Auto blogWed, 24 Sep 2014 09:13:00 EST
The TT may be first and foremost a coupe, but in presenting the third-generation model, Audi has toyed with all sorts of body-styles. There's been the prototypical coupe, of course, but also shooting brake and crossover concepts. The one thing it hasn't shown us is the convertible model, but that ends today as Audi takes the wraps off the new TT Roadster and TTS Roadster.
Set to be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show next month, the new TT Roadster naturally follows its fixed-roof counterpart's lead closely, but with the addition of a folding fabric roof mechanism. Made of magnesium, aluminum, steel and plastic, the mechanism weighs 6.6 pounds less than its predecessor's, helping keep the center of gravity lower. It also folds flatter to allow for more luggage space, and can deploy or retract in ten seconds at speeds up to 31 miles per hour. With the roof up it's also quieter, and with a drag coefficient of 0.30, Audi claims it's the slipperiest in the segment.
Of course, Audi's also worked to keep the weight down and rigidity up. As a result, the 0-62 sprint only takes an extra 0.2 seconds, quoted in the TTS Roadster at 4.9 seconds instead of 4.7 in the TTS coupe. Top speed remains pegged at 155 miles per hour. That, of course, is with the top-spec, 310-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo four, but Audi will also offer the less potent 184-hp version as well as a 2.0-liter TDI, mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed DCT, though specific performance figures for each version were not disclosed in the press release below.
Audi started a revolution in the world of rallying when it paired an all-wheel-drive system with a turbocharged, five-cylinder engine and a rakish, three-door body. That car, the Quattro, didn't just upset the entire balance of the World Rally Championship, it (eventually) led to a transformative effect on the consumer car market.
But we're not just interested in this car simply because history has proven the UrQuattro to be important - we love its sharply creased looks, its offbeat soundtrack and its gravel-spitting abilities. Evidently, so does the crew from Petrolicious, as they've lavished their lenses upon the car. This particular model hails from 1983, and has covered a healthy 175,000 miles, says owner Manuel Leon Minassian. His first experience with the Ur (meaning "original") came in Beirut, where the car received plenty of praise from students at his school.
That first encounter led to a long passion for the Quattro, culminating in his purchase of this car four years ago. Take a look at Minassian and his Audi in the latest video from Petrolicious.
Audi apparently knows how to get to the front of a line when it comes to driverless vehicles. The German automaker had the honor of being the very first company to receive one of California's new autonomous vehicle driving permits. It was a perfect followup to it being among the earliest ones to get a similar permit in Nevada a few years ago.
Getting the California permit is a big deal for the automaker because the state is also home to Audi's Electronics Research Lab. Among its current projects, Audi is working on the human-machine interface to communicate whether the person or vehicle is actually controlling the driving. All of this hard work is building toward offering autonomous motoring in freeway conditions in the next five years, Audi claims.
Obviously, autonomous vehicles from companies like Google have been testing in California for a while, but the new permits are meant to safeguard public safety when testing the driverless cars in public. The new rules include things like always having a person able to take control and more stringent standards like registering each autonomous car and the eligible drivers with the state. Any models testing on public roads also have to carry at least $5 million in insurance in case of injury, death or property damage.
It's no secret that a new Audi Q7 is on the way. The replacement for the aging, three-row luxury CUV has already been spotted once, in December of 2013. Now, though, we have images of the second-generation model lapping Germany's Nürburgring Nordschleife, and it just happens to be showing a feature we reported on at the end of July - a plug-in-hybrid powertrain.
Given away by its high-voltage stickers on the window and a spare door to hide the charger - note how both the driver and passenger sides sport an access point - our spies snapped a series of photos, and put forth the compelling idea that the new Q7 would use the PHV system from the Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid.
If that's the case, that should mean at least 320 horsepower from a 3.0-liter, supercharged V6, while an electric motor chips in a further 95 ponies for a total system output of 416 hp.
Electric cars and hybrids are here to stay, much to the apparent dismay of some auto enthusiasts, but that doesn't mean they have to represent the death of enjoyable driving. Granted, the initial run of hybrids in the US like the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius weren't exactly tailor-made for aggressive folks behind the wheel, but things are clearly changing. In its latest video, Evo takes a look at three examples from Europe's new crop of electrified vehicles to show that the future of fun motoring is safe and sound.
Evo editor Henry Catchpole kicks things off with one of the most bizarre EVs of the bunch, the tiny Renault Twizy. Its low power and 50-mile-per-hour top speed might make it miles away from a hot hatch, but there's still fun to be had in extracting the most from this little city car. Next up is the Audi A3 E-Tron, which isn't technically available yet. It's a step in the right direction of eventually creating an affordable, fun-to-drive hybrid hot hatch.
However, the main event is Catchpole getting some seat time in the BMW i8. The Bimmer can really fly -literally in this case - and the butterfly-door coupe offers a clear look at the prospects for electrified sports cars. It might not have the power of hybrid supercar contemporaries like the LaFerrari or Porsche 918 Spyder, but the BMW doesn't cost nearly as much, either. See? Improved efficiency doesn't have to mean boring.
What came first, the metrosexual or the Audi TT? While it was close, the descriptor-turned-epithet preceded the 1995 concept car by one year. However, they were both notable cultural evolutions and they happened to work together perfectly. Hugh Grant, playing the cad Will Freeman in the 2002 film About a Boy, could not have chosen a better example of character than his silver TT.
A decade later, the original TT was still important enough that when rumors of the third-generation coupe began to surface in late 2012, the most exciting fantasy was that the 2014 coupe might "recapture some of the distinctiveness and impact" of a 16-year-old car (the TT came to market in 1998). Even speculation by dedicated Audi observers thought the brand would do something novel, even if not mimicry. The obvious takeaway: no one was going to be lighting any candles for the departed second generation. All of that is why when the first leaked image slipped onto the Internet, people began to get suspicious. When the third generation took the stage at the Geneva Motor Show, we could almost hear the digital deflation over the Ethernet, our poll results notwithstanding.
Yet it's still the TT, and in spite of having seen its interior and virtual cockpit and clocked its specs, we couldn't judge it before heading to Marbella, Spain to drive it. What we found out was while it's better than the second generation, it's still very much a TT.
The Audi A6 is already a fairly handsome, German luxury sedan, but the whole range is receiving some styling updates in Europe this fall. Audi's US arm would not directly confirm which of these updates will be coming to America, instead just telling us that an updated A6 will be coming next year.
On the outside, the tweaks are fairly minor. The company's single-frame grille, which shows up throughout the model lineup, gets some very subtle styling changes, and the lower bumper and its air intakes are also reshaped. More obviously, the headlights have a new form with the LED running lights cutting through them in roughly the shape of a T, as opposed to outlining them, as before. A similar shape is also used for the updated taillights, and there are now rectangular exhaust outlets around back, as well. In profile, the side sills also get a harder crease toward the rear of the sedan.
Inside, things are kept generally the same, as well. There's a new Flint Gray interior color for the A6 and Salsa Red for the S6. But the biggest change is a power-retracting eight-inch infotainment system using the Nvidia Tegra 30 graphics chip. The optional night vision assist system is also improved with new functions, according to Audi.
Racing fans may know Audi best for its Le Mans team that's positively dominated the endurance racing scene. But as formidable as its Le Mans program is, that's only one of the racing disciplines in which Audi competes. It also competes in the full FIA World Endurance Championship, as well as Germany's popular DTM touring car series and supports customer teams in GT racing series around the world. And now the competition division is getting a new headquarters.
Audi Sport has until now been based in an old supermarket near to the company's head offices in Ingolstadt, but is now moving into a brand new, state-of-the-art facility 12 miles to the west in nearby Neuburg. The result of some 20 years of planning and two years of construction, the complex covers 116 acres of land in Neuburg-Heinrichsheim and will house engineers, technicians and other staff who deal with the R18 E-Tron Quattro, the RS5 DTM and R8 LMS Ultra that compete the world over.
The facility was officially opened this past Saturday with participation from top Audi brass and local government officials and included demonstrations from all three of those racecars around the on-site test track. The works team has begun moving in and the customer racing department will move into its new Motorsport Competence Center in the first half of 2015.
Audi is issuing a recall covering some 70,000 vehicles worldwide, due to problems with their brake boosters. According to Automotive News Europe, diesel-powered examples of the A4, A5, A6, A7 and Q7 are all being called back due to this issue.
The report indicates that while the brakes in these vehicles still function, the enhancing power from the booster may fail due to a possible leaky membrane.
All of the affected vehicles are powered by the 3.0-liter TDI turbodiesel V6, and were built between March and December of 2012. It is unclear as of this writing how many of these vehicles are in the States, though remember, US customers are not privy to 3.0 TDI examples of the A4 or A5. Autoblog has reached out to Audi for specific numbers, and we'll update this space when we hear more.
A lot of online videos try way too hard to be funny, but the promo from Audi for the 66th Emmy Awards on Monday, August 25, shows that if you put faith in a proven group of hilarious actors, you can strike comedy gold. The short film reunites Breaking Bad stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul as the proprietors of a pawnshop of rare and obscure items called Barely Legal Pawn. They have their own fictional reality show (which really needs to exist) that rips off Pawn Stars, and this segment has comedy veteran Julia Louis-Dreyfus coming in to sell her Emmy award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy as Elaine on Seinfeld. Louis-Dreyfus also pays the title sponsor's bills by subtly incorporating a 2015 S3 into the otherwise car-free gag.
It would ruin the video to spoil any of the jokes; you just need to watch it. Cranston actually bridges the gap here because way before he became famous as Walter White on Breaking Bad, he had a recurring guest role on Seinfeld as dentist Dr. Tim Whatley. If you're a fan of either show or just need a hearty chuckle for today, this one is definitely for you because all three former Emmy winners put in fantastic performances.