Bidding goodbye to an outstanding 2012 calendar year that saw an 11.7 percent global sales climb that amounted to roughly 1,455,100 vehicles, Audi enters 2013 in a position where even greater opportunity exists. Creating a product line-up that has nailed the current marketplace looking for modern, premium vehicles that marries old-school luxury comfort with innovative technology, the German auto brand’s most iconic feature celebrates an impressive milestone continuing to speak to Audi’s success. After 33 years, the five-millionth version of Audi’s quattro permanent all-wheel drive system was celebrated by the “four ring” marque.
Becoming the centerpiece of a monumental feat for the German luxury brand, a white Audi A6 Allroad was led down the assembly line of the Neckarsulm manufacturing plant. A vehicle limited to European markets, the A6 Allroad’s presence as the five-millionth quattro all-wheel drive vehicle comes after three decades that involved more than 140 Audi products sporting the trademark drivetrain. Audi’s all-wheel drive history was established in 1980 by the Audi Ur-quattro introduced as the Geneva Motor Show. An early adopter of all-wheel drive in the modern era of motoring, Audi’s original vehicle would be a forerunner to a trend that almost every current automaker has added to at least one car. Bridging the history of the Audi quattro all-wheel drive system employment in passenger cars, the 2013 A6 Allroad was photographed alongside an Ur-quattro at the German production facility.
Though the quattro name is bracing for its official 33rd birthday in March 3rd, the actual technology behind the all-wheel drive has been constantly improved. Audi’s quattro drive system evolved as it was mated to dual-clutch transmissions and TDI diesel engines in the late 1980s. Placed with coupes, sedans and eventually crossover vehicles such as the Audi Q7, quattro was proudly associated with a rear mid-engined production vehicle starting in 2007. The Audi R8 supercar’s success as a halo car allowed the quattro all-wheel drive system to be showcased in a state of pure driving performance. Ever evolving, a crown gear differential and torque vectoring have been most recent additions to quattro drive now more than ever making use of electronic driving assist programs.
The five-millionth quattro all-wheel drive fitted Audi is definitely a standout number based on the reality the auto brand is traditionally reaching an upscale automotive crowd. Making the milestone especially impressive is how the production total had made such strides in recent years. During the 30th anniversary of the quattro system, there were 3.3 million Audi cars and crossover vehicles mated with the permanent all-wheel drive configuration. According to Audi, new car buyers in 2012 requested a quattro-equipped model 43 percent of the time. The Neckarsulm manufacturing facility output of Audi vehicles accounts that one-half of all products are powered through quattro all-wheel drive systems.
In recent Audi global line-ups, only the subcompact Audi A1 had been denied a quattro all-wheel drive system. This changed when Audi green lit production of an A1 quattro in Europe. Bred through racing and even provoking bans by some sanctioning bodies, Audi quattro drive has also regained its spectacular appearance in competition as late. Creating their electrified version of a prototype sports car, the quattro name joined the Audi R18 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year. The Audi R18 e-tron quattro racecar was driven to overall victory in 2012 becoming the first hybrid vehicle to win the great sports car endurance challenge. The 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona more than six months later was another great moment took place when a Alex Job Racing Audi R8 Grand Am car fitted with quattro all-wheel drive grabbed first place in the GT class.
Reaching five million vehicles, Audi only intends to extract more potential from the quattro drive trekking into new realms of driving excellence.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
If Audi has taught observers and fans one thing when comes to their approach in motorsports, know that the company is never keen about long waits for success. Last year, Audi made its debut in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series’ GT category with two customer-fielded R8 supercars. Recording an overall finishing position of 44th and 45th in the 2012 Rolex 24 at Daytona, the debut of the Audi R8 Grand-Am race machine was nowhere near the competition level spectators were used to seeing from the German brand’s sports car effort. One year later, the Audi R8 Grand-Am brigade arrived at Daytona International Speedway with a decisively bolder ambition in 2013; capture GT class victory after 24 hours of racing.
Accepting the previous year as a test, Audi removed several barriers to secure a powerful showing at the 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Doubling their force of Audi R8 Grand-Am cars this time around, all four vehicles would again be campaigned by so-called customer teams. However, the 2013 showing at Daytona for the R8 Grand-Am race cars were visibly supported by a much greater presence from Audi Sport. Firstly, the Audi R8 Grand-Am driver line-ups bolstered some notable names including DTM Series stars Felipe Albuquerque, Edoardo Mortara, Oliver Jarvis, Frank Biela and Markus Winkelhock who sport detailed resumes employed by the auto company. In addition, the APR Motorsport, Alex Job Racing and Rum Bum Racing were receiving other forms of aid throughout the weekend. During the race, pit crewmembers from the Audi Sport Team Joest operation were servicing at least one of the R8 Grand-Am cars. Face-to-face with the Porsche GT3 Cup, Chevrolet Camaro and Ferrari 458 machines in the GT category, the would competition perhaps realize prior to the green flag in qualifying Friday that the Audi R8 Grand-Am cars are planning to leave with Rolex watches (the victory trophy for the Rolex 24 at Daytona).
While a fleet of Porsches prevailed in qualifying, 24 hours around the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway’s road course would greatly play into the hands of the Audi R8 Grand-Am and its 5.2 liter V-10 engines. The mechanical problems that hindered the Audi R8 Grand-Am’s performance last year was nowhere to be found in 2013 competition. However, the lack of mechanical problems did not mean a runaway for the Audi R8 Grand-Am race cars. The #13 Rum Bum Racing, #24 Alex Job Racing and #52 APR Motorsport vehicles would each face time penalties for a range of incidents. For the #24 Audi R8 Grand-Am car, there was a 30-second time penalty levied following a spin by driver Edoardo Mortara. During the dawn of the morning sun, the #52 APR Motorsport R8 Grand-Am (shared by Ian Baas, Marc Basseng, René Rast and Frank Stippler) was hit by one of the faster Daytona Prototype machines.
Working hard against the setbacks through the 24-hour period, the Audi R8 Grand-Am race cars would prove too much for the other GT class competitions. At the checkered flag, the Alex Job Racing #24 Audi R8 Grand-Am car claimed class victory at Daytona. Consisting of the driving team of Edoardo Mortara, Dion von Moltke, Filipe Albuquerque, and Oliver Jarvis the #24 completed 678 laps and over 2,400 miles at Daytona to a roughly 1.5-second advantage over the #52 Audi R8 Grand-Am APR Motorsport car. Audi’s first victory at Daytona as well as their first Grand-Am Sports Car Series win, Alex Job Racing has been to GT class victory at the 24-hour race in 1999.
A one-two finish was the biggest achievement for the Audi teams competing at the 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Honourable mention also goes to the two other Audi R8 Grand-Am cars that completed the full time distance in the Daytona sports car racing event. The #13 Rum Bum Racing Audi R8 featuring the driving partnership of Frank Biela, Christopher Haase, Matt Plumb and Markus Winkelhock finished seventh place in GT. The #51 Audi, a second campaigned by APR Motorsport, came home 12th in the GT class completing 668 laps. Matt Bell, David Empringham, John Farano, Alex Figge and Dave Lacey were teamed up in the #51 Audi R8 Grand-Am car.
As Audi continues to advance and compete with their prototype R18 e-tron Quattro race cars, the German premium carmaker is quickly starting to mobilize their produced-based racing program again. This year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona victory is the latest accolade for the production-based Audi R8. In the past 12-month period, the Audi R8 in the hands of several teams have been on a tear in worldwide endurance. Similarly prepped Audi R8 LMS have already won 24-hour races at the Spa-Francorchamps, Zolder and the Nurburgring.
Honouring the prototype R8 race car that instrumentally built Audi’s ongoing sports car racing dynasty, the production-based R8 is quickly constructing its own legacy.
Information and photo source: Audi AG, Grand Am
Introduced in 2011, the A7 Sportback immediately presented a unique attitude for Audi. A German luxury car manicured using the athletic yet aerodynamic proportions of a sports car, the five-door product proved popular. Aside from the North American version of the Audi SQ5 crossover presented in Detroit, the 2013 North American International Auto Show played host to the world debut of the next step up for the premium five-door. Attracting great buzz, the 2014 Audi RS7 Sportback met the media and prepares to be greeted by car-loving crowds ahead of its retail release.
A fun, even practical design, the Audi A7 Sportback was combined with a formidable supercharged 3-liter powerplant for its arrival in dealerships. Receiving Audi’s S performance line treatment for the 2013 model year, the Sportback was even an extra sense of personality. 19-inch alloy wheels, S tronic gearbox, a sport rear differential and some defining aesthetic touches have merged with the 420-horsepower, eight-cylinder TFSI engine to create the Audi S7 Sportback. A five-door part of a recently created market segment for vehicles fusing coupe-like attributes into sedan-style vehicles, ultra high performance competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG and the Porsche Panamera Turbo S has left the Audi behind. With 560-horsepower, the Audi RS7 Sportback is the pavement-burning quattro runner needed to send the ultimate message in the language of performance.
Doing the A7 Sportback-derived body style credit, Audi has dropped a highly tuned version of their 4.0 TFSI V8 engine under the hood of the RS7 Sportback. A twin-turbocharged powerplant, relative boost pressure reaching 1.2 bars is fed through a dual twin-scroll unit. Turbocharged air is also coordinates with an intercooler right before it contributes to the RS7’s engine output. The 2014 Audi RS7 Sportback’s maximum 560 horsepower is planted at the higher end of the engine rev spectrum between 5,700 and 6,700 RPM. Only an R8 GT supercar can equal the RS7 Sportback’s horsepower credentials in the Audi brand line-up. In contrast, the 4.0 TFSI engine’s 553 pounds feet of torque kicks in at 1,750 RPM for authoritative pick up and go. Translating into vehicle performance, the Audi RS7 Sportback’s engine allows acceleration times from 0 to 60 miles per hour to be reached in 3.9 seconds. When taken to top speed, the RS7 Sportback will be measured at 189.5 miles per hour.
When the Audi RS7 Sportback is cruising at steady speeds, the cylinder on demand system on the eight-cylinder powerplant temporarily commissions a shutdown for half its combustion chambers. Effectively running as a four-cylinder vehicle, the cylinder on demand function on the Audi RS7 Sportback preserves around 10 percent of the vehicle’s fuel consumption. Start-stop technology is combined with the high-tech 4.0 TFSI V8 powerplant to net high performance with more than acceptable gasoline-burning efficiency. Fuel economy for the Audi RS7 Sportback is appraised at 24 miles per gallon.
Channelling power through an eight-speed tiptronic the 2014 Audi RS7 Sportback is propelled by an enhanced quattro all-wheel drive system. The lockable center differential includes a separate oil cooling unit to better regulate fluid temperatures under what could be extreme driving conditions when 560 horsepower is in play. An optional sport differential can be added to the RS7 Sportback allowing performance-oriented control of the rear axle. Torque vectoring software and electronic stabilization control are at the forefront in assuring the Audi RS7 Sportback remains surefooted. The Audi’s RS7 ride and handling is balanced by either a sport suspension plus system with dynamic ride control or air suspension. Both types of suspension systems present adjustable characteristics through Audi drive select.
Behind either 20-inch forged wheels or one of three available sets of 21-inch cast wheels, braking promises the harness the RS7 Sportback’s free spirit. Standard vented discs with six-piston calipers will nicely decrease the Audi’s momentum. If an owner’s intentions with the Audi RS7 Sportback involve heavy starting and stopping, choosing the optional 16.54-inch carbon fiber ceramic brake discs is probably the best course of action.
With all the high-performance mechanicals, the addition of the RS7 badging to Audi’s Sportback body foretells a multitude of stylistic as well as aerodynamic improvements. Granted an all-new front fascia, the aggressive 2014 Audi RS7 Sportback look presents larger side air inlets and the ornamental use of the “quattro” name under the license plate frame. A high-gloss honeycomb grille and matt aluminum pieces also accent face of the RS7 Sportback. Xenon plus or all-LED headlamps are found for illuminating the path of a moving RS7 Sportback as the front splitter cuts through the air. A power-extending spoiler and rear diffuser at the back of the Audi RS7 Sportback balances the aerodynamic manners of the five-door. Ten exterior colour choices are available to RS7 Sportback buyers including an exclusive Daytona gray finish treated with a matt effect.
Accomplishing a firm sport appearance outside, the Audi RS-trimmed vehicle continues to express its performance message inside. Decorated with a generous use of aluminum-look and carbon accents as standard, the materials lining the interior of the Audi RS7 Sportback deliver a stylish, high quality finish. If purchasers of the RS7 Sportback desire a different look, customization is available to augment the cabin appearance. Four seats upholstered in a choice of Alcantara/leather or a Valcona leather allows passengers inside of the Audi RS7 Sportback to ride with individualized pleasure. Standard interior equipment on the RS7 Sportback includes three-zone automatic air conditioning, MMI navigation plus and an Audi premium sound system.
In the preferential driver seat of the Audi RS7 Sportback, black-on-white gauges in the instrument panel are clearly visible through the three-spoke leather steering wheel. The front RS sport seats incorporate additional side bolstering to secure the driver when making more daring (though legal) maneuvers. Head-up display and power adjustable front seats with a memory function come at an extra cost on the Audi RS7 Sportback.
A 2014 model year car, details of the Audi RS7 Sportback’s sale availability and price have not been made official with the Detroit unveiling. While not guaranteed, it should not come as a surprise if the RS7 Sportback’s price tag pushes six figures. Despite this assumption, Audi would not be complacent to assume they may have created another hot performance product.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
As 2013 is still in its infancy, Audi has been moving with the momentum of being shot out of a cannon. Firming up their 2013 auto racing plans in December, the month of January has been like a second Christmas for Audi fans. Two world premieres are set for the 2013 North American International Auto Show (the already-announced Audi SQ5 and another product yet released), the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was a bustling scene for the four-ring auto brand.
Kicking off Monday ahead of CES with the announcement that their Audi TTS self-driving vehicle was granted a license to operate on Nevada roads, the auto company’s presence around the Las Vegas Convention Center display give fans of the brand famous for quattro drive a lot to be excited about this past week. With so many great pieces of future technology inside, Audi displayed new LED lighting, 3-D sound and the hands-free, voice-operated text messaging system set for inclusion on the upcoming Audi A3. However, where Audi stole the 2013 CES was with an exhibit of a working prototype in an outside parking garage.
Demonstrating a concept the brand calls piloted driving, Audi venturing into bold avenues in automotive technology. Piloted driving is actually the integration of driving assist self-driving properties being examined by Audi as ways to improve the experience behind the wheel. Adaptive cruise control, active lane assist and Audi pre sense name products already aiding drivers of the latest premium German branded vehicles by predicting actions on the road. The next monumental display of Audi’s piloted driving is systems that can responsibility assume tasks for brief moments with full autonomy.
When an Audi vehicle fitted with the brand’s concept of piloted driving enters a traffic jam, the technology will bring relief to the taxing ordeal of stop and go driving. Acceleration, braking and steering is electronically-controlled through Audi’s piloted driving to safely guide the vehicle through traffic jams at speeds under 60 kilometers per hour (37.3 miles per hour). Eight ultrasonic sensors, two radar sensors, a laser scanner and a wide-angle camera work together on the piloted driving vehicle scanning the road. Audi’s piloted driving technology in traffic situations is not the only auto brand looking at this problem. Ford Motor Company has been testing a similar system called Traffic Jam Assist Technology with the same objective to improve individual as well as overall vehicle moving patterns.
However, the most buzz in regards to Audi piloted driving is the ability to park itself. Going beyond parallel parking assist systems that Lexus brought to market several years ago, piloted driving can effectively take the driver out of the equation after the program is initiated. In Las Vegas, a specially equipped Audi A7 was guided in and out of parking spots autonomously. Like something you would have seen in a James Bond movie, the procedure behind Audi piloted parking is not out of the scope of modern reality. The Audi A7 piloted driving vehicles was controlled through a central computer transmitting over a wireless connection to precisely guide the car to a free parking space. In this peak into the perhaps not-so-distant future, Audi articulates drivers can operate the piloted parking system through a smartphone or key fob remote control.
Operating in a paradox with less control by the driver is actually more control, Audi’s piloted driving proposes a greatly different luxury car experience. Audi’s case history of bringing bold automotive technology to the premium vehicle marketplace is proven with all-wheel drive and turbodiesel powerplants. After the 2013 CES appearance, we can expect a lot more from the German luxury car magnate.
Information, photo and video source: Audi AG
While those vehicles often receive credit for serving the interests of performance or utility, one vehicle being added to European roadways has been a fusion of qualities. Audi’s first production crossover to be decked out with S treatment, the SQ5 crossover was also the first vehicle of the brand to incorporate a TDI engine in their sport trim.
With Audi performance models always desired in the United States marketplace, the buzz surrounding the 313-horsepower SQ5 was more vociferous as ever. Despite the fact Audi’s TDI engines has existed as a major advocate in promoting the position of diesel-powered vehicles in premium car markets in North America, regulatory and driving culture weighed heavily against the Audi SQ5’s arrival. Entering 2013, the first victory of sorts has been obtained by Audi fans stateside regarding the SQ5 crossover vehicle. Premiering at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Audi has brokered a compromise for non-European markets seeking the high-performance crossover vehicle.
Peace comes in the form of a three-liter supercharged gasoline engine. Making its home in the Audi SQ5 crossover for vehicles sold in United States, Canada, China and several other countries, the six-cylinder 3.0 TFSI engine is a formidable consolation when the exotic TDI powerplant is unavailable. Recognized by WardsAuto’s 10 Best Engines list through four consecutive years including the recent 2012 awards, there should be little concern that the gusto and grace of the SQ5 will be lost when propelled by gasoline. Belting out 354 horsepower, North American buyers will actually get higher output from that performance category than the TDI engine. What customers of the gasoline-powered Audi SQ5 will lose over the European TDI version is the colossal 479 pounds feet of torque production. The 3.0 TFSI engine under the hood of the Audi SQ5 will supply a calmer torque amounting to 347 foot-pounds.
Despite the powerplant change, the US-bound Audi SQ5 carries much of the remaining performance hardware intact. Missing the thrills of the TDI badge, Audi SQ5 buyers in the states will still adore the impact of quattro all-wheel drive. The Audi SQ5’s quattro drive includes torque vectoring to insure 354 horsepower meets the ground in the most efficient manner. Eight-speed tiptronic transmission offers the driver with choice of an automatic mode or the opportunity to manually shift through steering wheel-mounted paddles.
When the Audi SQ5 is combined with the 3.0 TFSI engine, performance remains vibrant. Acceleration from 0 to 62 miles per hour is capable in just 5.3 seconds behind the wheel of the gasoline-powered SQ5 crossover up to a top speed of 155 miles per hour. In the performance category known as fuel economy, the 3.0 TFSI equipped Audi SQ5 is quoted to deliver 21 miles per gallon in average driving conditions.
The sporty appearance of the European Audi SQ5 model is also untouched. The platinum gray grille treatment, aluminum highlights on the exterior mirrors and window frames as well as available 21-inch wheels will all make the trip from European on the North American models of the Audi SQ5. Fitted with a unique front bumper cover, the Audi SQ5’s lower look visually is also the credit of the crossover being lowered 1.18 inches compared to the Q5 crossover.
Inside, the Audi SQ5 is immersed in exciting colours and materials. Nappa leather combined with Alcantara covers the standard power-adjustable sport seats. In the driver’s seat, instruments with white numbers, gray-coloured dials and aluminum touches on the shifter paddles and pedals convey a true sense of luxury sports car vanity. Brushed aluminum, Carbon Atlas, Piano finish or the choice of an aluminum/Beaufort black wood are inlay choices available for the Audi SQ5‘s interior. With room for five passengers, the Audi SQ5 is a performance wish fulfilment machine that delights practically minded individuals with up to 59.33 cubic feet of cargo space. Audi MMI navigation plus and Bluetooth online car phone is optional infotainment gear ideal for adding high-tech with high-performance.
Making a public debut in Detroit, the Audi SQ5 will become part of dealership product line-ups during the third quarter of 2013.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
It used to a major event in a teenager’s life when they earned their right to drive an automobile on public roads. Though the far-reaching capacity of mobile computer technology for items such as smartphones and tablets have contributed to the open road being less sought-after of today’s youth, it appears soon the an Audi vehicle will decide it can drive itself taking you along as a passenger.
In a recent announcement delivered as part of a presentation at the 2013 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, a unique Audi configured with sensors and with the capacity to compute decisions previously left to a motorist has graduated to a pivotal step in advancing driverless cars. The specially equipped Audi TTS becomes the second autonomously piloted vehicle to be rewarded with a “driver’s license” for the state of Nevada. Though technology company Google awarded the first such license to a driverless vehicle, Audi celebrates their vehicle‘s operating permit as being the first acquired by a venture involving direct involvement from an original equipment manufacturer in the automotive sector.
In partnership with Stanford University, Volkswagen Group Electronics Research Lab have jointly outfitted an Audi TTS sports car with self-driving technology initially for a specialized challenge. Taking the vehicle to Pikes Peak Colorado in 2010, the driverless Audi TTS would negotiate the historic and tricky hill climb course. Consisting of 156 turns over a 12.42-mile stretch, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb course has been recorded as a test of drivers and machines since 1916. The pilot-less Audi TTS sports car’s was successful in completing the course in just 27 minutes. Equating to an average pace of 27.6-mile per hour, the Audi TTS mark comes nowhere close to effectively challenging the human-navigated winners for the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb of this past August. However, this should not take away from the fact the autonomous Audi TTS was nonetheless successful in its 12.42-mile journey.
Through their presentation at the 2013 CES, Audi’s plans for self-piloting driving and parking have become apparent. As the Audi TTS is awarded its license to operate on Nevada public roads, real-world evaluations of the self-driving electronics should produce some of the most desirable data on when some, if not all, elements of this experimental vehicle test bed will influence the next Audi products.
Information, photo and video source: Audi AG, Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
Purchasing the latest 2013 model vehicles, it seems that any car buyer should brace themselves to take a loss with every passing mile. However, as much as some of us attempt to believe that automobile ownership is not emotional, it definitely is emotional. Particularly a case with some Audi owners who have fallen in love with their German engineered machine, we’ll enjoy our quattro all-wheel drive or TDI engines as long as possible. However, the truth is that your beloved is susceptible to devaluing of the used car market. For Audi vehicle leasers want to purchase their car or crossover, you must contemplate the potential of spending more overall than an automobile is worth. Thankfully for an Audi owner, car lease deals are aided by the fact some vehicle models of the four-ring badge hold their value better than competitors.
In a 14th annual forecast published by the ALG (Automotive Lease Guide) shaped as the Residual Value Awards, one 2013 Audi product is expected to hold its resale market value better than every competing vehicle in its luxury car class. Recognized with an annual award for holding the highest rated in the Premium Midsized Utility Vehicle category, the Audi Q7 is predicted to retain an impressive residual value after a three-year ownership period. The ALG Residual Value Awards is assessed through a widespread forecast examining many elements that would contribute to the retention of higher resale value including previous vehicle history and the popularly of a vehicle in the current automotive sales industry to help compute possible product prices in the future.
While the Audi Q7 managed to grab a standalone category ALG Residual Value Award for the 2013 model year, the recent results also paints a positive picture for the Germany luxury car division as a whole. Audi is rated third among premium automobile brands after a two-year gap of residual value. Behind ALG’s top rated premium brand Acura and second-place Infiniti, Audi was able to beat last year’s category winner Lexus in the ranking.
The 14th running of the ALG Residual Value Award continues to show the Audi brand’s capability in the premium car category. Last year, Audi had received three awards for their 2012 model vehicles. The Audi Q7 was joined by the S5 coupe and A6 sedan on the previous Residual Value Awards listing.
Promising information to know for someone looking into buying an Audi product or considering buying out lease cars, the residual value study shows that desirability will give justification to your quattro love.
Information source: ALG
Photo source: Audi AG
Heading into the final run for the year that was 2012, the future regarding sports car competitions measured in hours has been a focus of announcements by Audi. Activities surrounding the Audi R18 e-tron quattro prototype race car set again to be the premium car brand’s focus in 2013. A three-car effort at the historic 24 Hours of Le Mans will be part of another endeavour into the full FIA WEC (World Endurance Championship) schedule.
For United States Audi customers and fans, loyalists will be awarded with another season of competition on the horizon in coming months.
Audi R18 e-tron quattro Doubles Up on US Appearances in 2013
The United States stint of the 2012 season was highlighted with the Audi R18 TDI cruising to victory at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The triumph by driving team of Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Dindo Capello was the 10th time since 2000 that Audi claimed top honours at the Sebring International Raceway. In the case of 2012, the Sebring 12-hour win supplied momentum that allowed Audi Sport Team Joest to not only take the 24 Hours of Le Mans but the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship’s LM class title.
The past few years, the technological prototype effort from Audi Sport Team Joest was sparsely featured on North American soil. Showing up for only the 2012 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring as part of the FIA WEC, the Audi R18 LMP1 category machines will return to Sebring with an updated version of the e-tron quattro diesel-electric hybrid on somewhat a bittersweet note for March 16th of 2013.
Indications the 2013 Sebring race could be last for the Audi prototype effort as the Grand-Am Series and American Le Mans Series will form a new sports car championship in 2014. Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich suggested, “We’d really like to use this chance and say goodbye to the fans with a nice showing after our fantastic success story in recent years.”. Bringing some much-needed relief to a rather somber declaration regarding competition at Sebring, a 2013 WEC date added to the Austin, Texas Circuit of the Americas on September 22nd. The goodbye could also be premature depending on the structure of the 2014 North American Sports Car Championship. It is possible the class rules could extend an olive branch to the high-tech prototype racers.
Audi R8 Grand-Am Car Reloaded for 2013 Campaign
In Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, 2012 marked the debut of a customer team driven effort in the tour’s GT category with the Audi R8 Grand Am racer. Converting the Audi R8 LMS competition car to conform to the Grand-Am class vehicle regulations, a rather toilsome debut at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona did provide valuable notes used to improve the R8 Grand Am sports car’s effort continuing through the 2012 season. At the season finale race at Lime Rock Park, the #51 APR Motorsport fielded Audi R8 Grand-Am finished a close second-place in the GT class.
Progress from 2012 is giving optimism that the 2013 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series could result in the Audi R8 being a more consistent force for the GT category. As of late December, the entry list for the 2013 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona have to Audi customer effort consisting of four cars. APR Motorsport has a two-car team while there will also be single Audi R8 entrants from Rum Bum Racing and Alex Job Racing will compete in the daylong race in late January.
The growing sales of Audi road cars in North America compels the German auto brand to make a memorable impact on the upcoming United States races in 2013. When the auto racing season commences, it will be up to the drivers and crews behind the Audi R18 e-tron quattro as well as the Audi R8 Grand-Am car to make the hours of 2013 count.
Information source: Audi AG, FIA, Grand-Am
Photo source: Audi AG, Grand-Am
Other than “quattro“, an eye-catching badge many Audi buyers relish is “TDI“. A trademark shared across the Volkswagen and Audi cars, the turbocharged diesel engine become a fixture of the German luxury car brand in 1989. Finding the most effective market penetration in European where the high cost of gasoline has led to diesels selling as superiors on sale charts, dedicated Audi buyers in North America have given the TDI engined products a courteous welcome for over 20 years.
Thanks to Volkswagen Group’s immediate push with clean diesel technology that was introduced to production Audis in 2009, the TDI badge has retained a respected presence on the luxury car line (even in the United States). While many of the German luxury car brand’s 2013 model year products have lost their TDI versions, take solace in the knowledge that the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show presentation for Audi has clean diesel technology preparing to flourish.
Just in time for the 2013 calendar year as well as a future where governments are expecting improved fleet-wide fuel economy and better emissions, Audi has a drastically revised their 3.0 TDI powerplant. A clean diesel powerplant with electronic controls that can make 2,000 decisions per second, the newly developed 3.0 TDI V6 has many notes of optimism for Audi diesel fans. Debuting on the 2013 model year Audi Q7 crossover vehicle that has been for sale since September, the new 3.0 TDI six-cylinder engine boasts a well-rounded improvement on the previous diesel powerplant. Weighing 55 pounds less than its predecessor (also a 3-liter six-cylinder powerplant), Audi’s 3.0 TDI is more bountiful on the power department. Finding an additional 15 horsepower, the 2013 Audi Q7 TDI is on even footing in that department with the Mercedes-Benz ML 350 BlueTEC diesel.
Coaxing added efficiency from their TDI engine design, the additional horsepower of the 3.0 liter turbocharged diesel powerplant is also married with crucial advancements in fuel economy and emissions. Audi’s new generation 3.0 TDI V6 is measured to provide fuel efficiency of 18 miles per gallon city and 28 miles per gallon highway. In combined city/highway driving, an additional three miles per gallon is possible with the 2013 Audi Q7 over the previous year’s model (Recorded by Audi as a 12 percent improvement). Complying with stricter diesel emissions criteria, Audi’s new 3.0 TDI is also slated to emit 30 percent less carbon dioxide than a near equal gasoline engine.
Premiering on the Q7, Audi’s appearance at the Los Angeles Auto Show will unveil A6, A7, A8 and Q5 variants powered by the 3.0 TDI V6 engine for the 2014-model year. The Audi A8 TDI will be the next model due to hit showrooms in spring of 2013. The remaining A6, A7 and Q5 will be added to the North American line-up in the fall of next year. Since the Audi Q7 is Audi’s heaviest production vehicle, better fuel economy will be possible from the assortment of 2014 model year vehicles. For the 2014 Audi A8 sedan, the new 3.0 TDI engine will provide average combined fuel consumption at 25 miles per gallon.
The TDI engine in North American Audi products appears alive and well into the future. Defeating diesel engine stigma in extreme ways with the Audi SQ5 (not currently available in North America), the four-ring emblem is intent to constantly reaffirm their TDI as a piece of machinery that can deliver premium quality performance with remarkable fuel efficiency.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
Reigning as perhaps the true kick-off to the international indoor auto show blitz for major automakers, the Paris Motor Show in 2012 allowed several premium car manufacturer to show off their latest technology to the world. Audi’s 2012 Paris Motor Show presentation is anchored by a concept to what the brand says will be the shape of upcoming production crossover vehicles. Revealing the versatility of a crossover with the refinement of a sports car, the Audi Crosslane Coupé is an invoking shape of the past and future.
A two-door, two-seat concept crossover creation, the Audi Crosslane Coupé casts a sporty appearance that could be squarely aimed at the Range Rover Evoque. Wearing a front end design mirroring that introduced to Audi’s car fleet which includes the A4 and A6, the Crosslane Coupé is radically defined by long, deep hood openings The rear roof pillar of the Audi Crosslane Coupé invokes the 1980s-1990s Audi Ur-Quattro as well as the concept tribute concept car Audi built several years back. Unique to the Crosslane Coupe is the targa top-like roof panel.
The Audi Crosslane Coupé concept vehicle provocative exterior design is made possible by the combination of aluminum, carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP) and fiberglass. Applied to a degree rarely seen in production crossover vehicles, CFRP is prominently featured in the front and rear structure of the Audi Crosslane Coupé as well as in the floor components. Fiberglass is also put to use on the surface of Audi concept vehicle. Impressively for a crossover vehicle, overall weight of the Audi Crosslane Coupé is only 3,064 pounds through the application of careful engineering.
As well as showcasing the future direction of Audi crossover vehicle styling, the Crosslane Coupé concept also provides a forward look to drivetrain technology. Featuring a small 1.5 liter version of their TFSI gasoline engine formula, the Audi Crosslane Coupé internal combustion power is aligned with two electric motors. Coupled to the TFSI engine, the electric motor 1 (EM 1) is designed to function as both an alternator, starter and has the capacity of providing a 68 horsepower kick to the Audi Crosslane Coupé when needed. A more powerful 116-horsepower electric motor (EM 2) is meant to operate the crossover vehicle in full electric mode. Supplied by a large lithium-ion battery, the Crosslane Coupé can roll with full electric power for over 34 miles at speeds up to 80.78 miles per hour. A specialized transmission insures a smooth transition among the dual-mode hybrid powertrain that Audi boasts could deliver almost 214 miles per gallon fuel consumption. The Crosslane Coupé is yet another example of Audi’s great vision for electrified vehicles in their concept fleet. However, despite the popularity of e-Tron exhibition vehicles, the Audi production fare remains (for the moment) isolated to less ambitious electric-assist hybrid cars. We are still awaiting a production creation from one of Audi’s many appearances at auto shows of advanced electrified vehicles.
Driver programmable “cruise” and “race” settings cater the Audi Crosslane Coupé feel to a particular driving mood. Electrified driving is empathized in cruise mode while the race mode heightens the performance characteristics of the Audi crossover vehicle.
Lavish use of CFRP along with aluminum pieces is used for the Audi Crosslane Coupé’s interior design. Presenting an atmosphere similar to a sophisticated sports car, the two-zone colouring coupled with the extensive metallic-like surfacing is quite a lively spectacle. Leather seats are placed within range of various controls and displays to provide comfort settings as well as an in-depth perspective of the Audi Crosslane Coupé’s operation. Audi connect internet connectivity is also available in the concept crossover’s interior. A Unique feature called “Escape Manager” allows the passenger of the Audi Crosslane Coupé to comment on road routes referencing the conditions to friends and family.
Information and photo source: Audi AG