In previous postings, the presence of Audi product placement in the recently released Iron Man 3 movie has been spotlighted. The involvement of Audi in the Marvel Comics based blockbuster was heavily publicized and (to a degree) blatant. Drawing a North American audiences to fork out 175.3 million dollars during the opening weekend, the success of Iron Man 3 and several related media appearances have placed vehicles like the Audi S7 Sportback as well as the R8 e-tron in view of maximum eyeballs.
In contrast to the on-screen promotion of Iron Man 3 where Audis were placed alongside Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow, the German automaker has forged a connection to another upcoming 2013 Hollywood blockbuster. Not specifically related to the film Star Trek Into Darkness, an Internet video released ahead of the movie’s May 17th release features the actors behind the franchise’s most popular Science Officer in competition. A video titled “The Challenge”, the original Spock Leonard Nimoy and the new Spock Zachary Quinto face-off in an Earth-based driving adventure.
Pitting Spock against Spock, the video has Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto racing to a golf country club with the losing participant paying for lunch. Quinto loads his golf clubs into an Audi S7 Sportback while Nimoy attempts to win “The Challenge” in his Mercedes-Benz CLS 550. It’s amazing that the Spock actors just happen to be driving competing European vehicles presented in the four-door coupe sub-category. Being an Audi video, it is natural to see the Quinto’s drive in the S7 Sportback is a more harmonious experience than Nimoy did with his CLS 550. As a Star Trek fan, Hearing Leonard Nimoy’s dialogue getting bleeped was as amusing as the time in Star Trek 4 and at the end of Star Trek 6 when Spock dropped some “colourful metaphors”. Without giving much away, the Audi S7 Sportback obviously prevails in “The Challenge”.
The end of the challenge but not the Audi video, both Spocks present at the country club delivers additional treats to Star Trek fans. For those fans of the original series bitter about Zachary Quinto beating Leonard Nimoy, the older Spock drew upon a logical move to triumph in the challenge despite the drive. At the very end of the video, a cameo appearance is made by the autonomous-driven Audi TTS. Witnessing the self-driving vehicle firsthand, both Nimoy and Quinto respond “Fascinating!”.
Since Star Trek was set in a futuristic setting, product placement had proven difficult on the popular sci-fi series for decades. The current attitude of Hollywood has not left the Star Trek franchise immune to the influence of in-film advertising. The J.J. Abrams 2009 Star Trek has found an occasion to depict a 23rd century existence for Budweiser and Nokia. The Audi video is one of what have been several satirical occasions where the actors explore their Star Trek personas in real life to advertise products. In a continuing mission to explore new worlds, the Internet video is final frontier in advertising.
Audi’s Zachary Quinto vs. Leonard Nimoy: “The Challenge”
Information, photo and video source: Audi AG
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
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
As 2013 is still in its infancy, Audi has been moving with the momentum of being shot out of a cannon. Firming up their 2013 auto racing plans in December, the month of January has been like a second Christmas for Audi fans. Two world premieres are set for the 2013 North American International Auto Show (the already-announced Audi SQ5 and another product yet released), the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was a bustling scene for the four-ring auto brand.
Kicking off Monday ahead of CES with the announcement that their Audi TTS self-driving vehicle was granted a license to operate on Nevada roads, the auto company’s presence around the Las Vegas Convention Center display give fans of the brand famous for quattro drive a lot to be excited about this past week. With so many great pieces of future technology inside, Audi displayed new LED lighting, 3-D sound and the hands-free, voice-operated text messaging system set for inclusion on the upcoming Audi A3. However, where Audi stole the 2013 CES was with an exhibit of a working prototype in an outside parking garage.
Demonstrating a concept the brand calls piloted driving, Audi venturing into bold avenues in automotive technology. Piloted driving is actually the integration of driving assist self-driving properties being examined by Audi as ways to improve the experience behind the wheel. Adaptive cruise control, active lane assist and Audi pre sense name products already aiding drivers of the latest premium German branded vehicles by predicting actions on the road. The next monumental display of Audi’s piloted driving is systems that can responsibility assume tasks for brief moments with full autonomy.
When an Audi vehicle fitted with the brand’s concept of piloted driving enters a traffic jam, the technology will bring relief to the taxing ordeal of stop and go driving. Acceleration, braking and steering is electronically-controlled through Audi’s piloted driving to safely guide the vehicle through traffic jams at speeds under 60 kilometers per hour (37.3 miles per hour). Eight ultrasonic sensors, two radar sensors, a laser scanner and a wide-angle camera work together on the piloted driving vehicle scanning the road. Audi’s piloted driving technology in traffic situations is not the only auto brand looking at this problem. Ford Motor Company has been testing a similar system called Traffic Jam Assist Technology with the same objective to improve individual as well as overall vehicle moving patterns.
However, the most buzz in regards to Audi piloted driving is the ability to park itself. Going beyond parallel parking assist systems that Lexus brought to market several years ago, piloted driving can effectively take the driver out of the equation after the program is initiated. In Las Vegas, a specially equipped Audi A7 was guided in and out of parking spots autonomously. Like something you would have seen in a James Bond movie, the procedure behind Audi piloted parking is not out of the scope of modern reality. The Audi A7 piloted driving vehicles was controlled through a central computer transmitting over a wireless connection to precisely guide the car to a free parking space. In this peak into the perhaps not-so-distant future, Audi articulates drivers can operate the piloted parking system through a smartphone or key fob remote control.
Operating in a paradox with less control by the driver is actually more control, Audi’s piloted driving proposes a greatly different luxury car experience. Audi’s case history of bringing bold automotive technology to the premium vehicle marketplace is proven with all-wheel drive and turbodiesel powerplants. After the 2013 CES appearance, we can expect a lot more from the German luxury car magnate.
Information, photo and video source: Audi AG
It used to a major event in a teenager’s life when they earned their right to drive an automobile on public roads. Though the far-reaching capacity of mobile computer technology for items such as smartphones and tablets have contributed to the open road being less sought-after of today’s youth, it appears soon the an Audi vehicle will decide it can drive itself taking you along as a passenger.
In a recent announcement delivered as part of a presentation at the 2013 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, a unique Audi configured with sensors and with the capacity to compute decisions previously left to a motorist has graduated to a pivotal step in advancing driverless cars. The specially equipped Audi TTS becomes the second autonomously piloted vehicle to be rewarded with a “driver’s license” for the state of Nevada. Though technology company Google awarded the first such license to a driverless vehicle, Audi celebrates their vehicle‘s operating permit as being the first acquired by a venture involving direct involvement from an original equipment manufacturer in the automotive sector.
In partnership with Stanford University, Volkswagen Group Electronics Research Lab have jointly outfitted an Audi TTS sports car with self-driving technology initially for a specialized challenge. Taking the vehicle to Pikes Peak Colorado in 2010, the driverless Audi TTS would negotiate the historic and tricky hill climb course. Consisting of 156 turns over a 12.42-mile stretch, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb course has been recorded as a test of drivers and machines since 1916. The pilot-less Audi TTS sports car’s was successful in completing the course in just 27 minutes. Equating to an average pace of 27.6-mile per hour, the Audi TTS mark comes nowhere close to effectively challenging the human-navigated winners for the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb of this past August. However, this should not take away from the fact the autonomous Audi TTS was nonetheless successful in its 12.42-mile journey.
Through their presentation at the 2013 CES, Audi’s plans for self-piloting driving and parking have become apparent. As the Audi TTS is awarded its license to operate on Nevada public roads, real-world evaluations of the self-driving electronics should produce some of the most desirable data on when some, if not all, elements of this experimental vehicle test bed will influence the next Audi products.
Information, photo and video source: Audi AG, Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
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
Reigning as perhaps the true kick-off to the international indoor auto show blitz for major automakers, the Paris Motor Show in 2012 allowed several premium car manufacturer to show off their latest technology to the world. Audi’s 2012 Paris Motor Show presentation is anchored by a concept to what the brand says will be the shape of upcoming production crossover vehicles. Revealing the versatility of a crossover with the refinement of a sports car, the Audi Crosslane Coupé is an invoking shape of the past and future.
A two-door, two-seat concept crossover creation, the Audi Crosslane Coupé casts a sporty appearance that could be squarely aimed at the Range Rover Evoque. Wearing a front end design mirroring that introduced to Audi’s car fleet which includes the A4 and A6, the Crosslane Coupé is radically defined by long, deep hood openings The rear roof pillar of the Audi Crosslane Coupé invokes the 1980s-1990s Audi Ur-Quattro as well as the concept tribute concept car Audi built several years back. Unique to the Crosslane Coupe is the targa top-like roof panel.
The Audi Crosslane Coupé concept vehicle provocative exterior design is made possible by the combination of aluminum, carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP) and fiberglass. Applied to a degree rarely seen in production crossover vehicles, CFRP is prominently featured in the front and rear structure of the Audi Crosslane Coupé as well as in the floor components. Fiberglass is also put to use on the surface of Audi concept vehicle. Impressively for a crossover vehicle, overall weight of the Audi Crosslane Coupé is only 3,064 pounds through the application of careful engineering.
As well as showcasing the future direction of Audi crossover vehicle styling, the Crosslane Coupé concept also provides a forward look to drivetrain technology. Featuring a small 1.5 liter version of their TFSI gasoline engine formula, the Audi Crosslane Coupé internal combustion power is aligned with two electric motors. Coupled to the TFSI engine, the electric motor 1 (EM 1) is designed to function as both an alternator, starter and has the capacity of providing a 68 horsepower kick to the Audi Crosslane Coupé when needed. A more powerful 116-horsepower electric motor (EM 2) is meant to operate the crossover vehicle in full electric mode. Supplied by a large lithium-ion battery, the Crosslane Coupé can roll with full electric power for over 34 miles at speeds up to 80.78 miles per hour. A specialized transmission insures a smooth transition among the dual-mode hybrid powertrain that Audi boasts could deliver almost 214 miles per gallon fuel consumption. The Crosslane Coupé is yet another example of Audi’s great vision for electrified vehicles in their concept fleet. However, despite the popularity of e-Tron exhibition vehicles, the Audi production fare remains (for the moment) isolated to less ambitious electric-assist hybrid cars. We are still awaiting a production creation from one of Audi’s many appearances at auto shows of advanced electrified vehicles.
Driver programmable “cruise” and “race” settings cater the Audi Crosslane Coupé feel to a particular driving mood. Electrified driving is empathized in cruise mode while the race mode heightens the performance characteristics of the Audi crossover vehicle.
Lavish use of CFRP along with aluminum pieces is used for the Audi Crosslane Coupé’s interior design. Presenting an atmosphere similar to a sophisticated sports car, the two-zone colouring coupled with the extensive metallic-like surfacing is quite a lively spectacle. Leather seats are placed within range of various controls and displays to provide comfort settings as well as an in-depth perspective of the Audi Crosslane Coupé’s operation. Audi connect internet connectivity is also available in the concept crossover’s interior. A Unique feature called “Escape Manager” allows the passenger of the Audi Crosslane Coupé to comment on road routes referencing the conditions to friends and family.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
The ever-expanding range of performance edition Audi models is becoming a tantalizing treat to the European car lovers all over the world. Making use of the ‘S’ and ‘RS’ branding at a heightened frequency to corner the growing high performance models from Mercedes-Benz AMG division as well as BMW’s M line, Audi has been showing exceptional ambition in flourishing the go-fast attitude vehicles wearing the four-ring emblem. Creating coupes, convertibles, sedans and Avant wagons to match performance-seeking tastes, Audi’s latest venture with the S model badge is a departure from the current menu of vehicles.
Popularizing diesel as a performance engine ever since their R10 prototype sports car won the 2006 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi has been tempted to for a while to bring the technology to the street. Several years ago, much speculation surrounded a TDI version of the Audi R8 supercar but it never materialized. The first S model vehicle to feature one of Audi’s crossover vehicles has the basis for performance enhancements, the SQ5 will be most noteworthy as the premiere of TDI engine technology for this sport application. The Audi SQ5 will be powered by what will be the highest output TDI powerplant to be featured in the car brand‘s street-legal vehicle collection. Generating a forceful 313 horsepower, the Audi SQ5’s six-cylinder 3.0 TDI engine incorporates many touches for optimized diesel performance such as twin turbochargers. Compared to the Porsche Cayenne Diesel built by Audi’s VW Group sister brand, the SQ5 is 63 horsepower more powerful also pushed by 73 additional feet-pounds of torque.
The Audi SQ5’s hood, the 3.0 TDI performance diesel is joined to an 8-speed tiptronic gearbox. Channelled through Audi’s quattro permanent all-wheel drive technology, the SQ5’s true nature comes with impressive acceleration. Launching from 0 to 62 miles per hour in just 5.1 seconds, the diesel-powered Audi SQ5 is a formidable performer against even some performance V-8 crossover vehicles. A top speed of 155 miles per hour is obtainable with the Audi SQ5 crossover. Spinning 245/45 tires, 20-inch and optional 21-inch wheels circulate tied to a sport-tuned suspension system. With the Audi SQ5 quattro providing torque vectoring, the crossover vehicle is additionally controlled through an extra cost Audi select drive system that offers dynamic steering.
With the 313-horsepower 3.0 TDI powerplant mated to quattro drive provides the necessary physical prowess of an Audi S model vehicle, the next area of improvement to the Q5 is making the crossover look aggressive enough to earn a sport moniker. The trademark front Audi grille on the SQ5 is treated with a platinum gray to create the appearance of aluminum. The side mirror covered with aluminum-like detail complements a high gloss package around the windows on the Audi SQ5 crossover giving the vehicle a unique glimmer. Modified bumper covers and a rear spoiler completes the accentuation of the Audi SQ5 to its friskier character.
Playing along the similar styling theme of the exterior, the Audi SQ5 cabin receives attention. Interior paneling of the Audi SQ5 provides the owner with a choice of Carbon Atlas, Piano finish and the new Aluminum/Beaufort wood black trim pieces. Brushed aluminum inlays and the S badge advertising completes an ultra-modern interior appearance. Power adjustable sport seats within a two-tone, leather-upholstered cabin insures comfort for the Audi SQ5’s passenger behind the high-performance diesel engine.
The Audi SQ5 TDI crossover vehicle will be made available in European dealerships by early 2013. There has not been an announcement if the sale of the Audi SQ5 will extend into North America.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
North America auto buyers would be amused at the potpourri that is the global Audi vehicle range. Through high-profile auto exhibitions, the version of the A1 subcompact and Q3 compact crossover are models unaccustomed to Audi owners (or potential Audi owners) in the United States. Making judgement calls for what mind of vehicles a certain market can sustain, we (as North American enthusiasts) are kept in the dark of Audi’s accomplishments in other parts of the world. Thankful to the theatrics of several major auto shows, car companies are finally encouraged to display their many faces to a global audience.
In China, Audi produces a wider wheelbase version of the A6 sedan in association with (FAW) First Automobile Works Group Corporation. A solid selling vehicle in China‘s premium car segment after a short time on the market, the Audi A6 L is 3.7 inches longer compared to the standard sedan in overall length. For the 2012 Auto China exhibit, Audi and FAW collective success of the A6 L is being highlighted to the world with e-tron treatment. The newest appearance of Audi’s electrified plug-in hybrid powertrain, A6 L e-tron Concept pushes the bounds of their gasoline-saving technology deeper.
The combination of a gasoline and electric power train on a large sedan (as shown on the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept) is nothing new for Audi. The A8 Hybrid sedan is slated for sale in Europe following the A6 Hybrid already found in showrooms east of the Atlantic Ocean. Of course, the main difference with the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept is the use of electrical power as primary motion. Using the same 211-horsepower, 2.0 TFSI engine used in the conventional A6 and A8 hybrid vehicles as a range extender, the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept adaptation to a plug-in hybrid motoring caused a rethink of the electric-mode hardware. Instead of the 40-kilowatt electric motor found on the A8 hybrid, the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept employs a more powerful 70-kilowatt electrical propulsion unit. A larger lithium-ion battery pack is also a property of driving plug-in hybrid vehicle such as the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept.
On pure electric power, the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept can run up to 80 kilometers (about 50 miles) on a single change at a maintained speed of 37.3 miles per hour. The Audi A6 L’s lightweight aluminum construction and use of highly efficient LED lighting plays well to optimize the e-tron powertrain.
Still a very stylized premium sedan, the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept wears its fins in a much tighter fashion than that found on the production car. As the ultra-modern Audi sedan receives propulsion from gasoline and electric power, the A6 L e-tron Concept coasts on 21-inch wheels featuring the same aggressive turbine blade design featured on the Audi e-tron Spyder.
Despite the intense focus on energy efficiency, the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept sedan continues to pamper the driver and passengers with modern comfort. Features such as ventilated seats, automatic climate control, Bose Surround Sound System and Audi MMI navigation plus are all found inside of the four-door luxury sedan. For the driver of the plug-in hybrid, the instrument panel features a subtle but important change. Replacing the tachometer, a powermeter is incorporated into the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept so drivers can actively monitor the lithium-ion battery along with other crucial gauges.
Thanks to show cars like the A6 L e-tron Concept, Audi has convinced observers of the German luxury car brand there are far-reaching merits to Audi’s e-tron technology. Combining the eco-friendly motoring both government agencies and motorists will require through the upcoming decades, we have seen e-tron bringing the same confidence as well as performance refinement expected from the upscale car badge. However, customers of Audi are still several years away from seeing e-tron for sale. The first planned e-tron production model is the Audi A3 e-tron set for 2014 release in Europe. The Audi A6 L e-tron Concept (a possible pipedream of a lower tailpipe emission future) seems likely to remain a showpiece for the immediate future.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
Searching for their 10th victory, the Audi prototype program has placed every major iteration of their race purpose-built sports cars in the Sebring International Raceway winner’s circle since 2000. The Audi R8 prototype race car, as well as the R10 TDI and R15 TDI are celebrated race vehicles that began their piece of a motorsport dynasty with an inaugural victory at Sebring. Bringing 2011-spec Audi R15 TDI Plus race cars to the Mobil 1 Twelve of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida event last year, the Audi R18 TDI closed cockpit prototype car would break an 11-year trend by winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans first. For the 2012 American Le Mans Series first race and the debut event for the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), Audi Sport Team Joest’s three-car R18 team needed to claim the car’s elusive Sebring race.
Without the challenge from the Peugeot 908 sports car that won the previous two Sebring events, the Audi Sport Team Joest team came to the race track carrying a war chest of experience and equipment trumping other prototype class contenders. In Friday qualifying for the half-day Saturday race, the Audi R18 TDI race cars stormed around the 3.7-mile, 17-turn road course claiming the top three starting positions with little opposition. Taking the pole among the three-care Audi R15 group was the #1 vehicle that flew around the Sebring International Raceway with a 1-minute, 45.820-second lap time.
The Audi R18 TDI was almost perfect in its debut at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring event on Saturday. The #1 Audi R18 TDI, handled by the driving team of Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler, parlayed their Friday speed into Saturday race pace. When the #1 car was not leading the race early, one of the three team cars for Audi Sport Team Joest held the top race track position during the first four hours.
In the fourth hour, the harmonious rhythm of the three-car Audi R18 TDI squad would be impacted by an issue with the lead vehicle. Losing the lead first when a pit stop netted a stop-and-go penalty from the race stewards, the #1 Audi R18 TDI race car would crawl back to pit lane more than an hour later. A faulty electrical shifting unit on the gearbox would wind up taking the #1 car to the service area behind the pit wall. Costing the #1 Audi R18 17 laps, the car containing the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning driving trio returned to competition to finish fifth in the LMP1 category among the WEC registered vehicles.
Taking over from where the #1 car left off in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the #2 car piloted by the proven driving combination of Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Dindo Capello went on the mission of with the R18 TDI prototype sports car. As day turned to night and the clock for the endurance race ticked down to zero, the #2 Audi Sport Team Joest R18 TDI won the 2012 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring by four laps over their #3 team car. “It was consistently fast and made it possible for us to be in contention from the beginning to the end.” said Allan McNish who celebrated his fourth overall win in the Sebring 12-hour race. Winning their first Sebring event since 2009, the #2 drive consisted of the same trio of drivers that brought an Audi R10 across the line on that occasion.
Despite the fact victory seemed easy for the #2 car squad, the winning drivers all combated challenges during the 12 hours of racing. “The car was running well but traffic was a real challenge and the temperatures around noon, when I was sitting in the cockpit for a long time, were pretty high.” said Tom Kristensen adding, “It was tough clinching victory here.” Technical Director for Audi Sport Team Joest added to Kristensen’s acknowledgment saying, “That was a pretty strenuous race. And our rivals were really close on our heels. They were a tiny bit slower than we but in the caution period they wouldn’t ease up on us. They only started having problems in the end. Those were eleven hours of hard work for us. Well done to Dindo (Capello), Tom (Kristensen) and Allan (McNish). It was a superb drive.” The triumph of the Audi squad against the 64-car field at the 2012 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring comes as another moment the German-based team conquered with superior technology, engineering, mechanics and drivers.
Attending the first race for the World Endurance Championship, FIA President Jean Todt was witness to the Audi Sport Team Joest operations at Sebring as they flew to sports car victory in 2012. With many dignitaries present, Audi captured the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring taking the overall victory as well as the first win for a prototype under the WEC body. Proud of the work of the whole racing operation, Head of Audi Motorsports Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich commented, “Obviously, it’s nice that after the tenth pole position for Audi at Sebring we managed to achieve the tenth victory as well. For us, it was a great start into the season and into the new FIA World Endurance Championship.”
The next FIA World Championship race for the Audi Sport Team Joest organization is the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on May 6th. This Belgium round of the 2012 series will feature the competitive debut of the diesel/electric Audi R18 e-tron quattro ahead of the 24 Hour of Le Mans event.