Auto blogWed, 08 Oct 2014 11:57:00 EST
We recently drove the Audi TT, and although we wish it were radically entertaining instead of merely very fun, it's nevertheless a sharp coupe that vaults ahead of its predecessor with an inspired interior and eager handling. That car will be precursor to this TTS when it gets here a year from now, with the TTS adding adjectives like "more" and "better" to just about everything found on the base coupe. With the standard car having already put on such a fine edge, we wheeled the TTS on Spanish roads and at the Ascari race track to find out how much better and higher-performing the S will be.
As of this writing, today's TTS commands an $8,350 premium over the TT. Assuming a commensurate gap is carried over into this next generation model, that supplemental dosh will get you 310 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque instead of 230 hp and 273 lb-ft in the standard TT. That would mean more for your money, too, since the gap between the current TT and TTS is 54 hp and zero lb-ft of torque. To achieve the new numbers, the 2.0 TSFI engine from the TTS benefits from upgrades like sturdier valves, revised aluminum pistons and stronger connecting rods with new bearings, a reinforced crankshaft and a high-performance intercooler. The amplified brawn rips 0.7 seconds off the 0-60 mile-per-hour time, getting you there in 4.6 seconds.
The second-generation Audi R8 isn't far away, but when it arrives, it could serve to seriously shake up the supercar market according to Audi research and development boss Ulrich Hackenberg.
Speaking to Car in the UK, Hackenberg confirmed quite unequivocally that a plug-in-hybrid model and a pure electric were coming. And as with the current R8, the next-gen model will borrow from Audi's Italian cousins at Lamborghini.
"We are able to make the R8 a plug-in hybrid," Hackenberg told Car. "The Lamborghini Asterion shows this is possible - that car uses the platform of the R8. We will see an increase in the efficiency of high-performance cars - they have to meet CO2 regulations of the future in order to survive."
Audi has been rolling out successive concepts based on the new TT. Aside from the production coupe and convertible, we've seen the Shooting Brake concept in Detroit, the Offroad concept in Beijing and, most recently, the Sportback concept in Paris. The clear message is that Audi plans on actually producing more derivatives of its stylish two-door, but the question is which one will come first?
Speaking with Britain's Car magazine in Paris this past week, Audi technical chief Ulrich Hackenberg indicated that, while the decision has still yet to be made, the crossover is the most likely candidate.
Producing the TT Offroad concept - or something like it - would give Ingolstadt another addition to its growing crossover lineup that already includes the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Whether this would come in addition to or instead of the rumored Q1 and Q4 models remains to be seen, but crossovers have become increasingly popular and profitable for German automakers like Audi.
While the big names at the Audi booth might be dominated by the TT line, it's not the only product getting some attention from the German company. The A6, on sale in its present form since 2012, is getting its official mid-cycle refresh.
Featuring light exterior freshening, the new fascia wears a tweaked grille and slimmer, more expressive headlights. The rear end sees more substantial changes, with a freshened rear bumper that features rectangular exhaust outlets and more dramatically redone taillights.
Under hood, the 3.0-liter, supercharged V6 engine now produces 329 horsepower, while the 3.0-liter, turbodiesel V6s are available in 215- or 268-hp varieties, or in twin-turbocharged form, with 315 hp or 322 hp. The other big powertrain news surrounds the transmission. Audi has finally dropped the continuously variable transmission from the base, front-drive A6, slotting in a dual-clutch transmission in its place.
The five-door Sportback concept may be garnering the lion's share of attention as far as the TT goes, but that's just for show. The more tangible news from Audi's stylish sports car range at the
this year is the Roadster.
Like its predecessors, the new Audi TT Roadster ditches the coupe's fixed roof and rear seats in favor of an open two-seat cockpit with a traditional folding fabric enclosure that's quieter and lighter than the previous TT's mechanism.
Hard as it may seem to believe, the Audi R8 has been around for the better part of a decade. But does that make us love it any less? Hardly, especially not when Audi keeps rolling out ever-more enticing versions like the one you see here.
Debuting at the Paris Motor Show, the new Audi R8 LMX is the most powerful version of the supercar we've seen yet, thanks to a 5.2-liter V10 engine tuned to deliver 570 metric horsepower. That's 562 by our count, making it ten horses more potent than the R8 GT, or 37 more than the standard ten-cylinder R8 5.2 FSI - enough to propel the LMX to 62 in 3.4 seconds.
That's not all that sets the LMX apart, however, as Audi has fit it with cutting-edge laser-beam headlights. It comes exclusively as a coupe in Ara Blue with carbon fiber trim, special wheels, red brake calipers and a black leather cockpit. Only 99 examples will be made, and with those laser headlights banned in the US, your best chance of seeing one is in the gallery of live images above.
That German automakers seem singularly fixated on filling any white space between their models isn't new - the last decade-plus has seen their showrooms overflowing with niche models, some of which seemingly occupy sub-genres of sub-genres. To our eyes, there's often diminishing aesthetic and utilitarian returns to go along with the heightened price tags that accompany these models, but we're beginning to think Audi is tackling its personal diversity initiative best. Unlike the often heavy-handed designs from rivals (we're looking at you, BMW), Ingolstadt seems to be doing doing a more graceful job of carving out models between models. The latest proof of this is the TT Sportback Concept, just unveiled here at the Paris Motor Show.
After showing off its Allroad Shooting Brake Concept in Detroit and, more recently, in the Offroad Concept in Beijing amidst rumors of the TT sports car platform expanding into an entire family, we're not surprised to see this more utilitarian five-door hatchback showcar here in France. This, despite the fact that Audi already counts similarly proportioned A5 Sportback and A7 Sportback models in its lineup.
Of the TT line extension concepts, this Sportback certainly looks the most production ready, with a bare minimum of showcar tinsel masking realistic proportions and detailing. We think it's quite handsome from stem to stern, even if it's a bit familiar looking. The design incorporates Audi's trademark big-grille look with the TT's prominent arched roofline and heavily radiused fenders, along with a rear lighting graphic that subtly echoes the A3. Despite its leggy looks, the TT Sportback Concept is surprisingly compact, spanning less than a foot longer overall than the production 2016 TT despite its 4.7-inch longer wheelbase and extra set of doors. Those sleek looks come at least partially as the result of an overall height that sits 1.2 inches lower than the TT coupe.
One week after a leaked sketch ran on these very pages, Audi has introduced the latest member of a "potential TT family," according to Audi board member Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg. This is the TT Sportback Concept, a five-door, 400-horsepower version of the brand's stylish sports car and at this point, it looks darn likely to herald the debut of a third body style for Audi's design icon.
Unveiled at the expansive Volkswagen group night celebration ahead of the 2014 Paris Motor Show, the TT Sportback Concept is the most evolved version of a form factor that's seen a slow striptease throughout 2014, first with the Allroad Shooting Brake Concept in Detroit and, more recently, in the Offroad Concept from the Beijing Motor Show.
For Paris, the car being shown by Audi is absent traditional concept car traits like oversized wheels, miniscule mirrors and bizarre interior treatments, giving it a far more production ready appearance than either of the previous TT-based concepts. The exterior, meanwhile, is clearly reminiscent of the third-generation car (that roofline is pure TT), although there are a number of styling decisions that remind us of the compact A3, particularly in regards to the taillights.
The fine folks at Fourtitude recently sat down with Audi of America President Scott Keogh, and among other things, learned that the potent little S3 sedan could be offered with a manual transmission in the United States someday. That sort of sounds like the usual company line to us, but Keogh reportedly said the company is "looking very closely" at adding the manual to the S3, which currently is only available with a dual-clutch automatic.
Fourtitude also brought up the possibility of a hotter RS3 - a vehicle we've seen testing before, as a hatchback. We don't doubt that this more potent compact is already a done deal, but Keogh reportedly mentioned that the sedan will get this treatment. An RS3 for the US? Sign us up, for sure.
Head over to the Audi enthusiast site to read more from their talk with the company's US boss.
With the debut of the new TT and TTS hardtops in Geneva earlier this year, as well as the more recent debut of the convertible model, Audi has ticked the same body style boxes as the first two generations of TT. Unlike those earlier examples, though, the German luxury manufacturer has provided a slow and steady parade of concepts showing off possible directions for the TT.
First, we had the Allroad Shooting Brake Concept from the 2014 Detroit Auto Show. Then, in April, we saw the Offroad Concept, whose biggest differentiation from the Detroit concept was its extra pair of doors, making it appear, at least superficially, quite similar to one of Audi's Sportback models. This clear evolution from shooting brake to neo-Sportback might not have meant much, had the image you see above not leaked.
This is, allegedly, the third member of the larger TT-based concept family, and - surprise, surprise - it has massaged the profile of the Offroad Concept into something that, to our eyes, appears far more grounded in reality. It looks like a natural fit into Audi's line of four-door-coupe models, which are more fleshed out in Europe, thanks to the presence of the A5/S5 Sportback. Slotting in a TT-based model could represent a coup for Audi, as such a small four-door with such obvious sports car roots would be mostly unchallenged.