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
Last month, an article was posted on Audisite.com noting that German luxury car Audi would entering into 2012 without a wagon or Avant version of their vehicle for the United States. Considering the fact that Audi was a long-time hold-out in the crossover vehicle arena, it was becoming far more likely that the auto company was giving up on presenting car-based wagons stateside. Just as a minor crisis was developing for the lovers of the Avant products, Audi made a New Year’s resolution at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit to bring a brand new wagon to the United States. More than just a basic Avant wagon, the Audi reintroduced the more aggressive Allroad vehicle as a 2013 model year product.
At the beginning of the sport utility vehicle surge in the United States auto market in 1999, Audi addressed the craze in a rather European manner. Instead of developing a truck-like vehicle, the Audi company created specialized version of the A6 Avant called the Allroad. Making more aggressive use of the quattro all-wheel drivetrain, the Audi Allroad defined itself as a rougher terrain luxury vehicle with matte black body panels and a raised ride height accomplished through an air suspension system. Though the Allroad would continue to be sold in Europe, the disappointing sales of the innovative wagon caused Audi to pull the vehicle from North America. Audi would concede to the conventional wisdom in the North American marketplace by adding their full-sized Q7 crossover vehicle in 2005. As Audi added the Q5 as well as the Q3 in the future product portfolio for the United States, the ever-changing complexion of the crossover vehicle market has grown to appreciate characteristics that made station wagons popular from the 1950s through to the 1980s. Changing automotive consumer tastes and a luxury car marketplace seeing companies, as such Audi, carrying a record-high product line-up has given the German brand encouragement that the Allroad could make meaningful inroads into the current United States auto environment.
While many crossover vehicles claim to have a car-like ride and handling, the Audi Allroad position as a car instantly enters it in a situation of advantage. Built on the updated Audi A4 platform, the new Allroad is a bigger, wider vehicle than the A4 Avant predecessor. This third generation Allroad is the first version to utilize the Audi A4 after previously versions of the model were offered as relatives to the A6. Smart and sophisticated, the 2013 Audi Allroad stands 1.5 inches taller in ground clearance rated at around 5.7 inches. Like the last time the North American market saw the Audi Allroad, the new all-terrain wagon receives the distinguishing matte black finish along with bumper covers and flared wheel arches. Audi owners not in favour of the noticeable bodywork touches can opt to coordinate the Allroad matte black surfaces to match the other bodywork at an additional price. Stainless steel skid plates, aluminum-optic roof rails and 18 or 19-inch wheels complete the 2013 Audi Allroad utilitarian look. For a little vanity and natural light inside of the Allroad’s cockpit, Audi will include a standard panoramic sunroof on every version of the unique wagon.
Powered by a 2-liter TFSI inline-4 engine, the 2013 Audi Allroad provides usable performance without jeopardizing fuel economy. The Allroad’s standard quattro all-wheel drive churns with 211 horsepower and 258 pounds-feet of torque from the turbocharged, direct-injected powerplant. An eight-speed tiptronic transmission insures the power is well managed from the Audi TFSI engine. Fuel economy for United States bound 2013 Audi Allroad has yet to be assessed by the EPA, but expect it to come within the average range of 25 miles per gallon.
As can be expected from the interior of a wagon, the Audi Allroad is spacious even with 5-passenger seating. With a full capacity of occupants, 27 cubic feet worth of cargo can be secured inside of the 2013 Audi Allroad. Only 2.1 cubic feet less than the Q5 crossover featuring a similar full passenger layout, the Allroad’s initial interior cargo space is roomier than the Acura TSX Sport Wagon and Mercedes-Benz R-Class. When the rear seats are folded down, the Audi Allroad will offer 50 cubic feet of cargo capacity.
With quattro all-wheel drive optimized with increased ride height and ample cargo capacity, Audi engineering has found plenty of room to infuse luxury into the Allroad wagon’s interior. The 2013 Audi Allroad features Aluminum Trigon inlays along with 8-way power seats as standard. Choices of wood trim, heated seats and front seats power adjustable for up to 12 ways can be optioned on the Allroad for extra interior enjoyment.
Beyond the simpler luxury comfort items, the Audi Allroad’s high-tech array of available features is extensive. Bang & Olufsen supplies the Audi Allroad an optional 505-watt sound system. Providing factory-installed wireless internet access, Audi connect relays important driving information relating to weather, traffic and even gas prices in the driver’s area. Audi connect is also designed to handle up to eight mobile wireless devices at the same time inside the Allroad. Powered through Google, map information can be downloaded directly to the Audi MMI Navigation System.
Pricing for the 2013 model year Audi Allroad is expected ahead of its United States introduction later in 2012.
Information and photo source: Audi AG