2011 Audi A8 2011 Audi A8 front 3/4 view 2011 Audi A8 rear 3/4 view 2011 Audi A8 side view 2011 Audi A8 front view 2011 Audi A8 front view (with bird) 2011 Audi A8 rear view 2011 Audi A8 grille badge 2011 Audi A8 grille 2011 Audi A8 headlight 2011 Audi A8 lower front bumper 2011 Audi A8 wheel 2011 Audi A8 wheel 2011 Audi A8 sideview mirror 2011 Audi A8 door handle 2011 Audi A8 taillight 2011 Audi A8 taillight 2011 Audi A8 badge 2011 Audi A8 badge 2011 Audi A8 exhaust pipes 2011 Audi A8 trunk 2011 Audi A8 engine 2011 Audi A8 engine 2011 Audi A8 engine detail 2011 Audi A8 engine detail 2011 Audi A8 interior 2011 Audi A8 interior 2011 Audi A8 gauges 2011 Audi A8 tachometer 2011 Audi A8 speedometer 2011 Audi A8 information display 2011 Audi A8 clock 2011 Audi A8 navigation display 2011 Audi A8 navigation display closed 2011 Audi A8 center console 2011 Audi A8 climate controls 2011 Audi A8 seat warmer/cooler 2011 Audi A8 gearshift 2011 Audi A8 touchpad 2011 Audi A8 touchpad 2011 Audi A8 push-button start 2011 Audi A8 dashboard 2011 Audi A8 speaker 2011 Audi A8 front seat 2011 Audi A8 front seat leather 2011 Audi A8 center armrest 2011 Audi A8 door controls 2011 Audi A8 door detail 2011 Audi A8 door detail 2011 Audi A8 door detail 2011 Audi A8 door detail 2011 Audi A8 door detail 2011 Audi A8 seat detail 2011 Audi A8 turn signal stalk 2011 Audi A8 back seat 2011 Audi A8 back seat center armrest 2011 Audi A8 seat massage controls 2011 Audi A8 interior illumination 2011 Audi A8 interior illumination
Just because the current Audi A8 is about to get a little update for 2013 doesn't mean we can't talk about the German automaker's next generation flagship sedan.

According to a new report from Car and Driver, the next A8 is targeted for 2016 or 2017. Part of the next design will most likely employ some form of "aluminum hybrid" structure, meaning a combination of aluminum and high strength steel as well as other composite materials (the current A8 rides on an aluminum spaceframe). Porsche is working on new modular architecture to underpin the next Panamera as well as the next round of Bentley sedans, and according to the report, the A8's successor is likely to be based on this architecture as well.

Though a plan for the next A8 has not been finalized, there is good reason to believe this transition to the Porsche-developed platform may take place. Wolfgang Durheimer, the new head of research and development at Audi, came over from his previous post as Porsche's R&D chief, so he is already familiar with the Porsche architecture. This shift would mean that the next A8 would be based on a rear-wheel drive platform. Even though all U.S. A8 models rout power through Quattro all-wheel drive, front-wheel drive models are available elsewhere in the world, as the chassis is FWD-based. C/D notes that this move would make the A8 the first RWD-based Audi passenger car since WWII.

Even if Audi did market a rear-drive A8, we suspect the lion's share of them would still rely on Quattro, particularly here in North America.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 29 Comments
      Andrew Ramos
      • 2 Years Ago
      The front wheel drive is more awd based than the awd A8 is fwd based. This misinformation is misinformative.
        bhtooefr
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Andrew Ramos
        Except the drivetrain layout of the A8 was designed as a FWD layout in 1938, for the DKW F9. AWD wasn't added until the DKW Munga jeep-like vehicle in 1956, and then after 1968, it was nearly forgotten about. That is, until VW stole an Audi driveline and converted it to AWD again for the Iltis in 1978, and then Audi stole an Iltis driveline and stuck it in an 80, which served as the prototype for quattro.
      Alex Rodriguez MacFa
      • 2 Years Ago
      FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here in sunny Southern Cali we don't need AWD and FWD sucks!!! I hope Audi does the same to the rest of the line up.
        joejoe509
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Alex Rodriguez MacFa
        AWD is great for your sunny Southern Cali twisty roads, yes?
      EJD1984
      • 2 Years Ago
      It seems like that across the industry there is a rebirth of rwd sedans. :-D
      bouljf
      • 2 Years Ago
      It will be interesting to see what will happen with pricing. Currently the A8 Quattro matches the price of its RWD competitors from BMW and Mercedes; if Audi isn’t forced to make the base car AWD anymore will they increase their base price to match the other Germans?
      jdeli01
      • 2 Years Ago
      FWD bases have transverse mounted engines. RWD/AWD based have longitudinal mounted engines.
        ferps
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jdeli01
        All Audis except the Golf-based A3 and TT have longitudinal engines. It's probably more accurate to describe these as using an AWD platform that also happens to be available in FWD.
          bhtooefr
          • 2 Years Ago
          @ferps
          As I said above, it was an FWD design all along. Just one that's really, REALLY well suited to AWD.
        carguy1701
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jdeli01
        Close, but you can have a longitudinally mounted engine and FWD. Chrsyler did it with the Intrepid/Concorde/300M, so did Acura/Honda with the early Legends.
          EXP Jawa
          • 2 Years Ago
          @carguy1701
          Correct, and in these cars, the engines are north-south. They're still shifted a bit forward, but they are not transverse.
      FIDTRO
      • 2 Years Ago
      Almost all Audis from the A1 to the A8 are sold with Quattro so I don't think it would even matter.
      robespierex
      • 2 Years Ago
      While a RWD platform would provide better weight distribution, I'm trepidatious about a RWD based AWD system that would be inferior to "true" quattro AWD, and I'm even more apprehensive about platform sharing that changes the personality great cars and fuses them all into a "same car, different badging" situation i.e. GM.
        Alex Rodriguez MacFa
        • 2 Years Ago
        @robespierex
        Well, the Cayenne and Touareg share the same platform and they are completely different cars both inside and out !!
          robespierex
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Alex Rodriguez MacFa
          A8 and Panamera didn't start out life together as similar vehicles at all though. It's the melding of the two personalities that worries me. And bringing Bentley into the mix muddies it further. Probably be nice cars but... what does it say about Audi's quattro system? Are they going to abandon quattro as we know it?
          Alex Rodriguez MacFa
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Alex Rodriguez MacFa
          @robespierex Quattro is Audi's bread and butter. I don't think is going anywhere, but the reason behind this is because Audi is responding to many car critics about being FWD based cars. Audi has always been behind MB and BMW in terms of handling in 2WD form. In the US they are still a step behind MB and BMW in terms of prestige and finesse mainly because they have always been seen as fancier VWs. I mean, a base A6 comes with CVT tranny and FWD vs BMW 5 8 speed auto and RWD and MB's E 7 speed and RWD. The same goes for the entry level. A 328 8speed/RWD destroys the A4's CVT/FWD in every test drive anyday of the week. The only thing is that they started with the vehicle that doesn't need the RWD as much as its little brothers but It's a good move by Audi and like I said, hopefully they do the same with the rest of the lineup.
      jack118711
      • 2 Years Ago
      Om nom nom
      carguy1701
      • 2 Years Ago
      While I am all for making the regular A8 RWD (it would help them better compete with BMW), I do not think the aluminum spaceframe chassis should go away. It has been the A8s calling card for years, and i honestly think that is the future for passenger car bodies (once costs come down).
      Ak74
      • 2 Years Ago
      Audi trying very hard to be a BMW
      amade.ch
      • 2 Years Ago
      did you forget about the lamborghini estoque? ;-)
      joejoe509
      • 2 Years Ago
      At first I thought you guys were smokin' something, but this makes sense to link platforms with the rest of VW's stable. And at first I thought that loosing the aluminum frame was a bad idea, but if it's linked with Porsche I'm sure it'll be just as light and just as strong. But I do disagree with one small point. I think that a RWD Audi A8 could be a great option and a big seller for North America. There's a big difference between marketing a FWD Audi A8 in the US and a RWD A8 in the US. Large RWD sedans are becoming more commonplace. It just makes sense. For that matter, a RWD option for the next gen R8 could also be a good thing. Particularly if it's based off the next gen Gallardo. Do you think they would ever move the R8 to the Porsche Carrera platform? Sounds weird but it's possible.
        bhtooefr
        • 2 Years Ago
        @joejoe509
        The idea is that all luxury sedans, mid-engine cars, and rear-engine cars will move to one set of platforms, the MSB family. So, A8, Panamera, and Bentleys on MSB-F (front-engine RWD or AWD), Boxster/Cayman, 918 successor, R8 successor, Gallardo successor, Aventador successor, and maybe Veyron successor on MSB-M (mid-engine RWD or AWD), and 911 on MSB-R (rear-engine RWD or AWD).
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