For Sale By:Dealer
Options: Leather Seats
Sub Model: quattro 4dr
Exterior Color: White
Number of Cylinders: 8
Burton, Michigan, United States
There are plenty of commonalities to be found between astronauts and racing drivers. Both are daredevils by definition (if not by trade), both subject themselves to unfathomable G forces and both face very real risks when strapped into machinery that makes the very best use of advanced propulsion, aerodynamics and composite construction technologies. Yet you don't find much crossover between the two. There was talk of Niki Lauda, himself an experienced pilot, training to go into space with Virgin Galactic (which itself was sister to an F1 team for a while in Richard Branson's empire), but that didn't seem to materialize. Now we're receiving news that Felix Baumgartner will contest the Nürburgring 24 Hours this year.
Felix Whomgartner, you ask? Felix Baumgartner. He's more of a skydiver than an astronaut, but he made history in 2012 when he jumped out of a space capsule and set the record for the highest altitude in a manned balloon, the parachute jump from the highest altitude, and the highest velocity freefall as part of the Red Bull Stratos initiative. In other words, he may as well be an astronaut, because he fell down to the earth's surface from the stratosphere.
For his next challenge, Baumgartner will be climbing into an Audi R8 LMS Ultra in an attempt to tackle the Nürburgring. Having contested a handful of spec races under the VW Group umbrella, he'll undertake several test sessions and practice races before the main event in June, in which he'll alternate behind the wheel with professional racing drivers Frank Biela, Marco Werner and Pierre Kaffer. The initiative is part of the Audi race experience program that allows gentleman racers to team up with seasoned pros to take part in real races. Baumgartner will undoubtedly prove its highest-profile participant.
Audi officially unveiled the A3 Sportback E-Tron at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. While not a production model, the plug-in hybrid gives us a good glimpse at what the German automaker has in store for future products. The five-door gets around thanks to parallel hybrid drivetrain comprised of a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine and a small electric motor integrated into the vehicle's six-speed dual-clutch transmission. While the four-cylinder churns up 150 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, the motor contributes 100 horsepower and 242 lb-ft of twist. All told, the design allows the E-Tron to serve up its full power from just 1,750 rpm.
An 8.8-kWh lithium-ion battery sits under the floor beneath the rear seat, complete with a liquid cooling system designed to keep the pack in its optimum temperature range. The A3 Sportback E-Tron can be charged in as little as 2.5 hours with a 3.6-kW charger, yielding an EV range of up to 31 miles. The machine can also travel using the electric motor, ICE or a combination of the two for a total range of 584 miles. Check out the full press release below.
Audi is planning a whole raft of new models for the near future, and now we have further insight into what at least some of those models might be. The German automaker has reportedly filed trademarks for a series of model names, including SQ2, SQ4, Q9 and F-Tron.
Following in the footsteps of the SQ5 performance crossover, the SQ2 and SQ4 nameplates would seem to indicate that Audi is planning performance versions of its upcoming compact crossovers. The Q9 would suggest that a larger crossover is in the works to slot in above the already gargantuan Q7. And the F-Tron name could be used for a fuel-cell version of the A7 or other models, following a similar naming pattern to the e-tron range of electric vehicles.
Of course Audi could simply be filing these trademarks as a safeguard and may not actually build any of these models. But one way or another, it indicates a certain measure of intent exists as Ingolstadt gears up to expand its lineup with 11 new models in the next few years.