Here is the 2014 Audi A8 facelift which, despite possessing some impressive technology, looks like an offering from the early 90s. It's sharp, boxy and bland. Compared to the all new S-Class or the 7 Series, the A8 looks really boring, although the MatrixBeam LED headlights are pretty impressive.
The facelifted A8 comes from the same automaker that brought us sexy machines like the Quattro concept, the RSQ, R8, RS5 and so on.
It actually looks like a rejected design piece from Bentley, to be honest. Or perhaps Audi had to tone down its design just so the Bentleys could look more 'exclusive'.
Built around the lightweight aluminium Audi Space Frame, the A8 has been finessed by subtle resculpting of the bonnet, the single frame grille, the front bumper and the lower edge of the headlight units.
At the rear, the design of the LED taillights have been revised and the bumpers in all models - except the S8 - incorporate two rhomboid tail pipes. New chrome elements, new high gloss black window surrounds and five new colours also mark out the updated car.
Measuring 5,140mm in length, sitting 1,950mm wide and standing 1,460mm tall with a 2,990mm wheelbase - the A8 remains unchanged, while the 'stretched' model provides better rear leg room thanks to a 130mm extended wheelbase.
The A8 can be powered by one of seven petrol and TDI engines, the majority of which have been revised to improve performance and efficiency. The supercharged 3.0-litre TFSI is boosted to 305bhp, while the twin-turbo 4.0-litre TFSI V8 has 429bhp. The 3.0-litre and 4.2-litre TDI oil burners, have 254bhp and 379bhp respectively.
Paired with the renowned quattro all-wheel drive system, the 4.0-litre TFSI now throws the A8 from nought to 100km/h in a brisk 4.5 seconds.
The power units in the facelifted A8 is not all about the Frank Martin pleasing performance though. When applicable, the Audi Cylinder-On-Demand (COD) system deactivates four of its eight cylinders to give priority to fuel economy.
The most efficient diesel engine is the 3.0-litre TDI, which returns up to 20.36km/L, corresponding to 155g/km of CO2.
The luxuriously equipped Audi A8 L W12 quattro is the range topper among the A8 lineup.
The lightweight 6.3-litre power unit produces 493bhp. It boasts the best in-class combined fuel consumption of 10.2km/L, corresponding to 270g/km of CO2 emissions. The respectable efficiency rating is due in part to a newly adopted version of the COD system, which can deactivate the fuel injection and ignition for six cylinders.
Meanwhile, the 512bhp capable S8 is powered by a 4.0-litre TFSI engine that propels the sports saloon from nought to 100km/h in 4.2 seconds. Equipped with the same COD technology, the S8 is capable of returning up to 11.9km/L and 235g/km of CO2 emissions.
All A8 models are equipped with an eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission which transmits power to all four wheels via the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system in all six, eight and twelve-cylinder versions.
The new Audi A8 is expected to reach customers here next year.