Is The New Audi A8 That Much Of An Improvement Over The Old One?

Audi‘s all-new A8 is without a doubt one of the most important debuts of the year, packed full of tech features, some meant to keep you safe, others comfortable and entertained.

However, this here is a visual comparison, which means that regardless of how smart the new car is, we’ll be focusing mostly on its design, both inside and out, and how well it stacks up against the previous-generation model, which some say has aged rather nicely.

You don’t need to stare at the new A8 for too long in order to see that its design is heavily inspired by the Prologue Concept. It’s got sleeker lines, thinner headlights and a much wider grille out front.

At the rear, everything has been completely overhauled, with twin LED taillights united by a light strip stretching from one side of the car to the other. The sleek roof line is also quite evident from this angle, as it flows down more elegantly than on the older model.

Speaking of which, the last time we got excited over the third-generation A8 was back in 2013 when the facelift came out. Aesthetically, this mostly meant redesigned bumpers, new glare-free adaptive Matrix LED headlights and flatter rear LED taillights, joined together by a continuous chrome strip.

Bigger changes were made to the interior, especially tech-wise where the old A8 got an updated MMI system with a more capable Night Vision Assistant, head-up display, standard electromechanical power steering, Active Lane Assist, Park Assist with 360-degree display, plus Active noise cancellation with some additional noise damping. As for the dashboard, changes included new seat coverings, inlays and colors, plus a wide array of optional extras such as ventilated front seats with massage function, leather-covered center console for the long wheelbase model and a relaxation seat with power footrest.

Of course, if you want to relax, the all-new A8 has the older car beat by a mile thanks to innovative features like the foot massage function, fully active suspension, heated central armrest and naturally, the level 3 autonomous driving capabilities, which put the A8 at the forefront of its segment in terms of technology. As for the dashboard design on the new model, Audi got rid of the MMI rotary control and pretty much all physical buttons, especially from the center console area. Overall, the design isn’t as simplistic as it was in the Prologue Concept, but it’s still quite similar to what we saw inside the E-Tron, marking a huge step forward, especially with haptic and audio feedback for the touchscreen commands.

So there you have it. Out with the old and in with the new – and given the segment as well as the rate at which new technology is implemented in the automotive industry, we can expect bigger and better things from the new product. However, if you set aside all the differences in on-board tech or performance, you’re left with two very comparable designs, so we’re quite curious to know which way you’re leaning when it comes to their styling.


  • roy

    wow now this definitely looks like a big improvement

  • Obsequious Lickspittle

    Is The New Audi [A8] That Much Of An Improvement Over The Old One?
    I’d say you’re about 10 years too late in asking that question.

  • pcurve

    Quality in the old A8 interior may have been good, but design was dull and not attractive, just like all previous gen Audi interiors. The new Audi interiors are much more striking looking to me.

  • dumblikeyou2

    “…..without a doubt one of the most important debuts of the year” Nope.

    • mccarluvr123

      When you consider that this car hails all sorts of firsts that will eventually trickle down and influence an entire brand’s model line, I’d say it’s pretty important.

  • BobV12

    Goddamnit they HAD to make the tail light full length as PORSCHE does already goddamnit VAG brands get on my nerves

    • PK

      the bugatti chiron, lamborghini centenario, porsche panamera and now the new audi a8. the rear full length taillight is becoming a trend now in automobile. thanks to the volkswagen group.

      • Shane

        Dodge has it on a their cars/SUVs as well. May not be VAG but they have the Charger, Durango, and Dart. The entire Lincoln brand has carries them now too.

    • PK

      and soon the bentley will join in the frame.

    • 1990 Honda NSX anyone?

  • Guest

    New grill look like Green Street Hooligans smile, but otherwise thats a definetly new model.

  • Jack Daniels

    Ergonomics probably sucks on new a8, try to change temperature or anything without taking your eyes off the road… not intuitive.

    • On that we agree. I hate sysems that ask you to take your eyes more than the time it would take just to turn a knob. And this touch screen is low, so your eyes won’t see anything coming in front of your car while doing anything. Even looking at the GPS car will be more dangerous than using your Iphone with waze.

  • Dustin

    Are the new headlights really thinner though, or is that just an illusion…

  • Honda NSX-R

    I like the outgoing A8 more honestly, even after seeing this comparison.

    • Stigasawuswrecks

      I prefer the new exterior but the older exterior is much better. Metal buttons and knobs to me are more luxurious than a touch screen.

      • Honda NSX-R

        Yeah I like the old Audi A8 interior more because of less touch screens as well.

      • Mike Sinyaboot

        I actually really like both the exterior & interior of the new design. Audi, BMW, & Merc have all been playing it safe with their design evolutions. Their flagships are all attractive but rather unassuming. I would assume they have all heavily researched their target consumer and concluded that the customer wants a clean design with technology being the biggest requirement.

        I agree about the touch screen. It is far too distracting, especially since the screen is no longer at eyeline on the dash. Even with clicking noises and haptic feedback, you have no choice but to look down. BMW realized this and kept the control dial while making the new displays touchscreen. There was just an article about Merc updating the new E-class. It will allow you to control most functions via voice. If it works as good or better than amazon Alexa, that is a fantastic feature. I hope the A8 has a similar feature although nothing I have read has meantioned it. I would hope that the new virtual cockpit allows you to control most functions.

  • Jay

    Like an iPhone 6 to an iPhone 7.. or a galaxy S6 edge to the current S8.. noticeable differences but still very much the same.

  • kachuks

    Modern gear selectors are too small. I need mine to be the size of that sub sandwich I ordered last week.

    Especially since they are no longer mechanical like they used to be.

  • LJ

    It’s amazing how dated the previous model looks now, in comparison.


  • Kagan

    Improvement? If you add timeline to the equation it is backwards!

  • Kagan Oztrak

    Why are there two pictures of a 2016 Audi a8?

  • Six Thousand Times

    The new face is better and the interior is an improvement. Otherwise, I’d believe you if you said it’s a facelift.

  • TheBelltower

    The changes to the new A8 were predictable, and the car they delivered is very ordinary and unspectacular. I don’t give a damn about a foot massager in the back seat. Chinese buyers may care about that sort of nonsense. To me it’s a gimmick that’s “nice to have” if it’s already on a car that’s on the lot. But it’s certainly not a reason to buy the car.

  • Ermal Morina

    I’m going to point this out again,look at the side profile,identical,absolutely identical.This is why I’m not feeling the new A8 at all,the design language overall looks quite old already,and the side profile is the most stupid decision the designer has made on this car,looks the same as the old model or an 2000 A6 or A8 model.This is unacceptable

  • gibgibgib

    the current one has always looked a bit frumpy in photos, however the S8 looks incredible in real life. it’s funny when flicking back and forth between the photos how similar they actually are, just swapping out the buttons for touch screens. still too much front overhang.

    • sjinsjca

      “Still too much front overhang” +1000

      Premium cars should not have pendulous front ends that arrive seconds before the rest. Save that for supermodels.

  • nunomaiaGMR

    The exterior looks much like an A4 in some angles. And the A4 is a sales failure. Still it is a good looking car. It’s inside where Audi gets far behind Mercedes and BMW. All those metallic buttons and knobs in the s-class, with positive clicking and perfect damping cost a lot of money. And at this level of luxury Audi is simpy behind that level of tactile experience. Hence all of the screens. Cheaper and look good in photographs. Ergonomy suffers but the photo perceived “quality” has always been Audi’s priority.

  • Big Black Duck

    The new interior looks really good….only thing i would bring over from the old A8 would be headlights..

  • dsa42

    Make a compare of the new Aldi A8 with the Lincoln Continental

  • Shane

    The new interior looks great but I don’t even bat an eye at these cars in traffic. Audi has a very boring exterior and I am not digging the new front “grill” compared to the last one. The more rounded shape suits this style of car while the new grill is a bit much for it. New one instantly makes me think of Aston/Ford fronts.

  • ErnieB

    Overall i like the new interior.. lets face it knobs are on their way out. .. it looks futuristic. The exterior is meh.. but i am sure itll look great in person.. its more of an evolution than a revolution.. oh and That new steering wheel is odd looking..

  • 31/12/2999

    I think Mercedes Benz S Class is the king of this segment.

  • Stemider

    it’s an improvement but for sure not new design language – Prologue was great, but here we’ve got the same old and to be honest – boring -front – I don’t like this single frame at all – and some details on the side and rear, but mostly there are to many lines in this car – look how cleaner was the Prologue concept. Here they leave the old side line and add 3 additional lines from Prologue, also the rear looks almost overdesigned with these horisontal lines.

    • Bash

      Although the new one is more fresh and has more tech and its clear improvement over the old/current model, but i still think the older one is more kinda mature.. !!

  • S3XY

    Large bland slow generic gas guzzling sedan. It’s not electric so I don’t see any improvement whatsoever.

  • f1300

    Did you notice the steering wheel? I never thought that a steering wheel could influence my verdict over a car, but, darn, that thing is pure ugliness!

  • Miknik

    To me, the old interior looked less gadget laden, and more luxurious. The tactile quality of a button milled from aluminum will always beat a touchscreen, especially when considering in use it is always loaded with finger prints and every on screen graphics look seriously dated after a few years, given the fast improvements in that area…

    • donald seymour

      Touch screens everywhere are just gimmicks.

  • Al Zheimer

    Remind me again…. which one is the NEW one…??

  • FoxJ30

    Interior looks like a decent evolution, but if you told me the exterior was a mid-cycle refresh, I’d believe it.

  • Is The New Audi A8 Any Different To The Old One?

  • bigger is always better.