By on July 24, 2009

As promised in today’s podcast, here’s a teaser image of the forthcoming Audi A8 (courtesy of Top Gear‘s blog).

The A8 has been redesigned only once since it was introduced in 1994, and even then it traded total anonymity for mere subtlety. And not only did previous versions melt into the crowd, they didn’t sell well in the states either. As a result, you almost never see the things on the road. Which is too bad because it’s a great car. My first drive in one came courtesy of my boss at the time, and after a quick cross-town delivery I had to double-check the badging to make sure the “8” wasn’t a “6.” It was that nimble and it hid its executive-sized heft that well. Plus it made 80 mph in town feel like, well, the speed limit . . . at least to a kid who was commuting in a Neon at the time. Though the car is on my lifetime ownership short list, and I like the look of the redesign a lot, I find myself nursing mixed feelings. If this new generation is as sexy as the sketches promise, it might just become popular. It might become a car worth posing in. It might no longer be the best car that nobody ever sees or mentions. Which would be good for Audi, but not for me. Love can be so complicated.

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13 Comments on “Daily Podcast: A8 Misbehavin’...”


  • avatar
    AKM

    But then you can move on onto the ultimate sleeper Audi RS6 avant.

  • avatar
    Kyle Schellenberg

    I agree that’s there’s something magical about owning a car that doesn’t scream “Look at me!!!” and yet most people who truly understand cars will respect your purchase.

    Not getting my vibe? Just watch Ronin to see how hot the A8 can be.

  • avatar
    dcdriver

    I’ve always preferred the look of the A8 over the 7-series and S-class. I hope the new styling doesn’t depart too much from the current model but I suspect it will. Too bad.

    The current one looks like a true executive sedan, not a “look at how much money (debt) I have” blingmobile.

  • avatar
    twotone

    I’d buy one if they ever made it in RWD. To me, AWD in a large sedan does not make sense — torque steer, heavy front end, basically a FWD that sends some torque to the rear when needed. I prefer the S Class or 7 Series for a large sedan and something smaller (A4/3 Series) if I wanted AWD.

    Twotone

  • avatar
    jmo

    basically a FWD that sends some torque to the rear when needed.

    The A8 has a 40/60 torque bias. Indeed, the A4, A5, A6 and A8 all have the majority of the torque going to the rear wheels.

  • avatar
    frizzlefry

    “basically a FWD that sends some torque to the rear when needed.”

    The current Gen V quattro is a torsen T-3 centre differential, 40:60 ‘default’ split front-rear, automatically apportioning up to 80% of torque transfer to the front axle or up to 100% torque to the rear axle.

    Slightly etter than the previous system I have on my C5 A6, that one was 50/50 with 67% of torque to front or back.

    I would guess that the new A8 will have the Gen VI system, which has torque vectoring. Pretty sure the current S models have this already. From what I understand, its a Gen V Quattro system that can shift torque to a single wheel on an axl as well. The idea is that it sharpens cornering and, is supposed to, eliminate understeer.

  • avatar
    frizzlefry

    Just watch Ronin to see how hot the A8 can be.
    …or the transporter 2 or 3. W12 A8. Reow.

  • avatar
    frizzlefry

    “But then you can move on onto the ultimate sleeper Audi RS6 avant”

    Don’t think its available in north america…wish it was. Unless they changed that and decided to let it over? Not that I could buy one :) But it sure sounds nice…

  • avatar
    twotone

    Just watch Ronin to see how hot the A8 can be.
    …or the transporter 2 or 3. W12 A8. Reow.

    Some of the best car chase movie scenes since “The French Connection”. It’s amazing how Hollywood can make cars defy the laws of physics. I want “The Transporter” S8 — does some amazing stuff without ever scratching the paint.

    Twotone

  • avatar
    Kyle Schellenberg

    The chase with the Mini in The Bourne Identity is one of my favorites.

  • avatar
    charly

    @twotone

    Not so much Hollywood as France. They are the undisputed champions of the car chase.

  • avatar
    Tummy

    Funny that you said you never see them because we spotted three in the same parking lot today in NJ, at Liberty State Park, while walking my dog. I even commented about them to my friend who was with me.

  • avatar
    Kristjan Ambroz

    One reason where they fail as executive transports is that they are not that executive – the ride falls short of what you’d get in a 7 series or S class, and for me the headroom was a problem if I wanted to sit as high as I generally like.

    As for engines, in my experience the W12 is not the one to have – it’s too heavy and makes the car understeer much more, so the only advantage is on an Autobahn. Plus in countries with rougher roads it tends to bottom out way too easily (an issue in the UK for instance), although that was much more a feature of the first generation W12 than the one in the current car.


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