks dead last for sales of full-size German luxury sedans.

To get back at Mercedes and give its current A8 sedan the refresh that it so desperately needs, Audi is prepping the 4th generation A8 as a tech-laden luxury cruiser that will hit the streets by mid-2017. Unlike its predecessor, this A8 will have more angular lines and a single frame grille, adopting Audi's new design language that was first previewed on the Prologue Concept from the 2014 LA Auto Show. Our spy photographers managed to snap some pictures of the large sedan doing laps around the Nurburgring and despite the heavy camouflage, we like what we see. Under the skin, we already know that this A8 will pack enough advanced technology to hang with offerings (and hopefully steal sales) from BMW and Mercedes.

Those who are wary of a robot takeover or who are just sick of self-driving car news will not like the fact that this A8 will have a "Traffic Jam Pilot," but don't worry, it won't operate at speeds above 37 mph. The A8 will ride on Audi's new MLB evo platform, which uses aluminum and clever engineering to cut down on weight. The platform is already in use in the new Audi Q7 and is perfectly suited for both providing a smooth ride and additional interior space. The platform is also compatible with various types of powertrains, which means we can expect a full range of gas, diesel, and hybrid options, including a plug-in hybrid. Either way, we'd like to see the 605-hp 4.0-liter V8 from the current S8 make it into this version.

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