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It’s the new Audi A8
A new single frame grille here, a more sculptured bonnet there; more powerful engines across the board and increased efficiency: welcome to the brand new Audi A8.
Except of course, it’s not really brand new, more of a tweak to keep the range topping super-Audi with an aluminium fetish up to date. That’s right, we said aluminium fetish: don’t forget, the body is made almost entirely of the stuff.
This Audi ‘Space Frame’ design body weighs in at just 231kg, equivalent to, erm, something else weighing 231kg (fill in your own comedy analogy below); as such, it should help make the engine tweaks that much more acute. The line-up now consists of a more powerful 3.0-litre petrol V6 (305.8bhp, up from 286.1bhp), a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 petrol with 429.1bhp, a boosted 3.0-litre TDI V6 with 254.5bhp (up from 246.6bhp), and a 4.2-litre V8 diesel weighing in at 379.8bhp (increased from 345.2bhp). See? More poweeerrr.
That 4.0-litre V8 will accelerate from 0-62mph in just 4.5 seconds (with quattro, naturally), but it’s not the V8 you want; no, meine Damen und Herren, you’ll be wanting the 4.0-litre V8 that sits in the S8. With 512.9bhp, that car is the Big Daddy of the range (it’s faster and more powerful than the 493.2bhp 6.3-litre W12 A8 L), with a 0-62mph sprint time of just 4.2 seconds.
There’s a hybrid too, a 2.0-litre petrol with an electric motor, producing 241.7bho and a whopping 354lb ft of torque, and CO2 emissions of 147g/km. All engines are paired with an eight-speed tiptronic gearbox, and permanent quattro, while you can spec a sport diff for the rear axle (it’s standard in the S8, mind) should you wish to bludgeon your clients into aluminium-flavoured submission.
The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice the new bonnet, grille and front bumper, along with the lower edge of the headlamp unit (yes, it’s that sort of ‘new’ A8), while you can option new dimmable headlights called ‘MatrixBeam’, made of 25 LEDs per headlamp.
Inside, there’s lot of luggzury, including electrically adjustable relaxation seats and power footrests, a herd’s worth of leather, a wide-range of wallet-busting options and the MMI located on the centre console. Many assistants are also available, including some from Google.
Prices will be announced closer to its UK on-sale date in January 2014, but we’d expect them to start from just over £56k. Which would you rather have, this, the new S-Class, or a 7-Series BMW?