• Dec 7, 2009
2011 Audi A8 – Click above for high-res image gallery

At last week's tony Design Miami reveal of the 2011 A8 luxury cruiser, we were able to corner Johan de Nysschen, Audi's executive vice president in North America, and ask him for some tasty tibits on the brand's upcoming products, including the A8's sexier derivative, the A7.

In addition to giving us the first official confirmation of the A7's existence, de Nysschen revealed that the four-door coupe model will slot in "a little bit below" the new A8 in terms of pricing, just as we expected. Of course, it's worth noting that the 2011 A8 faces a price bump due to substantial increases in content and technology, so when the A7 finally comes to the States, the average model is likely to sticker at around $82,000-$83,000, which de Nysschen says is about the price for a typically equipped 2010 A8 (pricing starts at $74,550 plus delivery).

Based on Audi's new longitudinal modular platform technology, the A7 will be clearly related to the A8 (and the A6 replacement that will follow it), and de Nysschen says that the 2009 Detroit Auto Show Sportback concept car serves as a "very reliable indicator" of what the production model will look like. Judging by recent spy shots from our friends at KGP, that very much appears to be the case. While parts commonality will be "substantial," de Nysschen says that the A7 will not use the full aluminum spaceframe design of the A8, although it will have aluminum elements.

As expected, the A8 will launch Stateside in both standard and long-wheelbase formats, with the latter predicted to make up the lion's share of the volume (the A8L presently accounts for about 80 percent of the model's sales).

We asked De Nysschen about how the two models will interact in the full-size luxury sedan segment, and he noted that:
"This top end segment is characterized by more conservative people, and we need to clearly take lower levels of risk with a flagship model [the A8]. But we recognize too that there is a sizable enough cluster of customers in that same segment who are ready for a more avant-garde design [the A7]. So we will essentially be positioning two cars into the same segment, which means that independently, the volume each attains is not that significant, but when you put them together, it will mean that our share of that segment will grow quite dramatically."
All-in De Nysschen thinks that the A8 will account for about 4,000 to 5,000 sales per year in the U.S., and the less costly A7 could clear 7,000-8,000 additional units.

And what of a high-performance S8 to take on Mercedes-Benz's AMG lineup, or the A5 Sportback? Click through to the jump for more details.




De Nysschen tells us "We haven't announced that yet, but I think it's pretty safe to assume that an S model is in the wings. We always have a high-performance version. And that, of course, will be in the normal wheelbase version." Will it come to America? we asked. "Yes, I think so."

When we asked about the fortunes of the A7's smaller sibling, the A5 Sportback, the Audi VP replied, "We don't yet have the customer footprint – the sheer volume in the U.S. market – to yet be able to afford the luxury of the brand as they do in Europe, where they can begin to break it down into ever smaller niches." For that reason, fans of the Four-Ring brand should not expect to see the comely A5 Sportback in American showrooms any time soon.

U.S. deliveries of the 2011 A8 are slated to begin late in the fourth quarter of 2010, and we don't expect to see the A7 in showrooms until sometime the following year.




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  • 23 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      What about the a4 allsport? or hows about make a a5 allsportback?

      one can dream...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think when it hits the road or drives past, it will look great. Lately, Audi's look better in the flesh than in 2 dimensional pictures. I believe this will be no different, I have yet to see an "ugly" Audi...
      • 5 Years Ago
      WHERE THE HELL ARE THE RS4 AND RS5 ????


      I'VE BEEN POSTING AND E-MAILING AUTOBLOG FOR MONTHS !!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Interesting pricing. Hopefully it works for audi with bmw pricing their 7 series sport back/wagon/clusterfrack $20,000 cheaper than the 7 series. I guess if they're looking to move lower volumes.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Makes sense to me. Never saw a 65 year old want a stand out ride. I'm sure the S8 will have the look that people like us on this blog look for. For all intensive purposes, this is a base model A8, which makes sense that it fails to draw the stares on the outside. I;m just glad that they didn't mount those e-Tron chromed out wheels on their. That car almost looked it was stolen and taken to South Central LA for a quick magazine shoot for DUB magazine... beautiful car, hideous wheels...
      • 5 Years Ago
      A5 >>>> A4... The A4 B8 design is boooring. The A5 Sportback is beautiful.

      The A5 coupe is on par with modern Astons... at least from the rear.
      YMMV.
        • 5 Years Ago
        wtf?

        comparing a premium brand with a uber luxury car?
        did you visit a docter lately?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nope.

        A5 is a fine car. I would definitely consider one.

        But they are not as graceful as an Aston Martin, in any way, from any angle. The aft section of an Aston is not as plain and slightly staid as the Audi is.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I agree with many of the comments that the new A8 is very boring on the outside, yet very well done on the inside. However, based on the comments by de Nysschen this appears to be in line with Audi's objectives. I do have hope though that different colors will be more flattering to the new A8. I have a feeling that white, black and dark blue will make it look more attractive.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ah, makes sense now.

      The new A8 is very conservative looking and apparently was meant to be. For those that want something more adventurous, they'll have the A7 Sportback as an option.

      Seems like a pretty smart move on Audi's part, as both customer bases are important and they have both bases covered.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Previous A8 was conservative looking. This is boring. Inflated A4.
        • 5 Years Ago
        indeed
      • 5 Years Ago
      why don't they just slap that A7 badge on an A4 and charge more money, no one will notice, them cars all look alike any way :)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Blah blah blah.... The Audi isn't a freak show, overstyled carnival ride ! It's a smooth, clean perfectly balanced automobile! Yes we still exist and no not everyone's like you. :that's right I prefer Audi's over Bmw's- I like to think for myself!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Excellent point, however A7 is like......how should I put it, it's not fish and it's not meat, who are the customers as far as the size goes? People like smaller Audi will buy A4 or A3, people like something bigger will go for A6, someone likes luxury will go for A8. I think it's a mistake to make A7, they should reserve it for something better. I do agree with you on the Audi design theme. I used to have a bimmer, I went to Audi after Chris Bangle started to design for BMW, I think I like the Audi a lot better, I get their idea of being modern and clean.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I, for one, actually kinda like the looks of the new A8. My only problem is the rear, which looks way too much like the A4's rear.
      I'm OK with not getting the A5 Sportback considering we get the A7.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Right with you, Zamafir.

        A7 may be a fine car, probably will be.

        But the price point is out of reach for someone shopping at A4/A5 price points, or even shopping for lightly used ones in a few years.

        A7 will depreciate, but not that fast.

        An A5 Sportback is point for point 98% of what I would want in a car. A 6-speed or DSG A5 Sportback 5-door Quattro would be almost perfect. Or a 3-door A5 hatchback coupe.

        If it had a Porsche flat 6 under the hood, it would be perfect, since Subaru is evidently no longer interested in competing with Audi, at a lower price, but higher value.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "customer footprint"

      yeah right... complaining that there aren't enough customers to justify selling a product to try to attract more customers.

      No, chances are, they don't want to try and federalize yet another bodystyle in the A4/5 line, thanks to the fact that it costs so much to do so.

      A4 sedan
      A5 coupe
      A5 convertible
      A4 Avant based Allroad, (but not Avant itself, evidently.)

      And a pervasive thought that cars with hatchbacks, and wagons don't sell well in the US. Mazda 6 and Subaru Legacy have also lost wagon body styles in the US, as well as Mazda 6 losing it's 5-door sedan body style as well.

      I like good wagons, and 5-door sedans, and 3 door coupes, myself, but evidently I am out of the mainstream on that, as well, because hardly any company will sell me one.

      Had Mazda offered the Mazdaspeed 6 with AWD as a 5-door and 6-speed, it might have been enough to sway me away from the Subaru... Now Audi is building one that checks all of the boxes, and not offering it here, nor is Mazda offering the overseas current 5-door lithe Mazda 6. Sad.
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