Hey, If Audi Wants the New 2018 A8 to Look Like a Discontinued Dodge Dart, I'm Okay With That

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

My Dodge Dart awareness is not what it should be. I’m not fully up to speed on the Dodge Darts of yore. Despite my parents’ ownership of a Dart, the 1960-1976 period was not an era in which I was a sentient being.

As for the newer Alfa Romeo Giulietta-based Darts, I’m not fully on board with America’s rejection of the car. By the end of its second full year, nearly 200,000 Dodge Darts had been sold. Sales increased yet again in 2015. But without factory support, real demand was rather limited. Only 43,402 Darts were sold in the United States in 2016, the year Dart production came to a premature end.

Man, I loved that car. Oh, I don’t mean the way it drove, and certainly not the way it shifted. I’m not talking about interior packaging or its engine lineup or its interior quality. Whatever. Pfft. Who cares. I just genuinely liked the way it looked: the proudly Dodge front end, those completely wheel-filled arches, and especially that distinctive rear end.

I’m therefore pleased to see Audi resurrecting that look for the fourth-generation 2018 Audi A8, the brand’s flagship sedan.

Tired, tired is what I am of the internet tendency to link every new vehicle design to another. Yes, a new midsize sedan looks a bit like an existing midsize sedan. Whoopee-ding. There’s bound to be some similarities in new three-box sedans with virtually identical dimensions — what’s the big deal? Even completely unrelated humans with massively diverse gene pools sometimes produce doppelgängers. ( This is not the same person.)

But even I’m not immune to seeing comical similarities. And while you’d expect to see such similarities between, say, the silhouette of a new Nissan Titan and a Ford F-150, more surprising is the degree to which the next-generation Audi A8 cribs its rear end design from the discontinued Dodge Dart.

Over the course of the third-generation A8’s tenure, Audi revealed an increasing desire to connect the A8’s taillamps, but the company couldn’t quite pull the trigger following the 2013 refresh that brought the lights closer together. With the all-new fourth-generation A8, however, Audi has run full steam ahead with the Dart/Charger/Durango theme. Sure, it’s more Dart than Charger (which decreases the strict horizon) or Durango (which exaggerates the outer lamps). And yes, it is really just the lights, not the trunklid shape or bumper detail or license plate positioning.

Oh, but what lights, what signature, what telltale Dodge Audi style.

Regardless, if stylistic connections between flagship Audis and discontinued compact Dodges are a problem for you buyers of $80,000+ Audi A8s, well, you just didn’t love the Dodge Dart enough then, did you. You’ll have to take solace in the fact that, rear aside, the Audi A8 and Dodge Dart bear no resemblance to one another whatsoever.

[Images: Audi, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.

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  • Mattmers Mattmers on Oct 17, 2017

    Why not search 2010 Saab 9-5. Much closer to the look.

  • CincyDavid CincyDavid on Oct 19, 2017

    I see current-model VW Passat, especially the chrome strip. FWD 90s era Continental too, unfortunately. In 2013 we went car shopping...started at the Dodge store...quickly retreated to the friendly Honda dealer and got 2 2013 Civics. The Darts were simply horrid. The last MoPar product in my family was a '78 Dodge Omni my dad bought new...traded in a '69 Delta 88. The Omni fell apart within 3 years and 60,000 miles and that it for Chrysler products. I have driven a 2005ish A8L and it was sublime...W12 engine, Alcantara headliner, champagne cooler in the rear center armrest. If I ever hit it big, I'd get one in a heartbeat. In the interim, my Jetta will have to do...2 kids in college burning up money, you know.

  • MaintenanceCosts You expect everything on Amazon and eBay to be fake, but it's a shame to see fake stuff on Summit Racing. Glad they pulled it.
  • SCE to AUX 08 Rabbit (college car, 128k miles): Everything is expensive and difficult to repair. Bought it several years ago as a favor to a friend leaving the country. I outsourced the clutch ($1200), but I did all other work. Ignition switch, all calipers, pads, rotors, A/C compressor, blower fan, cooling fan, plugs and coils, belts and tensioners, 3 flat tires (nails), and on and on.19 Ioniq EV (66k miles): 12V battery, wipers, 1 set of tires, cabin air filter, new pads and rotors at 15k miles since the factory ones wore funny, 1 qt of reduction gear oil. Insurance is cheap. It costs me nearly nothing to drive it.22 Santa Fe (22k miles): Nothing yet, except oil changes. I dread having to buy tires.
  • AZFelix 2015 Sonata Limited72k when purchased, 176k miles currentlyI perform all maintenance and repairs except for alignment, tire mounting, tire patching, and glass work (tint and passenger left due to rock hit). Most parts purchased through rockauto.com.Maintenance and repairs during three years of ownership:Front rotors and all brake pads upgraded shortly after purchase.Preparing for 17th oil change (full synthetic plus filter c.$50), one PCV valve.Timing & accessory belts, belt tensioner.Coolant full flush and change.Fibrous plastic material engine under tray replaced by aftermarket solid plastic piece $110.One set of tires (c.$500 +installation) plus two replacements and a number of patches due to nails, etc. Second set coming soon.Hood struts $30.Front struts, rear shocks, plus sway bar links, front ball joints, tie rod ends, right CV axle (large rock on freeway damaged it and I took the opportunity to redo the rest of items on this list).Battery c.$260.Two sets of spark plugs @ $50/set.Three sets of cabin and engine filters.Valve cover gasket (next week).Averages out to c.$1400 per year for the past three years. Minor driver seat bolster wear, front rock chips, and assorted dents & dings but otherwise looks and drives very well.
  • 3-On-The-Tree 2014 Ford F150 Ecoboost 3.5L. By 80,000mi I had to have the rear main oil seal replaced twice. Driver side turbo leaking had to have all hoses replaced. Passenger side turbo had to be completely replaced. Engine timing chain front cover leak had to be replaced. Transmission front pump leak had to be removed and replaced. Ford renewed my faith in Extended warranty’s because luckily I had one and used it to the fullest. Sold that truck on caravan and got me a 2021 Tundra Crewmax 4x4. Not a fan of turbos and I will never own a Ford again much less cars with turbos to include newer Toyotas. And I’m a Toyota guy.
  • Duke Woolworth Weight 4800# as I recall.
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