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2013 Audi A8 Overview
On the heels of a late-year Hybrid debut for Europe, Audi takes 2013 by storm with the beginnings of a more fuel-efficient flagship A8 for the U.S.—but disappointingly, Audi left the Hybrid over the pond. So far the company is exceptionally tight-lipped about upcoming changes to the rest of the lineup, but what we do know is Audi will add a diesel V6 and replace the 4.2-liter V8 with a 3-liter V6 good for very similar power, but with a smaller tag and an 8-speed automatic attached.
The new 3.0T gas-powered models are supercharged, rather than turbocharged as the name would suggest, and should offer pretty much the same standard and optional features as their 2012 counterparts, according to Audi. Yes, that means there is also a turbodiesel in the works. Rest assured, the L-designated long-wheelbase edition will be offered right off the bat, and it's a pretty safe bet that the behemoth A8 L 6.3 added for 2012 will continue firing on all 12 cylinders at least until the 2014 refresh.
There is one big change in store, though, and that will be Audi's first application of its fuel-saving Start/Stop technology in the States with the 2013 A8's new 3-liter lineup, turbodiesel and all. The gas-powered variant of this setup is good for 333 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque, and though there's no official word from Audi on the States-side turbodiesel, the European version puts out 254 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque (and Audi is known to increase output for this side of the pond).
Since the A8 is a scant 150 pounds heavier than other applications of the same engine—its special aluminum frame almost negating weight added for the Quattro all-wheel-drive system—the zip-to-60 time could drop below 5 seconds, but again Audi has nothing to say on that just yet. Audi hasn't mentioned if the improved performance and Start/Stop technology cancel each other out in terms of fuel efficiency, but nothing was mentioned about overall improved economy either, so that too remains a big question.
Just what Audi intends to refresh in 2014 is another one of those wondering points, given so many changes for 2013 and no complaints on its understated style whatsoever. The A8 is Audi's flagship, so no amount of speculation will do its future any justice—if Audi is going to change its game, the A8 is where it'll do it first. Expect the unexpected, especially with so much competition moving toward more "extra terrestrial" styles. Audi may stay the course of understated style given its recent flailing forays into front-end redesign, but maybe the company is ready to fire that guy and move on. Only time will tell.
by Patricia Mayo
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