Audi is still on a roll however you look at it. In the US alone, they're bragging about their 31st consecutive month of record sales. Globally, they're well on track to beat their goal of selling 2 million cars a year by 2020. But there's one big hurdle Audi hasn't conquered yet: The Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
It's not a particularly easy target, even for a German luxury brand owned by the dominating force that is the Volkswagen Group. The 2014 S-Class has a ton of technology in it. Audi seems to think the way to be the top dog in the luxury segment is to throw dollars and engineering work at the A8 and make it truly an S-Class beater.
The 2014 Audi A8 to be shown later this year will be packed with tech in the hopes of propelling it to the top of the class, according to Bloomberg. It's already going to have the matrix LED headlamps (that probably aren't coming to the US anytime soon, thank you lighting regulations) and pretty much the same night vision technology as the S-Class' that's able to detect animals and pedestrians in your path.
This all sort of begs the question: can Audi technology its way to number one? Most modern Audis have great design and fantastic detailing that makes obsessive people like me happy. The current A8 is a smart, fast and beautiful car, so why doesn't it sell more than either the S-Class or the BMW 7-series? Sure, it's not as statesman-like as the Mercedes and I don't think they've come up with a cure for being wooed by a propeller badge, so I get where Audi is trying to find a niche.
The trouble is, cars in this segment really have to be the complete package. They're already on the right track, though. Audi can go after the tech, but it's probably going to have to do everything else even better than the S-Class. Adding luxury to something doesn't mean making it bigger, Cadillac and Lincoln are just figuring that out. Audi needs to remember luxury and perfection aren't about adding LEDs and cameras and Wi-Fi, either.