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
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