Auto blogTue, 11 Nov 2014 15:31:00 EST
The Subaru WRX, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and just about every other all-wheel-drive performance car owes something to the legendary Audi Quattro, a model that was far more successful on the motorsports scene than it was in the showroom. Despite its modest sales, the UrQuattro still looms large in automotive lore, and indeed, in Audi's own sense of self. Considering the brand's semi-regular flirtation with the idea of a reborn Quattro, MotorWeek must have figured it'd be a good idea to revisit the original by digging up this archival review.
While time has the ability to cover up the warts of iconic automobiles, it should be noted that Motor Week host John Davis had more than a few critiques for the all-wheel-drive, turbocharged coupe.
Davis calls the Quattro's slalom handling "a disappointment," citing the overpowered engine and slow steering, and he had some unkind words for the brakes, as well. For our part, we're kind of wowed by the amount of ship-like body motion during testing, yet that sort of bobbing was certainly par for the course back in the early '80s.
In this German-language video, we see a batch of Audi engineers wiring up an A3 Cabriolet with a network of small cameras. The goal? To help identify where and how stone martens - small, ferret-like animals - attack cars. The idea is to observe the animals' behavior around the vehicles, see where they go, what they chew on, and work to develop solutions.
So why go to all this trouble? Cars and trucks are easily the single-most complex consumer good, and they're subject to the widest variety of conditions, regulations and usage cases that one could possibly imagine. They also come with very high consumer expectations for reliability. Thus, it's up to automakers to vet their vehicles for just about every possible scenario and threat - including weasels. And if that means Audi has to go hire Walter Simbeck, animal trainer to the stars, and string up a bunch of GoPros on an A3, well, they're game.
In speaking with Autoblog, Mark Dahncke, senior product manager at Audi of America said it best:
Audi has just dropped another teaser for the A9 Concept it'll be displaying at this month's LA Auto Show. This time around, instead of one static image, we get a tantalizing video of the showcar narrated by new Audi design chief Marc Lichte.
In terms of the A9, we get a better look at the body form than we've yet seen, and we also sneak a peek at its massive, blocky, turbine-style wheels that the conceptual flagship will wear in Los Angeles.
Lichte also takes this video opportunity as a chance to say how-do-you-do to the enthusiast community, commenting not only on his vision for the A9, but also offering up his bona fides in terms of family racing and art heritage. Get to know the man behind the car behind the sheet, here.
Well, that was quick. A mere 20 months after its debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, Audi has issued a fairly significant update to its RS Q3 crossover. A light exterior refresh - the most noticeable change is that the grille surround and headlights are now joined - belies more significant changes under the compact crossover's hood.
Power from the 2.5-liter, turbocharged five-cylinder has been boosted nicely from 310 horsepower to 340, while torque has jumped from 309 pound-feet to 332 lb-ft. The result of this extra thrust is that the tiny CUV can now scamper to 62 miles per hour in a seriously quick 4.8 seconds, rather than the original RS Q3's 5.5-second sprint. A new fifth-generation multi-plate clutch is fitted to the seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch transmission, which Audi claims will now deliver even quicker shifts.
Lighter brake rotors with ridiculous eight-piston calipers in the front provide what we imagine is a lot of stopping power, while Audi continues to offer an optional adaptive damper system. 19-inch wheels are standard while 20s are optional.
After dodging light traffic for more than 10 miles at speeds never exceeding 85 miles per hour, the left lane of the derestricted autobahn ahead of us finally opens wide. This is the opportunity we've been waiting for, and we bury the accelerator against its stop and hold it there. The transmission attached to the turbocharged four-cylinder of our 2016 Audi A6 drops a couple gears and begins an arduous battle against aerodynamic drag.
The sleek sedan cuts through the wind effortlessly up until about 125 mph, after which the speedometer needle slows noticeably as the outside world continues to blur. By 145 mph, there's no longer a discernible feeling of acceleration, yet the bright-orange speedometer needle continues its climb. Finally, the speedometer nearly reaches 160 before we are forced to firmly brake and return to saner speeds because of traffic looming ahead.
Automakers routinely host us in Europe and elsewhere to sample their wares in a much less restrictive driving environment. Which explains why we find ourselves standing in Dresden, Germany, a stunningly beautiful 800-year-old city along the Elbe River, overlooking Audi's latest executive express.
With the original TT, Audi arguably valued style over substance. The equation reversed - at least to an extent - with the second-generation model. But with this latest MkIII version, the German automaker appears to have finally imbued its compact sports car with the performance to back up its runway looks.
That is, at least, what the team at Xcar has to say, having driven the latest Audi sports coupe on the rainy roads of Scotland - taking in its crisp lines, sharp handling, nippy performance and impressive technology along the way. But don't let us spoil it for you: Watch for yourself to see how the new TT measures up against its stylish forebears.
'Tis the season of chocolate, and as we sit at our desks eating entirely too many Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, we're left salivating over this particular Audi TT. Aside from the fact that it's the new, third-generation model, which is a darn desirable in and of itself, it's also covered in chocolate. Yes, chocolate.
There are 27,000 individual pieces on this two-door coupe, and they've been affixed courtesy of Belgian chocolatiers Joost Arijs. The sweet car was developed for a lifestyle and design exhibition in Kortrijk, Belgium.
Take a look at the confectionary-covered coupe in the video from WOW TV.
The heyday of the first-generation Audi R8 is winding down, and the Four Rings already has a bespoke factory to start building the next model soon. In the meantime, the German brand is sending its supercar off with a bang at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show in the form of this limited-edition 2015 R8 Competition - the most powerful production vehicle ever made by the company.
Audi is earmarking just 60 examples of the Competition for the US, and this is more than just a trim package to say farewell. Power for the supercar comes from the usual 5.2-liter V10 that's massaged to develop 570 horsepower, an extra 20 hp over the already quite potent V10 Plus, and the only available transmission is the seven-speed, dual clutch S Tronic gearbox. The tweaks let this limited R8 rocket to 60 miles per hour in 3.2 seconds and achieve a maximum velocity of 199 mph. To haul that speed to a stop, it also gets ceramic brake disks with red calipers.
Of course, having such a rare supercar means showing off a little. Audi takes inspiration from the R8 LMS Ultra racecar for the Competition and tries to bring some of its details to the street. The model wears matte carbon fiber pieces replacing the rear spoiler, mirror housings, side blades, front spoiler and rear diffuser. For an extra mean-looking touch, it also has high-gloss black paint covering the wheels and exhaust pipes.
The Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Survey (right) is out, and the top two spots look much the same as last year's list with Lexus and Toyota in first and second place, respectively. However, there are some major shakeups for 2014, with Acura plunging eight spots from third in 2013 to 11th this year, and Mazda replaces it on the lowest step of the podium. Honda and Audi round out the top five. This year's list includes six Japanese brands in the top 10, two Europeans, one America and one Korean.
Acura isn't the only one taking a tumble, though. Infiniti is the biggest loser this year by dropping 14 spots to 20th place. Other big losses come from Mercedes-Benz with an 11-place fall to 24th, and GMC, which declines 10 positions to 19th.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it's not traditional mechanical bugs hauling down these automaker's reliability scores. Instead, pesky problems with infotainment systems are taking a series toll on the rankings. According to Consumer Reports, complaints about "in-car electronics" were the most grumbled about element in new cars. Problem areas included things like unresponsive touchscreens, issues pairing phones and multi-use controllers that refused to work right.
If you've been scratching your head wondering how - between Audi and Porsche - the Volkswagen Group could possibly support two rival top-tier LMP1 programs at Le Mans and the FIA World Endurance Championship, but stay out of Formula One entirely, you're not alone. In fact, Porsche was said to have been eying an F1 entry if Audi had internally blocked aspirations to return to Le Mans. But according to the latest rumors, it's Audi that's now preparing to shift away from endurance racing and onto the grand prix circuit.
Word has it that, following internal pressures from within the VW Group, Audi is finally gearing up for a full assault on F1. It's said to be developing a new six-cylinder turbo hybrid power unit - potentially at its new racing headquarters in Neuburg - and, in an expanded partnership with Red Bull, either take Renault's and Infiniti's places with the Red Bull Racing team or take over the Toro Rosso team entirely.
Although Ingolstadt has not campaigned in grand prix racing since the pre-war days of the Silver Arrows, it was said to have been the impetus for the FIA's push a couple of years ago for new four-cylinder engine regulations until Audi bailed on the idea altogether and F1 went for six-cylinder engines instead.