Warranty: Vehicle has an existing warranty
Sub Model: 3.0L TDI Pr
Number of Doors: 4
Exterior Color: Black
Interior Color: Brown
Alexandria, Virginia, United States
The Detroit Auto Show media preview kicks off on Monday, which means the time is just about ripe for previously embargoed images and information to start leaking out onto the web in a major way. Case in point is this Allroad Shooting Brake from Audi, a seemingly close-to-production vehicle that may foreshadow the styling of the upcoming Audi TT, or hint at the looks of a Q1, or both.
The TT bit may seem far fetched, but we do know that Audi has used a small wagon concept to preview the design of an upcoming TT before - back in 2006 before the release of the gen-two car. We also fully anticipate the Q1 to be breaking cover sooner rather than later, so the safe money is that the concept closely resembles what that production vehicle will ultimately look like, though perhaps with a bit more height overall.
And, frankly, be it a TT or Q1 or both, we like what we're seeing. Sharp character lines on a rounded body form follow the idiom of the current TT rather nicely, while the big-wheels-at-all-corners stance plays into the sporting character we'd expect from any small Audi. Inside, we see the same Virtual Cockpit, MMI controller, and vents that we recently took in at CES, though with a slightly different steering wheel (with the starter button built right in). Tidy work here, too.
The argument is made in a Reuters article: Audi is falling behind other luxury brands, such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW, due to a lack of research-and-development spending and "brain drain," or the migration of top executives and R&D chiefs to other parts of the Volkswagen Group. Reuters notes that Audi's current R&D chief is the third in 16 months.
Audi, which contributed to 40 percent of VW Group's $11.6 billion in profit the first nine months of the year, is delivering cars at a record pace: 1.31 million were delivered from January to October 2013 versus BMW's 1.35 million. Yet Audi, Reuters reports, doesn't have a halo car akin to BMW's new electrified i3 and i8 or an answer to Mercedes' plug-in-hybrid S-Class, and the R&D spending at Audi is less than BMW and Mercedes by a fair margin. It's noted in the article, however, that Audi benefits from other R&D spending within VW Group.
Reuters mentions that BMW "trumpets its new 'i' series" and the new Mercedes CLA and GLA ranges are winning "rave reviews" as part of its argument that Audi's recent lack of technological innovation could hurt future sales. Those cars do pack tons of new technology, some of which are firsts for mainstream production cars. But last time we checked, the i3 could be causing BMW's stock to slide, the CLA isn't receiving the rave reviews that Reuters would have you believe and the GLA hasn't been reviewed yet.
Having won the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times, the American Le Mans Series title another three times and, most recently, the FIA World Endurance Championship, Allan McNish doesn't have much left to prove. Which is why he's retiring, ending this stage of his 33-year driving career on a high note.
In a statement just released by McNish himself and his team at Audi, the Scotsman said "I've had a fantastically successful time with Audi and feel it's the right time to step back from Le Mans sports-prototype racing and to look at other opportunities."
Just what those other opportunities might be is another matter. He's raced in DTM, Formula One and the International Formula 3000 series, where he won two races in 1990. McNish, 44, is also part of the BBC Radio's F1 commentary team, serves as president of the Scottish Motor Racing Club and is often called upon by the FIA to act as a grand prix race steward. Audi says he'll continue to be part of the team, just not in the driver's seat. Given his success in endurance racing, he's surely got a wide variety of opportunities to pursue, and we're looking forward to seeing where he lands.