Audi A8 and allroad shooting brake Debut Details:

  • allroad shooting brake Show Car and redesigned A8/S8 top Audi unveilings at 2014 Detroit Auto Show
  • allroad shooting brake combines for the first time Audi's "allroad" and "e-tron" philosophies
  • Upgrades to the A8/S8 touch the luxury sedan's engine, chassis, exterior, interior and convenience features
  • 2015 A8/S8 hits American dealerships in the summer of 2014

Way back in early December of last year, Audi teased a compact crossover concept that was headed to the 2014 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), revealing very little except sketches about the show car exercise. Well, NAIAS is here, and so is the concept, which is being called the allroad shooting brake Show Car, combining for the first time Audi's "allroad" off-road ability and "e-tron" electric/hybrid vehicle form languages.

As Audi has already alluded to, the allroad shooting brake is meant to be both fun and smart. The all-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid runs on three different drive units for a combined output of 408 horsepower and 479 ft-lb of torque; these include a 292hp turbo two-liter inline-4 and a couple of electric motors juiced by a lithium-ion battery. Drive select management offers three driving modes: EV mode that prioritizes all-electric driving; Hybrid mode that balances the load across the motors for max efficiency; and Sport mode, where the car's full system power is available.

On the chassis, an electro-mechanical steering system works together with a MacPherson front suspension and a four-link rear suspension. The crossover can go off road thanks to its high ground clearance, compact wheelbase, short overhangs and electric quattro drive. Size 255/40 tires are mounted to its 19-inch wheels.

From the outside, the allroad shooting brake is unmistakably Audi (with that hexagonal single-frame grille and quattro logo, what else could it possibly be?) mixed with a lot of future technology - LED headlights, a material mix of aluminum and carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) for the external skin, CFRP wheels, etc. The four-passenger, driver-centric cockpit follows the Audi philosophy of lightweight design, sporty elegance and easy to use controls.

Redesigned 2015 A8 and S8 sedans were also on display at the German luxury carmaker's NAIAS booth. Changes include newly reworked LED headlamp and tail lamp designs, new trapezoidal tailpipe design, new hood, grille, bumper, and splitter, in addition to a new selection of 20-inch wheels and five new exterior colors. The S8 in particular received a host of improvements, from an updated front fascia with larger air intakes in the lower bumper and reduced use of chrome accents to a new sport exhaust with wider oval quad tailpipes, rear diffuser and side sills.

Changes to the 2015 engine offerings include more horsepower from the A8's 4.0-liter turbo V8 (from 420 to 435), as well as Cylinder On Demand technology for the top-of-the-line W12 6.3-liter mill. New driver assistance systems have also been packaged into the 2015 A8 model line, like active lane assist, secondary collision assist, night vision assist (now with animal detection), park assist, and a head-up display. Finally, the new A8 boasts a higher level of luxury, from significant acoustic measures for a quieter cabin and driving comfort, to optimized trunk packaging for improved space and usability.

No word if the allroad shooting brake Show Car is coming to a showroom anytime soon. As for the new 2015 Audi A8 and S8, those arrive in the U.S. in the summer of 2014.

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