2018 Audi A8

2018 audi a8 – DOC683524

It was just a month ago that Audi confirmed that a new Audi A8 would grace showrooms for the 2018 model year. Now, the brand with four rings has been caught testing that next-gen A8 at the Nürburgring, and it looks like there is going to be at least one dramatic change. The car itself looks to retain the same size and overall shape of the current model, but the new model will have an emphasis on its look of overall width – especially with the evolution of Audi’s “Singleframe” grille that is now much wider and stretched out compared to anything we’ve seen in Audi’s current lineup. At first, it seems kind of goofy, but after taking a closer look, a wider, more pronounced grille is actually beneficial to the A8.

The new A8 is still sports some pretty heavy camo, so there is only so much we can make out of these spy shots. We do know that the new A8 will ride on the new MLB Evo platform that also underpins the Audi Q7, so there should be a significant drop in weight to go with the potential for alternative powertrains, including a plug-in hybrid model. With that said, I still think Audi has some suspension tuning to do, as the A8 in these pictures seems to be experiencing excessive body roll on the corners as it maneuvers around the Nürburgring.

Now that we’ve talked a little about it, let’s grab the wheel and take a closer look at what the next A8 might bring to the table when it makes its debut later this year.

Updated 12/27/2016: The next generation Audi A8 was caught testing once again, this time during cold weather conditions in snowy Sweden.

Rendering

Audi A8

Since we’ve gotten a good look at spy shots of the 2017 Audi A8, we decided we would tap into our resident artist and ask him to create a rendering of what the next A8 will look like. As in typical Audi fashion, the A8 isn’t likely to change a whole lot, and our artist has reflected on that perfectly. As you can see, the biggest change come for 2017 is probably the reshaped grille up front. It will now feature longer slants on the upper corners that run parallel with the inner edge of the headlights. This gives the car a much sleeker appearance, and finally it won’t look as much like a Chrysler 300 up front.

As part of the front end’s restyling, the headlights will now take on a more slanted appearance and, thanks to the shorter, reshaped grille, the hood will now bend over a bit in the front – giving the car the proper nose it has always deserved. Speaking of the hood, we also expect it to take on a more muscular design, featuring sleeker body lines on the outside and a more muscular tone to the center.

We expect the side profile to remain about the same. The lower body line will probably be more dominant than before to go with the muscular hood, and the body line that runs from the headlight to the rear, between the waistline and the door handles, will be sharper than ever. Around back, changes will likely be limited to a slightly revised rear fascia and redesigned taillight units. Even with just these minor changes, the 2017 A8 will be the best-looking A8 to date, and that is something we can all be happy about.

Spy Shots

December 27, 2016 – Next Audi A8 caught testing in snowy Sweden

June 14, 2016 – Audi A8 testing at Nurburgring

Exterior

Let’s not beat around the bush here; Audi isn’t exactly known for making dramatic changes when it refreshes a model or ushers in a new generation. With that said, don’t expect too much change to the exterior of the new A8, with the exception of that Audi “Singleframe” grille that just seems to keep getting larger. And that is exactly what you’ll find with this model as well. The grille is now much wider and sports larger horizontal louvers. The interesting thing is that it looks like there is an insert in the middle that will actually separate the grille into two pieces. Overall, the grille pretty much encompasses the whole front end, with everything else based on its overall shape. The headlights come to a sharp slant on the inner edge that mirrors and runs parallel to the upper sides of the grille. The same thing goes for the inner edge of the air inlets on each corner.

Overall, the grille pretty much encompasses the whole front end, with everything else based on its overall shape.

The side profile doesn’t seem to change much, but the upper bodyline on the current model doesn’t appear to be curved up front. Instead, it looks like it runs straight from the upper outside corner of the headlight all the way to the rear. Down below, it looks like Audi has toned down the protruding body line between the wheel arches. Around back, it looks like the lip on the decklid may be a little more pronounced and the taillights will likely be the same size, but will feature a different lens layout. Reflectors look to be embedded into the rear fascia on each corner, but outside of that, the rear looks like it will carry on almost unchanged.

From the outside, it looks like the grille up front saw some true evolution, while the rest of the car will take minor changes to make up the next generation. It’s typical Audi fashion, but it’s a little shocking to see how much Audi is changing that grille. The car will now look significantly wider up front, and much more muscular than before. We can’t wait to see this thing drop all the camo, so stay tuned for updates.

Interior

As usual, we don’t get any shots of the interior with this first round of spy shots, so it’s really hard to say what is going on inside. Given Audi’s typical treatment, I wouldn’t expect the interior to change too much. Compared to the current A8, the interior will probably take on some mild changes with a more simplified center console, a new steering wheel, redesigned instrument cluster and a new layout for the HVAC vents. The A8 already has a pretty upscale cabin, so I wouldn’t expect to see any upgrade in materials, but the trim inserts throughout the cabin will take on a different look and finish. Expect to see the same infotainment screen perched on top of the center stack, but it will likely be upgraded to the most current software.

Drivetrain

Audi A8

Under the hood, we don’t expect to see a lot of change. There will be a range of diesel- and gasoline-powered engines – as is the case with the current model – but I wouldn’t expect any increase in power output. Lately, the name of the game has been “Economy,” and a lot of manufacturers have been dropping power output a bit to increase overall economy (you can thank the big governments of the world for this, by the way), and I believe that will be the case here. In fact, Audi already did it with the shift from the 2014 model to the 2015 model when it dropped the 3.0-liter V-6 from 333 horsepower down to just 310. That drop in 23 horsepower resulted in a gain of 1 mph across the board for gasoline-powered V-6 models.

Audi may have redeveloped the 3.0-liter and 4.0-liter TFSI engines to deliver more power and better fuel economy

For this new generation, Audi may have redeveloped the 3.0-liter and 4.0-liter TFSI engines to deliver more power and better fuel economy (fingers crossed) but if we don’t see an increase in economy, we’ll likely see the same output figures from the current model. At this time, the 3.0-liter, TFSI, supercharged V-6 delivers 310 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. The 4.0-liter, twin-turbo, V-8 delivers 435 horsepower and 444 pound-feet of torque while the 3.0-liter turbodiesel delivers 358 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. 3.0-liter gasoline models hit 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, while the 4.0-liter does it in 4.7, and the diesel in 6.4 ticks. Top speed for all models is limited to 130 mph.

Prices

Pricing information for the new A8 is still under wraps, but the current model starts out at €82,800 in Germany. That translates to about $92,829 at current exchange rates. I wouldn’t expect to see pricing increase much. If anything, the pricing may increase by as much as $1,000 across the board, if that.

Competition

Mercedes S-Class

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

This wouldn’t be an Audi review without comparing it to something else from Germany, and the Mercedes S-Class fits the bill pretty well. It’s a bit more expensive, starting out at $95,650 for the S550, but that gets you a 4.7-liter, Biturbo, B-8 that delivers 449 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque – enough to push the S550 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds. As you move up the range, there is the S550e plug-in hybrid that runs a 3.0-liter V-6 with an electric motor. The hybrid package delivers 436 horsepower and 479 pound-feet for the same $95,650 – as it turns out, you don’t have to pay Mercedes more to be green. Next in line is the S550 4MATIC at $98,650, the S600 with a whopping increase to $189,050, and finally the AMG S63 and S65 sedans that command $143,250 and $224,650, respectively.

BMW 7 Series

BMW 7 Series

Since we’re sticking with a German theme here, we might as well look to the other big German manufacturer. At the time of this writing, BMW ’s biggest sedan offering is the 7 Series. While it starts out cheaper at just $81,300 for the 740i trim level with 320 horsepower from a 3.0-liter, turbocharged, V-6, the 750i at $94,400 actually hits the nail right on the head with a 4.4-liter V-8 that delivers 445 horsepower and a 60-mph sprint in just 4.7 seconds. Opting for the 750i xDrive gets you the same horsepower with all-wheel drive and a 60-mph sprint that takes just 4.3 seconds. As you can see, the 750 is the real competitor for the A8 as far as power and price goes, but you can’t beat an entry level model that is at least $10,000 cheaper than what Audi offers with the A8.

Conclusion

Audi A8

At this point, we haven’t really seen enough of the new A8 to make a complete conclusion. But, from what we can see, Audi has put in a little more effort than normal to differentiate the next-gen model from the one currently found in showrooms. In all honesty, I’m shocked to see how much Audi has changed the grille for this model – it’s certainly not typical Audi fashion and is actually a little out of its comfort zone. That said, a fresh look should be a welcome change for fans of Audi, and the new look may drag in a few new customers as well. With the new A8 confirmed for the 2017 model year, things are certainly on track. We should be getting more images with less camo in the near future and hopefully a look at the interior too, so stay tuned for updates.

LOVE IT

  • New, wider grille
  • potentially revamped interior

LEAVE IT

  • Old engines will likely carry over
  • May take a drop in power
  • Suspension looks extremely loose

Update History

Update 7/25/2016: We’ve composed a rendering of what the 2017 Audi A8 might look like based on the most recent spy shots. Check out the Rendering section below to read all about it.

Updated 06/14/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Audi A8 out for a new testing session around Nurburgring.