Auto blogTue, 19 Aug 2014 11:57:00 EST
Where to even begin with the Audi R8 V8.
Let's start with the Ferrari 458 Italia, a car that doubles the base price of the Audi. It's much more fun to drive than it is to talk about; discussions among enthusiasts usually begin with someone saying, "It's amazing!" and end with everyone else agreeing. Opposite that is the vast, swirling nebula of cars that are often more fun to talk about than they are to drive.
In between, there are very few cars that are as fun to discuss as they are to drive, and this Audi is one. It's a car that challenges our notions about its actual competitive set and, even better, its philosophical competitive set, its driving experience, its price, its future, its present viewed from the future, and its verifiable and/or potential pedigree.
When you bring your car to a dealer, you expect a technician to take it out for a spin, just to make sure there aren't any noises, rattles or other behavior that you may have missed. Maybe they run a few miles along a predetermined test route or take a quick run down the highway. You do not, however, expect a tech to abscond with you vehicle for a full weekend
That is just what happened to Chris Jackson, though, an Audi S4 owner in Calgary. His car was taken to Glenmore Audi - as mandated in his lease agreement - due to an issue with the navigation system. After realizing he'd left something in the car, he swung by the dealer on Saturday to pick it up, only to discover the car wasn't on the dealer's lot.
Naturally, he approached the dealer about the missing sedan.
Eric Kim just graduated from the from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, at the end of the spring 2014 semester, and for his senior thesis project he came up with this futuristic Audi endurance racer called the Airomorph. He even got some input Audi designer Kris Vancoppenolle.
The Airomorph imagines a future Audi racer for Le Mans that features adjusting fabric panels to fine-tune the car's aerodynamics as it laps the course - a technology inspired by catamaran racing. "I started from scratch and had the freedom to deliver and execute a white space design for the future," said Kim to Autoblog via email. It's also somewhat similar to the idea behind BMW Gina concept, although Kim says that wasn't an inspiration for his design. The body here is made from a single piece of a silver, expansion-resistant material stretched over a frame underneath. The fabric anchors at the wheels, front and rear section with movable cables, and hydraulic actuators pull the wires to shift the aero as needed.
The actual shape echoes Audi endurance racers from the past and present. In profile, you can easily see the current R18 with its arcing cockpit and fin down the rear. Of course, that's interpreted through a little bit of Blade Runner with the covered wheels sticking out from the body. The front shows the rectangular shapes from the earlier R15. There doesn't appear to be any way to actually see out of the vehicle, though.
It has already been nearly a year since we completed our First Drive of the premium pocket rocket Audi S3, with official pricing for the car detailed earlier this summer. Those are facts, but facts won't help you while away your lunchtime in blissful, car-dreaming reverie, will they?
No, for help with imagining just exactly the kind of Audi S3 that you'd like to put in your garage, the freshly launched configurator is just the thing.
Every 2015 Audi S3 will come with 2.0T power under the hood - to the tune of 292 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. The most basic Premium Plus trim (an interesting renaming of "entry level" we'll grant you) starts at $41,100 before destination, while the higher-content Prestige asks $47,000. The extra six grand buys you full LED lighting, tri-zone climate control, S model appearance upgrades like quad exhaust tips and a more advanced infotainment suite with Bang & Olufsen sound.
You've gotta hand it to the Audi A8. Last year, Mercedes-Benz launched the truly stunning S-Class, putting the rest of the high-dollar luxury flagship class on notice. With the brand-new S-Class turning heads and garnering all sorts of praise from the automotive press, classmates like the BMW 7 Series, Jaguar XJ and Audi A8 started to look, well, old. But Audi didn't see fit to just let its big sedan carry on and let the Mercedes take the cake.
So when Audi refreshed its A8 line for the 2015 model year with only minor updates, I kind of shrugged it off as just a quick way to keep the big sedan fresh until an all-new, hopefully S-Class-trumping version arrives. But then I drove the S8 pictured above, and I'm no longer so sure the Merc's shadow is as big and imposing as it once was.
Spoiler alert: the Audi S8 is simply fantastic.
Mon, 04 Aug 2014 14:30:00 EST
An electric turbo system boosts efficiency between 15 and 20 percent, according to Audi.
Turbochargers, like acoustic guitars, use moving air to create magic. And electric turbochargers, like electric guitars, provide the ability to amp up that magic to amazing new levels.
Audi sure made waves when it rolled out the original TT in the late 1990s, putting fashion forward with a stylish coupe that neatly summed up the design direction the company was headed in. But that was a decade and a half ago, and the TT has moved on considerably since then.
The German automaker has since revealed its third-generation TT, replacing the original twice over with ever-more performance-focused but no less stylish successors along the way. But it wasn't until last week that the first new MkIII TT rolled off the assembly line.
That took place, of course, in Gyor at Audi Hungaria Motor Kft. It's the same assembly plant that handles the company's A3 sedan and cabrio, with the facility also handling final assembly of the TT ever since the factory opened in 1997 and the model began rolling off the line in '98. Last November, the plant in Hungary built its 500,000th TT, and now officials are ushering in the era of the new model.
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 08:00:00 EST
There's no doubt that Tesla is downshifting while Fisker has been grinding its gears. But it wasn't always that way.
In the wake of Tesla's recent success, it's easy to forget that there were once two California electric carmakers with bright futures.
With the racing pedigree provided by the Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the German king of Le Mans is capitalizing on the connection between its road cars and race cars at every opportunity. Maybe there's an entire range of Le Mans Editions for the automakers diesel-hybrid offerings, with perhaps Tom Kristensen acting as the brand's spokesperson for the technology in Europe. You'd be wrong, though, because despite the R18's overwhelming successes in endurance racing, Audi the road-car manufacturer doesn't offer a single diesel-hybrid production car.
This factoid will hopefully be as short lived as it is disappointing, though, as a diesel-electric is around the corner, according to the brand's tech boss, Ulrich Hackenberg. In fact, it gets better than a mere diesel-hybrid; it will be a plug-in diesel-hybrid, only the second to hit the market, alongside the European-market Volvo V60.
According to Hackenberg, the new tech will be the result of a marriage between the brand's well-received 3.0-liter, TDI V6 with an electric motor. The next-generation Audi Q7 (shown above) will be the initial recipient, confirming previous reports that claimed a PHEV TDI could come to the next-gen CUV. Its MLB architecture, meanwhile, would allow the plug-in-hybrid-diesel powertrain to be fitted easily enough to the A8 luxury sedan. While the new Q7 should hit the market at some point in 2015, it's unclear when the PHEV TDI model could see the light of day.
Audi only debuted the 2015 Q3 compact crossover for the US market at the 2014 Detroit Motor Show in January, yet that feels like a lifetime ago. However, the little luxury CUV is finally getting close to reaching these shores, and alleged pricing for it is leaking out.
According to leaked documents from Audi Q3 Forum (right), the premium compact crossover has a starting price of $32,500 (*plus an additional destination charge of $925), for an actual cost of $33,425. That covers the front-wheel drive model with a 200-horsepower 2.0 TFSI turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. Upgrading to a version with Quattro that spins all four wheels brings the bill to $34,600 - $35,525 after destination charges. In case you wanted further proof, Audi's new Q3 teaser site confirms the starting price of $32,500.
The documents list two trim levels - Premium Plus and Prestige. Premium Plus includes standard features like a panoramic sunroof, heated seats, Xenon headlights with LED running lights and dual-zone climate control and more. Paying $3,900 more for Prestige adds MMI Navigation Plus, Bose surround sound, a power tailgate and other goodies.