DESPITE THE EXPECTED absence of the 2011 Audi A8 at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show, Audi recently released a cloaked teaser image of its next-generation saloon.
Today, a series of spy photos have landed, revealing a test car bearing little in the way of the usual thick cladding, but covered end-to-end in BMW-like psychedelic camouflage.
Until now, all of the test mules spotted on the roads of Europe have been disguised under the panels of the current generation D3 A8, although with widened flares and sitting on a stretched wheelbase.
These new images offer the first look at the production A8's proportions, if not the finer details.
"The first generation was very dogmatic and product-design-like. With the second generation, the theme was 'elegance'?softer, flowing lines," Audi's Chief Designer Stefan Sielaff said of the next generation A8.
The upcoming third generation will be stronger, sharper, and more precise."
Sielaff said that the A8 will be "the first of a new styling language at Audi," and this is most evident in the dramatic new headlight design.
The aluminium spaceframe body technology of the current A8 will carry over to the new model, which is expected to save some 150kg compared to a steel body and leading to a final kerb weight of between 1650-1900kg.
Power is expected to come from a number of engine options, including a 186kW 3.0 V6 TDI, a 216kW 3.0 litre V6 FSI, a 253 4.2 litre V8 TDI, a 277kW 4.2 litre V8 FSI, and 5.0 litre 462kW V10 FSI for the range-topping S8 model.
Little is known about the finer details of the A8's styling, although the earlier rendering below puts some visuals to the speculation that has followed the car since its announcement. The new preview image perhpas adds some credence to the concept below.
A single-frame grille is expected, with the trademark daytime running lights running along the re-styled headlights. A coupe-like profile is also expected, inspired by the recently revealed A5 Sportback.