Sam Philip22 July 2009

New Audi A8: first look

We’ve got the first glimpses of Audi’s new exec express. It could be surprisingly handsome

New Audi A8?

See more Audi A8 teaser pics

This is the new Audi A8. Well, a sketch of the new Audi A8, at least. A sketch of a headlight of the new Audi A8.

It looks good, doesn’t it? Of course, you could probably make a Suzuki Alto look pretty damn handsome in sketch form, but there’s plenty here to suggest that the next A8 – which goes on sale in the UK in early 2010 – will be a tidy little number. A tidy big number, rather.

There’s another picture of it, too. Under a sheet, hiding behind a man in a suit. This picture is helpful because it tells us that the new A8 is bigger than a man in a suit. And has LED lights.

Beyond that, we don’t know a whole lot more about the A8. It’ll feature the same lightweight aluminium spaceframe as the current car, but should grow by around 10cm in length. 

Expect the V8 from the Audi R8 and the 3.0-litre V6 from the S4 to make an appearance in some guise, and there’s even talk of a frugal four-cylinder engine. The big 5.2-litre V10 should remain in the S8.

It could be a bit of a looker, too. Perhaps not as bold as the new Jaguar XJ, but certainly a whole bunch more distinctive than the current A8.

"The first generation [of the A8] was very dogmatic and product-design-like,” says Audi chief designer Stefan Sielaff. “With the second generation, the theme was 'elegance': softer, flowing lines. The upcoming third generation will be stronger, sharper, and more precise.”

We reckon it'll take more than a few cues from the A7 Sportback concept we saw at Detroit earlier this year - except, of course, for that hatched rear. 

We’ll see the A8, shorn of its shroud and suited man, later this year.

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