Although most luxury flagship models follow the formula of big engines for big power, one automaker is rethinking that equation in the face of stricter emissions regulations. Audi will be bucking the trend with its next-generation A8, offering a four-cylinder engine alongside the typical six- and eight-cylinder offerings.

Audi's all-new A8 is expected to hit the market about this time next year, with the German automaker likely to offer a four-cylinder in its flagship model for the first time. Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn revealed to AutoTelegraaf that the decision to offer the four-pot in the A8 is directly related to upcoming European CO2 standards.

The displacement of the A8's four-cylinder engine remains unknown, but power is pegged at 230 horsepower. The A8 four-cylinder will likely be offered in front and all-wheel drive.

Although the idea of a high-mileage luxury barge is a rather intriguing prospect, the four-pot version won't be offered in the U.S. However, Audi is considering marketing the A8 with a six-cylinder in the States, which would undoubtedly result in a bump in economy.