From the first lozenge-shaped A8 that hit American shores in 1997, Audi's flagship sedan has slowly been asserting itself more and more. The current A8 W12 is almost always given credit for its beautiful-yet-subtle design and a glorious interior. American buyers, however, haven't thrown money at it like they do the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S Class. Audi is out to change that with the 2011 A8.

Among the changes, Audi is trumpeting improvements to the car's handling, the area in which it has traditionally lost ground to its European luxo-sedan brethren. The rear-biased quattro system will also be enhanced with Audi's "sport differential" torque-vectoring system, and if other markets clamors for it, Audi will offer the front-drive A8 outside of Europe. Inside, expect a raft of changes to the interior and a "more innovative" MMI system.

As before, the A8 will come in regular and long wheelbase versions, and provide a wide range of engines for world markets, from a 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel through to the S8's V10. The transmission will be the same 8-speed ZF unit used by the 2009 BMW 7 Series.

All of it will be wrapped in sheetmetal that Audi says will be "stronger, shaper, more precise," a design that will make efforts to highlight the car's aluminum build technology. Said head designer Stefan Sielaff, the car will present "a strong three-dimensional theme," and be "the first of a new styling language at Audi." We can't wait to see it. Thanks for the tip, Other Man!

[Source: Car and Driver]