The Audi A8 shown at the NAIAS in Detroit was only one of only three production debuts at the show, but the A8 actually made its first public appearance at an exclusive event in Miami late last year. Seeing the car next to its Audi brand siblings on the show stand it is immediately apparent that the A8 could only come from the Ignolsadt based automaker.
The exterior design, developed by Torsten Wenzel, is conservative and has been created to ensure the model wouldn't age too quickly or alienate its intended target demographic. Its LED headlamps and trapezoidal grille combine to give the A8 a strong DRG while its low slung roofline and static shoulderline emphasize the horizontal aspects of the design, making the vehicle appear very long and sleek. Measuring 5137mm in length, 1949mm in width and 1460mm in height, the new luxury sedan significantly exceeds in length and width of its predecessor but is 16mm lower. The sculptured convex and concave surfacing of the aluminum body panels adds some drama to the profile, underscored by a dynamic lightcatcher in the lower half of the doors, but this appears to be the only forward aspect of the design. At the rear, the taillamp mask shape is in keeping with other models in the range.
Speaking to designers at the show, general opinion was split between those who felt the evolutionary design was classic and elegant to those who believed it was simply not progressive enough.
As we've come to expect from Audi, the interior design is a stunning example of refined elegance blended with high levels of technological innovation. Based on a 'wraparound' theme, the cabin is encircled by a circumferential curve which integrates a low tiered IP that is separated by contrasting materials and textures. A prominent 8-inch wide screen that pops out in the center displays information ranging from the vehicles nav and audio systems to the operation of its multifunction seats and can be operated via a touch screen pad with handwriting recognition. The driver-focused environment ensures that all the controls are within easy reach while details such as stubby gear selector set in the black lacquered center console and the brushed aluminum-clad speaker grilles add a technical feel to the interior.