The merger of the American Le Mans Series and the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series is certain to increase the overall profile of sports car racing in the United States. Closing in on the 2014 season opener at Daytona, the Tudor United SportsCar Championship is rapidly formulating for its first championship tour.
A preliminary list has already been revealing a four-class series. The Ford EcoBoost/Riley, Mazda diesel and the Aston Martin V12 Vantage race cars are among 69 potential overall entries for the 24-hour race in Florida this upcoming year. The defending victor of the Rolex 24 at Daytona’s GT class, the Audi R8 will be part of the all-new sports car racing series with a massive presence.
With five entries planned to compete in a full 2014 Tudor United SportsCar Championship schedule, Audi has four organizations campaigning race-ready R8 supercars. Calling their race car the Audi R8 LMS, squad’s vehicle appears to be the same as the R8 Grand-Am. A newcomer to Audi’s GT efforts, Flying Lizard Motorsports switches from being a long-time Porsche supporter to an organization wielding two R8 LMS race cars for 2014. Fall-Line Motorsports, GMG Racing and Paul Miller Racing are committed to single-car entries for the upcoming season. Notable absences from the list of Audi R8 LMS race cars is the APR Motorsports team and the reigning winners of the GT class at Daytona Alex Job Racing. Alex Job Racing will only be racing a Porsche GT America (based on the new 911 platform).
Operating a strong squad in the GT Daytona category, Audi will not have any prototype class involvement in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship for 2014. Last year, there was buzz Audi briefly considered building an engine to power Grand Am Daytona Prototype-style machines only for those plans to be ultimately cancelled. The super high-tech Audi R18 e-tron quattro will not be part of the 2014 United SportsCar Championship. Differing specifications between the United SportsCar Championship’s prototype category and the top-class of the FIA World Endurance Championship, where the R18 e-tron quattro runs, will be the reason for absence for the Audi prototype race team at Sebring or the Petit Le Mans.
In addition to the R8 LMS cars racing in the Tudor United Sportscar Championship. more news for the 2014 plans of Audi motorsports’ endeavours should be coming up soon.
Information and photo source: Audi AG, IMSA
Detroit is slowly becoming a second home to the quattro. At last year’s North American International Auto Show, Audi unveiled the hyper-powered RS7 Sportback and a gasoline version of the SQ5 to the world. A stylish, all-wheel driveline of vehicles appearing during winter (who in Detroit wouldn’t go gaga over an Audi?). In preparations for the upcoming 2014 show in the Motor City, Audi has now presented some renderings of a crossover-style show vehicle.
A creation lacking a name at this time, the Audi concept vehicle will introduces itself as a two-door crossover. However, Audi appears purposeful in stating this show car exhibits crossover-like qualities. With a quartet of rendered images giving an indication for what will be shown early next year in Detroit, the Audi show car is themed as a compact vehicle “for everyday driving and recreational use”.
When premiering at the 2014 North American International Auto Show, the German concept is a 13.78-foot long re-education in crossover design. Baring a mild resemblance to the Volkswagen Cross Coupe Concept that was auto show fixture throughout 2012 and this year, the most discriminating detail between the two concept vehicles, the Audi show car is depicted a two-door. Described as a shooting brake design, the Audi concept is borrowing styling influence from across their production model range. The front nose’s details scream to the aggression of the Audi RS5. An essence of another recent Audi concept is also conveyed with this upcoming 2014 design study. Headlamps and side intake shape are very much like what was shown in Frankfurt onboard the Sport Quattro Concept. A “quattro“ nameplate similar to the one fitted to the Audi RS7 also adorns 2014 show car as a chrome piece. The all-wheel drive 2014 Audi show car will also incorporate attributes of the Allroad wagons as it reveals trail-worthy technology. An underbody guard made of aluminum serves as a shield for off-road riding.
Similar to what was seen on the Audi Sport Quattro Concept, the low roof profile for this 2014 Audi show car design is unlike anything found on the premium car company’s current production line of crossover vehicles. The only true crossover detail to be presented on the Audi show car will be a high ground clearance. 19-inch wheels will be worn by the Audi compact shooting brake design study (It‘s hard to say but the renderings appear to show an embellished preview to the wheel pattern).
With few details provided for the exterior, the composition of the Audi show car’s interior is restricted to only a sketch at this time. From what is shown in the artist rendering, the interior of the new Audi show car appears modern but modest.
According to some reports, the Audi two-door show car appearing at the 2014 North American International Auto Show could be known as the Q1. The German premium car brand has already confirmed the Audi Q1 will be part of 2016 line-up.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
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
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