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Audi A8 (2010): the new spy photos

By Tim Pollard and Georg Kacher

Spy shots

13 October 2009 12:12

Not long now until we see the new, third-generation Audi A8. Our spies have scooped the new 2010 model testing at the Nurburgring ahead of its unveiling later this autumn, but we’ve assembled the full story here and now.

Codenamed AU641, the new A8 sticks with its tried and tested aluminium architecture which is said to save 150kg over a steel assembly – trimming the total kerbweight down to around 1650kg on base models. The A8 is built upon the VW Group’s new MLB modular chassis, drivetrain and suspension – providing a longer wheelbase and more space efficient package.

All models pack Quattro drivetrain and an eight-speed automatic gearbox, but technical innovations include Audi’s Sport Differential.

What will the new 2010 Audi A8 look like?

These spy photographs reveal most of the A8’s lines, once you strip away the retina-befuddling BMW-esque swirly whirly disguise.

Those who’ve seen the finished A8 say the new look is more modern and smoother, but the longer arc-shaped roofline only makes it even more like a bigger A6. It will again be offered in two bodystyles: a more basic standard car and a long-wheelbase A8 with more ornamentation. LED head- and taillights are now standard and S-Line bling-spec cars can be had with 21-inch alloys.

So the new Audi A8 will be a comfy limo again?

You bet. There are new lounge rear seats for pampering executive arses and the MMI system is further refined, according to our sources in Ingolstadt, with a separate controller for radio/TV tuner/MP3 player and more programmable soft keys.

Take note of the hardware at play here. The A8 architecture is destined for a wider variety of top-end VW products this time round, with the next-generation Bentley Continental family, the Mk2 VW Phaeton and – if approved – the Lamborghini Estoque.

The A8 packs 40/60 split four-wheel drive, air suspension and Drive Select software which will tailor the damping, throttle response and gearbox calibration to suit.

Engines on the new A8 – once the smaller engines have been rolled out – will include:

• 3.0 TFSI, 290bhp
• 4.2 FSI, 372bhp
• 4.0 TFSI, 420bhp
• 5.0-litre V10, 620bhp for 2011 S8

• 3.0 TDI, 250bhp
• 4.2 TDI, 340bhp