Shown previously during the Design Week festivities in Miami, Audi’s new 2011 A8 flagship luxury sedan has now made its auto show debut in Detroit. Now you might not have believed that Audi’s massive front grille could get any more…. well… massive, but it has.
In addition to this new design cue, which is sure to make its way down through the rest of the Audi brand as new models roll out, the flagship A8 also takes some design elements from car’s like the A4 and A5 – including the sporty rear end.
Sporty is exactly where Audi wants to take the new A8. To aid in making the car a more nimble handler, it gets Audi’s light weight aluminum space frame. The car is both longer and wider than its competitors and yet has a lower overall height for a better center of gravity. Compared to the previous A8, Audi says it is 3-inches longer and 2-inches wider. Audi hasn’t released any specific info on the curb weight of the vehicle but says it will be 50 lbs less than an S-Class and 200-lbs less than a 7 Series. Those numbers jump to 200 and 400 lbs respectively, if you put the AWD Audi up against AWD versions from Mercedes and BMW.
Under the hood there’s an updated version of Audi’s 4.2-liter V8 engine with 372-hp and 328 ft-lbs of torque, for a 0-62 mph time of just 5.7 seconds. Thanks in part to a new eight-speed tiptronic gearbox, Audi claims an improvement in fuel-efficiency by 15 percent.
Technological highlights on the car include a new version of Audi’s Multi Media Interface (MMI) called MMI Touch, that can recognize handwriting for entering navigation instructions. There’s also adaptive cruise control, night vision assist, Audi lane assist and Audi side assist, Audi braking guard to notify a driver of an impact and automatic emergency braking to actually stop the car if the driver doesn’t react. Finally there are some stunning full-LED headlights, that will actually point into a corner in accordance with the navigation system. And as for the A8’s new body, it is incredibly aerodynamic, with a drag coefficient of just 0.26 cd – just one tick off the Prius’s.
The all-new 2011 Audi A8 will go on sale late in 2010, with an extended wheelbase model offered at the same time.
Audi CEO Rupert Stadler confirmed during Audi’s press conference in Detroit, that a hybrid version of the A8 is on its way and will debut at the Geneva Auto Show in march.