2004 Audi A6 3.0 Quattro- Timing Belt Service Done-new Front Suspension- Clean! on 2040-cars
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Auto blogTue, 21 May 2013 09:28:00 EST
By the end of this decade, India is expected to be one of the top three car markets in the world, but automakers are already starting to duke it out for sales. In terms of premium brands, Automotive News says that Audi has jumped out to an early lead for sales in the country due in large part to the recent introduction of the Audi Q3 (shown above).
In 2012, Audi's sales increased 43 percent, rising to 9,350 units and outselling BMW (8,686) and Mercedes-Benz (7,015), both of which experienced a drop in sales last year of 9.5 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively. While none of these sales figures are particularly significant on a global scale, the article says that the market for premium cars in India is expected to quadruple by 2020 up to around 120,000 units. AN attributes Audi's lead to its offering of new SUVs while its rivals have been focusing on small hatchbacks.
Interruptions like the Canadian Grand Prix, Le Mans, Pikes Peak, that ridiculous Porsche 911 GT3 and the really good, really outrageous Jeep Cherokee, are among the distractions that delayed the conclusion of this tale. If you'll remember, in Part 1 we started off in a parking lot in Sebring with an Audi A8, headed anywhere that would empty our tank, and after five days in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale and Pompano Beach we bolted in the middle of the night for a breakfast date at an IHOP a couple hundred miles away.
We last left proceedings at a Chevron pump beside the West Florida Turnpike, somewhere around midnight in the humid wilds, having done 660 miles and spent $89.40 to put 20.992 gallons in the great white whale. We had done average speed of 31 miles per hour at an average rate of 27.5 miles per gallon. Those kinds of numbers, as we demonstrated, are good enough to put you in the fuel economy orbit of the Toyota Corolla - to be precise, it only cost $6.40 more to cover that 660 miles in the A8 TDI than it would in the Japanese compact. That led us to conclude that there were just a couple of Starbucks Venti lattes between the A8 and the Corolla, assuming we conveniently ignore the two cars' purchase prices. Turns out we were wrong: it didn't take long for a commenter named "mike" to set us straight when he wrote, "It's clear you weren't lying about not frequenting Starbucks...no way could you get two venti lattes for $6.40." Mike, we salute you - our ignorance of terrible coffee has served the higher purpose of emphasizing the strong case made by the diesel Audi.
But that A8... well, the wheels were still on the damn thing and we had to drive them off. That meant five more days of pilot duty to get us from wherever the hell we were to Wildwood and Daytona Beach, FL, then Brunswick, Macon and Atlanta, GA, then Birmingham, AL, and back to Atlanta.
We first saw the Audi Quattro Concept at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, and since then we've been tugged this way and that by a series of rumors as to whether the car will be built or not, and whether such a car will live at the accessible or the exalted end of the cost spectrum. A report in Germany's Auto Zeitung from June restarted the fires of gossip with a report that a production version of the concept will appear at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and put it firmly in the exalted sphere.
Now, just a month from the show, Auto Bild has a similar report, sketching out an upmarket car but on a different platform. Back when we drove it, the Quattro concept was built on a spaceframe based on the RS5 platform and got its go from a 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine with 380 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque (the show car got 408 hp from a turbocharged five-cylinder). The June report from Auto Zeitung said this new reveal would be powered by a modified version of the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 from the RS7 that would put out something like 650 hp. Auto Bild, on the other hand, reports that the engine will be tuned to something like 600 hp and the new concept will ride on an "enhanced" version of the A6 platform.
Both reports agree that the car we'll see will preview Audi's new design language with "tauter, more angular lines." Lightweight and exotic materials will be used in efforts to reach a supposed target weight of 1,200 kilograms (2,640 pounds), down from a target of 2,900 pounds in earlier report. Auto Bild says that Audi still hasn't decided whether to make a production version, but if they are correct about the direction of the concept, any retail offering based on it isn't going to be cheap.