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.
At the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, the European-targeted three-door version of the 2013 Audi A3 encapsulates renewed passion for pushing the boundaries of what can be expected from an entry-level compact.
The 2013 model year A3 is greatly refreshed to reflect Audi’s technology advancement and refined styling DNA. Premiering in Geneva, the 2013 Audi A3 three-door hatchback is immediately eye-catching as a sophisticated yet youthful design. Just slightly longer than the previous European-sold three-door model at 4,237 millimeters (166.81 inches), the 2013 A3 grows outward by 22 millimeters (0.866 inches) bumper cover-to-bumper cover. Despite the longer dimensions, Audi’s “ultra lightweight construction principle” utilizing aluminum and high strength steels present the new Audi A3 weighing 80 kilograms (176.4 pounds) less than its predecessor.
The reshaped front end features more dynamic looking front headlamps housings. Optional bi-xenon headlights also combine LED strips for daytime running lighting. Deep contour lines travel along the hood and side panels of the 2013 Audi A3 relaying a higher sense of detail. At the rear, a three-dimensional contouring and LED taillights anchors the attention of A3 followers. A total of 13 exterior paint colours will be sold with the 2013 Audi A3. Other bodywork enhancements will also be made possible by the S Line styling package.
Chassis of the new Audi A3 receives a suspension system engineered to be responsive and comfortable. An electronic limited-slip differential is included alongside the Audi A3’s electronic stability control program for improved handing and safety while driving. To exploit higher tolerances of the A3’s driving dynamic, an optional sport suspension firmer ride drops the Audi compact by 0.59 inches. A more radical S Line Suspension will also available on the Audi A3. Featuring wheels sizes between 16 and 18 inches, the Audi A3’s stylish rims will ride within low rolling resistance tires that will maximize fuel economy without affecting handling.
Featuring three-power plant option, the 2013 Audi A3 will be sold in Europe with two turbocharged gasoline and one turbodiesel engine choice. The pair of TFSI gasoline engines available on the Audi A3 includes the 1.4 liter, 122-horsepower and the 180-horsepower 1.8 liter. European Audi A3 customers will also have the highly fuel-efficient 2.0 TDI powerplant rated for generating 236 pounds feet of torque. Six-speed manual gearboxes will be matched standard with the 1.4 TFSI and 2.0 TDI engines while a dual-clutch, 7-speed S Tronic is included with the 1.8 liter Audi A3 model. The Audi A3 three-door presented at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show is a front-wheel drive model. A quattro all-wheel drivetrain is a guarantee by Audi for the newest compact car.
Complementing the exterior focus of the 2013 Audi A3, the three-door hatchback’s interior plays particularly well to the premium sport compact theme. The driver of the Audi A3 receives a control panel designed towards enriching a sense of motoring authority when holding the steering wheel. Paddle shifters and multifunctional steering wheel controls are available on the Audi A3. Interior design choices for the 2013 Audi A3 are coupled with two-tone colouring as well as leather/alcantara trim provided as factory add-ons. Accommodating five-passengers with a reasonable 365 liters (12.9 cubic feet) of interior cargo space, the volume of the new Audi A3 three-door expands to 1,100 liters (38.85 cubic feet) when the rear seat is folded down.
Oriented towards to youth market, the 2013 Audi A3 three-door hatchback will be the compact vehicle luring the performance look seeker. The new A3 line-up presented at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show will offer something for every premium entry-level customer.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
Included below in this post is the 2012 Geneva Motor Show unveiling of the Audi A3. Please be aware the interviews are in German.
One negative of entering a new year in the northern hemisphere on Earth is being plunged right into the worst driving weather. Fortunately, with each passing day, the horizon of spring grows closer eventually allowing the icy, snow-covered roads to clear. Just in time to exploit the bare pavement surfaces in 2012, Audi has prepared their latest, refreshed high-performance street machines. Premiering their new S Line S6, S7 and S8 models at the past Frankfurt Motor Show for public release later this year, 2012 welcomes the infectiously dashing Audi RS5. Both a personal luxury coupe and a high-performance car, the Audi RS5 is reborn this spring.
Featuring Audi’s new fleet-side exterior design DNA, the 2013 model year RS5 is furiously serious about its intent to face off against the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG coupe. Still making a firm statement for Audi’s modern luxury, the new affirmative angles of the sport coupe insures the vehicle will be an unmistakable speed demon (at the appropriate obeying the rules of the road). The refreshed Xenon plus headlamps featuring a strip of LED daytime running lights reins forward the Audi RS5 appearance. An optional Carbon design package can upgrade the RS5 sport coupe outer look and engine compartment.
Interior of the Audi RS5 continues to project the blend of performance/luxury grace the ‘RS’ badge has grown accustomed to providing to enthusiasts. The use of leather and Alcantara fills for the two-door’s cabin of the Audi RS5. Driver and front passengers sit in climate-controlled sport seats overlooking the best view of the yet-to-be conquered road. The Audi MMI navigation and entertainment system can be added as an option.
At the center of a largely stylistic revision for the 2013 model year, the Audi RS5’s naturally aspirated, direct-injected FSI 4.2 liter V-8 engine returns with all 450 horsepower. Accelerating from 0 to 62 miles per hour in a stout 4.6 seconds, top speed of the 2013 Audi RS5 can crest at just under 174 miles per hour when the electronic limiter is removed from the FSI 4.2 liter powerplant.
Moving with the 7-speed S Tronic transmission, drivers transitioning from the past Audi RS5 to the 2013 model will have one mechanical change coming from a new center differential. A crown-gear set-up engineered to work in conjunction with the quattro driver coupe’s electronic torque vectoring, Audi’s use of the self-locking differential provides the RS5 improved traction.
Audi’s recognition for the importance of North American auto sales has caused the luxury vehicle brand to relent to consumer pressures in bringing many products indigenous to Europe stateside. Kicked off with sale of the 360-horsepower TT-RS sports car, Audi has continued to reward their growing United States fan base with cars like the Audi R8 GT and most recently the A4-based Audi Allroad.
With American buyers excepting the redesigned Audi A5/S5 expected soon, it’s only be a matter of time until select North American motorists can realize the sensation of the quattro-driven RS5 sport coupe.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
A race that consisted of some cars stretching across 2,700 miles, the 2012 Rolex 24 at Daytona was again a stressful run that tested the limits of machinery and people. In the GT class for the Grand Am Rolex Series opener, a field of 44 cars represented 8 unique vehicles. The 50th anniversary event at the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway featured the first presence of the new Audi customer race car, the R8 Grand-Am. Like every entrant into the 24-hour race, a pair of 2012 Audi R8 Grand-Am cars (fielded by the #51 APR Motorsport team and the #74 Oryx Racing group) was given a baptism by fire against the established BMW M3, Porsche GT3 and the Mazda RX-8 vehicles.
Oryx Racing (Humaid Al Masaood, Saeed Al Mehairi and Steven Kane)- Finished 32nd in GT Class, 45th Overall
The Oryx Racing Audi R8 started 15th in the GT class, 27th in the overall Rolex 24 at Daytona running order. The Oryx Racing supported #74 Audi R8 Grand-Am car crept up to 21st in the race in the early but quickly in encountered on-track issues.
Driven by Steven Kane at this point of the event, the Oryx Racing car limped with a cut left rear tire until stopping low on the race track. Fortunately for the #74 car, the car lost pace close to the pit lane within turn 12 (known during stock car races as the Daytona oval’s turn 3-4 complex). An extended service from the after the tire change allowed the #74 Audi R8 Grand-Am to rejoin the event. Drawing a full course yellow on the Daytona International Speedway, safety crews administered a quick recovery of the Oryx Racing car. The Audi R8 Grand-Am also encountered its first mechanical hiccup in racing competition with a clutch problem. The Audi R8 Grand-Am car was repaired in the garage area, in a relatively quick time, returning to the Rolex 24 at Daytona event but ran several laps down. By the early evening, the #74 Audi R8 Grand-Am then found itself in the turn 8 through 11 bus stop chicane’s retaining barrier. For the second time, the Oryx Racing car drew a full course yellow.
APR Motorsport (Dion von Moltke, Emanuele Pirro Ian Baas, Jim Norman, Nelson Canache)- Finished 31st in GT Class, 44th Overall
The APR Motorsport Audi R8 Grand-Am finished 15 laps ahead of the Oryx Racing car but only one position ahead. Similar to the Oryx Racing Audi R8, the APR Motorsport vehicle but an off-course issue at the bus stop section of the Daytona road course. Sliding off the track within the closing 15 minutes of the event, the APR Motorsports car almost affected the outcome of the entire race if a full course caution was required to move the stopped Audi R8. In the case of the #51 car, the double-yellow flag was spared as the Audi R8 Grand-Am was able to rejoin the sports car event. Despite a five-car driving team that consisted of Audi Sport’s veteran prototype driver Emanuele Pirro, the APR Motorsport group also faced a challenging entrance into the Grand Am Rolex Series’ GT category.
Though neither the #51 APR Motorsport nor the #74 Oryx Racing achieved great contention in the GT category, the resilience characterized with the Four-Ring badge shined through for the striking new R8 Grand-Am racers. Despite eventful 24-hour runs, both Audi R8 Grand-Am race cars were classified running at the checkered flag in its debut.
With the Rolex 24 at Daytona completed, the Audi R8 Grand-Am car is positioned for a full 2012 Grand Am Rolex Series season that will resume in two months time at Barber Motorsports Park.
Information source: Audi AG, Grand Am
Photo source: Audi AG
Similar to the Audi R8 LMS vehicle that has run in several European sport car championships in the past three seasons (inspiring the Audi R8 GT road car), the Grand-Am version of the German luxury supercar differs in several aspects. Complying the vehicle with the Rolex Sports Car Series GT category, the Audi R8 race car underwent many subtle changes. Tighter bodywork constraints meant the front splitter could only extend 35 millimeters (1.38 inches) and the rear spoiler could only be 152 millimeters (5.98 inches) wide. Along with a flat vehicle underbody and a higher minimum ride height, Audi Sport accounted that around 70-80 percent of the aerodynamic grip of the Audi R8 LMS has been lost in configuring the supercar to Grand-Am specifications.
Besides a new aerodynamic profile, the Audi R8 Grand-Am car needed to adjust to the Rolex Sport Car GT category’s spec Continental tire compound. During December testing at the Daytona International Speedway’s 3.56-mile road course, the Audi R8 Grand-Am sailed around the race course for two days completing 600 miles partially to acquaint themselves to the new racing rubber. The Audi R8 LMS race car’s anti-lock braking and traction control programs have been deactivated for the Grand-Am.
Still an unmistakable Audi supercar, the R8 Grand-Am will be propelled through competition by the race-prepped 5.2 liter FSI V-10 powerplant. Horsepower from the R8 Grand-Am’s V-10 engine is expected within the 450 to 500 range restricted in efforts to put the vehicle on an equal playing field with other GT category sports cars.
Through a customer-supported racing effort, Audi has the full intent that entrance into the 2012 Rolex 24 at Daytona will be the latest chapter for what has been a prosperous existence on North American race tracks. Participating in the 1988 SCCA Trans-Am Series, a pair of Audi 200 turbocharged quattro sedans made waste of the competition winning 8 of 13 races in its maiden season. So intimidating, the SCCA changed its rulebook the following year to effectively outlaw the all-wheel drive Audi 200 from future involvement. Of course, Audi’s more recent claim to fame has been with their exceptionally prepared prototype cars. Between variants of the R8 race car, R10, R15 and now the R18, the Audi Sport Team Joest organization has steamrolled the competition in the United States. Winning nine 12 Hours of Sebring as well as the nine consecutive Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, Audi’s brand recognition in North America has enjoyed equal success in a competitive luxury car sales environment.
For the very first event, the Oryx Racing car will feature Humaid Al Masaood, Saeed Al Mehairi and Steven Kane as the planned drivers behind the wheel over the 24-hour run. APR Motorsport will run the Rolex 24 at Daytona with a driver line-up including Ian Baas, Nelson, Canache, Jim Norman, Dion von Moltke and veteran Audi Sport prototype driver Emanuele Pirro. APR Motorsport had said their Audi R8 Grand-Am arrived just two days before Christmas. As the team prepares for their inaugural race with the new R8 Grand-Am car at Daytona, several members of the APR Motorsport organization is confident on the race car’s braking and driveability. The race team is also ready to embrace the new vehicle knowing there is potential in the Audi R8 Grand-Am remaining untapped. Being campaigned as a customer program, the Audi R8 Grand-Am has and will continue to receive racing support from Audi Sport.
At the 2012 Rolex 24 of Daytona, the next page for Audi will take place over the course of a single day.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
Last month, an article was posted on Audisite.com noting that German luxury car Audi would entering into 2012 without a wagon or Avant version of their vehicle for the United States. Considering the fact that Audi was a long-time hold-out in the crossover vehicle arena, it was becoming far more likely that the auto company was giving up on presenting car-based wagons stateside. Just as a minor crisis was developing for the lovers of the Avant products, Audi made a New Year’s resolution at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit to bring a brand new wagon to the United States. More than just a basic Avant wagon, the Audi reintroduced the more aggressive Allroad vehicle as a 2013 model year product.
At the beginning of the sport utility vehicle surge in the United States auto market in 1999, Audi addressed the craze in a rather European manner. Instead of developing a truck-like vehicle, the Audi company created specialized version of the A6 Avant called the Allroad. Making more aggressive use of the quattro all-wheel drivetrain, the Audi Allroad defined itself as a rougher terrain luxury vehicle with matte black body panels and a raised ride height accomplished through an air suspension system. Though the Allroad would continue to be sold in Europe, the disappointing sales of the innovative wagon caused Audi to pull the vehicle from North America. Audi would concede to the conventional wisdom in the North American marketplace by adding their full-sized Q7 crossover vehicle in 2005. As Audi added the Q5 as well as the Q3 in the future product portfolio for the United States, the ever-changing complexion of the crossover vehicle market has grown to appreciate characteristics that made station wagons popular from the 1950s through to the 1980s. Changing automotive consumer tastes and a luxury car marketplace seeing companies, as such Audi, carrying a record-high product line-up has given the German brand encouragement that the Allroad could make meaningful inroads into the current United States auto environment.
While many crossover vehicles claim to have a car-like ride and handling, the Audi Allroad position as a car instantly enters it in a situation of advantage. Built on the updated Audi A4 platform, the new Allroad is a bigger, wider vehicle than the A4 Avant predecessor. This third generation Allroad is the first version to utilize the Audi A4 after previously versions of the model were offered as relatives to the A6. Smart and sophisticated, the 2013 Audi Allroad stands 1.5 inches taller in ground clearance rated at around 5.7 inches. Like the last time the North American market saw the Audi Allroad, the new all-terrain wagon receives the distinguishing matte black finish along with bumper covers and flared wheel arches. Audi owners not in favour of the noticeable bodywork touches can opt to coordinate the Allroad matte black surfaces to match the other bodywork at an additional price. Stainless steel skid plates, aluminum-optic roof rails and 18 or 19-inch wheels complete the 2013 Audi Allroad utilitarian look. For a little vanity and natural light inside of the Allroad’s cockpit, Audi will include a standard panoramic sunroof on every version of the unique wagon.
Powered by a 2-liter TFSI inline-4 engine, the 2013 Audi Allroad provides usable performance without jeopardizing fuel economy. The Allroad’s standard quattro all-wheel drive churns with 211 horsepower and 258 pounds-feet of torque from the turbocharged, direct-injected powerplant. An eight-speed tiptronic transmission insures the power is well managed from the Audi TFSI engine. Fuel economy for United States bound 2013 Audi Allroad has yet to be assessed by the EPA, but expect it to come within the average range of 25 miles per gallon.
As can be expected from the interior of a wagon, the Audi Allroad is spacious even with 5-passenger seating. With a full capacity of occupants, 27 cubic feet worth of cargo can be secured inside of the 2013 Audi Allroad. Only 2.1 cubic feet less than the Q5 crossover featuring a similar full passenger layout, the Allroad’s initial interior cargo space is roomier than the Acura TSX Sport Wagon and Mercedes-Benz R-Class. When the rear seats are folded down, the Audi Allroad will offer 50 cubic feet of cargo capacity.
With quattro all-wheel drive optimized with increased ride height and ample cargo capacity, Audi engineering has found plenty of room to infuse luxury into the Allroad wagon’s interior. The 2013 Audi Allroad features Aluminum Trigon inlays along with 8-way power seats as standard. Choices of wood trim, heated seats and front seats power adjustable for up to 12 ways can be optioned on the Allroad for extra interior enjoyment.
Beyond the simpler luxury comfort items, the Audi Allroad’s high-tech array of available features is extensive. Bang & Olufsen supplies the Audi Allroad an optional 505-watt sound system. Providing factory-installed wireless internet access, Audi connect relays important driving information relating to weather, traffic and even gas prices in the driver’s area. Audi connect is also designed to handle up to eight mobile wireless devices at the same time inside the Allroad. Powered through Google, map information can be downloaded directly to the Audi MMI Navigation System.
Pricing for the 2013 model year Audi Allroad is expected ahead of its United States introduction later in 2012.
Information and photo source: Audi AG