For Sale By:Private Seller
Exterior Color: Black
Interior Color: Black
Drive Type: AWD
Rochester, Minnesota, United States
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.
If you've been thinking that Audi is in need of a new design direction, you're not alone. Clean though its designs may be, they tend to be more evolutionary rather than revolutionary. But it seems Ingolstadt is on the verge of launching a new design language with a new A9 concept.
The teaser image above was obtained by Germany's Auto & Design magazine, giving us our first glimpse at the concept Audi is expected to unveil at the upcoming LA Auto Show. The concept is tipped to be based on the same MLB platform that will underpin the next-generation A8.
The concept itself could lead to a new production flagship model as well, slotting in above the A8 sedan and A7 five-door. Details remain scarce at the moment, but we'll be watching to see how this development progresses.
Although it may not have the brand recognition that Mercedes-AMG does or BMW's M division, Audi's Quattro GmbH department is responsible for its most exciting products - including the RS line of performance models and the R8 supercar. For the past year and a half, Quattro GmbH has been led by Franciscus van Meel, but soon it will get a new leader.
According to reports, van Meel (46, pictured right) is being reassigned to head up the Audi R&D center in Beijing. In his place, Audi is promoting Heinz Peter Hollwerweger (60, pictured above) to the post. The move is expected to be confirmed in advance of the Geneva Motor Show, at which point we can expect Audi to claim that it was part of a planned rotation. However sources suggest that van Meel's departure came at the behest of R&D boss Ulrich Hackenberg, who was apparently unhappy with how van Meel has been handling development of the next R8 and of the R8 E-Tron project.
Why Hackenberg would have van Meel reassigned to run one of his own R&D centers is beyond us, but Hollerweger is apparently expected to be able to get the job done faster and better. Whether he'll have any major changes in store for the Quattro division and its products is another matter, but we're looking forward to finding out.