Engineers are believed to have been tasked with maintaining the sporty remit of the current-generation models while giving them a broader range of dynamic attributes. This includes developing more involving steering feel and more pliant ride settings, where appropriate.
Audi’s focus for mainstream models has long been a ride and handling balance that gives drivers the feeling that they are in a sporty car, but not one that is in any way tiring to drive, particularly on a high-speed motorway run. Current Audis ride significantly better than their forebears but are still frequently criticised for having uninvolving dynamics.
In the case of the next-generation A8, for instance, the goal is to rival the comfort of the best-selling Mercedes-Benz S-Class while enhancing the car’s dynamic capabilities.
A focus on long-distance comfort is set to remain, especially on larger mainstream models. However, advances in the calibration of electrically assisted power steering systems — made necessary by emissions regulations — and new suspension technology are set to provide a change in ride and handling characteristics.
In particular, faster S and RS models are also likely to benefit from the improved technology, with the ride and handling benefits said to be transferrable to all models.
The advances will coincide with an all-new look for Audi under the leadership of design chief Marc Lichte, who joined the firm in 2014 from elsewhere in the VW Group after being asked to pitch his idea for how the next-generation A8 should look. The Audi Prologue concept gives the best indication of the sharper new design direction he is expected to unveil on the A8 next year.