Month: June 2009

Audi Updates Navigation System

Audi is updating their already good navigation system in the A3, TT, and R8. The new nav system plus MMI features a higher, 800x480px resolution displayed on a 6.5-inch screen for improved readability and graphics. Route calculation is now much faster due to an upgraded 600 MHz processor. The new system will display the speed limit on your current road as well, and will allow for more dynamic scrolling and navigating along the screen. In the optional Audi music interface, they’ve also updated the display of music information such as title information, making it easier to browse through your music on external storage. A bluetooth adapter can be used to stream music to the car wirelessly from your phone or MP3 player, and updates to the system can be downloaded yourself and applied via a USB stick. The back of the folding display features two SD card slots that can hold up to 32 GB of music – enough to never have to change it out again. Lastly, the new optical parking assistant displays distance between you and an object on both front and rear, and in the R8 can be integrated into the rearview...

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Audi Promotes Clean Diesel on NYC Sidewalks

Audi is running with a new promotional technique in which they use cleaning agents to “paint” the sidewalks in New York City. A great choice in location, considering the cleanliness of the city. The images created on the sidewalks depict how if only one-third of Americans drove clean diesel, we’d reduce our dependence on foreign oil by 1.5 million barrels a day. I’m glad Audi is really pushing the diesel thing, and now that driving a diesel vehicle is no longer a dirty and smelly experience, I’m really hoping that it catches on in America. A few facts about diesel: Clean diesel engines reduce carbon emissions by 20% over gasoline and are 30% more fuel-efficient. One drop of diesel fuel has 12% more power than one drop of gasoline. If one-third of Americans switched to from gasoline to clean diesel, it would be the equivalent of planting 2.2 billion trees. Diesel is currently less expensive than gasoline nationwide. While this may change day-to-day, it does come back to the issue of America’s dependence on gasoline and being dependent on speculative commodity price fluctuations. Below is a video released by Audi showing the benefits of diesel...

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Audi A5 Sportback Spy Shots

Students at the University of San Diego happened across an unusual sighting a couple days ago. Apparently Audi was doing a photo shoot of the new A5 Sportback at the school, and these cell phone camera-equipped students snapped a few photos of the car almost completely unveiled. The A5 Sportback, which we reported on a few days ago, will have four doors and a “coupe-like” roofline, and will be able to carry almost as much cargo as the A4 Avant. It will be available with five engines; two gasoline options and three diesel-powered TDI variants. There will be an S5 variant with a supercharged 3.0-liter V6. The A5 Sportback will not be available in the States, at least right away, even though this is where they’re shooting the photos. It’s expected to debut at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show in September. The A5 Sportback will be a direct competitor to the BMW 5-series GT, although I’m still not entirely sure why it’s part of the A5 line and not the A4, considering it has four doors. I know, I know, it’s all about the “four-door coupe” thing now, I just don’t buy it. The lucky student who snapped these shots had a chance to sit in the car as well. His findings: Inside the car is very familiar, the dash pretty much the standard A5/A4 affair, as to be...

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PES Tuning Supercharges the Audi R8

Can’t wait for the R8 5.2 V10? No problem, PES Tuning has your back. This tuning company has developed a supercharger system for the R8 4.2 to boost the power to an estimated 530 hp (110 over stock) and 415 ft/lbs torque (98 over stock.) While this may not exactly replace the R8 V10, at least it will create more power from the V8 version of the car. The supercharger kit uses an Eaton M90 supercharger, a specialty-made intake manifold, and retuned ECU. It actually works on any of the 4.2-liter V8 Audi or VW engines, but the R8 is definitely the most exciting. So while we may be drooling over the upgraded R8, you S4 owners can be grinning smugly as you upgrade your car to the same 530 horsepower. Oh, and those power numbers are based on the $25,000 upgrade available. There are cheaper supercharger upgrades available as well, but seriously…who’s interested in that? The video below shows the PES team driving the tuned Audi R8 around the streets. Pay special attention to how this things sounds. Personally, I like the low growl of the V8, but the addition of the supercharger certain adds a unique note to the mix. More pictures below the...

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Europe Gets the New A5 Sportback

Audi gave us some details on the newest addition to the A5 line – the A5 Sportback. The idea here is that the Sportback will be as “emotional and elegant as a coupe, as comfortable as a sedan, and as practical as an Avant.” It will have four doors, which makes me wonder why it’s not instead a variation on the A4. The 2010 Audi A5 Sportback will be available initially with five engine choices – two gasoline and three diesel variants. The gasoline choices will be a 2.0-liter turbo with 211 horsepower, and a 3.2-liter V6 rated at 265 hp. The TDI engines will be available with a 2.0-liter (170 hp,) a 2.7-liter (190 hp,) and a 3.0-liter V6 with 240 hp. Both gasoline engines and the V6 TDI will come with Audi’s AWD quattro system. We aren’t getting the A5 Sportback here in the States, but Europe will begin to see them in showrooms in September of this year, starting at 36,050 Euros, or about $50,000...

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Audi Redesigns

Audi just redesigned, which doesn’t look as flashy as before, but offers more functionality and an overall simpler and nicer design. They’ve integrated tons of high-def video and very detailed CG of each car. The website was designed to accommodate a wider range of shoppers, and allows visitors to better evaluate each car during research. The 3D CG models of each car are very detailed and explain all of the features of the vehicle. It will also allow visitors to search vehicles by transmission, body style, engine, mileage rating, and more. The website also makes Audi the first automotive brand to give you a free Carfax history report without you having to request one. Here is a video with the CEO of Factory Design Labs, who launched the new Audi website: Head over to...

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New R8 V10 Spyder Spy Shots

More spy shots have surfaced of the R8 Spyder, this time wielding the beastly 5.2-liter, 520 horsepower V10. The car was spotted circling the German Nurburgring test track, of course, and is expected to be unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. Weight savings seems to be a focus of the convertible model, with a soft top instead of the heavier but more attractive retractable hard top. For the Spyder version, Audi has unfortunately removed the signature aluminum side blade, which added a sense of aggressiveness and broke up the long wheelbase, which otherwise looks a bit awkward. The coupe version of the R8 is a gorgeous car, and the convertible version destroys what made the coupe so pretty. Some cars should not be made into a convertible, and the R8 is one of them. The R8 is one of my all-time favorite cars, but the Spyder version is disappointing. More spy photos below. 2011 Audi R8 Spyder...

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Audi R15 TDI Snags 3rd Place at Le Mans 2009

Audi gets another podium finish this year at Le Mans, but this time it’s third place. Not bad, but I think they were expecting the R15 to do better than it did. Of course there are always growing pains with a brand new piece of machinery like the R15. All of the Audi drivers were complaining that the R15 was understeering excessively due to the high temperatures. They added a new front bodywork section with a different aerodynamic configuration on Saturday, which helped, according to Tom Kristensen – “Our car was very good after the changes.” Another problem occurred with the intercoolers in the sidepods of the R15s. They became so dirty, that they constantly needed to be cleaned, and as a result of the increasing temperatures, power needed to be occasionally reduced. Additionally, two of the three R15s were taken out of the race early because of accidents. German driver Lucas Luhr lost control of the car during the high speed “Porsche Curves” and slammed backwards into the barriers, and the R15 was severely damaged. The other R15 TDI was taken out because of a faulty high-pressure injection pump, which is normally very reliable, and as a result, is barely accessible to change. With the third car being the only running R15, the drivers kept up with the two leading Peugeots, only to have the rear suspension go...

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