If you were buying a new vehicle, how important is the results from popular crash test assessments? Keeping in mind that every vehicle made by a major automaker in most developed countries are required to adhere to a set of basic safety standards, many of us want to purchase the safest vehicle possible. Inundated by phases such as “Five-Star Rated” and “Top Safety Pick”, car advertisements know what it takes to draw in the safety conscious.
Audi is one of many brands that proudly tout its achievements in safety. Both the 2014 Audi A4 and A6 boasts five-star overall ratings in NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) crash testing. The IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) has recognized the new 2015 Audi A3 sedan as a 2014 Top Safety Pick+ as it gained “Good” ratings in all tests. However, in Europe the sale of safety pertaining to some Audi vehicles has gotten the United Kingdom arm of the German luxury car brand into hot water.
A BBC watchdog investigation has gathered several accounts from customers of Audi dealerships in the United Kingdom where some of the car company’s product line was misidentified as holding the top safety rating of the Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme). A voluntary safety standard within the European Union, Euro NCAP is considered a valued tool for setting a benchmark in crash protection. Testing vehicles using Euro NCAP standards is not required for all vehicles sold in the United Kingdom. The problem spotted by the BBC is dealerships not only misled about the safety rating of vehicles but also the fact a model was tested at all. The Audi R8 and A5 have never been tested under Euro NCAP despite the claims of retail outlets.
The BBC investigation was started when a man named Daniel Jenkins after discovering truth about his Audi R8 after his father was involved in an accident in the car. Told by a local dealer at the time of purchase in 2012 it the R8 passed the Euro NCAP tests with a five-star rating, Jenkins found out that was not the case. The story also reported he had called up 50 Audi dealerships and received the claim from 48 of the sales outlets that the Audi R8 did possess a Five-Star safety rating through Euro NCAP.
The BBC Watchdog expanded on Daniel Jenkins’ original study and inquired about other Audi vehicles through dealerships. Regarding the Audi A5, nine of the ten dealerships approached said the car was tested with Euro NCAP. In fact, no Euro NCAP crash tests have ever been conducted specifically on the Audi A5. Coupled with proving several models were never tested, the BBC Watchdog investigation also kept Audi UK falsely proclaiming their whole vehicle line-up as subjected to Euro NCAP safety testing. According to the Euro NCAP website, the latest Audi vehicle to be tested was the 2012 A3 three-door hatchback (achieving a five-star overall rating as well as four Advanced Rewards with its accident avoidance technology). The Audi A6 sedan also participated in Euro NCAP testing and obtained a five-star rating.
Admitting the claims were not deliberately made to mislead, the Audi UK spokesperson his stated a review is underway to improve the accuracy of claims made related to their vehicles. As of May 15th, the Audi UK website has specifically and accurately identified all the vehicles subjected to Euro NCAP crash testing.
It seems a shame that the United Kingdom entity of Audi has made themselves and their vehicles a subject of this investigation. More than ever due to high-profile mismanagement of safety issues in Toyota and General Motors vehicles in recent years, vehicle safety is an attribute automakers cannot afford to mislead about.
Information and photo source: Audi AG, BBC, Euro NCAP
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
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
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
Regardless though, Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards and requirements in states like California have mandated some zero emissions vehicles. Also, Audi has a reputation for investments in technology. Thus, Audi instituted the e-tron program. Various concepts in this program have been introduced, such as the R8 e-Tron. Many industry insiders expected the program to be approved for a limited production, with an arrival date of early next year. Car and Driver now reports that Audi’s research and development boss Wolfgang Durheimer has put the program under a “review.” The VW Group is in a cash savings mode due to problems in the European market. That is causing non-essential programs (such as the Bentley EXP 9F and Lamborghini Urus SUVs) to be curtailed.
The R8 e-tron is one of them getting the axe. Durheimer’s concerns include a lack of batteries to power the car at a reasonable price, as well as a lack of sales. The R8 e-tron would be very expensive, and have a limited range to boot. Both factors limit sales significantly. Given this, Car & Driver expects the program to be cancelled for production. The mules we’ve seen so far ar for evaluation purposes as the company learns about electrics. This news comes as the R8 e-tron’s expected launch date is nearing. Audi’s move follows a similar reduction in scope of electric vehicle efforts at Toyota. The dreadful (in range anyway) Scion iQ has now been limited to 50 vehicles in the United States, all destined for car sharing services. Only Tesla, which has taken great pains to produce a truly top-notch pure electric vehicle, has experienced heavy demand. For those looking forward to an electric Audi though, the latest word on the street is that the A3 e-tron is headed for series production – for now anyway.
Propelling the Audi division to new heights of recognition in the luxury car class, the road-going version R8 supercar was just the ingredient needed for the German brand’s ultimate thrust into becoming a global player. After more than a decade where fans of the four-ring badge were begging to see quattro drive and Audi’s technologically driven engineering, the R8 Coupe’s introduction in 2007 was an instant hit. The rollout of the Audi R8 Spyder for 2010 as a 2011 model year only sweetened the decedent taste of the supercar. In truth sharing many components with the Italian-badged Lamborghini Gallardo, the Audi R8’s ability to create a distinct personality for itself has given it a fierce roar in the face of fellow home country rivals Porsche 911 and the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. Tweaking their halo car for 2013, the Audi R8 package receives a gentle retuning.
Is it a reinvention of the Audi R8 supercar? No. In fact, the changes to the exterior are largely negligible to the 2012 model. A mild retouch to the front grille offers additional detail to the R8’s air intakes. The one major expression of advancement in 2013 is the range-wide implementation of the all-LED headlamps. The highly responsive lighting is also found towards the rear of the 2013 Audi R8 vehicles. A factory-installed carbon fiber front splitter is optional on the standard 2013 Audi R8 Coupe and Spyder models.
According to Audi announcement for their 2013 models of the R8 V8 versions, the standard wheels will be downgraded to 18-inches from 19 inches equipped on the 2012 car. The 19-inch wheels will be included on the V10 variants of the Audi R8 for 2013. The braking system on the vehicle has been reworked to reduce almost 4.5 pounds without sacrificing stopping performance.
For the performance of movement, the 430-horsepower 4.2 FSI V-8 and the 525-horsepower 5.2 liter V-10 powerplants return to availability in both the Coupe as well as the Spyder models of the Audi R8 for 2013. Trusted in transferring the 430-horsepower through the Audi R8 V8’s quattro all-wheel drive system will be a standard 6-speed manual gearbox. For 2013, a new 7-speed S tronic transmission has been added as optional on the V8 and standard on the V10 models of the Audi R8. Providing an additional gear over the previous S tronic gearbox found in the R8 supercar, the 7-speed allows darts from 0 to 62 miles per hour in just 3.6 seconds with the V10 Coupe.
The biggest addition in 2013 comes as a ‘plus’ to Audi R8 buyers. A 550-horsepower propelled top model, the new Audi R8 V10 plus model is almost the equal of the current R8 GT. In acceleration from 0 to 62 miles per hour, the Audi V10 plus model storms in 3.5 seconds with the 7-speed S tronic transmission. A 6-speed manual is also available with the V10 plus model sacrificing acceleration for a higher top speed of 198 miles per hour. The performance-loaded, 550-horsepower supercar package also includes carbon fiber front splitter, mirrors and for the engine compartment area. A specially tuned suspension system designed to help drivers master the Audi R8 plus while the occupants ride in sport bucket seats. The 2013 Audi R8 plus will only is available as a coupe. Inside, a Carbon Sigma inlays is standard on the Audi R8 plus with personalization options also in reach for owners allowing their supercar to specifically speak to individual tastes.
United States pricing for the 2013 Audi R8 line is yet to be announced.
Information, video and photo source: Audi AG
A race that consisted of some cars stretching across 2,700 miles, the 2012 Rolex 24 at Daytona was again a stressful run that tested the limits of machinery and people. In the GT class for the Grand Am Rolex Series opener, a field of 44 cars represented 8 unique vehicles. The 50th anniversary event at the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway featured the first presence of the new Audi customer race car, the R8 Grand-Am. Like every entrant into the 24-hour race, a pair of 2012 Audi R8 Grand-Am cars (fielded by the #51 APR Motorsport team and the #74 Oryx Racing group) was given a baptism by fire against the established BMW M3, Porsche GT3 and the Mazda RX-8 vehicles.
Oryx Racing (Humaid Al Masaood, Saeed Al Mehairi and Steven Kane)- Finished 32nd in GT Class, 45th Overall
The Oryx Racing Audi R8 started 15th in the GT class, 27th in the overall Rolex 24 at Daytona running order. The Oryx Racing supported #74 Audi R8 Grand-Am car crept up to 21st in the race in the early but quickly in encountered on-track issues.
Driven by Steven Kane at this point of the event, the Oryx Racing car limped with a cut left rear tire until stopping low on the race track. Fortunately for the #74 car, the car lost pace close to the pit lane within turn 12 (known during stock car races as the Daytona oval’s turn 3-4 complex). An extended service from the after the tire change allowed the #74 Audi R8 Grand-Am to rejoin the event. Drawing a full course yellow on the Daytona International Speedway, safety crews administered a quick recovery of the Oryx Racing car. The Audi R8 Grand-Am also encountered its first mechanical hiccup in racing competition with a clutch problem. The Audi R8 Grand-Am car was repaired in the garage area, in a relatively quick time, returning to the Rolex 24 at Daytona event but ran several laps down. By the early evening, the #74 Audi R8 Grand-Am then found itself in the turn 8 through 11 bus stop chicane’s retaining barrier. For the second time, the Oryx Racing car drew a full course yellow.
APR Motorsport (Dion von Moltke, Emanuele Pirro Ian Baas, Jim Norman, Nelson Canache)- Finished 31st in GT Class, 44th Overall
The APR Motorsport Audi R8 Grand-Am finished 15 laps ahead of the Oryx Racing car but only one position ahead. Similar to the Oryx Racing Audi R8, the APR Motorsport vehicle but an off-course issue at the bus stop section of the Daytona road course. Sliding off the track within the closing 15 minutes of the event, the APR Motorsports car almost affected the outcome of the entire race if a full course caution was required to move the stopped Audi R8. In the case of the #51 car, the double-yellow flag was spared as the Audi R8 Grand-Am was able to rejoin the sports car event. Despite a five-car driving team that consisted of Audi Sport’s veteran prototype driver Emanuele Pirro, the APR Motorsport group also faced a challenging entrance into the Grand Am Rolex Series’ GT category.
Though neither the #51 APR Motorsport nor the #74 Oryx Racing achieved great contention in the GT category, the resilience characterized with the Four-Ring badge shined through for the striking new R8 Grand-Am racers. Despite eventful 24-hour runs, both Audi R8 Grand-Am race cars were classified running at the checkered flag in its debut.
With the Rolex 24 at Daytona completed, the Audi R8 Grand-Am car is positioned for a full 2012 Grand Am Rolex Series season that will resume in two months time at Barber Motorsports Park.
Information source: Audi AG, Grand Am
Photo source: Audi AG
Similar to the Audi R8 LMS vehicle that has run in several European sport car championships in the past three seasons (inspiring the Audi R8 GT road car), the Grand-Am version of the German luxury supercar differs in several aspects. Complying the vehicle with the Rolex Sports Car Series GT category, the Audi R8 race car underwent many subtle changes. Tighter bodywork constraints meant the front splitter could only extend 35 millimeters (1.38 inches) and the rear spoiler could only be 152 millimeters (5.98 inches) wide. Along with a flat vehicle underbody and a higher minimum ride height, Audi Sport accounted that around 70-80 percent of the aerodynamic grip of the Audi R8 LMS has been lost in configuring the supercar to Grand-Am specifications.
Besides a new aerodynamic profile, the Audi R8 Grand-Am car needed to adjust to the Rolex Sport Car GT category’s spec Continental tire compound. During December testing at the Daytona International Speedway’s 3.56-mile road course, the Audi R8 Grand-Am sailed around the race course for two days completing 600 miles partially to acquaint themselves to the new racing rubber. The Audi R8 LMS race car’s anti-lock braking and traction control programs have been deactivated for the Grand-Am.
Still an unmistakable Audi supercar, the R8 Grand-Am will be propelled through competition by the race-prepped 5.2 liter FSI V-10 powerplant. Horsepower from the R8 Grand-Am’s V-10 engine is expected within the 450 to 500 range restricted in efforts to put the vehicle on an equal playing field with other GT category sports cars.
Through a customer-supported racing effort, Audi has the full intent that entrance into the 2012 Rolex 24 at Daytona will be the latest chapter for what has been a prosperous existence on North American race tracks. Participating in the 1988 SCCA Trans-Am Series, a pair of Audi 200 turbocharged quattro sedans made waste of the competition winning 8 of 13 races in its maiden season. So intimidating, the SCCA changed its rulebook the following year to effectively outlaw the all-wheel drive Audi 200 from future involvement. Of course, Audi’s more recent claim to fame has been with their exceptionally prepared prototype cars. Between variants of the R8 race car, R10, R15 and now the R18, the Audi Sport Team Joest organization has steamrolled the competition in the United States. Winning nine 12 Hours of Sebring as well as the nine consecutive Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, Audi’s brand recognition in North America has enjoyed equal success in a competitive luxury car sales environment.
For the very first event, the Oryx Racing car will feature Humaid Al Masaood, Saeed Al Mehairi and Steven Kane as the planned drivers behind the wheel over the 24-hour run. APR Motorsport will run the Rolex 24 at Daytona with a driver line-up including Ian Baas, Nelson, Canache, Jim Norman, Dion von Moltke and veteran Audi Sport prototype driver Emanuele Pirro. APR Motorsport had said their Audi R8 Grand-Am arrived just two days before Christmas. As the team prepares for their inaugural race with the new R8 Grand-Am car at Daytona, several members of the APR Motorsport organization is confident on the race car’s braking and driveability. The race team is also ready to embrace the new vehicle knowing there is potential in the Audi R8 Grand-Am remaining untapped. Being campaigned as a customer program, the Audi R8 Grand-Am has and will continue to receive racing support from Audi Sport.
At the 2012 Rolex 24 of Daytona, the next page for Audi will take place over the course of a single day.
Information and photo source: Audi AG