By on August 5, 2013


Bloomberg is reporting that Audi will reveal the next A8 sedan at the upcoming Frankfurt auto show in September and that Ingolstadt’s flagship will more get upgrades so it can more effectively compete with the next generation S Class from Mercedes-Benz, which is currently being launched.

While Mercedes-Benz may be the target of the new A8, it is BMW that Audi has set its overall sights upon, seeking to supplant the Bavarian luxury car maker as the #1 marque in that segment. Audi says that it will sell more than 1.5 million vehicles globally in 2013, a benchmark the company originally expected to reach two years from now.

Though Audi has seemingly gone from strength to strength and is in second place among luxury brands, it’s still lagging behind M-B and BMW at the top of the luxury sedan segment, selling 38,600 A8s last year while BMW sold over 59,000 7-Series cars and Mercedes sold a bit over 80,000 of its S Class.

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27 Comments on “Audi to Go After S Klasse and 7 Series More Directly With Next A8...”

  • avatar

    Your picture shows the old S-Class.

  • avatar

    The A8 will only be a competitor to the Mercedes and BMW when it is available in RWD.

    • 0 avatar

      That helped Panamera a lot, didn’t it

    • 0 avatar

      I doubt very much that the people who buy these give any thought to which wheels drive the car. Brand image and vehicle amenities will be much more important factors.

      • 0 avatar

        Actually, they do. Because RWD cars have completely different proportions than Audi’s AWD and FWD cars. Hoods are longer, for one, and the front overhang isn’t as big!

        • 0 avatar

          The newest Audi longitudinal cars have a RWD based setup just like Mercedes and BMW. Here in MI I see very few RWD S-classes. I don’t think that AWD in the South would be a deal breaker at this price point.

        • 0 avatar

          Are you sure about the overhang? While BMW and Infinity have nicely proportioned fronts, most other brands continue to sport alligator snouts even when RWD. They may not be as bad as on previous generation Camaro, but they are quite sizeable. Some even have their longitudially oriented engines ahead of the front axle.

          • 0 avatar

            Nicely proportioned fronts? Really?

            I have a radical hypothesis: All German under wunder luxury sedans are hideous, without exception, with all sorts of oddly placed creases, wrinkles, shapes, along with other incongruent and bulbous shapes, appendages and headlight & tailight assemblies.

            They’re all F-U-G-L-Y and they ain’t got no alibi.

  • avatar

    And in the US, all of these will continue to be outsold by the Tesla Model S.

    • 0 avatar

      The Tesla is more of a 5-series size class. even if it does cost the same as these larger cars.

    • 0 avatar

      Nobody yields to me in my tremendous admiration for Elon Musk’s achievement in the Model S, but I think they projected sales of about 20,000 cars in the USA this year. With Audi’s A8 at 38,000, BMW’s 7-series at 59,000 and Mercedes’ S-Class at 80,000, obviously the high-end ICE cards are significantly outselling it.

      I think of the Model S’ natural competitor as the swoopily-styled, roughly E-Class sized Mercedes CLS-Class, and I believe it is outselling that car by a significant margin.

      Think of it this way, they have a long way to go. Hopefully they will even justify their sky-high stock price someday :). Wish I’d invested in it when it was at a semi-civilized price.


      • 0 avatar

        correct me if I’m wrong, but the A8 barely, if ever, breaks above 500 units / month in the US.

        • 0 avatar

          FractureCritical – – –

          Sales of Audi A8 for first 7 months of this year:

          AVE = 506



      • 0 avatar

        CLS and E-Class sales stats are lumped together, so it’s hard to tell. Ditto the 6-series coupe and sedan. According to, YTD US sales of the A7 are almost 4700 units, and Panamera sales are ~3000. are So it appears Model S is likely on track to outsell the A7 and Panamera. Not bad for an upstart.

      • 0 avatar

        Perhaps you are comparing global sales of the German cars with Tesla’s US sales.

  • avatar

    S Klasse in the title, S Class in the article, S-Class in reality. Also used is Mercedes-Benz, M-B, and Mercedes.

    Consistency throughout makes for easier, more effective writing.

  • avatar

    What the heck does more directly mean? All three are offered in AWD. The interiors are about par for the course and they perform all about the same, save a quarter second or 2. If they are going to office an RWD fine but dont screw the A8 up before I can afford one.

  • avatar

    Sad they feel they need to change because I feel the Audi A8L is much better than the S Class and 7 Series already.

    • 0 avatar

      7 series for sure, but the new S Class…wow, that thing really kicked things up a notch in the executive segment. I’m no Benz fan, but even I will admit that it is *seriously* boss.

      The current A8 has been my least favorite exterior design of Audi’s for a while now. The interior is a fantastic place to spend some time but the exterior lost some of the elegance of the D3 model and the front end just doesn’t seem to gel properly at all. Hopefully Audi remedies some of the exterior design elements with the update next month.

  • avatar

    A 7 is imposing; an S-Class looks like no other MB sedan on the road.

    The A8 looks like a bloated A6 that’s been left out in the sun too long.

  • avatar
    Rental Man

    Pointed the A8 out to wife. By chance (north Jersey) it was immediately followed by an XJ. She said had trouble getting over how sad the Audi looked in comparison. I agree. The A7 looks more the Audi flagship. Should not be the case.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      And to that effect, I think the A7 may be cannibalizing the A8’s sales as well. It certainly is more-distinctive…

      • 0 avatar

        I think the A7 is stealing a few A8 sales as I agree it is much more distinctive, but I would not be surprised if the rumored A9 is designed to slot in as the more distinctive A8 to leave the A7 as the more distinctive A6.

        If you’re going to cannibalize sales, might as well be your own.

  • avatar

    The current A8 looks too much like the last car, both outside and in. The interior is fine, but IMO nothing spectacular. Audi’s days of dominating Munich and Stuttgart on interior design and quality are long over.

    Go back and look at the interiors of Audi’s groundbreaking cars like the ’96 B5 A4 and ’98 C5 A6. Then look at the interiors of then competing BMWs and M-Bs. Audi blew them out of the water.

    Now look at them. The B8 A4 is no nicer inside than a C-class or BMW 3. I would argue that it’s worse with its black plastic center stack and cheap switchgear. The new A6 interior is worse than the 5 series, and no better than the 2014 update E-class, arguably worse. The 7 series basically has the same interior as the 5 series, but the new S-class is far better than the A8.

    The largest contrast though is with the A7, CLS, and BMW 6 GC. The BMW and Benz both have gorgeous interiors that are bespoke to those models. The A7 is 99% the same as the A6.

    The AWD thing doesn’t really apply anymore, if you want AWD on your Mercedes or BMW they are happy to sell that to you. So the reason to buy an Audi has to come down to style and design. They’ve been failing on the style front, every new car that comes out is just a subtle tweak on the last one with slightly different headlights. Try to tell the new A3 apart from the old A3.

    They’ve also been failing in design. The lower center console in the A6 around the cup holder is dirt cheap, rock hard plastic, and of course the A7 has the same thing. You will not find that in the 5 series and E class, and certainly not in the CLS and 6 series.

    Look at Audi’s door panels going all the way up to the S7. They are all bland, featureless expanses without an ounce of real design, and everything you touch is either hard plastic or vinyl.

    Audi needs to get their act together, and so does Quattro. The reviews of every new RS car have been one disappointment after the next.

    • 0 avatar

      Dave –

      I’ll agree that the new A8 exterior design leaves a lot to be desired, but the other interior design points are pretty subjective. I’ll take an A6 over an E-Class any day, especially for the interior, but again this all comes down to personal preference. I agree that the B8 A4 is in need of an overhaul; The B9 next year should take care of that.

      The reality is that Audi’s sales momentum proves they’re doing *something* right. I think that part of it is that they’ve been putting out very competitive product, part is that they’ve finally got the messaging right, and part of it may just have to do with shifting tastes and demographics: lots of people who have been BMW or Merc drivers for years who are now trying something different.

      To your point, I think that a lot of the management shakeups at Audi and Volkswagen over the past year, especially the firing of Durheimer from Audi two months ago, is a recognition that things need to be kicked up a notch to stay competitive.

  • avatar

    It must be difficult/impossible to be a luxury car designer.
    Some markets wants the new model to look almost like the old model, and other markets wants it to look completely new. Some markets wants brand recognition in all models, and other markets wants the top end car to look nothing like lesser models. Some wants the new model to look imposing while other wants beautiful lines etc.
    The big 3 has solved some of the problems by having more luxury models like the addition of 4 door coupes.

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