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2011 Audi A8 Sedan Leads Audi's Race to the Top - VIDEO ENHANCED

2011 Audi A8 (select to view enlarged photo)
2011 Audi A8

SEE ALSO: Audi Buyers Guide


Special to The Auto Channel
By Marty Bernstein
AIADA Contributing Editor

Audi is on a mission: to be the number one selling luxury car brand in the world. To meet that ambitious goal, the German automaker is pulling out all the stops and aiming the latest incarnation of its flagship A8 sedan directly at BMW's 7-Series and Mercedes Benz's S-Class sedans.

During a recent preview, journalists received a special tour of the A8. The display featured cutaway models, videos, and interactive modules. Following is a review of the A8's technological innovations, features, creature comforts, and materials.

The Foundation
Audi first pioneered the all-aluminum space frame chassis in the second generation A8 and has significantly improved it in the newest generation. A 25 percent increase in torsional rigidity and new welding techniques have resulted in improved fuel consumption and better handling. The new chassis weighs 40 percent less than a comparable steel structure while providing special "crumple zones" for added safety in case of collision.

Exterior Design
20101201_A8LW100039mid From every angle, the A8 exudes contemporary, sophisticated style and elegance, coupled with an aggressive bent. The overall result is a strong visual statement of sporty luxury. Two models will be sold: one with a 117.8-inch wheelbase, and one with a 121-inch wheelbase, which features a panoramic roof that is expected to be popular in U.S. showrooms.

Other exterior highlights include the front grille, featuring eight horizontal chrome bars on a black background and the iconic ring logo design. The logo light strip now features the industry's first optional full-LED front headlamps, including cornering lights and turn signals.

Click PLAY to watch the Audi A8 promo video

Under the Hood and On the Road
The U.S. version A8 will include Audi's 4.2 liter V8 engine with direct fuel injection, which produces 372 horsepower and 328 lbs of torque that can move the car from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. A 12-cylinder engine will be available in spring of 2011.

All wheel drive is standard with Quattro, Audi's name for its rear-biased torque. There is an optional sports differential. The A8 will also include the automaker's Drive Assistance Systems and Audi Pre-Sense.

20101201_A8Interior Audi interiors possess a style, elegance, and panache that are an industry benchmark. The new 2011 A8 again raises the bar for spaciousness, aesthetic appeal, and fit and finish, accompanied by amazing technological innovations.

The A8 successfully meshes a variety of interior materials, including leather, aluminum, and wood, to create an atmosphere of quality and craftsmanship. Heated and air conditioned leather seats can be adjusted to one of 18 positions. Drivers can opt for white, ivory, or red interior lighting.

In addition to the luxurious interior, Audi has added its state-of-the-art Multi Media Interface (MMI) to the center console. Ergonomically favorable to the driver, the touch panel recognizes handwriting, allowing the user to easily enter destinations. The MMI is accompanied by a specially-designed Bang and Olufsen audio system.

The industry can expect the A8 to play a big role in the race to be top luxury automaker. Stay tuned as the sedan hits U.S. showrooms.