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Early engineering mules for the next-generation Audi A8 have hit the road.

The 7-series rival is likely to join the BMW in making its debut at the 2015 Frankfurt show in thinly veiled concept guise before going on sale in 2016.

Underpinning the new A8 will be the firm’s newly developed MLB platform, which is set to be used first on the upcoming Q7 SUV replacement.

The MLB platform is different from the Volkswagen Group’s revised MSB platform, which is being engineered by Porsche and will be used by the second-generation Panamera and third-generation Bentley Continental GT range. This means there will be two bespoke platforms for the VW Group’s full-size models.

The mule seen here uses the new platform under a current A8’s modified body. It shows that the tracks have been stretched, but otherwise the new A8’s dimensions should be close to those of the current car.

Petrol engines are set to include a new V6, a revised version of the existing V8 with cylinder shutdown technology and a reworked W12 with EU6 compliance. Added to this will be the bigger-selling four-cylinder, V6 and V8 models.

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Audi Starts Testing on Next-Generation A8 Ahead of 2016 Launch

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