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
Away from its regular role as a commuter for diplomats and other dignitaries, Audi’s largest sedan has been given the change to venture into super sedan territory since 1994. Available in the United States since 1999, the Audi S8 became a high-powered extension of the Germany premium car brand’s biggest four-door. Success of the first generation model brought forth the second generation S8 in 2006 utilizing the Audi’s quattro drive amongst many performance tweaks for an all-out battle with BMW M and Mercedes-Benz AMG competitors.
With the base A8 receiving a modernization during the 2011 model year, Audi left observers waiting a year until presenting the third and latest generation of the S8 sedan. Worth the wait, the Audi S8 debuts at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show ahead of its upcoming release.
Designed on the refreshed lines of the Audi A8, the S8 sports sedan is shaped with an abundance of aluminum. The look of aluminum is accented within the Audi S8’s front grille, mirrors and along the vehicle’s bumper. Apart from the look of aluminum surfaces, the Audi S8 comes in 13 exterior colour tones including Daytona Gray and Prizm Silver (two colours not available on the A8 model). A diffuser insert is found on the backside of Audi S8 with twin oval exhaust pipes presented on the rear corners. The Audi S8 wears S-line exclusive 20-inch wheels as standard with an optional choice of 21-inch wheel and tire combination available. LED headlights and taillights are equipped on all Audi S8 models are standard.
Driver and passengers in the lavish sports sedan will appreciate the fine leather seating as well as the performance trim pieces including aluminum-look pedals. The Audi S8 is handsomely equipped with many of the A8 sedan’s optional items as well as some S model exclusive touches. A 360 degree parking camera, Audi’s MMI with navigation, adaptive cruise control and a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System are all standard S8 equipment.
The heart and soul of the newest Audi S8 is the return to a V-8 engine. Debuting with a 340 horsepower, 4.2 liter V-8 powerplant in the S8‘s first generation, the Audi sedan performance upgrade added a larger, more powerful engine the second generation. Competing in a German battle of high cylinder count with the previous generation BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz S63 rivals, the Audi S8 upgraded from a V-8 to a 5.2 liter V-10 powerplant in the 2006 model year. Propelled by 450 horsepower, the past V-10 variation of the Audi S8 delivered unhindered performance and fair fuel economy through FSI gasoline direct injection rated at almost 18 miles per gallon average by the auto company.
For the third-generation Audi S8, the newly developed V-8 engine features the highest horsepower-per-liter ratio of any incarnation of the German luxury car brand’s top four-door. A 520 horsepower engine using twin-turbochargers, the 4.0 TFSI powerplant of the Audi S8 engine accounts for 130 horsepower per single liter of engine displacement. Pounding out 70 horsepower more than its replacement engine, the 4.0 TFSI also delivers over 479 pounds-feet of torque through the A8’s quattro drivetrain. A high output engine combining the multiple turbochargers with gasoline direct injection for dynamite performance, the Audi S8’s 4.0 TFSI layout contributes to more efficient power creation. Cylinder deactivation and start-stop systems assure the new S8 muscular performance is available at just the right time. For the rest of the driving journey, the Audi S8 sedan accomplishes vastly improved fuel economy compared to its predecessor. Rated in consuming 23 percent less fuel than the 2010 model Audi S8, 4.0 TFSI V-8 engine of the latest S8 moves the 4,354-pound super sedan an average of 23 miles per gallon.
Channelling the 520 horsepower through an eight-speed tiptronic gearbox, the Audi S8 supplies the driver with a sensation of sport driving while also respecting luxury car smoothness. The all-wheel drive quattro system is supported by two differentials including the added sport differential added to the rear axle of the S8 for ideal wheel movement. Calibrated specially for the S8, Audi has fitted their adaptive air suspension with variable tuning that can be driver adjusted to an ideal ride quality. When tapping into the performance zenith of the car, the Audi S8 acceleration provides a take-off from 0 to 62 miles per hour in just 4.2 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited on the sedan at 155 miles per hour on the Audi S8 sedan.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
The kick-off to the world indoor auto show season, 2011 is the lucky biennial year where automotive enthusiasts get to relish in the spectacle of the Frankfurt Motor Show. Guaranteed already to be a showcase of new ideas in the ever-evolving auto industry, production and concept vehicles are presented in abundance for the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show even as more than two weeks separate the exhibit’s grand opening. A motor show of world intrigue, Ford Motor Company, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz and BMW have been wetting the appetites of potential show goers through previews of their Frankfurt Motor Show presentations. An exhibition based in their home country, Volkswagen’s luxury car brand Audi will also be making a strong showing on September 15th.
In preparation for the 2011 Frankfurt Motor show, Audi has a history of bringing profound guidance for where they want to take their brand’s image. In the last Frankfurt show in 2009, Audi presented their e-tron concept for the very first time to the public. Since the showing almost two years ago, Audi’s continuing development of e-tron is likely to directly lead to a production-based vehicle. Audi also publicly premiered the R8 Spyder at the 2009 show generating some more tradition open-motoring performance buzz. As their world sales increased by 15 percent in 2010 (just one year following the Audi’s last Frankfurt display), the German auto company’s success will garner more focus on their upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show plans. Supplying samples for performance and low-impact driving, Audi seems ready to entertain the German city’s crowd.
Presented in early to mid August, Audi’s prospect for exploiting a full city car design led to the urban concept brainchild. The urban concept car was unveiled ahead of the Frankfurt show in illustrated form ahead of the lightweight 1+1 passenger vehicle’s presentation in real life. Since the debut of the Audi urban concept sketches on August 10th, Audi immediately followed-up the early images with an open top version of the unique smaller car. The Spyder version of the urban concept shares the impressive sport style in a small, electric vehicle package.
Aside from the debut of a radical new way of motoring, Audi will use Frankfurt as the official public introduction of three new models of their S performance line. Added to the 2012 Audi portfolio, the S6 (including the S6 Avant) and the large S8 sedan will debut as new generation vehicles. For the first time since its introduction last year, the Audi A7 Sportback receives its initial taste of S line enthusiasm. Receiving its first eight-cylinder powerplant, the S7 Sportback, along with the S6 and S8, will receive a new generation engine engineered to provide top performance along with improved fuel economy.
Taking a similar approach as with Mercedes-Benz and BMW by consolidating engines used in their performance line-ups, a new 4.0 liter V-8 engine will beat under the hood of all three S models. Smaller than the S line’s previous benchmark, the more compact Audi engine is just as exciting as the next generation models. Providing up to 520 horsepower of sheer driving excitement, the S6, S7 Sportback and the S8 will be guided by Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system.
As a third separate feature ready to attract spectators at the Audi pavilion, the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show will debut a concept version of the A2. The Audi A2 concept displays a compact car form optimizing cargo space thanks to an electric powertrain. Just recently announced, the Audi A2 concept has become the latest edition to a flashy auto show presentation.
Starting September 15th, the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show will play host to more than 850,000 spectators and over 13,000 members of the esteemed media. With only two weeks remaining until Audi’s near and distant future vision of premium motoring is unveiled to the public, Audisite.com will provide fans of the German luxury brand with in-depth information on the vehicles being profiled.
Information and photo source: Audi AG