All posts in “Audi”

The Best Cars to Buy in 2020

Kelley Blue Book released its Best Buy Awards for 2020 last November. KBB editors look at “quality, comfort, driving dynamics, dependability, low ownership costs, and affordability” to determine the best new car and best car in several different segments. There are a few changes from last year. KBB added “Midsize Truck” and “Two-Row Midsize SUV” categories, and split the alternative power category into “Electric Car” and “Plug-in Hybrid” segments.

Honda proved the top manufacturer, winning five of the 15 segments. Though the Hyundai Motor Group nearly equaled them by locking down four segment wins and the title for “best new car.” Ford and Audi were the other manufacturers to lead multiple segments.

The KBB award-winners are below, as well as links to our reviews. If you know what type of car you’re looking for, the awards could be a helpful jumping-off point. If you’re more intrigued by the performance vs. value end of the spectrum, check out our favorite cars we drove in 2019.

Best New Car / Best Three-Row Midsize SUV: 2020 Kia Telluride

grey_placeholdergrey_placeholder

Best Compact Car: 2020 Honda Civic

grey_placeholdergrey_placeholder

Best Midsize Car: 2020 Honda Accord

grey_placeholdergrey_placeholder

Best Subcompact SUV / Electric Car: 2020 Hyundai Kona

grey_placeholdergrey_placeholder

Best Compact SUV: 2020 Honda CR-V

grey_placeholdergrey_placeholder

Best Two-Row Midsize SUV: 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

Best Full-Size SUV: 2020 Ford Expedition

grey_placeholdergrey_placeholder

Best Midsize Pickup Truck: 2020 Chevrolet Colorado

grey_placeholdergrey_placeholder

Best Full-Size Pickup Truck: Ford F-150

grey_placeholdergrey_placeholder

Best Minivan: 2020 Honda Odyssey

grey_placeholdergrey_placeholder

Best Plug-in Hybrid Car: 2020 Honda Clarity PHEV

grey_placeholdergrey_placeholder

Best Luxury Car: 2020 Lexus ES

grey_placeholdergrey_placeholder

Best Subcompact Luxury SUV: 2020 Audi Q3

grey_placeholdergrey_placeholder

Best Compact Luxury SUV: 2020 Audi Q5

grey_placeholdergrey_placeholder

Best Midsize Luxury SUV: BMW X5

grey_placeholdergrey_placeholder

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

More by Tyler Duffy | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

Lego Speed Champions Ferrari F8 Tributo and 1985 Audi Sport Quattro S1 are 25% bigger

During a week when auto manufacturers are at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show debuting real, drivable cars, Lego has debuted two new toy car kits modeled after the 1985 Audi Sport Quattro S1 and the Ferrari F8 Tributo. The new models also show off an improvement to the Lego Speed Champions series: the kits are now 25 percent bigger.

Lego is expanding its Speed Champions line of blocky car kits with two high-performance rides with very different purposes from very different times. One is a modern supercar, the other is a classic Group B rally car.

The F8 Tributo is an inch high, five inches long, and three inches wide. It wears a clean red color scheme with a black splitter and black diffuser, and the only stickers are the headlights and the badges. The toy design carries over features of the F8 such as the hood and side body scoops, and the tiered taillights. and the rear engine cover.

The S1, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary, has a much busier design. The main body of the car is white and yellow with retrolicious yellow body graphics. Black, gray and red striping add to the scheme, and “Audi,” “Audi Sport,” “Audi Team” and “quattro” stickers are seen on the body, the windshield, the hood and the rear wing. Clustered front rally lights, wheel flares, angular aerodynamic pieces and two sets of wheel designs help make the quattro look as authentic as possible. The car also comes with a miniature racer who can sit in the car and grip the stick shift.

Both the Ferrari and the Audi will be released for January 2020. Each model is listed at $19.99, plus tax.

2020 Audi R8 Coupe and Spyder First Drive | V10 > turbo

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — It’s usually a bad sign: Rocking out of Los Padres National Forest in the updated 2020 Audi R8, I spot two California Highway Patrol cars lying in wait on Highway 33, one of the fantasy driving roads the state is known for. But these officers aren’t here to hand out tickets, but to lend a hand — closing off the road so we can run repeated launch-control starts in these mid-engine, all-wheel-drive supercars.

The drag-racing demo, in both coupes and Spyder convertibles, highlights reasons why one might drop $197,150 on the R8’s V10 Performance edition, or $209,350 on the Spyder V10 Performance. (They replace last year’s V10 “Plus” models). One is the 602-hp, naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V10. It’s a spectacular anomaly in a world dominated by turbocharged powerplants, the last of two production cars in the world with a V10. The other is its Italian cousin, the Lamborghini Huracan. Audi powers its R8 LMS race car with the identical V10, and both R8 coupes and racers are built on the same assembly line.

We stand in awe as Audi after Audi crackles off the line and sprints into the distance, rending the air with throaty howls en route to a wicked 8,700-rpm redline. (A Sport exhaust button that amplifies the sound is right there on the steering wheel, and owners are likely to wear it out). Audi plays it cool with a conservative 3.2-second 0-60-mph estimate for the R8 Performance coupe; 2.9 seconds is closer to the truth, as achieved in previous tests of the R8 in this engine spec. The Spyder is estimated to run only a tenth slower to 60 mph. Both models deliver the 200-mph bona fides of a self-respecting supercar, at a 205-mph peak for the Coupe and a hair-mussing 204 mph for the Spyder.

The 2020 update also brings a healthy 30-horsepower bump for the base R8 coupe and convertible, from 532 to 562 horsepower, and eight additional pound-feet of torque, now at 406 pound-feet. Audi pegs their 0-60-mph dashes at 3.4 and 3.5 seconds for the base coupe and Spyder, respectively, and sets their prices at $171,150 and $183,350. There’s also a coupe-only Decennium edition, limited to 222 copies, with the final 50 coming to the States. It’s a trim package that comes only in Mythos Black paint and all-black interior, with an intake manifold and wheels in matte-bronze finish and side blades, rear wing and other components in gloss carbon fiber.

On the 2020 design front, a reworked front bumper features a more horizontal perspective that accentuates the Audi’s lowness and width. That includes a dramatically stretched, black honeycomb grille, a new spoiler lip and lateral air intakes. That front end now incorporates a faux, winged inlet that bookends the bumper — and whose plastic-capped “opening” seems more from the Lexus school of overworked design than Audi’s typical understatement. Headlight lenses have been darkened, and a redesigned rocker panel gets a new inlay. Audi’s Laser Light high beam is standard on Performance versions, and their crisp, ultra-long-range illumination steps in for conventional high-beams at speeds above 40 mph. The Laser Light’s decorative blue element illuminates on European-market models, but U.S. regulations forbid any trace of blue lighting.

The new rear bumper adds a pair of generously sized oval exhaust outlets, more honeycomb for air outlets, and a new rear diffuser. Basic V10 models get standard 19-inch forged wheels, with optional 20s. Performance editions now come standard with 20-inch forged wheels with a somewhat busy, milled-cut design with a black-and-titanium finish. Our colorful selection of R8s tended to look better with optional 20-inchers with a simpler profile and titanium finish.

Two lovely new colors join the R8 palette: Kemora Gray and Ascari Blue metallic, the latter only available on V10 Performance cars. Ceramic brakes, standard on V10 Performance models, offer a choice of red calipers in addition to standard gray. Finally, the Performance coupe alone offers a world first for Audi: a carbon-fiber front sway bar that trims 4.4 pounds of weight. Every little bit helps for the R8, a relatively chunky sports car — especially compared with carbon-fiber monocoque McLarens — that plops as much as 3,957 pounds on the scales (for a base Spyder). All told, the wide-flanked R8 looks familiar, yet formidable, its ability to draw admirers undimmed by time.

Our day begins in Santa Barbara with a Spyder Performance, its fabric top down and its wind-deflecting rear glass up. After heading along coastal Highway 101, we’re soon detouring into California’s bone-dry, tinderbox canyons, even as fire crews battle new blazes in nearby Los Angeles. The Audi saves its scorching for the pavement, as I dial its dimpled, asymmetric steering wheel and get into a nice rhythm through the twisting mountain roads. 

This R8 is dearly priced by any standard, but you get what you pay for in the high-design interior, decked out with carbon fiber, burnished aluminum and diamond-stitched leather on 18-way power sport seats. Racing-style shell seats are available, but those aggressive chairs don’t seem to fit the Audi’s daily-driving personality. Audi might disagree, considering the R8’s impressive race record, including three wins at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring.

That personality combines accommodation and excitation like few cars; the R8 helped create the notion of the “everyday supercar,” and its precision build quality and user-friendly technology remain strong points. That extends to Audi’s Google-mapping virtual cockpit infotainment system and 13-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system (standard on Performance models), which continue to set the standard in its class. If all-black Audi cabins strike you as boring, Pastel Silver or Palomino brown are new interior colors.

The Spyder looks sweet top-down, and admits more of that glorious 10-chamber orchestra, but those advantages don’t seem enough to overcome its drawbacks: a shortage of seat travel (the chairs wedge right up against the rear firewall), and the attendant lack of useful recline from the seatbacks. The coupe, in contrast, carves out room behind seats for small bags, backpacks or odds-and-ends — not a ton, but enough to make a difference in a car that’s otherwise limited to a modest frunk below the hood. And where the coupe proudly exhibits its signature V10 under glass, topped with a black X-brace, the Spyder’s engine stays out of sight below its vented, power-folding tonneau cover.

As it’s evolved, the R8 has steadily become more rewarding to drive, less victimized by understeer and more limber-feeling at the helm. For 2020, the electrically assisted steering reduces the assist during cornering to deliver more weight and feedback though the wheel. Optional Dynamic Steering (at $1,400) aims for more-natural feel as well, with less-aggressive ratio adjustments relative to vehicle speed and steering angle.

Where standard models come with a versatile, adjustable magnetically controlled suspension, Performance editions get a stiffer, fixed steel suspension for superior control, though with a notably firmer ride. For 2020, Audi has traded the R8’s previous Pirelli P Zero tires for a grippier set of Michelin Pilot Sport 2s with a custom rubber compound. (You’ll spot a little “AO” symbol on the sidewall, for “Audi original”). Stability control and ABS programming are mildly retuned to account for the improved grip, and the (optional) variable-ratio steering makes subtler ratio adjustments than before. Throw in a seven-speed dual-clutch S-Tronic transmission — which Audi says can swap speeds in as little as 120 milliseconds — and it’s a delight to rip through those gears to the tip-top of redline, whether in full automatic mode or by thwacking the finely weighted, metal paddle shifters. Hold that left paddle down, and the Audi will limbo to the lowest possible gear, skipping from, say, fifth gear to second in one swoop. This is an extremely short-geared car, with second gear topping out at around 67 mph, and fourth gear running out at barely 105 mph.

On one long, canyon-blasting descent, I employ left-foot braking to balance the Audi into blind apexes, then roll onto the throttle and feel the Haldex-based front axle come online, maximizing grip and exit speed as I hurtle toward the next corner like a barrel over Niagara Falls. This is one fast, confident sports car, and its V10 gushes power and never quits, as evidenced by that 200-mph-plus top speed.

The R8 still makes a vivid statement of design and performance, yet it’s always run a bit below the radar, including in sales. Since its debut in 2007, Audi has moved about 800 R8’s a year in America on average, including a high-water mark of 1,145 cars in 2011.  This is a supercar for a more practical-minded, German-favoring buyer, a contrast to the flashier form and naked emotionalism of the Lamborghini Huracán. Those Audi fans are just the type to do some practical math as well: The standard R8 Coupe undercuts the Huracan Evo’s price by about $90,000. 

2020 Audi RS4 Avant Updated with a Fresh Look

The Audi RS4 Avant has fallen out of favour in recent years. There was a time when the RS4 was the darling child of the Audi Sport range. In recent years, it is the Audi RS6 Avant which has driven the fortunes. Audi will be hoping that its latest update to the baby Avant will push sales back to where they belong.

The Audi RS4 Avant gets updates that mirror those applied to the Audi A4 range earlier this year. The front has been completely redesigned. It gets a wider and flatter single-frame grille, similar in style to the version found on the recently released Audi RS6 Avant. It is fitted with black gloss, three-dimensional honeycomb, typical of RS models.

The LED headlights also receive a refresh. Optional matrix LED units get darkened bezels. They complement the gloss black, matt aluminium and carbon fibre styling packages which add sill inlays, exterior mirror housings and elements to the front and rear bumper.

The side profile remains unchanged. The wheel arches are 30 mm wider at the front and the back compared to the A4 Avant. At the rear, a new twilight design should make it clear to the rest of the world that you are driving the latest and greatest. New air vents next to the tailpipes are also evident. Otherwise, everything else appears untouched.

The power unit is what really matters with the RS4 Avant though. The 2.9 litre V6 receives some work. It now produces 450 hp and 600 Nm of torque, sprinting from zero to 100 km/h in just 4.1 seconds. Audi engineers the twin turbochargers to act on each individual side of the cylinder bank, mounted within the V.

Power is routed through the quattro system via an eight-speed tiptronic gearbox. A torque vectoring system is on offer too, assisting with handling on difficult surfaces. An optional quattro sport differential provides an even better response.

Inside, the latest 10.1 inch MMI touch display welcomes the driver with the option of the Audi Virtual Cockpit with unique RS displays showing information on tire pressure, torque, power output and other performance-oriented details.

The Audi RS 4 Avant will make its debut at the DTM finale at the Hockenheimring on 4 to 6 October 2019. Sales in Germany and other European countries will start in October 2019. Prices for the RS4 Avant should start at 81,400 euros.

GTSPIRIT NEWSLETTER

Abt Creates One-Off 400hp Audi A1 as Ultimate Pocket Rocket

Not content with waiting for a performance version of the Audi A1, Abt recently announced a one-of-one tuning package. The Abt A1 “1of1” was built for Daniel Abt, Abt racing driver and the son of owner and principal of the Abt Sportsline team, Hans-Jürgen Abt. The ultimate pocket rocket features a unique set of updates.

The Abt A1 is fitted with a bespoke Abt bodykit. The design is clearly inspired by DTM with new front fascia, incorporating a deep front splitter and a new set of air intake surrounds and multiple canard-style air channels. The fenders receive a bolt over look, widening the bodywork significantly. There is a new bonnet, side skirt and mirror coverings. At the back, Abt have fitted a massive rear spoiler alongside a new rear diffuser.

The package is finished with a new set of wheels. The 19-inch ABT ER-F forged wheels are finished in black and recieve a set of internally mounted golden aero-rings, evocative of Abt’s Formula E car.

Based upon the 40 TFSI model, ABT has breathed new life into the 2.0 litre TFSI engine. How have they managed to generate 400 hp? The explanation is complicated, because Abt have infact switched the engine from a standard 2.0 litre TFSI to an unspecified 2.0 litre TFSI, likely with racing parts.

Still, should you wish to have your own version, Abt will hapily forego the engine transplant and fit a set of modest performance enhancements, with a new stainless steel exhaust system and 114 mm tailpipes, booting power to 240 hp.

The “1of1” is complete with a set of H & R suspension sprints, rear seat roll bar and a complete Alcantara interior upgrade. Last but not least, Abt are proud of the Erik Aleksanjan, geometric pattern designed which they have termed the “polygon split design”. The design was penned by the same man who styled Jon Olsson’s Audi RS6 Avant!

GTSPIRIT NEWSLETTER

Audi RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback Revealed Together

Audi Sport’s SUV onslaught continues with the Audi RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback which were released last week. The Audi RS Q3 and Audi RS Q3 Coupe debut together. The compact SUV’s get a blend of performance and aerodynamic enhancements, built upon the platform the of the refreshed SUV.

The RS Q3 uses the five-cylinder, 2.5-litre TFSI engine. Producing 400 hp and 480 Nm of torque, the engine is hooked up to a seven-speed S tronic gearbox. Power is routed to all four wheels via the quattro all-wheel-drive system.

The compact engine produces enough for a zero to 100 km/h sprint of just 4.5 seconds. Top speed is limited to 250 km/h or an optional 280 km/h, as with most Audi’s. The power unit itself weighs 26 kg less than the outgoing version. Weight is saved by using an aluminium crankcase, a hollow bored crankshaft and aluminium pistons.

The engine measures less than 50 centimetres in length and produces a 17 per cent increase in power.

At the suspension side, MacPherson struts are fitted to the front axle and four-link to the rear. The braking system is an all-new six-piston RS steel system with carbon versions optional. Also optional is the RS sport suspension plus with Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC).

Visually, the front gets a new front fascia with larger air intakes. The gloss black grille gets a gloss black surround. The side blades which sit alongside it are exclusive the RS Q3. The wheel arches grow by 10 millimetres on both models.

At the rear, both cars get roof edge spoilers with RS-specific spoiler lips. The rear diffuser gets a redesign with a dual-branch RS exhaust system with large oval tailpipes on both sides and chrome-coloured trims.

Inside, the Audi virtual cockpit comes as standard. Also standard are the Sports seats in black leather with Alcantara, optionally, RS sport seats can be ordered, finished in fine Nappa leather with RS-specific honeycomb pattern and integrated head restraints. The RS design package adds red or blue Alcantara and Aluminium trim.

Audi are pushing the SUV for a 2019 release in Germany and other European countries. Prices for SUV start at 63,500 euros. The Sportback starts at 65,000 euros.

GTSPIRIT NEWSLETTER

2020 Audi RS7 Sportback Review

There forever has been and, hopefully, will always be an inexplicable level of cool associated with a fast German saloon car. Perhaps it is that they are based cars on which are typically a little beige, boring and, more often than not, diesel barges that trundle down the autobahn minding their own business. Then the skunkworks departments at the likes of M, AMG and RS get to work and the results are snarling hulks that both look and feel like swollen hulks of the timid cars they once were.

Since the turn of the millennium, there have been a couple of personal highlights: the E60 BMW M5 saloon and estate which both featured derivatives of the Williams F1 V10 that howled like nothing else, and the Audi RS6 Avant that also featured a mighty large V10 taken from the Lamborghini Gallardo. The recently replaced Audi RS6 is also up there nestled amongst the best. The pressure is on for the new one to deliver, but the opportunity to drive the RS6 is a few months away. To whet the appetite, Audi asked if I would like to drive the RS7, a car that seems to have been somewhat overshadowed by the mass hankering the market had for the RS6, despite both cars sharing the same mechanicals underpinnings. Could the latest iteration steal the hearts of many as the RS6s of the past had? To find out, I flew to Frankfurt.

Let’s get the numbers bit out of the way: at the heart of the package sits a 4.0-litre V8 engine producing 600 hp and 800 Nm of torque. 100 km/h is dispatched in just 3.6 seconds with a 250 km/h top speed. The Dynamic package removes the limiter, pushing this up to 305 km/h.

A 48-volt system runs a belt alternator starter with car recover 12 kW of power for use between 55 and 160 km/h. The system is meant to provide instantaneous power to the drive while offering the ability to coast on electrical energy with the engine switched off. The cylinder on demand technology further aids fuel consumption. Power is fed to a Quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system through an eight-speed tiptronic transmission. The RS7 gets a launch control function with torque control provided through a sport differential, part of the optional Dynamic and Dynamic plus packages.

That’s that, what does this all feel like off the paper and on the tarmac? Well, that depends on one decision that owners will have to make, it makes a rather considerable difference: suspension. The RS7 can be optioned with either the standard, more comfortable, RS adaptive air suspension or an optional sport suspension with Dynamic Ride Control, that is the one you want. Why? The optional DRC set up is harder and, yes, it is touch harsher on the road. Make no mistake, it is still comfortable when you’re cruising, but when you get a hustle on, the body control and the limit before understeer and tyre squeal become a factor, is far higher.

I am no track day magician, but I was finding the handling limits of the car in the air suspension fitted cars remarkably easily. The conventionally sprung car felt far more up for a good time, and as a result, I feel it is worth the comfort trade-off. All cars tested rode on massive 22 inch wheels all around.

What about the performance? My first thoughts on the autobahn were ‘oh, it’s not THAT quick’, I then looked down and noticed I had hit the top speed. In gear acceleration in first, second and third in particular, is astonishing. It feels every bit 592bhp quick. At speed, the sensation of power is somewhat stymied by the lack of a certain characteristic: sound. There is a huge 4.0-litre V8 under the hood, but you would have no idea judging by the sound in the cabin. It is a little depressing, but it is a sign of the times in a world muzzled by the legislative necessity for the awful OPF. Audi combated my comment stating that they wanted to keep the noise authentic and refused to pipe fake sounds into the cabin…if you listen carefully you can hear BMW M retreating into the bushes.

Back to the bends, there is a lack of something here too, steering weight and feedback. This is a gripe that I’ve had with Audis for years, the chances of this being remedied in the RS7 were slim, it is a little difficult to understand what the front tires are doing and where the limits of adhesion are when there is such an absence of palpable communication coming through the wheel. That being said, there is good news too. The car is savagely fast out of bends and the 48 volt antiroll system masks the weight as well as you could ask from a car that weighs in at 2,500 kilos. As previously mentioned, the DRC suspension is where the car is at its best. It must also be noted that the gearbox is fine on the way up, but hesitates on downshift – third to second, in particular, seems to take an age.

Inside there are a few niggles, but on the whole, the interior is a very pleasant place to be. There are lashings of leather, alcantara and plenty of room in the front and rear. There are also walls of screen. The dash is impressive and there and a multitude of configuration options to display as much data as I’ve seen in a machine this side of an F16. For me, the two stacked central touch screens are a little fiddly on the move and require more concentration than I would like to give them when pushing on or trying to focus on a twisty stretch of tarmac. This, I guess, is personal preference and others may love them as much as I loathe them. On the whole, I feel there could be more going on in the interior to set the RS apart from the series A7 to reflect the changes to the exterior. It lacks a special touch.

On the whole, the RS7 is a mighty fine piece of kit. If you’re in the market for an M5 to E63, the RS7 really is a viable alternative. It is a little softer and quieter than the aforementioned cars, but is by no means slower. It features all the tech you could ever need, is spacious and in plenty fast. Audi claim 0-100 in 3.6, I saw 3.2 time and time again with the deeply effective launch control activated. To answer my opening question, yes, I really think this car deserves adoring fans as there is plenty to love in this new RS7 as there has been in every RS6 to date. Now we need to see just how impressive the new RS6 is.

GTSPIRIT NEWSLETTER

IAA Frankfurt 2019: Audi RS7 Sportback Live Photos

The IAA Frankfurt Motor Show 2019 is underway. We caught up with the Audi RS7 Sportback which is attracting a lot of attention on the Audi stand. The sports sedan is one of the fastest on the market and shares its underpinnings with the Audi RS6 Avant which also receives a world premiere.

At the heart of the package sits a 4.0-litre V8 engine producing 600 hp and 800 Nm of torque. 100 km/h is dispatched in just 3.6 seconds with a 250 km/h top speed. The Dynamic package removes the limiter, pushing this up to 305 km/h.

A 48-volt system runs a belt alternator starter with car recover 12 kW of power for use between 55 and 160 km/h. The system is meant to provide instantaneous power to the drive while offering the ability to coast on electrical energy with the engine switched off. The cylinder on demand technology further aids fuel consumption.

At the suspension end of things, Audi has opted for air suspension at all four corners. Spring rates are 50% higher and automatic self-levelling control is included. The RS7 sits 20 mm lower than the standard A7. The RS7 can be raised at the touch of a button by 20 mm.

For more from the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show 2019, check out our dedicated news feed. To find out more about the Audi RS7 Sportback, check out our earlier article.

GTSPIRIT NEWSLETTER

Audi AI:TRAIL quattro: Off-Roading Meets Robotic Future

The final part of Audi’s futuristic concept onslaught has arrived. The Audi AI:TRAIL quattro presents “a concept for sustainable mobility off the beaten track”. It will be joined at Frankfurt this week by the Audi Aicon, AI:ME and AI:RACE.

Among the key features of the Audi AI:TRAIL quattro is the glass pod surrounding the cabin which extends all the way to ground level. Audi points out that this helps with visibility. It might also concede that, in the most hospitable environments, could cause problems!

The glass surfaces are also at the expense of connectivity. There are no big screens on board for streaming TV series or videoconferencing; instead, broad glass surfaces provide a clear view of the surroundings. This is a true explorer. Audi has stated that it believes the one-box design will become industry standard in years to come.

The design dispenses with many features of modern off-roaders. The electric drive system is arranged around the axles and the battery in the floor, meaning that Audi could locate the wheels at the corners and avoid overhangs. The AI:TRAIL uses four electric motors for a combined system power of 320 kilowatts (430 hp) and maximum torque of 1,000 Newton-meters. Range from the lithium-ion battery is 400 to 500 kilometers.

Transverse links and MacPherson suspension struts with coil springs and adaptive dampers take care of the suspension. The huge offroad tyes allow for an additional 60 millimeters of suspension travel. With everything in, the AI:TRAIL weighs just 1,750 kilograms.

Audi’s vision is that future Audi drivers will be able to order any of the futuristic Audi models from an Audi through an on-demand vehicle pool. When ordered, the vehicle will be tailored to suit their personal preferences and requirements and be made available by lease for a limited period.

GTSPIRIT NEWSLETTER

Audi AI:TRAIL quattro – Electric Off-Roader to be Revealed at IAA 2019

The bi-annual Frankfurt Motor Show is getting closer. We are starting the heat about what to expect. One of the concepts to be unveiled is the Audi AI:TRAIL quattro, an all-electric off-roader concept.

The Audi AI:TRAIL quattro is the last of four concepts unveiled since the Frankfurt Show in 2017, which preview Audi’s future. These included the Aicon concept car which debuted at the 2017 Frankfurt Show, the PB18 e-tron sportscar and the Audi AI-ME Concept which debuted at Shanghai earlier this year.

The Audi AI:TRAIL quattro is very experimental. It features a boxy shape with short overhangs and a set of massive off-road tyres. It’s no thinly veiled production model! Instead, it provides an insight into how the off-road segment might evolve in the future.

When the Audi AI:TRAIL quattro makes its debut in Frankfurt next month, it will be on display alongside the other three concepts.

GTSPIRIT NEWSLETTER

The Audi RS 6 Avant Is Coming to America

A Mild Hybrid Rocket of a Wagon

The Audi RS 6 Avant is a powerful wagon with a mild-hybrid powertrain. The vehicle utilizes a 48-volt hybrid system. That system restarts the engine and helps manage electrical power. At the heard of the car is the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 engine that puts out a whopping 591 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. This is the first RS wagon to come to America, and Audi wants to make it count. 

The car comes with dramatically different sheet metal shapes than the regular A6 model. According to Road & Track, the car only shares its front doors, roof, and tailgate with the regular version of the car. Everything else has been tweaked to make the RS 6 more enticing. The car is 1.6-inches wider, giving the car a more capable, muscular look. It has 22-inch wheels and dark accents. The thing looks sleek and dangerous. Enough so that even AMG owners will be gawking. 

The numbers are impressive, too. The burly turbo V8 lets the car sprint from 0-62 mph in just 3.6 seconds. The car tops out at 155 mph. Road and Track noted that the car can actually do 189.5 mph when properly specced (the U.S. car is electronically limited to 155 mph). 

The car uses a 40:60 front-to-rear torque split for its all-wheel drive and the car can shift power side to side as needed as well. Adaptive air suspension comes as standard equipment. The RS sport suspension with Dynamic Ride Control is available for those who want it. 

Audi will bring the car here in 2020 and says it will take orders on the car closer to the date that it’s available. That date and the official price of the car will be announced at a later date. 

2020 Audi SQ7 TDI Next to Receive V8 Diesel

The Audi SQ7 TDI follows on from the release of the Audi SQ8 TDI last month. The facelift model for the second generation receives the same technology as its sportier brother combined with the visual updates applied to the Q7 range at the start of the year.

The previous generation 2 model of the Audi SQ7 TDI featured the same 4.0 litre V8 power plant. Audi’s system for the V8 includes twin turbochargers mounted close to the engine with a supplemental third electric compressor. The third compressor is powered from Audi’s 48-volt system and fills the gap between the turbos spooling and the arrival of that diesel power.

Power remains exactly the same as the outgoing model; 429 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. The SQ7 TDI hits the 100 km/h mark slightly quicker though with a 4.8 seconds, although the reason why is not entirely clear!

The SQ7 TDI gets all of the trappings of the Q7’s mid-life refresh. These include sharper styling, slimmer headlights and a new front grill. On top of this, the SQ7 gets S-specific details. They include a revamped grille, aluminium mirror details, quad chrome exhaust pipes and 21-inch cast aluminium wheels.

The Audi SQ7 TDI goes on sale in Germany at the end of July and will cost €94,900, with the seven-seat model starting at €96,420.

GTSPIRIT NEWSLETTER

New Audi S8 Revealed with 571 hp V8

The Audi S8 has been officially revealed. Details have been released for the performance model, confirming that the range-topping limousine uses V8 power once again. The combination of power and technology is likely to place the S8 close to the top of the pile when it comes to sports-focused limousines!

The engine fitted to the S8 should be familiar by now. It featured in the Porsche Panamera Turbo two years ago and can also be found under the bonnet of the Bentley Continental GT. A 4.0-litre TFSI unit, it uses Audi’s favoured bi-turbo setup with the turbochargers mounted inside the V, supplemented by a belt-alternator started and a lithium-ion battery. The setup allows Audi to counter turbo-lag whilst also offering strong fuel efficiency through the use of coasting and cylinder on demand.

In the S8, the power unit is rated to 571 hp and 800 Nm of torque. This is enough for a 250 km/h top speed with performance figures yet to be announced. The S8 gets iron-lined cylinder barrels and actuated flaps in the exhaust system which should mean that the sound will match to sledgehammer performance.

As with other Audi models, the A8 also runs a sophisticated suspension setup. Predictive active suspension, which features as an option on the standard A8, is now delivered as standard equipment, in combination with the adaptive air suspension. The former uses cameras to determine the road surface. The Audi drive select system differs slightly from other Audi models with five profiles, including a new “Comfort+” mode. As you would expect, the suspension parameters in this mode contribute to the smoothest possible ride with the body actively leaning into curves by as much as 3 degrees to reduce lateral forces.

All-wheel steering features on the Audi S8. A sport differential is fitted to the rear wheels which pushes power to the outside wheel under heavy cornering. Both systems are fitted as standard. The ceramic brake discs are an optional extra, measuring 420 mm at the front axle and 370 mm at the rear.

Visually, the S8 gains a set of 21-inch wheels. The front bumper is enhanced, together with the side sills. Audi’s characteristic silver mirror housings and quad tailpipes are also included as part of the package. Nine exterior colours arena option with carbon trim available inside. HD matrix LED headlights with Audi laser light and OLED rear lights are optional extras. New seats are fitted with ventilation and massage functions.

The Audi S8 will be made available in China, the US, Canada and South Korea, exclusively as a long wheelbase model. Pricing has not yet been announced.

Audi May Build a GT3-Inspired R8 for the Street

An Upgrade to the R8

We recently reported that the current Audi R8 would be the last R8 generation. However, that doesn’t mean Audi has plans of letting the car languish as this generation of the car moves forward. A report from PistonHeads indicated that Audi Performance boss Oliver Hoffman wants to build a higher-performance version of the model based on the GT3 racing car. This model would borrow heavily from that car but it would be a street car. 

Hoffman said that in order to meet some of the high-performance offerings from other manufacturers, like Porsche, the company should add another version of the R8 to its lineup. He said people love the GT3 R8 but they want to be able to drive that car on the street. It sounds like it could be pretty easy to make it happen, too, according to Hoffman. 

The racing car engine is almost identical to the road car’s, so that’s already proven, but we have the GT3 drivers doing chassis testing for us. For example, Frank Stippler, he’s driving our GT3 car and is also our development guy doing the Nurburgring testing for road cars.

All this is good news. It’s nice to see Audi continuing to work on and come up with new ideas for the R8 even as it draws ever closer to eventual discontinuation. We have a feeling there are still great things to expect from the V10 supercar. 

2020 Audi Q7 Facelift Adopts Q8 Look & Tech

Audi’s Q7 gets a mid life update today. The SUV was first unveiled in 2015 as an all-new model. Since then, Audi have been fiendishly working to refresh its premium offering with new design language pumped into the A6, A7 and Q8 models. The Audi Q7 facelift is intended to introduce some of the features developed since 2015.

The most important updates are to the exterior. People will notice the new front grille with its six upright slats. The two-part side air inlets are also new together with the headlights. The headlights are available with HD Matrix LED technology and Audi’s laser light. Towards the rear, a new chrome strip adds some additional style. The S Line package adds an additional blade in the front bumper, underbody protection at the rear with full paint finish and 19-inch wheels.

Changes are also made to the suspension setup. These relate, largely, to the optional equipment. Audi now offer the electromechanical active roll stabilization and all-wheel steering options. All Q7 models get air suspension as standard with the S line exterior using a slightly firmer adaptive air suspension which rides 15 mm lower.

All models get a revised version of the eight-speed tiptronic gearbox and permanent all wheel drive systems. Audi will offer a choice of two 3.0-litre diesel engines, producing 228 bhp and 282 bhp respectively, and a 335 bhp 3.0-litre petrol engine. All three will use Audi’s 48V mild-hybrid electrical system. A plug-in hybrid petrol version, as will an SQ7 TDI, based upon the package introduced with the SQ8 TDI.

Inside, Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit Assistant is standard. The old interior equipment has been removed in favour of the latest dual screen system. Technological highlights also include Car-to-X service traffic light information, the all-digital Audi virtual cockpit and adaptive cruise assist.

The new Audi Q7 will get its market launch in September with pricing information arriving soon!

Audi A6 Allroad

Audi has officially revealed its new A6 Allroad, which includes a handful of updates to the adaptive air suspension. This new iteration makes the iconic classic more beastly on the tarmac.

The Audi A6 Allroad is meant to compete with the Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain and Volvo V90 Cross Country. Drawing from the fifth-generation mid-size Z6 launched in sedan form, the new platform brings weight savings, extra cabin space, and compatibility with plug-in hybrid options.

Audi increased the ground clearance to 7.3 inches at maximum height, and the adaptive air suspensions now comes with self-levelling. As a result, that should provide customers with an alternative to the crossover SUV. Other allroad additions include steeper departure angles, underbody protection, hill descent control, and tilt angle assist.

Thus far, Audi has only announced powertrain, though it offers three outputs. There’s a 3-liter turbocharged V-6 diesel engine that delivers 349 ponies and 516 pound-feet of torque in its most potent. With an eight-speed automatic transmission, the engine hits zero to 62 in just 5.2 seconds and tow up to 5,000 pounds. As standard, the engines also comes fitted with mild-hybrid technology. This consists of a belt-drive electric motor-generator that acts as the starter motor. It recovers energy even under braking. This setup also allows the Audi A6 Allroad to coast even when the engine’s switched off over wide speed ranges.

The ride will hit the road in July. To commemorate 20 years since Audi last rolled out the A6 allroad, the carmaker will offer a special version of the latest model with black exterior accents.

LEARN MORE HERE

Photos courtesy of Audi

2020 Audi A4

Audi has now unveiled the 2020 Audi A4, which looks sharper and fresh compared to last-generation’s entry. For real — the styling is more aggressive this time, perhaps in keeping up with how bold Audi’s other cars are.

For starters, there’s the immediately eye-catching hexagonal grille accentuating the front fascia. Yes, the headlamps have lashes. All kidding aside, though, they look pretty sick. The lines are a nice touch, bringing some heft sensibility to what’s already a pretty car. These are new LED DR you’re looking at, by the way, which just adds to the overall formidable look of the ride.

The car comes with LED headlamps by default, but you can opt for Matrix LED technology if need be. Off to the back, you’ll find an equally sharp-looking rear bumper. That’s on top of LED tail lights that punctuate intimidation even further.

Inside, things have changed, too. There’s a new infotainment system, which is Audi’s MMI that introduces a 10.1-inch touchscreen. Music lovers will have a field day during commute thanks to the in-built acoustic feedback and more user-friendly navigation system. You can choose between two partially analog clusters or go for the all-virtual cockpit option.

There will be a range of engines. First, there’s the 2.0-litre TDI engine, which will churn out 187 horsepower. Then the 2.0-litre TFSI petrol engine, which tops out to 241 horsepower. Finally, you can go all out with the 3.0-litre TDI option, which should produce 227 ponies. A4 is coming to India later this year. If not, early next year.

VISIT AUDI

Photos courtesy of Audi