The current generation Audi A8 or otherwise coded the D3 has been with us since 2003. Only receiving a few minimal facelifts, it’s rivals, the Mercedes S-Class, Lexus LS, BMW 7-Series and everything that falls within the same category have all but moved on past facelifts and onto new models already. That’s a fact but the truth is, the design will have to stay on for at least another two years as the next generation ‘D4’ A8 isn’t due to arrive until 2010.
A prototype has been spotted undergoing cold weather testing while hidden under the current D3 body. The first give away was that it was odd to see an almost obsolete model undergoing testing at such a late stage in its life cycle, and that it needed extended fender flares, a stretched wheelbase and wider track, what other visual cues could a trained eye need?
The A8 will use an extended version of the modular platform used in the A4 but predictably will be built using more exclusive and exotic materials such as aluminum and magnesium to save weight and improve dynamics. The engine line up will very likely be the same as the current range, starting with the 2.8 liter petrol onto the middle class 4.2 liter V8 FSI and Audi’s all new 6 liter V12 TDI to top the segment.
There will also be other units depending on country and demand and this will include superchagred units as well as an increased application of Audi’s latest valve-lift system. Those passionate about motor engineering might not be too happy but Audi’s 6 liter W12 engine is reportedly being phased out due to its high costs and emissions.
Expect the base model to retain its FWD layout but All-Wheel-Drive variants will feature later on with Audi’s latest Quattro torque vectoring systems, which distribute drive individually between each axle and between the rear wheels for improved traction and stability.