What Is It?

The 2015 Audi A8 luxury sedan has made its official debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show on an exhibition stand that would make spaceships in blockbuster sci-fi movies look low-rent. And with this launch comes a midcycle revamp for this generation (the third). Revamps bring changes in styling: some re-sculpting around the nose and hood, plus a few tweaks at the tail.

Across the engine range, which spans from a 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel to a 6.3-liter 12-cylinder in a W formation, Audi says it has increased power output while improving fuel economy and emissions. The facts and figures for U.S.-spec models have yet to be announced, but the current 2014 Audi A8 3.0 TDI sips diesel at a rate of 24 miles per gallon city/36 mpg hwy. Audi considers diesel to be better for American buyers and has no plans to bring over its A8 hybrid.

One of the most dramatic changes is a 5-inch addition to the length of the long-wheelbase 2015 Audi A8 L, meaning greater legroom. The other notable variant is the performance-oriented S8 ("the athlete," as Audi calls it), which also reaches dealerships the same time as the rest of the A8 lineup.

How Much?

Pricing to be announced nearer the time. For a ballpark number, an entry level 2014 Audi A8 starts at $75,100.

When Can You Get It?

Fall 2014.

Add It to Your Shopping List Because...

This class of car is a hotbed for technology, with each manufacturer trying to outdo the competition. The ultimate winner is the buyer, who can enjoy assistance systems such as night vision (which distinguishes pedestrians from animals), self-parking, self-braking, intelligent cruise control, congestion assist and much more. For example, the new A8's headlights can "communicate" with the navigation system to provide the appropriate illumination. An all-LED affair, Audi proudly calls it "the best light in the world." It provides lighting without being blinding.

Other Cars to Consider

2014 BMW 7 Series -- A worthwhile candidate, but there's a sportiness to the car that almost seems at odds with the luxury ambiance of the rest of the segment.

2014 Jaguar XJ -- Like the A8, the XJ uses a lot of aluminum in its build to keep weight down without sacrificing strength. The pricing is quite competitive, relatively speaking.

2014 Lexus LS -- Having started life as a Mercedes wannabe, the LS has evolved to become much more. It's well made, serene and dependable. And many owners have found the dealership experience to be pleasurable.

2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class -- A new generation launched earlier this year. Its tech, comfort and safety features are all state of the art. The S-Class is an evergreen model.

2014 Porsche Panamera -- It's still a relative newcomer to this particular game and a less obvious choice because of its maker's sporting heritage and its hatchback styling. Also, Porsche doesn't offer a long wheelbase.

See all Frankfurt Auto Show news

author photo

Colin Ryan has driven hundreds of cars thousands of miles while writing for BBC Top Gear magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Los Angeles Times, European Car, Import Tuner and many other publications, websites, TV shows, etc.

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