RAC Cars News


Dynamic overhaul for next-gen Audi models

By raccars Published

Audi A8

The 2017 Audi A8 will be the first model to benefit from better ride and handling capabilities.

Audi is promising a suppler ride and a better steering feel for models of the future, beginning with the forthcoming 2017 A8.

A redefinition for new-generation Audis

Next year’s new flagship Audi A8 will be the first in a series of new-generation cars which will have their handling and ride characteristics redefined. It is believed that Audi engineers have been given the job of boosting the dynamic attributes of future models, whilst retaining the sporty feel of the current models.

The plans for a wider range of attributes includes developing suppler ride settings and steering to make the driver feel more involved. Audis have been criticised in the past for dynamics that don't always fully engage the driver. This is despite the manufacturer’s focus on achieving a balance in terms of ride and handling which allows drivers to feel in control of a sporty vehicle without being required to make too much effort, especially during higher-speed motorway driving.

Plans for the new Audi A8

The 2017 A8 aims to compete with the comfort levels found in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class whilst boosting the dynamic capabilities of the car. There will still be a commitment to offering a comfortable ride, particularly in relation to the larger, mainstream models, but characteristics of the ride and handling will change as a result of new suspension technology and improvements to the power steering.

The improved technology is likely to feature most heavily in the faster RS and S models, although Audi says that the benefits in terms of ride and handling can be applied to all models. A more compliant ride is also on the cards for the A1 and A3 as feedback reveals that customers believe comfort is more important than a sporty feel.

New look and new feel

The technological advancements coincide with Audi’s new look which followed head of design Marc Lichte taking the helm. Lichte joined Audi in 2014 after an initiative within the VW Group in which he was asked to come up with an idea as to how the new A8 should look. A new Audi Prologue concept release in 2014 offered an insight into a sharper design direction being taken by the company, something which should be evident when the A8 is revealed next year.

The Prologue concept and the future

The Audi leadership previously confirmed that the concept offered an insight into the appearance of future iterations of the A6, A7, and A8 models. It also previewed the flagship Audi A9 coupe, a competitor to cars such as the Mercedes S-Class Coupe, according to Audi sources back in 2014.

The concept hinted at chassis developments, power train technology, advanced interior features and exterior styling which are no doubt set to revolutionise future generations of Audis. Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi’s head of technology, said at the time that the launch of the new A8 would herald a new era for the manufacturer and that this would be designed side-by-side with the A6 and A7. The designs of all three were finalised before the Prologue was unveiled.

Lichte revealed that each element of the Prologue would be incorporated in production cars of the future and this will be particularly evident in the interior and face of the A8. Hackenberg said that Lichte has been tasked with regenerating Audi design and was ambitious and capable enough to achieve this aim. Lichte, meanwhile, has already predicted that the A7 will be more extreme than even the Prologue concept.

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