At Audi’s annual general meeting in Ingolstadt, it was announced by Audi CEO, Rupert Stadler, that the next-gen Audi A8 will be presented in 2017. Better yet, we have just received spyshots of the very car, showing quite a radical design departure for the flagship sedan.
The shots show a car with a massive gaping grille, in a distinctive hexagonal shape similar to that seen on the Audi Prologue Concept. Sharp and relatively slim headlamps flank the thick single-frame fascia, making up a face that is very different than the the current model wears.
Its side profile sees a marked update too, with Audi going for a sleeker look overall. Of note are the larger rear quarter windows and a more gradual drop of the C-pillars – both contributing to a short-boot, fastback look. The rear is less surprising, with slimmer taillamps similar in shape to those on the latest A4.
The 2017 Audi A8 will be the brand’s first series-production car that’s capable of piloted driving. It will feature traffic-jam pilot, which will see the vehicle steering itself at speeds of up to 60 km/h. The A8 will allow Audi to “cross the threshold from partial to highly automated driving.” Stadler said that Audi will have fully automated driving features by 2025.
It was also revealed that the brand is currently preparing production of its first fully-electric large series automobile. The SUV will be launched in 2018 and will be produced in Brussels. The plant will also have its own battery production plant as well.
“Our model and technology initiative will ensure our growth of tomorrow. Electrification and digitisation represent an historic shift. We will play a large part in shaping this change and will thus further enhance our strong position,” Stadler said.
Meanwhile, the brand plans to launch over 20 new and updated models this year, including the Audi Q2 compact SUV. Targeted at urban customers, the Q2 will have its own SIM card and an unlimited data plan to have internet connectivity offered as standard equipment. A suite of connect services and driver assistance systems will be available on higher-range models.
Furthermore, Audi stated that it will be expanding its Q models to include the SQ7 and Q7 e-tron quattro plug-in hybrid SUV. Also, the brand stated that it will be expanding the A4 range and gradually introduce it in markets outside of Europe, including China in the second half of the year. Order-takings for the S4 sedan and Avant will start by the middle of the year.