Sparing you the suspense of reading the entire article to find out the outcome of the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans, the race was once more another highpoint to the legacy of Audi’s prototype sports car racing program. Taking first place as well as second place on the overall leaderboard after a day of racing, the Audi R18 e-tron Quattro LMP1 race cars retook the position of triumph. For 2014, the winning Audi Sport Team Joest line-up consisted of Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer. Unlike past years where near-perfect Audi Sport Team Joest form was on display at the 8.469-mile Circuit de la Sarthe, the 2014 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans was not a complete runaway for Audi. In fact, the 2014 version of the classic endurance affair contained the German team’s hardest-earned effort in memory.
For 2014, the feat is extra-memorable for Audi as the LMP1 class featured not one but two viable competitors against the R18 e-tron quattro. Winning the first two races in the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), Toyota was more energized than ever in the quest to capture a long sought-after overall victory at Le Mans. Claiming first and third in qualifying positioned the Japanese manufacturer in a favoured spot. The LMP1 category at the 24 Hours of Le Mans was also invigorated by the return of Porsche to high profile, premium class. Appearing in a top class at the French sports car race with a factory effort for the first time since 1998, the Porsche 919 Hybrid and its accomplished driver line-up may be rounding the learning curve quicker than their competitors would have expected. Audi itself was competing with its own new equipment. Combating the threat as well as conforming to new FIA WEC rules for the LMP1 category, the Audi R18 e-tron quattro shared mainly its name only with last year’s winning car at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Audi Sport Team Joest organization came to the race ready to defend with their customary three-car effort.
Adversity coming even before the green flag dropped on Saturday. The 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans preparations consisted of a scary crash in a Wednesday practice when Loic Duval crashed in the #1 R-18 e-tron quattro. Not seriously hurt but taken to hospital for overnight observation, Duval was scratched from the driver line-up was replaced with Mark Gene. Mechanics were able to rebuild the wrecked Audi R18 e-tron quattro race car but would face the fact they were outpaced by the Toyota Racing and Porsche Team during qualifying taking spots fifth through seventh. Potentially signifying that Audi’s dominance could be greatly at-risk, the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans would prove climatic.
Starting with three Audi R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 cars, the team’s efforts for winning were quickly devoted to just two vehicles. During a safety car period on a rainy Circuit de la Sarthe, the #3 Audi shared by drivers Filipe Albuquerque, Marco Bonanomi and Oliver Jarvis was hit by a GT category Ferrari. The crash damage to the rear rendered the #3 car unable to complete 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans and was retired after just 25 laps.
The early stage of the 2014 race featured the impressive pace of the Toyota TS040 Hybrids. The pole-sitting #7 Toyota, consisting of driving trio of Alexander Wurz, Stephane Sarrazin and Kazuki Nakajima, was the class of the field. However, the 24 Hours of Le Mans would soon remind teams of its endurance race nature. By the 15th hour, Toyota’s leading prototype runner suffered electrical problems that ultimately claimed their first 24 Hours of Le Mans victory with 219 laps completed. The Porsche 919 Hybrid was also strong on track but would be denied a top result after 24 hours of racing. Drivetrain and transmission problems hindered the Porsche return to the top class at Le Mans.
With the Audi R18 e-tron quattro race cars inheriting the lead on Sunday morning, the run to the checkered flag would not be without incident. Both cars required extended service for the replacement of their turbocharger units. On the 2014 R18 e-tron quattro, the turbocharger unit is a highly elaborate and experimental mechanism that operates on electrical power. While the service cost both cars several laps, Audi Sport Team Joest drivers have build up a sizable advantage on track preserving their top spots.
Prevailing with a three lap advantage, the #2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro claimed victory at the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans. The 13th time in 16 tries Audi has won the French endurance car racing treasure, the R18 e-tron quattro completed 379 laps totalling 5,165.39 kilometers or 3,209.62 miles. This win is also the third for Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer as a driving team at the circuit having also proven victorious in the 2011 and 2012 races.
After sitting as a mingled mess on the race track Wednesday, the #1 Audi Sport Team Joest entry took the runner-up spot. Three laps short of victory, former Formula 1 drivers Lucas di Grassi, Marc Gené and nine-time 24 Hours of Le Mans race winner Tom Kristensen shared second place car. By a two-lap advantage, the #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro fended off the charged of the #8 Toyota TS040 Hybrid piloted by Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Nicolas LePierre.
Once again the champion of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich summarized the team’s success saying, “There were many incidents and none of the top cars made it across the distance without any problems. The decisive factors were that our Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars were able to drive consistently fast for 24 hours, our drivers made no mistakes and our squad responded properly and quickly to the issues that occurred. In Porsche and Toyota we had two really strong rivals who, as expected, did not make life easy for us. I always believed that, in spite of the particularly difficult prerequisites for us this year, we’d be able to succeed and that we’ve got the most efficient race car. That we succeeded again makes me feel proud
Information and photo source: Audi AG, Porsche Cars North America
Noting this website could be a bit biased towards the products branded with the four-ring badge, few can argue Audi has been making one winning move after another. Product after product introduced by Audi has been well-received by the press and, most importantly, by a growing customer base. With a long-running history for combining engineering and design in an unconventional fashion, the unique character that beckons through Audi is now popular among a mainstream luxury crowd.
In 2011, Audi pressed the limits of their sport and modern luxury fusion to boundaries few other cars have gone. The Audi A7 Sportback blurred the attributes of sport sedan, sport coupe and hatchback into a single, debonair figure. A big hit, the A7 Sportback also exhibited styling cues that would be applied across their line-up in new and refreshed models. Three years since the vehicle to later spawn the S7 Sportback and RS7 Sportback, the Audi A7 Sportback is receiving some noticeable tweaks.
A New, Sporty Look
With source material provided from the United Kingdom version of the new A7 Sportback, the new styling of Audi’s radical five-door sports car is likely the shape found across the globe for the 2015 model year. After the first A7 Sportback inspired the Audi line-up, it is now the time for the vehicle to be inspired. Gazing upon the front of the new Audi A7 Sportback, touches of the new TT and R8 is giving the five-door a meaner face. Audi’s Singleframe grille on the A7 Sportback model features a more pronounced hexagonal shape found on the S7 and RS7 models. Headlights on the new A7 Sportback draw inward to a narrower height projecting a more sinister look. The UK version of the new Audi A7 Sportback’s headlights receives some extra substance to the new styling. High-tech LED headlights will be standard accompanying the already existing LED daytime running lights. Audi’s Matrix LED headlights will also be available on the new A7 Sportback.
Inside the new Audi A7 Sportback, new materials and colors will be present within the four or five-passenger cabin. On the S Line model of the Audi A7 Sportback, a new Lunar Silver color option is available in addition to Black. Audi’s MMI Navigation plus is joined by optional Audi Connect system that will offer Internet connectivity at LTE 4G speeds. Enhanced safety features offered on the A7 Sportback includes an improved Night Vision Assistant and refined Audi Active Lane Assist.
More Robust TDI Clean Diesel and V-8 Powerplants
For the new UK version of the Audi A7 Sportback, a new turbocharged diesel TDI engine is a highlight. The 3.0 TDI clean diesel engine is being applied to an “Ultra” model of the A7 Sportback with front-wheel drive. Generating about 268 horsepower, the Ultra powerplant is slated to deliver more than 60 miles per gallon (using the measurement system used in Europe). A more potent biturbo version of the 3.0 TDI power unit will also be available mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Twin-turbocharged 4.0 liter V-8 gasoline engine found on the upcoming S7 Sportback is also mentioned to receive a horsepower boost to over 443 horsepower (A 23 horsepower improvement over the current version of the powerplant). The UK version of the new Audi A7 Sportback will also drop the Multitronic CVT replacing it with a dual-clutch transmission.
This new Audi A7 Sportback is slated for release in the fourth quarter of this year.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
The crossover vehicle has presented many automakers an opportunity to explore different dimension of design. While some crossover designs seek optimal practicality, others re-imagine luxury in the larger interior confides. In the most radical form, the styling theme of crossover vehicles has consisted of threading sportiness into designs. The BMW X6, Acura ZDX and the Porsche Cayenne are a few production crossovers that have attempted to find a perfect marriage of performance car appearance with the proportions of a taller, utilitarian shape. At the 2014 Beijing Motor Show, Audi has lent the TT sports car nameplate to the German luxury brand’s conceptual study for their sport-oriented crossover.
A four-door crossover coated with Sonora Yellow paint, the Audi TT Offroad Concept spans 4.39 meters in length and 1.53 meters tall. The height of the concept vehicle is lower than that of the Audi Q5 and just 6 centimeters taller than the A4 Allroad. Utilizing the Audi Space Frame consisting of aluminum and steel construction, the Audi TT Offroad Concept is provided with an almost sedan-like appearance. Aspects seen on the 2015 Audi TT also radiate over the entire composition of the show car. The arching of the roof for the crossover concept vehicle is very much attributed to the new TT coupe.
The Audi TT Offroad Concept functions as a plug-in hybrid embodying e-tron technology configured around gasoline engine and two electric motors. Gasoline power is sourced from a 2.0 TFSI four-cylinder powerplant generating 288 horsepower and 280.3 pound-feet of torque. However, for up to the first 50 kilometers (31.1 miles of the Audi TT Offroad Concept‘s trip, the vehicle runs off a 12 kWh capacity battery powering a 40-kilowatt and an 85-kilowatt electric motor. The lower-powered motor is integrated with the TFSI engine while the 85-kilowatt unit is designed to be independent. EV mode, Hybrid and Sport mode are featured with the TT Offroad Concept’s powertrain. Working together, the drivetrain receives up to 402 horsepower of propulsion. An Audi e-S tronic six-speed dual-clutch transmission channels power through an intelligent all-wheel drive system. The hybrid technology onboard the Audi TT Offroad Concept manages wheel spin based on the vehicle’s driving mode.
One method exhibited for charging lithium-ion battery pack of the TT Offroad Concept is Audi Wireless Charging technology. Using inductive charging system said to be 90 percent efficient, the vehicle charges overtop of a plate while parked. Through Audi Wireless Charging, no contact is made between the charger and the Audi TT Offroad Concept during the replenishing of the battery.
Designed for four adult passengers, the Audi TT Offroad Concept’s interior is inspired by mood created inside the A7 Sportback and the recently introduced new TT coupe. Front and rear seats are contoured for a gripping hold for when the TT Offroad Concept is being put through its paces. Air vents are shaped to resemble jet engines and sport integrated climate controls. Similar to the experience inside the 2015 Audi TT, a 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit is placed within the instrument panel providing the driver of a biased level of control. Basic readouts for speed as well as more sophisticated information like navigation, traffic and information on the Audi Wireless Charging technology is relayed to the driver through the Virtual Cockpit.
On the Audi TT Offroad Concept, passengers are treated to a series of interactive media solutions through Audi Smart Displays. Special tablets computers found inside the TT Offroad Concept but capable of operating outside the vehicle, the Audi Smart Displays allow DVD, television streaming as well as radio control. The Audi Smart Displays can also interact with the navigation system mapping and is Internet-ready with an LTE high-speed connection using a Google Chrome browser.
The Chinese auto market is among the most important sales environments for the 21st century. For Audi parent company Volkswagen Group, China has played an integral part in allowing the German car company to flourish into a major global player. In fact, Volkswagen’s was one of the first major automakers outside of the Chinese market to have a meaningful presence in the mainland. The luxury and premium car segment has been growing to an extent that every prestigious brand must be present. After the month of March, Audi has sold over 124,500 vehicles in China for 2014. For the Audi brand, sales total in China is greater than first-three months of sales in the regions of Germany, United States, Italy and Spain combined.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
Before the R8 supercar became the darling of Audi performance and passion-filled motoring, the TT stood as the driver-centric vehicle in the German luxury brand’s line-up. First offered as a roadster in 1998 with a hardtop coupe coming later, the Audi TT presented the design, performance and equipment to be a fun-loving beast on the road exhibiting the sharpest measure of quattro all-wheel drive. While the car’s eye-catching design and ample performance has remained, there has recently been a long wait for Audi’s response to improving on what has been the winning formula known as the TT sports car. Teasing a view of the new TT’s interior at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show among their showcase at the exhibition earlier this year, Audi has removed the covers off the entire vehicle for the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. Premiering as the third-generation Audi TT to the world, the Geneva introduction of the new vehicle is realized as a stouter performer and a beacon for Audi’s innovative technology.
As is the case of iconic automobiles such as the Porsche 911 and Ford Mustang, the Audi TT must have presented a touchy situation for car designers. With the traditional TT look being so acclaimed, any attempts to modify the appearance had to be performed for a greater good. In addition, too much change would alienate the crowd who had adored the previous two generations of the Audi TT. Fortunately from what has debuted in Geneva, a harmonious balance was found. In coupe form, the essence of the familiar Audi TT remains but some modern touches. The all-new Audi TT receives a bold Singleframe grille with a hexagonal shape. Redesigned headlights do not directly adhere to other Audi products but includes the company’s innovation lighting technology. Standard equipped with Xenon plus, Audi’s Matrix LED headlights will also be available on the new TT (the latter‘s appearance in the United States is still pending regulatory hurdles).
Improvements in the shaping of the new TT sports car’s Audi Space Frame and the application of aluminum and light steel have provided a leaner third-generation vehicle. Compared to the previous TT, Audi claims to have shaved over 110 pounds of weight when creating the new sports car. The body structure has not been only location where engineers of the new Audi TT have been able to create a lighter weight machine. Efforts placed into weight savings has also been found in the interior with standard seats weighing more than 11 pounds less.
Revealed in January, the interior of the all-new Audi TT is a mergence of sportiness, ergonomics and comfort. Audi wanted to create an aircraft-like appearance with the dashboard layout for the new TT as they developed a cockpit consisting of streamlined controls. The highly visible large circular vents along the dash panel stylishly contain the operational controls for the air conditioning. Gripping onto a flattened rim steering wheel with multifunction controls, the driver of the third-generation Audi TT is presented with a fully digital instrument cluster. Described as the Audi virtual cockpit, a 12.3-inch TFT display eliminates the need for the typical center screen by presenting lists and even maps directly in front of the driver. Standard with MMI radio, the Audi TT will also feature an available MMI touch as well as the MMI Navigation plus unit. Connectivity with 4G LTE technology will support the high-tech in-car solutions for the Audi TT.
In addition to the base TT Coupe, Audi is showing the TTS version for the third-generation sports car. Featuring an increased array of standard features such the dynamic driving system, magnetic ride control, automatic air conditioning and a special aluminum fixed-caliper braking system, the Audi TTS continues to be suited for the performance-seeker.
The powerplants for the Audi TT and TTS have been heavily sweetened in the newest incarnation of the sports car. Still a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, gasoline powerplants feature the enhancement of Audi valve lift system allows the coaxing of even greater horsepower. With a front-wheel drive or a quattro all-wheel drive version set to be available, the 2.0 TFSI engine on the Audi TT will generate 230 horsepower (a 19 horsepower improvement over the outgoing vehicle). For the new TTS, output from the engine is rated at 310 horsepower. Still short of the Audi TT RS, the 45 horsepower boost allows the Audi TTS model to launch from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just 4.7 seconds. A third 2.0 TDI has also been announced for the Audi TT producing 184 horsepower and stubborn 280 pounds feet of torque. North American buyers of the new Audi TT can at least expect to find gasoline engines available for purchase. Fans of stick shifters will rejoice with the existence of six-speed manual transmissions being offered on both the TT and TTS model. Audi’s S tronic dual-clutch transmission is optional on the new version of the sports car.
The global premiere of the Audi TT in Geneva has largely focused on the 2+2 passenger Coupe as well as the TTS Coupe. Left out but certainly to be not neglected, Audi would be entering a heap of trouble if they do not debut the convertible roadster variant of the Audi TT. Until that time, the 2014 Geneva Motor Show will have a number of other fine Audi creations to delight the eyes. The Audi S1 and S3 Cabriolet as well as a TT quattro sport concept are premiere vehicles appearing as part of their massive display that also featured the latest R18 e-tron quattro prototype sports car.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
Making a splash last year with their autonomous driving concepts, Audi returns to the CES with even greater anticipation. Audi’s presence at the 2014 CES in Las Vegas starts the auto company’s Board of Management Rupert Stadler delivering a keynote address. Set to take place on Monday at 8:30 pm Pacific Standard Time, Audi has divulged some of the innovations Stadler is expected to talk about while rumours circulate something even more exciting will be presented as well.
What Audi has confirmed is their 2014 CES presentation will present a heightened level of illumination on a new type of lighting. Featured on the 560-horsepower Audi Sport quattro concept car, a laserlight headlight assembly will be exhibited as the next evolution for driving at night or through dark surroundings. The laserlight headlights with Matrix LED concept can create a brighter view. One of the leaders in full LED headlighting that is only beginning to catch on, Audi’s research into another form of illumination has the potential of allowing motorists to clearly see the road almost 500 meters away. Once again using motorsports to prove technology, Audi’s first public field test of the technology will take place on the new Audi R18 e-tron quattro prototype class sports car.
While the laserlight technology on the outside of Audi products is adequately wetting the appetites of automotive technology seekers, what could be going on inside future cars from the premium German auto brand is generating the most curiosity. Announcing an enhanced MMI system, some believe we are only being teased for the meantime with details ahead of bigger news. What Audi has stated clearly is the new infotainment technology will run on a Nvidia Tegra 30 processor and present operators with a large, high-resolution TFT display to interact with. The new system also promises to offer better voice control and navigation guidance.
The persisting rumours are the system will be based on Google’s Android operating system. Potentially, Audi products equipped with an Android operating system infrastructure could provide occupants with an experience similar to that of a smartphone or computer tablet. For several years, Audi has employed Google Maps for the navigation software of their vehicles. Automakers are scrambling to create solution where occupants can interact with mobile apps with much approaches consisting of piggybacking in-car solutions with a smartphone for functionality. Audi at the 2014 CES could reveal plans for a full-function computer into a vehicle for use by the driver or passengers. Researching the Nvidia family of processors, the term Android does come up a lot. Offering 4G LTE connections on the 2015 Audi A3, an Android-enabled infotainment system will provide a great benefit to occupants.
Audisite.com will keep full tabs on news coming out at the 2014 CES in Las Vegas.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
One reason gasoline engines have been able to evolve into an efficient, well-understood choice for a common automobile driver is participation in motorsports. As we are recognizing a new future for cars with electric power, an ambitious plan to showcase the performance of near-zero emissions motoring is set to become reality.
An all-electric racing, the Formula E series will be inaugurated on September 20th of 2014 as one of the first professional forms of motorsports of its kind. An open wheel race car design similar to the vehicles in Formula 1 or IndyCar Series, the open class setup of Formula E provides any willing company an opportunity to innovate near-zero emissions performance. With almost every major automaker trying to prove the merits of their electrified drivetrain development, Formula E could be the first application of the old “Race on Sunday, sell on Monday” adage for electric cars. Having fielded a hybrid diesel/electric prototype sports car for victorious outings at Le Mans, Audi has thrown its hat into the ring for the new world auto racing class.
Providing a rendering of a vehicle‘s livery, Audi will be led into the Formula E series by ABT Sportsline starting in 2014. Though a private entity, ABT Sportsline’s has a long-running relationship with modifying Audi and Volkswagen Group vehicles to be greater performers. ABT Sportsline and Audi already have an established partnership in motorsports with the DTM championship campaigning the A4 and A5 (named the RS 5 for the 2013 season). For the 2013 DTM season, Mattias Ekström and Jamie Green drove the ABT Sportsline Audi RS5. Finishing fifth in the teams’ championship after the 10-race season, the highlight was Green’s pole position at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben and a runner-up finish for Ekström at Moscow Raceway. The Formula E series team name will be Audi Sport ABT Sportsline.
“We’re proud to have the opportunity to take part in the debut of this new racing series. Participating in the new FIA Formula E Championship marks a completely new chapter in our more than 60-year motorsport history,” said Team Principal Hans-Jürgen Abt. Speaking to the auto manufacturer’s involvement in the partnership, the head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich commented on the new venture saying, “We’ve been watching this new project of the FIA with great interest and are delighted that ABT Sportsline as one of our close and long-standing partners will be involved right from the beginning.”. Ullrich is no stranger to promoting electrified pursuits in motorsport. The Audi R18 e-tron quattro had taken the first hybrid race car to victory in the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans. This year, the Audi Sport Team Joest repeated the feat with the race. In addition, the Audi R18 e-tron quattro has been on a mission in the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship winning all but one race in the LMP1 category.
Becoming the seventh organization to commit to the 2014-2015 Formula E series, Audi Sport ABT Sportsline will join the presence of teams like Andretti Autosport, Super Aguri and Drayson Racing. Planning for place two cars on the grid with the Formula E launches in China on September 20th of for its inaugural season, many details remain to be settled including the driver line-up. “We’re keeping our fingers crossed for the squad on tackling this new challenge and are planning to support its commitment with drivers from our factory line-up if required.”, said Dr Wolfgang Ullrich.
Information and photo source: ABT Sportsline
This weekend, Audi has taken another step in establishing the four-ring badge as an immortal entity.
In the past several years, Audi has realized what great power rests in defining their vehicles in the future. Audi is considered one of the lead developers in autonomous vehicle technology with the conception of Piloted Driving systems. Besides car technology, Audi has also infused their presence into several futuristic movies. Successfully adapting itself into the world of 2035 with product placement in the Will Smith movie I, Robot, Audi‘s custom made film car, the RSQ, gained some valuable screen time. With the release of this weekend’s movie adaptation of the sci-fi war story Ender’s Game, the German luxury brand will once again tell the “..Truth in Engineering” with a futuristic movie car.
Imagining a 22nd century automobile, Audi created the Fleet Shuttle quattro. The Audi Fleet Shuttle quattro will be seen as the ground vehicle in scenes involving actors Harrison Ford as Colonel Graff and Asa Butterfield as Ender Wiggin. Wearing a familiar Audi grille, the low-profile coupe is unmistakably futuristic in overall design. While it appears that hover technology is still impractical over one hundred years from now, the Audi Fleet Shuttle quattro does coast an illuminated wheel and tire setup.
Unlike Audis used in I, Robot or this year’s Iron Man 3 blockbuster film, the Audi Fleet Shuttle quattro vehicle was never physically present on the set. The car appearing in Ender’s Game existed only as a computer generated effect on-screen. Through a production film Audi released on-line, the creation and use of the virtual vehicle is described. During filming, interaction took place with an Audi A7 Sportback serving as a stand-in vehicle. Using the design created by Audi stylists, the Fleet Shuttle quattro was layered into the movie scenes by Digital Domain. A company co-created by James Cameron, Digital Domain’s reputation in Hollywood special effects speak through many projects that include True Lies, Tron: Legacy, the last 2 Transformers motion pictures and The Day After Tomorrow. Digital Domain seamlessly applies a vehicle that does not exist to the Ender’s Game movie scenes.
While a virtual vehicle in the production of the movie, the recent premiere of Ender’s Game has brought the Fleet Service quattro to a physical appearance. Appearing as a 1:4 scale replica, the Audi Fleet Shuttle quattro shared the red carpet with stars Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Sir Ben Kingsley and Abigail Breslin. Certainly, Audi does not have small expectation when it comes to insuring their place in a 22nd century world.
Information, photo and video source: Audi AG
Three years after the first Audi Ur-quattro was introduced, an upgraded variant was shown at the 1983 Frankfurt Motor Show. Classified as the Audi Sport Quattro S1, the result was a steroid-infused version of the original vehicle. Similar to the Plymouth Superbird and the Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR, the Audi Sport Quattro S1’s presence as a production car was only a formality so the brand could compete with a better race car. Featuring cutting-edge carbon fiber body panels and an all-aluminum turbocharged engine generating 444 horsepower in competition trim, the car also existed as an early application of Audi’s now common S badging. Thirty years since the premiere of the first Sport Quattro, Audi is reviving the legacy for a concept design modernized and depicting future trends for the German premium car make.
Looking at the Audi Sport Quattro Concept, car enthusiasts with good memories should be comforted with the knowledge they are not suffering from déjà vu. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Ur-quattro in 2010, Audi revealed a modern retelling of their memorable performance car. The Audi Quattro Concept was even considered for limited production but the plan was derailed last year. Broken-hearted Audi Ur-quattro lovers might find the 2013 Audi concept car as a difficult creation to admire in risk of traumatizing themselves further. For some who were awaiting the splashy tribute sports car, the presence of the Audi Sport Quattro Concept borders on cruelty. It is already noted as unlikely that the Sport Quattro Concept will evolve much further than an amusing prototype.
The only major stylized difference from the 2010 Quattro Concept to the 2013 Sport Quattro Concept is the front end is identical to Audi’s current production machines. The use of carbon fiber aerodynamic elements provide a splitter and diffuser honour their past as well as impressing 21st century counterparts. A vehicle weighing 4,078 pounds, the Sport Quattro Concept’s engineers has pursued the advantages of high strength steel and aluminum in creating a solid composition for the vehicle. The hood is detailed with louvers on the passenger side corner. Outlet ducts behind the front tires servers as one of the final characteristics used to define the Audi Sport Quattro Concept from the 2010 concept look-a-like. Borrowed from the new A8 sedan, Matrix LED lighting is employed all around the Sport Quattro Concept incorporating diodes delivering custom illumination based on a wide range of conditions. The two-seat concept vehicle dimensions present a wide vehicle at 54.57 inches.
A racing-oriented interior included with the Audi Sport Quattro Concept places the driver first. Equipped with a multi-function steering wheel providing the quick access control layout that a Formula 1 driver would receive, the Sport Quattro Concept also provides the operator with a heads-up display and a digital instrument panel. The original Ur-quattro is regarded as a pioneer for utilizing the then-space age LCD electronic instrument cluster on a production car. Operating using an available Race mode, the Audi Sport Quattro Concept’s display provides the driver with a central speedometer as well as race track information. Interior focus on racing also includes attention to luxury appointments. The Audi Sport Quattro Concept is an air conditioning system integrated into the vents for pinpoint accuracy.
Powering the 2013 Audi Sport Quattro Concept, something more ambitious than a 306-horsepower turbocharged engine beats under the hood. Running on a quattro all-wheel drive platform, the concept vehicle operates as a plug-in hybrid. A 110-kilowatt electric motor fed from a lithium-ion battery pack allows the Sport Quattro Concept to travel 31 miles without a single drop of gasoline. However, when gasoline power is called upon with the Audi Sport Quattro Concept, a twin-turbocharged, 4-liter V8 engine is summoned to life providing 560 horsepower and 516 pounds feet of torque. This eight-cylinder gasoline engine is the same powerplant propelling the Audi RS7 Sportback. When working in unison, a collective effort of 700 horsepower will be transmitted through the quattro drive system. 0 to 60-mile per hour acceleration for the Audi Sport Quattro Concept is estimated at 3.7 seconds. Top speed for the hybrid vehicle is appraised at 189.5 miles per hour.
Ahead of the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, several retro-themed show cars have top billing. Like Audi, Volvo revisited their P1800 design with their Concept Coupe. In both cases, flashbacks of past legends include a forward-look into what is expected to be powerplants for future performance cars.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
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