Look-a-like: Audi A8 and…

I think it’s fair to say that the design of the latest Audi A8 has met with a less-than-enthusiastic response. While most of the styling is not in any way ill-judged or controversial, people’s reactions instead fall into a few camps: “wasted opportunity” is a common one, “yawn” is another, while many detractors level the same criticism as they have leveled at most German limousines for the past two decades: “looks too much like the mid-sized saloon blown up by 30%”. While personally I fall into the “wasted opportunity”, there is an aspect of the A8’s styling which actually bothers me, and that is the oversized, chrome-lipped grille that, to add insult to injury, reminds me a of a much-less exclusive car…

That car is the Hyundai Elantra. Yes, its grille is smaller than the Mack truck-sized item on the Audi, it is set somewhat lower and pretty much everything around it (lights, hood, bumpers) looks different to the A8. The shape and finish of the grille, however, is very similar between the two cars: both have a hexagonal shape with the side corners falling roughly at two-thirds of the grilles’ heights, with thin horizontal slats running the entire width, and the brand logo placed in the upper-center part. What tops off the similarity is the element that bothers me most on the Audi – the thick chrome “lipstick” finish that runs around the grille (though it is absent from the top of the Hyundai grille) simply looks garish to my eyes, especially when you compare it to the elegantly thin chrome surround on the Audi Prologue concept:

 

 

  1. I can see an Opel/Vauxhall Senator, 1987-93, complete with a development of Egg-Box grille.
    Compare it with the Kia Stinger. Audi should never have let Peter Schreyer leave.

    1. @Mick – I absolutely agree, in hindsight Audi really should have held onto Peter Schreyer, though the new Audi A8 also has a strong whiff of a car designed by a committee rather than by one person – too many compromises, too many callbacks to the previous (not even that pretty) versions, not enough vision…

    2. I think that is partly true but does the Senator a disservice as it was, in contrast, a sterling car even if the Omega it was based on had cleaner looks.

  2. Audi owners don’t know what a Hyundai is. That said, the A8 grille
    is a poor effort even if it was unique.
    The hard corners, the angularity make
    it look brittle. I imagine it is a design
    that was well-received by customers
    in Asia. Can Audi not manage a Euro
    market version?
    Overall, Audi have not succeeded in exceeding the standard set by the first
    A8.

  3. The new A8 dashboard is pretty nice looking and original …

    body is the same old thing, should be more daring.

    I consider great dashboards to be the 1967 imperial or 1965 oldsmobile ninety eight…
    and even the body shape of those US cars were great…

    my 2 cents…

    1. How about the Alfa Romeo 164?
      The 1965 Olds you mentioned is a fine thing yet there were a lot like it, no?
      I’m having a hard time liking much recent interior design: it’s so busy.

  4. Today’s cheap and plane Audi grille and lack of innovation of the new A8 symbolises the brand’s failure of competing with BMW, Daimler, Lexus and others. ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ resulted into Germany’s biggest automotive scandal which started at Audi. More than half of their top management were fired.

    I agree Schreyer leaving hurts the company as well, but he should be happy working for liberal brands now.

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