Three years after the first Audi Ur-quattro was introduced, an upgraded variant was shown at the 1983 Frankfurt Motor Show. Classified as the Audi Sport Quattro S1, the result was a steroid-infused version of the original vehicle. Similar to the Plymouth Superbird and the Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR, the Audi Sport Quattro S1’s presence as a production car was only a formality so the brand could compete with a better race car. Featuring cutting-edge carbon fiber body panels and an all-aluminum turbocharged engine generating 444 horsepower in competition trim, the car also existed as an early application of Audi’s now common S badging. Thirty years since the premiere of the first Sport Quattro, Audi is reviving the legacy for a concept design modernized and depicting future trends for the German premium car make.
Looking at the Audi Sport Quattro Concept, car enthusiasts with good memories should be comforted with the knowledge they are not suffering from déjà vu. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Ur-quattro in 2010, Audi revealed a modern retelling of their memorable performance car. The Audi Quattro Concept was even considered for limited production but the plan was derailed last year. Broken-hearted Audi Ur-quattro lovers might find the 2013 Audi concept car as a difficult creation to admire in risk of traumatizing themselves further. For some who were awaiting the splashy tribute sports car, the presence of the Audi Sport Quattro Concept borders on cruelty. It is already noted as unlikely that the Sport Quattro Concept will evolve much further than an amusing prototype.
The only major stylized difference from the 2010 Quattro Concept to the 2013 Sport Quattro Concept is the front end is identical to Audi’s current production machines. The use of carbon fiber aerodynamic elements provide a splitter and diffuser honour their past as well as impressing 21st century counterparts. A vehicle weighing 4,078 pounds, the Sport Quattro Concept’s engineers has pursued the advantages of high strength steel and aluminum in creating a solid composition for the vehicle. The hood is detailed with louvers on the passenger side corner. Outlet ducts behind the front tires servers as one of the final characteristics used to define the Audi Sport Quattro Concept from the 2010 concept look-a-like. Borrowed from the new A8 sedan, Matrix LED lighting is employed all around the Sport Quattro Concept incorporating diodes delivering custom illumination based on a wide range of conditions. The two-seat concept vehicle dimensions present a wide vehicle at 54.57 inches.
A racing-oriented interior included with the Audi Sport Quattro Concept places the driver first. Equipped with a multi-function steering wheel providing the quick access control layout that a Formula 1 driver would receive, the Sport Quattro Concept also provides the operator with a heads-up display and a digital instrument panel. The original Ur-quattro is regarded as a pioneer for utilizing the then-space age LCD electronic instrument cluster on a production car. Operating using an available Race mode, the Audi Sport Quattro Concept’s display provides the driver with a central speedometer as well as race track information. Interior focus on racing also includes attention to luxury appointments. The Audi Sport Quattro Concept is an air conditioning system integrated into the vents for pinpoint accuracy.
Powering the 2013 Audi Sport Quattro Concept, something more ambitious than a 306-horsepower turbocharged engine beats under the hood. Running on a quattro all-wheel drive platform, the concept vehicle operates as a plug-in hybrid. A 110-kilowatt electric motor fed from a lithium-ion battery pack allows the Sport Quattro Concept to travel 31 miles without a single drop of gasoline. However, when gasoline power is called upon with the Audi Sport Quattro Concept, a twin-turbocharged, 4-liter V8 engine is summoned to life providing 560 horsepower and 516 pounds feet of torque. This eight-cylinder gasoline engine is the same powerplant propelling the Audi RS7 Sportback. When working in unison, a collective effort of 700 horsepower will be transmitted through the quattro drive system. 0 to 60-mile per hour acceleration for the Audi Sport Quattro Concept is estimated at 3.7 seconds. Top speed for the hybrid vehicle is appraised at 189.5 miles per hour.
Ahead of the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, several retro-themed show cars have top billing. Like Audi, Volvo revisited their P1800 design with their Concept Coupe. In both cases, flashbacks of past legends include a forward-look into what is expected to be powerplants for future performance cars.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
This past weekend, the crown jewel of Audi’s 2013 racing season was campaigned. Making history last year as the first hybrid race car to win the 24-hour race, the Audi R18 e-tron quattro defended its accomplishment for a second-straight year at the Circuit de la Sarthe. Completing 348 laps worth 4742.89 kilometers around the 4.273-kilometer road course, Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Loïc Duval combined efforts to bring the #2 Audi prototype to a 12th win since the 2000 Le Mans race. As a team, Audi Sport Team Joest R18 e-tron quattro race machines claimed the first, third and fifth place positions in the 2013 edition of the French endurance classic.
For some, seeing the Audi Sport Team Joest organization once again celebrating a victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans was somewhat of a sleeper story. Despite the near magic of constantly winning a daylong endurance race, the competition in most of the Le Mans races contended since 2000 would consist of one Audi racing against another Audi prototype car. Even the company’s press release seemed to be taking the news of their 12th 24 Hours of Le Mans win in 14 runnings in stride. Perhaps what had been most coveted is an adversary to the great name. From 2007 to 2011, Peugeot gave Audi a reason to fear losing to the 908 HDi FAP race car. Losing the 2009 endurance classic to the Peugeot 908, The Audi Sport effort in the prototype category was never as determined as it was in the following year’s event when the R15 plus recaptured begging rights of Le Mans.
As Peugeot withdrew from the prototype category, the top class in sports car racing once again needed a formidable challenger to give the Audi R18 e-tron quattro a run for its money. Fortunate to say, the 2013 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans did provide a reason for the TDI diesel/electric hybrid race car to push hard. Last year, a new effort from Japanese auto giant Toyota appeared to have the scope to topple the Audi Sport dominance of sports car racing. Toyota Motorsports entered the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans race with lots of potential but was ill prepared to compete with their brand-new TS030 Hybrid car. However, as Toyota and Audi met in subsequent WEC sports car races, TS030 Hybrid became a threat to R18 e-tron quattro.
In the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans, spectators were treated to one of the more contentious prototype battles. Though the lead Audi R18 e-tron quattro finished a lap in front of the Toyota, the fact the Japanese car was able to spoil a podium sweep was stark contrast to a year earlier. Fending off a challenge from a stout Toyota effort, the Audi R18 e-tron quattros were split by the rival race machines that collected second and fourth place overall.
Drivers of the #2 Winning his ninth Le Mans 24-Hour race overall, co-driver of the #2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro Tom Kristensen explained the feat personally. “For me, Le Mans was filled with very personal emotions this time. I’m proud to drive for the world’s best team. This applies to all teammates, all employees in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm and for Audi Sport Team Joest. They make it possible for us to realize a dream. Now this dream has come true again – winning the fastest and toughest race under the direction of Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich.” said Kristensen. For Kristensen and long-time teammate Allan McNish, the win for Audi Sport Team Joest duo was their first since 2008. In contrast, the winning car’s third driver 31-year old Frenchman Loïc Duval would toast his first overall victory at Le Mans.
The 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans victory was overshadowed by a tragic event occurring only minutes into the race. LMGTE-AM class driver Allan Simonsen crashed a wall hard in his Aston Martin. After the lap three crash, the Danish driver Simonsen was initially reported conscious when emergency crews recovered him from the car. However, a short time after the incident, it was announced that Allan Simonsen had died because of his injuries. A haunting reminder of the dangers of a sport propelling human beings at blazing, a death of race car driver is a time where victories less not important and mortality in taken into account. The Le Mans race continued realizing the loss of a speed-seeking comrade (the first death at the 24 Hours of Le Mans since 1997).
For Audi Sport Team Joest, some drivers and crewmembers may have recalled the death of Michelle Alboreto. In 2001, Alboreto was testing an Audi R8 prototype when a tire failed causing the car to veer into a wall. Michelle Alboreto has been the only driver who died in the Audi prototype effort since it was founded in the late 1990s. Similar to Audi, Aston Martin Racing continued to race after the news of Simonsen. Due to the fatal crash of Allan Simonsen and several other long safety car periods, the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans overall distance completed was the shortest since 2001.
For the Audi Sport Team Joest organization, the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans successfully fought to be recognized as the top of the sports car kingdom. However, at the top, it was evermore clear to the team this particular victory celebration would be somewhat muted. Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich stated, “That was the most difficult race I’ve experienced in my 15 Le Mans years. One reason, no doubt, was having to see a young race driver from Denmark lose his life this weekend. We’re feeling with his family.“ A fellow Danish driver, Tom Kristensen dedicated the win to recently departed Allan Simonsen.
Information and photo source: Audi AG, Automobile Club De l’Ouest
In previous postings, the presence of Audi product placement in the recently released Iron Man 3 movie has been spotlighted. The involvement of Audi in the Marvel Comics based blockbuster was heavily publicized and (to a degree) blatant. Drawing a North American audiences to fork out 175.3 million dollars during the opening weekend, the success of Iron Man 3 and several related media appearances have placed vehicles like the Audi S7 Sportback as well as the R8 e-tron in view of maximum eyeballs.
In contrast to the on-screen promotion of Iron Man 3 where Audis were placed alongside Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow, the German automaker has forged a connection to another upcoming 2013 Hollywood blockbuster. Not specifically related to the film Star Trek Into Darkness, an Internet video released ahead of the movie’s May 17th release features the actors behind the franchise’s most popular Science Officer in competition. A video titled “The Challenge”, the original Spock Leonard Nimoy and the new Spock Zachary Quinto face-off in an Earth-based driving adventure.
Pitting Spock against Spock, the video has Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto racing to a golf country club with the losing participant paying for lunch. Quinto loads his golf clubs into an Audi S7 Sportback while Nimoy attempts to win “The Challenge” in his Mercedes-Benz CLS 550. It’s amazing that the Spock actors just happen to be driving competing European vehicles presented in the four-door coupe sub-category. Being an Audi video, it is natural to see the Quinto’s drive in the S7 Sportback is a more harmonious experience than Nimoy did with his CLS 550. As a Star Trek fan, Hearing Leonard Nimoy’s dialogue getting bleeped was as amusing as the time in Star Trek 4 and at the end of Star Trek 6 when Spock dropped some “colourful metaphors”. Without giving much away, the Audi S7 Sportback obviously prevails in “The Challenge”.
The end of the challenge but not the Audi video, both Spocks present at the country club delivers additional treats to Star Trek fans. For those fans of the original series bitter about Zachary Quinto beating Leonard Nimoy, the older Spock drew upon a logical move to triumph in the challenge despite the drive. At the very end of the video, a cameo appearance is made by the autonomous-driven Audi TTS. Witnessing the self-driving vehicle firsthand, both Nimoy and Quinto respond “Fascinating!”.
Since Star Trek was set in a futuristic setting, product placement had proven difficult on the popular sci-fi series for decades. The current attitude of Hollywood has not left the Star Trek franchise immune to the influence of in-film advertising. The J.J. Abrams 2009 Star Trek has found an occasion to depict a 23rd century existence for Budweiser and Nokia. The Audi video is one of what have been several satirical occasions where the actors explore their Star Trek personas in real life to advertise products. In a continuing mission to explore new worlds, the Internet video is final frontier in advertising.
Audi’s Zachary Quinto vs. Leonard Nimoy: “The Challenge”
Information, photo and video source: Audi AG
For a premium car company, Audi has devoted much attention to proving the practical side of their vehicles. From the Audi Ur-Quattro rally that dominated world rally during the 1980s to the technology-laden R18 e-tron quattro currently rolling to victory in sports car’s World Endurance Championship, Audi has demonstrated the extremes of quattro all-wheel drive and TDI diesel engines. However, like other automotive brands, Audi vehicles have enjoyed time to bask in the limelight of showbiz.
This week, the highly anticipated North American release of Iron Man 3 will place Audi in the product placement spotlight. Audisite.com is taking an opportunity to rediscover some of the most famous Audi appearances on the big screen and silver screen.
Audi S8 Sedan
TV/Movie Appearance: Ronin
A 1998 action/crime film, Ronin starred Robert De Niro and was directed by John Frankenheimer. In the world of motorsports, Frankenheimer is known as a cinematic legend for the 1966 Formula 1 racing movie Grand Prix. Showing off a flair for shooting vehicles at speed in Grand Prix, Ronin proved to be another gem from the direction of Frankenheimer. In a typical John Frankenheimer fashion, chase scenes embodied an extra special realism. Insisting high-speed scenes be performed without the many special effects Hollywood typically uses, the Frankenheimer treatment required skilled driving. One of the many vehicles involved in Ronin was an Audi S8 quattro.
Featured in two scenes driven by the character Larry (portrayed by Skipp Sudduth), the 360-horsepower S8 sedan first hustled around dark Paris streets. Later, the Audi S8 appeared in the climax scene where De Niro and his team of mercenaries pursue a man with a valuable suitcase. The combination of brawn and performance eventually proved too much for the Citroen XM. Though the movie used a crew of stunt drivers, actor Skipp Sudduth performed most of the live driving scenes himself in the Audi S8.
TV/Movie Appearance: I, Robot
In a future where sophisticated robots walk the streets, Audi appears to have become the United States’ top-selling automotive brand. Part of the 2004 blockbuster film I, Robot, Audi contributed its four-ring badge to multiple cars featured in-screen. Taxi cabs, police cars and the vehicle driven by Will Smith’s character Detective Del Spooner. In the Chicago of 2035, Spooner drives a two-passenger sport coupe called the Audi RSQ.
Creating an interpretation of where motoring would be in 30 years, Audi contributed The RSQ movie vehicle resembled the Audi TT as well as the yet-to-be released R8 supercar. Riding on spherical wheels, the Audi RSQ was once depicted spinning multiple times around while still maintaining some form of control. While only a prop vehicle, the I, Robot Audi RSQ is associated with a number of advanced technologies. In the construction of the film RSQ, it was reported rapid prototyping robots were used to assemble the cutting-edge design in real life. In the futuristic world, the Audi RSQ featured autonomous driving capability on the freeway system (though Detective Spooner would regularly disengage the program). Audi’s research into Piloted Driving technology could result in a 2035 similar to that in I, Robot.
Audi 200 Sedan and 200 Avant
TV/Movie Appearance: The Living Daylights
James Bond is most famous for his association with the Aston Martin brand. However, agent 007 is known to rely on the vehicles of other automakers. Handling a Lotus Esprit in two movies, Bond has also driven vehicles from BMW, Ford and AMC in some of his high-profile chases. In 1987’s The Living Daylights, a Q Branch modified Aston Martin V8 would have a lead automotive role as 007 rushes away from Russian patrol officers. Through two parts of that same James Bond adventure, Audi vehicles contributed in a strong supporting role.
Two variants of Audi products were involved in ‘The Living Daylights’ At the beginning of the movie, an Audi 200 sedan was driven by James Bond through a border crossing between Czechoslovakia and Austria. Later in the film, James Bond is seen waiting in an Audi 200 Avant model surveying General Pushkin’s arrival to a hotel. Unlike the Aston Martin star car in The Living Daylights, the Audis survived unscathed.
In the 2012 James Bond movie Skyfall, Audi once again appeared prominently at the opening scene. An Audi A5 coupe served as a getaway car for a bad guy.
TV/Movie Appearance: Iron Man Film Series
For what has proven to be the Audi brand’s most recognized product placement, Marvel’s Iron Man franchise adaptation to the big screen has involved the participation of their German engineered luxury cars. The presence of an Audi A8 or most recently a S7 Sportback resides briefly in numerous scenes throughout the trilogy. For all three films, when the fictional billionaire is not wearing his newest Iron Man suit, Tony Stark would be seen driving the Audi R8 supercar.
In the first film, Tony Stark drove the R8 coupe (wearing a ‘Stark 4’ vanity plate) to a charity benefit. The first appearance was little more than a cameo spot in the 2008 film. In Iron Man 2, a white Audi R8 Spyder received a greater screen time. The supercar was featured at the beginning and during a scene where Tony Stark was hauling items needed for his work in creating a new element. For Iron Man 3, Stark has acquired an all-electric e-tron model of the Audi R8. An impressive feat on the basis Audi is not even selling that particular vehicle.
TV/Movie Appearance: Ashes to Ashes
Running for three seasons on BBC, North Americans may not be entirely familiar with the television show Ashes to Ashes. A previous show called ‘Life on Mars’ depicted a present day male police officer suffering injuries and awaking in 1973. The follow-up series ‘Ashes to Ashes’ was a story set with a similar experience occurring to a policewoman shot in the present day world and transported to 1981. Both series names were titles of David Bowie songs. In Ashes to Ashes, an Ur-Quattro, one of Audi’s most defining vehicles, is part of this supernatural world.
Wheeled by the brash detective chief inspector Gene Hunt (portrayed by Philip Glenister), the red Audi Ur-Quattro was a memorable part in the 24-episode Ashes to Ashes television show. A relatively new vehicle at the time the show was set, Audi’s first quattro all-wheel drive vehicle propelled by a turbocharged five-cylinder-engine was depicted as tearing up the streets of London with as much grace as the rally car courses during the early 1980s. Along with the physical appearance of the Audi Ur-Quattro on the show, the vehicle became immortalized with Hunt‘s catchphrase, “Fire up the Quattro”.
Enjoying newfound fame with the BBC show, the Audi Ur-Quattro played an inadvertent role in the 2010 British election. First, the Labour Party used the Ur-Quattro in an attack message against Conservative candidate David Cameron. However, the Conservative party turned around and used the image with the adapted phrase “Fire up the Quattro, it’s time for change”.
Information and photo source: Audi AG, IMDB
During the 2013 Super Bowl, Audi’s “Prom” commercial attracted a lot of buzz. Some groups believed the nature of the boy kissing the prom queen was more sexual assault rather than a daring moment. Giving some context to the ad for the Audi S6 sedan, we have no idea if there was some form of relationship or friendship between the couple. Aside from the content of the Super Bowl commercial, the Audi spot was highlighted by its use of crowdsourcing. A process where a brand or company allows audiences to dictate a product, crowdsourcing will determine the ending from three possible scenarios on YouTube. The ending used in the Super Bowl ad resulted from 24 hours of voting.
For what is going to be Audi’s biggest product placement for 2013, Iron Man 3 is nearing its theatrical release of May 3rd. In preparation for the guaranteed blockbuster, Iron Man creator Marvel Comics and Audi have engaged in an interactive web-based story. Similar to Audi’s commercial, crowdsourcing will play a part in deciding the outcome of the comic tale supported by the automaker and Marvel Comics.
The story titled “The Cold Run” appears in the website SteerTheStory.com featuring an Audi R8 Spyder front and center through the comic. A largely straightforward Marvel comic adventure many comic book readers delighted reading as a kid, Blizzard (a lesser-known figure often portrayed as a villain in the Marvel universe) is chasing Tony Stark and his assistant Pepper Potts. Potts is driving an Audi R8 Spyder while Stark is manning his high-tech suits. Fighting to defeat Blizzard and protect Pepper Potts, the Iron Man “Steer The Story” digital comic book is slowly coming together with two chapters being posted. Two of the three chapters have already been posted leaving fans to decide between two specialized Iron Man suits. Through a Facebook, Twitter or Google+ account until April 22nd, a reader can choose if Tony Stark will don Arctic Armor or Spy-Tech Armor in order to fight Blizzard in the third and final chapter.
In addition to the vote for the armor, budding comic book artists and storytellers in the United States will have the opportunity to end Iron Man’s adventure. Through the guidance of two videos on how to draw aspects such as the Audi R8 and Iron Man’s helmet, fans will start submitting their panels through the Steer the Story contest once voting ends for the suit. To be judged on creativity, quality and cohesiveness to the previous two chapters, the winning third chapter will be posted on May 24th.
Besides contributing to the Iron Man comic “The Cold Run”, the grand prizewinner will receive an Iron Man 3 poster signed by actors and Marvel Judges, a signed Marvel Comic Book art board and a trip to San Diego for this year’s Comic Con. In addition to round-trip travel and a three-night hotel stay, two four-day passes to Comic Con 2013 will be provided. Two finalists will also receive an autographed Iron Man 3 poster.
Along with the Iron Man 3 movie where the Audi R8 e-tron will be part of the supporting cast, the fate of Tony Stark and Pepper Potts in “The Cold Run” should delight fans of the comic book character in its 50th year. Audi would likely want to acknowledge the existence of control rests in all of their vehicles.
Information and photo source: Audi AG, Marvel
Despite six years virtually unchanged, the Audi R8 supercar’s unaltered appearance continues dazzle. Whether in motion or at a standstill, the sculpted lines of the R8 have stood the test of time. When modernizing their supercar for the 2014 model year there was little sense for Audi to drastically change a cutting-edge vehicle. Still an image of the vehicle many in the sports car community have grown to Love, the 2014 Audi R8 Coupe and Spyder officially went on sale April 11th improving on their winning formula.
Individuals with a minimum of $114,900 (less delivery costs and taxes) can now experience the revisions Audi engineers have made to the modern quattro icon. “The 2014 R8 will continue to build upon that success for our halo sports car and for the Audi brand as a whole”, said President of Audi of America Scott Keogh.
Stylistic touches are subtle but important in identifying the updated Audi R8 for 2014. A redesigned grille with more defined horizontal ribs adhering to Audi’s Singleframe design. R8 badging found on the inside as well as outside areas of the 2014 Audi sports car advertises the vehicle’s exclusivity and performance boldly. New side mirrors, refreshed wheel designs, trim around round exhaust pipes and LED taillights manicures the vehicle’s demeanour to an extent only astute observer would notice. Perhaps the most illuminating feature produced to the all 2014 Audi R8 sports cars is found as forward lighting. Full LED headlamps are standard across the 2014 Audi R8 model line-up.
Looking fast, the R8 supercar’s propulsion fed through Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive will continue to be world class. The 2013 model year engines return to power the new Audi R8. A 430-horsepower 4.2 liter V8 and a 525-horsepower 5.2 liter V10 are both designed around the brand’s FSI technology. A six-speed manual transmission choice also remains part of the 2014 Audi R8 for the sports car purists dream car. For those with an open mind and a desire to keep their hands on the steering wheel, the S tronic transmission returns as a seven speed units for 2014. Available on the V8 and V10 models of the 2014 Audi R8, the seven-speed S tronic gearbox is controlled through either the center console shifter or new shifter paddles on the steering wheel. The S tronic transmission will deliver the fastest acceleration for the new 2014 Audi R8. Runs from 0 to 60 miles per hour is two-tenths of a second faster with V8-equipped Audi R8s while the V10 launches four-tenths quicker through the seven-speed S tronic compared to the manual.
Inside, the pilot of the 2014 Audi R8 Coupe and Spyder will have a thicker, perforated steering wheel to grip on to in negotiating twists and turns. A high gloss available brings greater definition to the plastic and aluminum materials creating the 2014 R8’s interior. The new leather materials inside the 2014 Audi R8 on the open-air Spyder incorporate thermal resistance for a more comfortable ride during hotter days. The Audi MMI Navigation plus system is optional on the V8 model of the 2014 Audi R8 but standard on the V10 variant. Optional equipment available for the interior of the 2014 Audi R8 includes contrast stitching and quilted leather seating.
The high output 560-horsepower model known as the R8 GT is discontinued for 2014 replaced with the Audi R8 V10 plus. All-new is the Audi R8 V10 plus model weaving many of the performance improvements of the previously-offered R8 GT. Standard carbon fiber body components such as sideblades and the inclusion of carbon ceramic brakes contribute to a much lighter vehicle compared to the basic V10 model. With the manual or S tronic transmission choice, the 2014 Audi R8 V10 plus alterations presents a 132-pound weight reduction. The weight-savings in addition to the 25 extra horsepower allows the Audi R8 V10 plus to accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour one-tenth of a second sooner. Overall speed has also been bettered by two miles per hour pegged at 198 for the 2014 Audi R8 V10 plus with a manual gearbox.
With the six-speed manual equipped, 4.2 liter V8 version of the 2014 Audi R8 Coupe priced at $114,900, the S tronic model is available for an extra $9,100. The 2014 Audi R8 V10 carries a manufacturer suggested sticker price starting at $151,200 for the Coupe and $164,700 for the Spyder. The Spyder models run about $13,000 to $14,000 more than the hardtop. For the top-end 2014 Audi R8 V10 plus fitted with the S tronic gearbox, the car will fetch a fast $179,645.
As the 2014 Audi R8 arrives in showrooms, the quattro supercar make prepares for an adventurous summer of 2013. Sports car racing in the Blancpain Endurance Series and Rolex Sports Car Series will heat up in coming months with Audi R8s ready to take honours. For 2013, motorsport-prepped variations of the Audi R8 are favourites to take some major hardware before the end of this year. An Audi R8 e-Tron will also play a part in the blockbuster Iron Man 3.
Information and photo source: Audi AG, Chris Nagy
With an Audi vehicle selling every 22 seconds, the popularity of the four-ring badge has placed greater emphasis into making the right decisions for the German luxury brand’s future. A month ago, Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi AG Rupert Stadler presented an explicit presentation on the state of the German luxury car brand. As Audi utilizes new technologies and ideas, upcoming production models could be shaped with radical concepts.
Rupert Stadler spoke proudly of the success of Audi as well as affiliate brands Lamborghini and motorcycle maker Ducati. Highlighting several new products, the Audi A3 and Audi A3 e-Tron was enthusiastically pitched. A model line responsible for over three-million Audi products sold, the new Audi A3 has already been confirmed for the United States. In addition to the Audi A3 e-tron combining an electric motor with a gasoline engine, the compact car will also be sold in a variant burning natural gas. Audi’s Stadler also spoke in depth about research into e-gas, e-diesel and e-ethanol. Derived largely from carbon dioxide, the potential with this fuel source category is a renewable product that can reduce dependency on the Earth’s reserves or farmland.
Audi still takes great pride in the construction of performance-oriented vehicles such as the newly-introduced Audi RS7 Sportback and SQ5 crossover. Stadler points out how the premium car maker delivered four new RS models during the 30th year of quattro all-wheel drive. Recent and radical vehicle introductions was the Audi RS Q3 crossover. Audi has assessed that one of every four premium vehicle sold in now a crossover or sport utility vehicle. Expecting the number to increase by 2020, the Audi RS Q3 and the SQ5 products were reactions to a growing luxury car trend.
Beyond the energy source driving future Audi products, Rupert Stadler mentioned how vehicles could be driven in the future. With many young drivers proficient in the use of their smartphone even before they receive their practice permit, the piloted driving puts vehicle control into a more familiar platform. A major attraction at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Audi’s piloted driving technology demonstrated the promise of computer-aided travel under some circumstances. After the January showcase of the system, Stadler gave a bold decoration about Audi’s piloted driving technology. Rupert Stadler is confident aspects of piloted driving will become part of production automobiles in the next decade. In his annual press conference, a more pragmatic tone recognizes the challenges for the computer-guided system. Stadler pointed to the current lack of consistent operating standards for autonomous systems like Audi’s piloted driving as a hurdle. Audi and the German government is in talks with constructing a legal consciences in the use of computer-guided driving in
With the company intending to sell two million cars by the year 2020, manufacturing capacity was a dominating topic in the final one-third of Rupert Stadler’s speech. The chairman of Audi AG has plans to commit 11 billion euros (14.4 million United States dollars) into enhancements to production facilities around the world. Stadler provided an update on Audi’s Mexican plant slated to be up and running by 2016. The future home of the Audi Q5 crossover, the auto company has already begun taking on employees in key management positions for the San José Chiapa facility. The auto plant in Mexico will be Audi’s first manufacturing facility outside of Europe used to exclusively produce vehicles for the global vehicle marketplace.
Improved fuel economy, increased production capacity and the reality we are bordering on autonomous driving is part of Audi’s future.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
The luxury car ownership lifestyle should not simply be time spent with a fancy vehicle.
Every premium car brand has taken serious measures to create a specific identity to their customer’s automotive culture. One-make auto racing series and experiences such as the Ferrari Challenge series has proven popular. Growth as a global luxury car player has meant Audi places deeper focus on emerging markets such as India and China. For the potential vehicle buyers in those countries, the opportunity to present the luxury car world could present an even grander reality. While shopping for used cars in Pune could be a motoring adventure, Audi India introduced something extra special to explore the splendors of quattro all-wheel drive and German engineering.
Since 2008, fans of Audi vehicles in the United States could experience high performance test drives of vehicles like the R8 supercar. Called the Audi Sportscar Experience, the program’s goal was to allow Audi owners or potential customers to discover the thrill of high-speed driving. The Audi Sportscar Experience is an opportunity to drive the German luxury car brand’s best performance products on international road courses. In the United States, the Audi Sportscar Experience takes place on 2.52-mile Sonoma Raceway about 30 minutes outside of San Francisco. Last year, the Audi Sportscar Experience was introduced to India. Those taking in the Indian edition of the Audi Sportscar Experience will unleash their passion on the Buddh International Circuit. Opened in 2011 as a home for Indian Grand Prix Formula 1 event, the 3.192-mile Buddh International Circuit racecourse is quickly challenged by Audi showroom products.
With almost 400 participants signing into the program in the first year, the Audi Sportscar Experience was exceptionally well received in India. former Formula 1 driver Karun Chandhok, football star Baichung Bhutia and co-driver of Audi’s class winning effort at the 24 hours of Nurburgring Aditya Patel were part of the 2012 edition of the Audi Sportscar Experience. “It is always exciting to drive Audi sportscars, and this is a great initiative for enthusiasts. It is a fantastic way for anyone to experience the thrill of circuit driving using refined techniques, and a glimpse of what lies ahead in motorsport”, said Chandhok. Audi is restarting their performance driving classes for 2013 with a notable tweak.
For 2013, the Audi Sportscar Experience will prove gentler on the pocketbooks of Indian residents at 30,000 INR (equating to $547.32 in American funds). The 2013 entry fee to the Audi Sportscar Experience is significantly lower than the inaugural year’s cost. For the price of admission to the 2013 Audi Sportscar Experience, student drivers are treated to a series of instructed lessons on performance motoring. A variety of four sensuous Audi performance vehicles is on-hand for the 2013 edition of the performance driving school. Audi S4, Audi TT, Audi RS5 and the Audi R8 V10 plus serves as exciting educational tools for learning points of finer performance driving. Ranging from 211-horsepower to 550-horsepower, professional instructors will instil participants with the confidence of slalom and lapping the Buddh International Circuit at maximum speed.
Two phases of the Audi Sportscar Experience is presented. The first phase called the Audi Racetrack Experience introduces drivers to the basic points of performance handling of a vehicle. Instructors will assist drivers in honing the skills with training in sectors of the track. The second level is the Audi Racetrack Experience Advanced teaching drivers about racing lines to clock safe, consistent laps.
Audi stresses event attendance numbers will be limited. The exclusivity of the 2013 Audi Sportscar Experience is done to maximum the time devoted to individual lessons.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
Since the start of 2013, American Audi enthusiasts have been receiving an array of new vehicles. A 354-horsepower Audi SQ5 and the Audi RS7 Sportback delivering a mammoth 560 horsepower have stood out on the 2013 auto show circuit. Arrival of the Audi Q3 in North America is imminent as is a refreshed version of the A3 Sportback. Though the Audi A3 Sportback serves comfortably as a premium, athletic urban vehicle since 2006, the United States luxury car marketplace changed a lot over this time. Compact luxury cars, once existed as a niche segment, is now a major part a premium brand’s line-up. Of late, vehicles such as the Cadillac ATS, Acura ILX and the Mercedes-Benz CLA elevated the refinement bar in the compact premium vehicle category. Audi has chosen the 2014 model year is the ideal time to bring the A3 sedan to North America.
Headlining Audi’s presentation at the 2013 New York International Auto Show, the Audi A3 Sedan and the S3 Sedan aims to heighten the expectations that premium vehicle drivers can expect from smaller vehicles. Assembled in a four-door notchback body style, the Audi A3 Sedan rests within a 175.5-inch bumper-to-bumper length. The 2015 Audi A3 sedan is 6.5 inches longer than the outgoing Audi A3 Sportback. Despite the sizeable lengthening, the 2015 A3 sedan is still well-placed as a compact car. In fact, the new A3 sedan stands closer to the size of many subcompact cars including the Chevrolet Sonic and Nissan Versa.
Styling of the new Audi A3 Sedan sports a higher sophistication than it predeceasing vehicle. Confirming with the image of the Audi A4 and A6 four-door models, the 2015 A3 sedan exhibit’s a mature, sporty exterior appearance. A picture perfect depiction of luxury and performance in an entry-level vehicle, Audi suggests their new 2015 S3 sedan channels the attitude of the original Audi A4. Audi’s next-generation styling wears the well-defined, trademark Singleframe grille and a pair of HID headlamps casting an animal-like stare. Full-LED headlights will be optional equipment for the first time on a compact luxury car. The Audi A3 sedan’s chiselled side and rear-end detail possession a sharp flow projecting sport sedan finesse. Flooding the interior with ambient light, the 2015 Audi A3 sedan comes with a standard panoramic glass sunroof.
Inside a leather-upholstered interior, the Audi A3 sedan oozes with high quality charm. Plastics, leather and aluminum trim accents of the 2015 A3 sedan’s cabin richly corresponds with Audi’s personality for merging racing and luxury. When natural light from the panoramic sunroof is limited, optional LED interior lighting package brightens the Audi A3 sedan’s interior with a dazzling glow.
In addition to the instant sensation of luxury, occupants of the 2015 Audi A3 sedan will find technology bringing the riding experience to a zenith. Graphic processing technology from reputable company NVIDIA provides the structure to handle powerful three-dimensional images. Operating from a seven-inch, center-mounted touchscreen, Audi’s MMI technology supplies an immersive method for entertainment and convenience features. Audi connect is also available on the new 2015 Audi A3 sedan offering several improvements. The Audi connect technology adds 4G/LTE data transfer abilities and a Picture Navigation service integrated with Google navigational systems. One of the standout features included on the 2015 A3 sedan’s equipment list is Audi phone box. An interesting new technology that works with a connected mobile phone, Audi phone box can extend broadcasting coverage through a specialized antenna. There is also a new app integration program that will allow hands-free access to smartphone apps. A 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen Sound System is also available for 705 watts of audio performance.
Power for the 2015 Audi A3 sedan will comprises of gasoline and diesel powerplants. A 170-horsepower 1.8 TFSI, two version of a 2.0 TSFI and a 2.0 TDI Clean Diesel engine will be available on new compact sedan. A six-speed S Tronic gearbox will be standard with all 2015 A3 sedan powerplant options. Front-wheel drive or Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive can be used to deliver engine power to the ground.
Beyond the performance of the Audi A3 sedan, the S3 sedan explores top echelons in compact motoring. The 2015 Audi S5 sedan combines quattro all-wheel drive with a high output version of the 2.0 TFSI engine. Though horsepower figures for the North American version of the 2015 Audi S3 sedan is unconfirmed, the European models defines performance output at 300 horsepower. The 2015 Audi S3 sedan will also include additional enhancements such as a lowered suspension, 18-inch wheels and Audi drive select vehicle dynamics system.
The 2015 A3 sedan is also making big news for alternative powertrains in Audi products. The e-tron name will be worn on a plug-in hybrid version of the 2015 Audi A3 sedan. A 1.8 liter TFSI engine is joined to a 75-kilowatt electric motor on the Audi A3 sedan e-tron. This will mark the very first time the e-tron badge will be worn on an Audi production car.
With increased competition in the entry-level luxury car market in North America, Audi’s 2015 A3 sedan may be a well-timed launch.
Photo and information source: Audi AG
For a company associated heavily with aluminum construction, why does Audi involve themselves with iron? Part of the first two Iron Man films adapted from the Marvel comic book franchise, the premium car company happily lent its trendy products. Making several cameo appearances, Audi vehicles contributed to the style of the movies (note Iron Man’s eyes when looking at the headlamps of an Audi car). Robert Downey Jr’s character Tony Stark drove a coupe as well as the Spyder variant of the Audi R8 in Iron Man and Iron Man 2. The Audi A8 sedan and Q7 crossover also received screen time during the action-adventure series. The third movie in the current blockbuster Iron Man series will again have Audi products on display.
Serving as the all-wheel drive chariot for high-energy, fictional billionaire Tony Stark will be a white Audi R8 e-tron supercar. In addition, Stark‘s girlfriend Virginia “Pepper” Potts (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) is receiving her own set of Audi quattro wheels. Potts will be seen driving an Audi S7 Sportback in the 2013 film.
First applied to the Audi R8 in 2010, the e-tron powerplant layout pitched the company’s first experiment in production-oriented electric car. Premiering in 2009 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the R8 e-tron was a 313-horsepower concept was heavily Audi. Even Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive in a zero-emissions car was present in an all-electric setup. While the electric powerplant is now as powerful as a conventional 4.2 liter V8-powered R8, the Audi R8 e-tron’s roughly 1,000-pound weight reduction provided compensation. Acceleration of the R8 e-tron from 0 to 62 miles per hour was estimated at 4.8 seconds.
Since introduction, the Audi R8 e-tron supercar could be seen under evaluation at places including the Nurburgring. Despite optimism and excitement to compare an all-electric Audi supercar, limited production originally planned for the R8 e-tron for late 2012 is now indefinitely delayed. An appearance in Iron Man 3 at least preserves some hope that the e-tron philosophy hasn’t been abandoned by Audi. Perhaps, if Tony Stark lent Audi the power capacity of an arc reactor, the future of an R8 e-tron sports car would reach fruition.
In addition to the Audi R8 e-tron, the Marvel universe revolving around Iron Man already brought a concept car to fictional streets. In the 2012 blockbuster “The Avengers”, a yet-to-be publicly released Acura NSX convertible appeared. Decked out in a red resembling part of Iron Man’s colour scheme, Tony Stark was seen giving Dr. Banner (A.K.A. The Hulk) a ride following their battle to save the world.
The return of Audi’s Marvel universe appearance in Iron Man 3 is quickly approaching. United States release of the highly-anticipated film is May 3rd.
Spoiler Alert: One excerpt of the recent Iron Man 3 trailer shows the untimely demise of an Audi R8 when Stark’s mansion is under attack. At the 1-minute, 31-second mark of the trailer, the white Audi R8 e-tron is seen falling with other debris. If harm simply comes to that car as result of an evil force, that is reason enough for Iron Man to send some repulsor blasts flying.
Information, photo and video source: Audi AG, Marvel