Plutocrats take heed! Ingolstadt readies its next-gen flagship, and you're going to want one.
Audi is charging ahead with its third-generation A8, set to be unveiled at the Frankfurt auto show in the fall of 2009. Once released, it will battle a slightly face-lifted Mercedes-Benz S-class, expected to be unveiled next spring, and BMW's all-new 2009 7-series. But unlike the rather conservative 7-series, which backed away from the audacious styling of its predecessor, the next Audi A8 will show a new look and carry the brand forward stylistically.
Audi's chief designer Stefan Sielaff explains: "The first generation was very dogmatic and product-design-like. With the second generation, the theme was 'elegance'—softer, flowing lines. The upcoming third generation will be stronger, sharper, and more precise."
Highlighting the Technology Within
While the design of the current, second-generation car is pleasing to our eyes, you could argue that it doesn't properly convey the advanced chassis technology under the skin—the A8's all-aluminum structure is lighter and stronger than those of its steel-intensive competition. The next A8 continues to use an aluminum space frame and aluminum exterior panels, all of which bring weight down compared to a conventional steel design. Sielaff says that the next-gen Audi A8's styling will play up that distinction. "It will highlight the aluminum aspect, and it will have a strong three-dimensional theme. In that respect, the next A8 will be the first of a new styling language at Audi. We are entering a new phase with a clear top-down strategy."
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