2018 Audi A8 Gears Up To Better Challenge BMW 7 & Mercedes S

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Though it holds its own just fine against the Jaguar XJ, Maserati Quattroporte, and Lexus LS, Audi can't sell nearly enough A8s to keep up with the BMW 7 Series – let alone the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

That could be, at least in part, because the current A8 is much older than its rival countrymen. But Ingolstadt is out to fix that with the introduction of an all-new model, and here's our best look at it yet.

Spied undergoing cold-weather testing in Sweden, the fourth-generation Audi A8 is expected to take its stylistic cues from the Prologue concept that showed us where the brand's design was heading back at the 2014 LA Auto Show. Only for a more conservative market, expect some of the concept's more eye-catching design elements to be toned down some.

Underneath the sharp new sheetmetal, the new A8 is being prepared on the same MLB Evo platform that underpins the new Q7 – as well as the Bentley Bentayga and numerous other models coming down the Volkswagen Group pipeline. That ought to result in significant weight savings – an area where the original A8 with its revolutionary aluminum construction made its mark when it first hit the scene way back in 1994.

The new platform will also make the new A8 more compatible with alternative powertrains straight out of the box. So we're told to expect a plug-in hybrid version (built around a 3.0-liter V6 instead of a smaller four) to follow not long after the debut of the conventional model. Otherwise, we can expect the new A8 to carry most (if not all) of the same engine options as the current model – including V6, V8, and W12 gasoline engines, and diesels with six, eight, and possibly even ten cylinders. Expect a new S8 performance version to pack over 600 horsepower to take on the Mercedes-AMG S63 and BMW M760i.

You can also count on the A8 to serve as a showcase for Audi's latest infotainment and safety technologies – and potentially even autonomous capabilities. Sources anticipate Audi will introduce its new flagship sedan later in the new year, with an unveiling at the Frankfurt Motor Show next September looking likely.

Photo Credits: CarPix for CarScoops

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