All posts in “Audi”

Audi A3 Sportback Revealed for 4th Generation

Audi’s A3 is one of the longest established premium hatchbacks on the market. The Audi A3 has been available since 1996, long before BMW and Mercedes-Benz established themselves with the 1 Series and A Class. In its fourth generation, the new Audi A3 injects more sport, technology and connectivity than ever before. and fully connected.

The changes for the new Audi A3 Sportback are all-encompassing. They include a new Singleframe grille with large air inlets at the front end. The styling is all-new, retaining the general proportions with smooth lines front to rear and a wider took to the rear arches. The digital daytime running lights and Matrix LED headlights are now available too, previously reserved for Audi’s top models.

Power comes from a choice of three engine versions – a 1.5 TFSI with 150 hp, and a 2.0 TDI that delivers 116 hp or 150 hp. All engine versions, from launch, will be combined with front-wheel drive. Customers will get a choice of either a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed S tronic automatic box. More versions will follow with electrified drive systems and quattro.

The suspension of the new A3 Sportback includes a four-link rear axle for engines of 150 hp or more. As an option, customers can spec adaptive damper control which lowers the ride by 10 mm. With the sport suspension, standard with the S line exterior, the A3 is lowered by 15 mm.

The new Audi A3 gets a range of driver assistance tech too. Audi pre sense front, swerve assist and lane departure warning are standard. Lane change and exit warnings as well as the cross-traffic and park assist systems, are available as an option. Adaptive cruise assist is also available.

Inside, the new A3 Sportback offers more space It grows by just over three centimetres compared with its predecessor. It carries between 380 and 1,200 litres depending on the configuration of the rear seats.

The new interior includes a new shifter, aluminium or carbon inlays, door openers and an instrument panel with a black-panel look. The seat upholstery is made of recycled PET bottles and adorned with contrasting stitching.

As with most hot hatches these days, the Audi A3 Sportback gets a wealth of technology through the MMI screens. It comes equipped with a 10.1-inch touch display as standard, which is integrated into the centre of the instrument panel. This recognizes letters entered by hand, provides acoustic feedback and can be controlled using natural language.

The instrument cluster, which the driver operates via the multifunction steering wheel, is also digital as standard. The Audi virtual cockpit offers additional functions such as a large display of the navigation map. The plus version measures 12.3 inches and offers three different views, including graphics with a sporty look.

The operating system is powered by the new third-generation modular infotainment system. Its computing power is ten times higher than that of its predecessor controlling connectivity, telephony and the Audi connect services with LTE Advanced speed. It also has an integrated Wi-Fi hotspot.

Individual settings can be stored in up to six user profiles. These include settings for the climate control and the seat position. The DAB+ digital radio is standard and the online or hybrid radio is available as an option. Route guidance is more advanced than ever before with predictions on the development of the traffic situation, high-resolution satellite images from Google Earth and detailed 3D models of many major European cities.

Connect services also include the car-to-X service. This helps to find free parking spots on the roadside or to predict traffic lights. The A3 Sportback is also connected to your smartphone via the myAudi app, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

Presales of the new Audi A3 Sportback start in Europe in March 2020 with the first deliveries in May. The 1.5 TFSI starts at 28,900 euros with a special-edition A3 Sportback edition one on offer.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


Audi SQ8 TDI Review

In the wake of the diesel-gate scandal, public scrutiny of Diesel engined passenger vehicles has been intense. It seemed that the diesel engine had been condemned. Both Porsche and Bentley have taken the decision to remove high-performance diesel engines from their ranges. Governments have also moved to make diesel ownership less attractive. It made us wonder whether there was a future for the diesel engine. Clearly, Audi thinks that there is with the announcement of the Audi SQ8 TDI!

Audi has re-geared its range in response to the changing markets. It now offers more petrol alternatives in segments traditionally dominated by diesel. The benefits of a diesel engine have always been superior economy and low-down torque. These qualities are being replicated in with a growing number of clever hybrid models. Using electronic motors, most manufacturers have been able to increase power and performance across the rev-range while also boosting efficiency.

Audi’s SQ8 TDI uses the best of both worlds; a twin-turbocharged, 4.0 litre V8 power unit with mild hybrid technology. The 48-volt system powers an electronic compressor which fills the turbo gap in the same way as Audi’s petrol units. Power is rated at 435 hp and a barnstorming 900 Nm of torque. All told, this makes the SQ8 a very quick machine. Power is routed through an eight-speed tiptronic gearbox. Audi quotes a 100 km/h sprint time of 4.8 seconds and a top speed limited to 250 km/h.

The technology does not take away from the fact that the SQ8 is still powered by diesel. After all, there are downsides. Despite Audi’s best intentions, the sound is industrial, not sonorous. Those quad-exhausts put out a consistent rumble, not a bad sound (and definitely indicative of the supreme pulling power) but it is unable to compete with similarly powered petrol engines. As a result, the SQ8 TDI lacks in the dramatics department. That said, the sound is subtle, something which might appeal to the type of buyers Audi hopes to attract.

The chassis is also helped technology. The SQ8 TDI is a near 2.5 tonne SUV. To control that weight and the new turn of pace, Audi has made air suspension standard all round. Options fitted to our test vehicle included all-wheel steering, the rear sport differential and electromechanical active roll stabilisation. The latter is particularly interesting, carried over from the Bentley Bentayga, the anti-roll bars actively decouple in a straight line to allow a more compliant ride. The combination of features makes for a well-controlled ride.

Audi SQ8 TDI Review

The Audi drive select system allows a variety of different settings from comfort through to dynamic modes. As with most setups these days, we found individual mode to be the best of all. Being able to isolate the characteristics, combining a comfort chassis setup with dynamic steering in traffic on a country road, gives the SQ8 an impressive range of skills. Our one criticism is that Audi’s drive select function can be a little difficult to navigate, buried in the central infotainment system. Switching between settings requires diverting your attention away from the road. At times, individual buttons might seem to provide greater accessibility.

No amount of chassis wizardry can help the SQ8 TDI escape the fact that it is a very heavy car, not much suited to narrow mountain roads. The combination of torque vectoring systems and all-wheel steering gives the SQ8 a fair run into the corners with little body roll. Grip is available but is limited by the laws of physics! Truth be told, most SQ8 TDI owners will use their vehicles on the highway or in the city. The majority won’t see this as a limitation.

The SQ8 TDI is instantly recognisable from the outside. Traditional Audi S-badge traits are present. These include a set of silver, brushed aluminium-effect wing mirrors, quad-exhaust pipes, larger wheels and a lower stance. The single-frame grille gets the same silver colouring applied to the frame. It is the traditional blend of subtle changes which are important to the overall feel of the car.

Interior comfort is typical of Audi. Very few changes have been made over the rest of the range. This is for good reason. The Audi interior works very well with comfortable seats incorporating air conditioning, heaters and massage functions. It has a head-up display and plenty of space in the rear. The only noticeable addition comes in the form of optional carbon fibre trim.

The Infotainment system is superb. The digital dashboard is clear with two views and information customised to preference. The traditional dual disks can be replaced at the touch of a button to reveal a full-sized sat nav screen. This frees the central display for something different.

Audi SQ8 TDI Review

The Audi SQ8 TDI will be available in Europe, Australia and Taiwan only. Demand dictates that Audi will not sell the SQ8 in other markets. German pricing starts from 102,900 euros and grows considerably, once you add some of the must-have options to the list (rear wheel steering, electromechanical active roll stabilisation).

Diesel is alive and kicking at Audi. The SQ8 TDI is proof of that. If you are after the fastest diesel-powered luxury SUV on the market then it is the best option.

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 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.


Photos courtesy of Audi

Bram Schot Confirms the Audi TT’s Death, Electric Car Coming

Say Goodbye After Two Wonderful Decades

When the Audi TT came out it was a fresh new car for Audi with a beautiful style. As the years went on the car only got better and better. Now, Audi will kill the TT in favor of another electric car. Bram Schot, the brand’s chairman, announced the car’s demise on Thursday, according to Motor Authority. In a blunt and straightforward address to the public, Schot said that the future of Audi will be focused on the simplification of the lineup, electrification, and fuel cell technology. 

Essentially, the TT didn’t fit into the company’s view for the brand as it moves forward. Schot said the car would be replaced by an electric car. The speculation at this time is that it will be an electric sports car, but there’s always the chance that might not be the case.

Audi could easily turn to a more profitable vehicle type, like a crossover. If it did that, enthusiasts around the world would cringe. The TT was an influential car. It’s also a car that had people whispering of its demise long before this moment. While it’s a shame to see it disappear, it’s really not a surprise. 

The TT isn’t the only sports car that could be ending. The automaker has said in the past that the R8 in its current form could disappear. It would likely be replaced by an electric car much like the e-tron GTR. While there’s a lot of speculation at the moment, one thing’s for certain, the Audi of tomorrow will look dramatically different from the Audi of today. 

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.


Photos courtesy of Audi

Watch the Porsche 992 take on the Audi R8, Nissan GT-R Nismo, and BMW M850i in a Drag Race

The Ultimate AWD Drag Race

The website Carwow wanted to see just how the New Porsche 911 Carrera 4S stacks up against the other all-wheel-drive high-end sports cars out there. That meant the company had to stage a serious test, and that led the testers to the drag strip. The company took the new Carrera 4S and put it up against an Audi R8, Nissan GT-R Nismo, and a BMW M850i. 

The Porsche 911 Carrera 4S comes with a turbocharged 3.0-liter flat-six engine. That engine produces 443 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque. When compared to the cars it was racing, the Porsche might seem a little outmatched. However, it’s all about how the car can put that power down to the wheels and then transform that into acceleration. The guys doing the video also did a rolling start race and a brake test, which proved just as entertaining as the drag race. 

I’m not going to ruin the video results by discussing them here. I will say the results are somewhat surprising. You might not expect to see what happens. Some of the results can be attributed to the drivers, but it really appears that everyone does a good job of driving the cars to their fullest. Check out the video below to see just how impressive all of these cars are. 

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Check Out This 9-Second Audi TT RS

This TT Is Not Like Others

The Audi TT RS is a notable sports car. The standard vehicle makes a strong 400 hp from a 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine. That’s pretty impressive, but it pales in comparison to the TT RS in the video below. That car was fitted with a TTE700 Hybrid Turbo, new fuel injectors, a bigger intercooler, and some new software for the engine. The car now puts out 734 hp to all four wheels.

The video below was taken by the YouTube page VeeDubRacing, and shows the car pull a 9.7-second time on the drag strip. According to the video description, the company APR UK built this car. The boss of that company told his team they had three days to turn the regular TT RS into a 9-second car. It’s pretty clear they pulled it off. 

On the car’s 9.7-second run it hit 144 mph. This run took place at the Santa Pod Raceway in the UK. The car did its sub-10-second runs on some sticky Hoosier tires and appears to have a good day for it.

the 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine in the TT RS is known for being an excellent engine and one that you can get impressive power numbers out of with minimal modifications. You can believe it could put out more than 734 hp. It’d be interesting to see just how far this engine and the TT RS, in general, could be pushed. 

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Audi R8 V10 Decennium Is an Homage to the V10

It’s Quite the Tribute

The Audi R8 you see here is the V10 Decennium. It’s Audi’s homage to the V10 engine and, as Audi says in its press release, “ten years of fascination on the road and success in motorsport.” The car is available only as a coupe and comes in a Daytona Gray paint job with some milled matte bronze wheels. The intake manifold comes in the same beautiful bronze color. The front spoiler, side sills, diffuser, and some other small accents come in a gloss black. Altogether, it’s one sinister-looking package. 

The interior of the car is just as dark, featuring all-black materials. There’s diamond-quilted stitching on the seats, plenty of carbon fiber inlays, and contrast copper stitching on the gear shifter and steering wheel. The car also gets special badging that shows it is a V10 Decennium.  It all comes together elegantly and works well with the exterior of the car.

This limited edition V10 Decennium is based on the top-spec R8. The car gets a 5.2-liter V10 engine that produces 620hp and 428lb-ft of torque. The car can do the 0-60 mph sprint in just 3.1 seconds and has a top speed of 205 mph. It’s just as much of a performer as any other version of the R8.

This special limited edition R8 will go on sale with the updated regular R8, but far fewer models will be produced. Audi said it would make only 222 units of the car, which will make it a rare version of the vehicle, indeed. It will cost 222,000 euros or about $253,000. 

ABT Audi Q8 Adds Power and Aero Package

ABT’s package for the Audi Q8 has arrived. Due to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show 2019 in a few weeks time, the ABT Audi Q8 adds power and style through a subtle aero package. The display car is built upon an Audi Q8 50 TDI, although the parts will work for other engine variants in the range.

The ABT body kit consists of a front skirt add-on with a front blade and air inlet panels, rear skirt add-on and fins, an ABT rear wing and an ABT emblem set. Small parts but they set the ABT Audi Q8 apart from the standard model. All of the additional parts are available in a glossy black finish.

The Audi Q8 50 TDI gets an ABT Power boost. The German company installed an ABT Engine Control (AEC) unit boosting power from the 3.0 litre TDI from 286 hp up to 330 hp. Torque increases from 600 to 650 Nm. ABT have carried out some work on the suspension too. The ABT Level Control module allows greater control over the electronic air suspension.

ABT supply wheels for the Q8 too. This show car features an ABT Sport GR set. They measure 10 x 22 inches with a concave base, finished in matt black or gloss black with diamond polishing. Alternatively, ABT has revealed a 23-inch version of the same wheel design. Personalised interiors are also possible.

For some reason, the press release makes constant reference to James Bond with ABT reminding us that they modified an Audi 200 quattro for the film “The Living Daylights” in the 1980s. ABT think this might be the perfect car for 007, do we agree?

Audi TT RS Coupe and TT RS Roadster Get Facelift

Audi have taken the covers off of the Audi TT RS Coupe and the Audi TT RS Roadster. The two models receive a mild series of aerodynamic tweaks but no boost in performance. The visual tweaks should allow it a few more years of faithful service. The official reveal will likely take place at the Geneva Motor Show 2019 which starts early next month.

The design takes its cues from the facelift Audi TT. The front air vents are redesigned with the vertical stips moving to the inside of the vent with a larger air vent on the outside. The side sill is completely new too, with a gloss black finish. At the rear, a new wheel vent has been added. Finally, the rear spoiler has been redesigned with larger end plates.

A new set of matrix OLED reversing lights have also been added to the option list. They are said to put on a display when the ignition is turned on. Kyalami Green becomes an RS-specific colour, and two further colours, Turbo Blue and Pulse Orange, join the option list.

The 2.5 litre inline 5 cylinder engine returns for the facelift. The power remains the same, 400 hp and 480 Nm of torque. Performance is also identical with a 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62.1 mph) sprint occurring in 3.7 seconds. The power is routed through a seven-speed S tronic to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system.

Inside, Audi fit the latest RS sport seats with RS logos on the seats, steering wheel, door sill trims, and selector levers. The Audi virtual cockpit gets a special RS display which provides information on tire pressure, torque, and g-forces. A new RS sport leather steering wheel is also on offer.

Order books open for the facelift Audi TT RS Coupe and Audi TT RS Roadster tomorrow with deliveries from the spring of 2019. The price for the Coupé is 67,700 euros. The Roadster starts at 70,500 euros.

Audi Will Build Production Version of PB18 e-tron

An All-Electric, German Supercar

Audi confirmed in a recent interview that it will take the PB18 e-tron concept car that it showed off last year and make a production model. The all-electric supercar is a model that wowed everyone when it appeared at Monterey Car Week.

However, I didn’t expect it to actually become a production car. With that said, Audi is pushing hard for EV development, and this is one way to continue that progress. 

Audi’s Global CEO Bram Schot told Autoweek Netherlands that the company would make 50 of the unique EV supercar. He also said the car would be launched in the next two years. 

Schot didn’t let slip many details about the car. If it has performance specifications close to the actual concept, the vehicle could have 671 hp and 612 lb-ft of torque. Audi claimed the car could go from 0 to 62 mph in just two seconds. I hope the production car will be that powerful and fast or even faster. 

Powering the concept car was a 95-kilowatt-hour battery that provided enough juice for about 310 miles of range. Audi claimed that the 800-volt charger allowed the battery to reach full capacity in about 15 minutes. 

I don’t know if we should expect the production car to have more impressive or less impressive technology than the concept car. My first instinct is to suggest it would be slightly less impressive. However, with the way EV technology is developing, I wouldn’t be surprised if Audi could squeeze a little more performance out of the design by the time the car came to market. 

According to The Supercar Blog, the car will be a precursor to the new Audi R8, which it says will be a 1000 hp all-electric supercar.