We’ve heard (and seen) plenty surrounding the upcoming new Audi A8. So much so, in fact, that artists have rendered a potential production model based solely on spy shots. Now, Audi is giving us even more details surrounding its latest – and possibly greatest – large luxury saloon.

The new Audi A8 will use a unique space frame chassis that mixes materials like aluminium, steel, magnesium, and carbon fibre reinforced polymer. The design represents a "new stage" in multi-material construction, says Audi. Aluminium still makes up most of the construction, at 58 percent.

Thanks to this use of new materials, the A8 will be 24 percent more rigid than the outgoing model, which should improve overall handling. Unfortunately for those hoping for lightness, it will be a bit heavier – reports from Autocar suggest it will weigh in at around 282 kilograms compared to the previous model’s 231 kilograms. 

2018 Audi A8 spy photo
2018 Audi A8 spy photo

Blame the fact the new car is (even) bigger: rear seats will see a 28 millimetre increase, while rear passengers will get a 14 millimetre increase in headroom. The overall weight increase "is also due to the need to accommodate new alternative powertrains and because of the increased specification our customers want," said body engineer, Tim Hammerle.

Whatever the case, Audi’s new A8 will make its debut on July 11, 2017, in Barcelona, Spain. Power is expected to come courtesy of the same 6.0-litre W12 found in the Bentley Bentayga, with the option of a 4.0-litre biturbo V8, and as mentioned above, some form of hybrid or electric powertrain.

Following its debut in July, the A8 will head to Germany where it will take centre stage at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. The new luxury saloon should go on sale before the end of the year. No word on pricing just yet.

Source: Audi, Autocar

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Gallery: 2018 Audi A8 spy photos

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Audi is writing a new chapter in its lightweight design success story. For the next generation of the Audi A8*, an intelligent mix of four materials is being used for the first time in the weight-bearing body structure – more materials than in any of the brand’s previous production models. The luxury sedan is thus once again rightfully claiming its role as an innovation driver in automotive lightweight design: Its low weight and impressive rigidity offer greater performance, efficiency and safety.