A luxury sedan produced by Audi since 1994.
Awards and acknowledgements include:
A Luxury Car Book 2000 Best Bet in the Intermediate category
The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Audi A8 page on 13 July 2017, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
The Audi A8 is a four-door, full-size, luxury sedan manufactured and marketed by the German automaker Audi since 1994. Succeeding the Audi V8, and now in its third generation, the A8 has been offered with both front- or permanent all-wheel drive—and in short- and long-wheelbase variants. The first two generations employed the Volkswagen Group D platform, with the current generation deriving from the MLB platform. After the original model's 1994 release, Audi released the second generation in late 2002, and the third and current iteration in late 2009.
Notable for being the first mass-market car with an aluminium chassis, all A8 models have used this construction method co-developed with Alcoa and marketed as the Audi Space Frame.
A mechanically-upgraded, high-performance version of the A8 debuted in 1996 as the Audi S8. Produced exclusively at Audi's Neckarsulm plant, unlike the donor A8 model, the S8 has been available only in short-wheelbase form and is fitted standard with Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system.
First generation (D2, Typ 4D; 1994–2002)
In 1982, Ferdinand Piëch signed an agreement with Aluminum Company of America. The objective was to design and develop a car that would be substantially lighter than any other vehicles in its class (to compensate for the fact that standard all-wheel drive was around 100 kg heavier than competitors' rear-wheel drive). In the late 1980s, it was decided that the target vehicle would be a successor to the V8 (Typ 4C) flagship introduced in 1988. By 1991, a final design by Chris Bird and Dirk van Braeckel was chosen and frozen for series production in 1992. In September 1993, the Audi Space Frame (ASF) Concept was unveiled at the 1993 Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) as a D2 Typ 4D prototype in polished aluminum. Pilot production began in December 1993 and development ended in early 1994, at a total cost of $700 million (£418.1 million).
The Audi A8 (Typ 4D) was presented in February 1994 and debuted at the 1994 Geneva Auto Show in March, with full-scale factory production commencing in June 1994, although it was not until October 1996, for the 1997 model year that it became available in North America. Unlike its predecessor, the Audi V8 model, which was built on an existing steel platform, the A8 debuted on the then-new Volkswagen Group D2 platform, an all aluminium monocoque, marketed as the "Audi Space Frame" (ASF), which helped to reduce weight and preserve structural rigidity. The saloon/sedan was offered in both the A8 (standard wheelbase), and the A8 L extended or long-wheelbase (LWB) version. The A8 L adds 5 inches (127 mm) of rear legroom. Updates to the car in 1997 included the addition of six interior airbags. The A8 was designed as a competitor to fellow German rivals Mercedes Benz S Class and the BMW 7 Series.
Second generation (D3, Typ 4E; 2002–2009)
The second-generation Audi A8 (Typ 4E) built on the Volkswagen Group D3 platform was unveiled via press release in July 2002 and introduced in November 2002 in Europe and in June 2003 (as a 2004 model) in the United States. The model was longer than the previous generation, with room for four or five large adult occupants in the cabin, depending on rear seat configuration. The D3 development program began in 1996, with the design process commencing in Ingolstadt in 1997. The whole Audi design studio based in Ingolstadt first contributed sketch proposals, from which numerous different themes emerged. Six of them were developed into full size clay models and worked up in a traditional manner adjacent to full size tape drawings. At least three one quarter scale models were produced to explore other design variations.
Third generation (D4, Typ 4H; 2010–present)
The third generation of the Audi A8 was introduced in Miami on 30 November 2009. The chassis was built on the Volkswagen D4 platform.