Introduced in Europe, the A1 came to life from the same chassis used for the Volkswagen Polo (another car some American have summoning unsuccessfully) as the Audi brand’s challenger against the BMW 1 Series or Mercedes-Benz A-Class. Sharing similar expense pressures of driving, the motorists inside countries like France, Germany and the United Kingdom have been battered hard by higher fuel prices on top of car insurance costs. Luxury cars like the Audi A1 are creations based on necessity returning the market as a sporty personal hatchback. Spawned initially in three-door form, the Audi A1’s five-door version charms the tight European roads with youthful looks and practicality.
The 2012 Audi A1 Sportback is another product the German auto company wishes to link thoughts of performance with practicality. While the Sportback name appears more common on the European Audi vehicle line-up, the S7 Sportback brought to the United States lends understanding to the marketing and design principle the five-door A1 looks to accomplish. Adding two additional doors for the rear passengers, the 2012 Audi A1 Sportback’s persona is casually altered. Rather being a nifty sport look, the five-door version of the A1 Sportback is propelled as a more considerate, mature existence. Measuring a total length of 3.95 meters (155.52 inches), the Audi A1 Sportback is more than 14.5 inches shorter than the smallest North American Audi offering, the A3. The A1 Sportback incorporates the new Audi brand design traits including the flared wheel wells and the furious-looking front headlamp housings. Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights can be optioned on the 2012 Audi A1 Sportback. On the back of the 2012 Audi A1 Sportback, SuperRed LED taillight units quickly warn following vehicles. Showing that Audi’s knowledge of materials stretches beyond aluminum, one-third of the five-door A1 Sportback consists of high strength steel.
Structurally stable on a front-wheel drive train (there is no mention of quattro all-wheel drive), the Audi A1 Sportback invokes a strong sense of control with an electronic stability program, strong brakes featuring front ventilation and an electronic limited slip differential. In different trim levels, the 2012 Audi A1 Sportback sports a trendy assortment of wheels. 2012 Audi A1 Sportback models trimmed in the Attraction version wears rather basic 15-inch steel wheels. The Ambition trim model of the A1 Sportback upgrades the outer look with 16-inch alloys with optional 17-inch cast aluminum and quattro GmbH sourced 18-inch wheels perfecting appearances. An additional outside styling touch is a two-tone colouring scheme on the 2012 Audi A1 Sportback accenting the roof against the list of 12 exterior colours.
With the cabin opened by the two new passenger doors, occupants inside the Audi A1 Sportback partake in a delightfully spacious interior surrounding. Up to 32.49 cubic feet of cargo room is created in the Audi A1 cabin when the rear seats are folded. Helping to create a comfortable environment for adult passengers, the 2012 Audi A1 Sportback comes standard equipped as a four-seat vehicle. Optional features provided on the 2012 A1 Sportback includes five-passenger seating, 14-speaker Bose surround sound system, Audi MMI navigation plus with a 6.5-inch screen and the Internet equipment as well as software that can turn the vehicle into a WLAN hotspot.
In touch with the European tastes for diesel power and small gasoline engines, the 2012 Audi A1 Sportback is propelled by a selection of six power plants. Thee gasoline and three Audi TDI engine choices all configured with four cylinder banks, entry-level power comes from a 1.2 TFSI powerplant producing 86 horsepower. Top gasoline power for the 2012 Audi A1 is realized with a supercharged and turbocharged 185 horsepower, 1.4 liter inline-4 that allows the premium subcompact to run from 0 to 62 miles per hour in a stout 7 seconds flat. The performance-leading diesel for the 2012 A1 Sportback is a 2.0 TDI that combines 143 horsepower with average fuel economy said to be over 57 miles per gallon. Five-speed and six-speed manual transmissions and a 7-speed twin-clutch S tronic gearbox are available through the Audi A1 Sportback’s engine line-up.
While the potentially lower rates of van insurance could tempt for more financially strapped families, the more energetic presence of smaller utility cars is a solid way to retain a zest for life. Soon to be a realization of automotive customers in Munich in 2012, motorists in American cities are not expected to see the A1 Sportback for the immediate future. However, Audi has a history of being receptive to North American interests in European-only vehicles. Just like the TTRS and the RS5, the Audi A1 Sportback could only be a matter of a petition away.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
Once a chore for well-established automakers to incorporate electrified powerplants in a realistic production vehicle, the task has become much easier in recent model years as high volume and even premium car builders have embraced the technology. In reality, optimizing electric vehicle technology is likely to be the only method for some automakers to meet fleet fuel economy regulations without drastically removing our favourite high fuel-consuming cars. Under the pressure of higher fuel prices than on North American roads, European auto companies have long been providing customers with smaller gasoline engines and longer-range diesel powerplants. However, the push for all-electric as well as electric-assist automobiles is receiving the same enthusiasm for promoting more fuel savings.
Since 2009, Audi has delighted the taste buds of green-conscious auto show goers with the promise of their e-tron technology to premium vehicle customers. Putting electric-sourced movement at the forefront of a future involving luxury-branded motoring, the latest Audi e-tron Spyder introduced at the 2010 Paris Motor Show is the best of everything a fan of the four-ring division would want.
Started as an all-electric showcase, Audi’s e-tron has begun to embrace the plug-in hybrid propulsion model. Chiefly moved by two electric motors mounted to the front axle through urban travel, 88 total horsepower drives the e-tron Spyder as far as 50 kilometers or 31 miles on a single charge. Under more performance-based driving experiences, the German auto company adds a twin-turbocharged, 3-liter TDI engine to back up the electric power. Setting the Audi concept vehicle in motion through 300 horsepower, this is the same TDI engine revealed on the European Audi A8 with a 50 horsepower boost. The Audi e-tron Spyder also providing “boosting“ under acceleration as the two electric motors shoots the car movement in concert with the turbocharged diesel engine. Combining 388 horsepower and a collective 739 pounds-feet of torque, the experimental sports car proposed by e-tron is estimated to send performance-seeking riders from 0 to 62 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds. Using a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the Audi e-tron Spyder maximizes performance and vehicle efficiency.
An urban-centric sport convertible, this latest Audi e-tron Spyder shows off a striking performance ambition. Within 13.32 foot in length by 5.94 feet in width, the Audi e-tron Spyder accomplishes a race car appearance inspired by the R8 LMS vehicle. Looking over the road with LED headlamps, the highly-aluminum Audi Space Frame is based around a mid-engined design configuration. Carbon fiber touches such as a spoiler and rear diffuser creates a sporty accent to the Audi e-tron Spyder’s outer surface. Hind side area engine cover allows the upper stack of the Audi TDI powerplant to poke through the Audi e-tron Spyder. Completing the theme of a thrilling street rod or race car, 20-inch aluminum wheels formulates into a turbine blade design. With the notable exception to the chopped windscreen, the Audi e-tron Spyder displays a consider production car grace.
Including the full-array of exterior lighting and wearing side view mirrors, the interior of the Audi e-tron Spyder is clean but practical. Given a light and breezy appearance with a gentle degree of curves, Audi’s sports car concept features two racing-inspired bucket seats. For a high-tech interior touch, the Audi MMI system is behind the comfort as well as entertainment in the snug spyder. Instead of the center-mounted control display, the Audi e-tron Spyder instrument panel embeds the MMI setup between gauges. The Audi MMI can be controlled either through the traditional center-mounted unit or via a touch-sensitive steering wheel panel.
Buying time before the first e-tron powered Audi joins cars for sale in the 2014 model year, Audi has begun selling the Audi A6 Hybrid sedan. Once released, the Audi e-tron sports car will not be alone in exploring the world of plug-in hybrid premium personal vehicles. A Chevrolet Volt-based Cadillac ELR and a BMW i8 are set for arrival in showrooms over the next several years.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
Debuting their RS configuration in 1994, Audi has limited quattro GmbT to the development and sale of a single vehicle model at one time. Curiously, Audi debuted the top performance line on a wagon called the RS2 Avant. Kicking the company‘s performance into a new gear, luxury car buyers craving adrenaline the Audi TT RS sports car and Audi RS3 Sportback have shown the German company’s speed plateau is big enough for multiple models. Another product included to the product range was the A5-based Audi RS5 Coupe. Taking over from the RS4 model, the RS5 Coupe was displayed to the world at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. Announced for arrival in the United States market through a news release sent on June 2010, the wait is nearly over for North American Audi fans to encounter the charming RS5 Coupe.
Based on the Audi A5 introduced to the United States in 2008, the largely aluminum-sourced exterior styling receives a sharp reboot. Marrying the distinctions of classic and modern Audi aesthetic touches, a completely distinguishing profile is created for the RS5 Coupe. Flaring of the front fenders combined with the A5’s near fastback rear roofline revisits the magic stated with the Ur quattro sports car of the 1980s. Capturing the new Audi design direction first presented on the Audi A7, the blackened front grille and redesigned headlamp housings cast the premium car group’s 21st century image. The standard xenon hi-beam and LED low-beam lighting projected onto a street awaiting the Audi RS5 Coupe’s thunderous trampling. Overall 0.8 inches lower in total profile than the standard Audi A5 two-door, the RS5 Coupe rides on forged aluminum wheels within performance tires. Available for an extra cost is an Audi RS5 Coupe wheel and tire set around 20-inch rims.
While the new S6, S7 and S8 models showcased a new 4-liter TFSI V-8 power plant, the Audi RS5 Coupe is sparred on by a 4.2 liter FSI 8-cylinder engine. Borrowed from the base line of the Audi R8 supercar and similar to the engine found in the 354-horsepower Audi S5, the RS5 Coupe actually delivers the most robust display of raw performance from the V-8 block size. A hand-built powerplant incorporating improvements with a higher performance cylinder head, all-aluminum construction and gasoline direct injection, the Audi engine produces 450 horsepower alongside 317 foot-pounds of torque. The Audi RS5 Coupe’s 4.2 liter FSI V-8 is optimized to obtain maximum breathing as well as exhaust system flow. This 450-horsepower engine will be paired with an S tronic 7-speed dual clutch transmission promising near instant gear response for best performance and fuel economy.
In regards to what road characteristics Americans can expect from the Audi RS5’s is 0 to 60 mile per hour acceleration in 4.6 seconds. Depending on the request of driver’s, top speed performance can be raised from the Audi RS5 Coupe base 155 mile per hour electric limit to a more progressive 174 mile per hour benchmark. Though fuel economy numbers have yet to be published (for whatever concern it is to many premium sport car fans), the Audi RS5 Coupe features a special recuperation system to maximize the V-8 engine’s efficiency.
Featuring Audi’s all-wheel quattro drivetrain, a crown gear differential provides fast-acting wheel power distribution. Operating at a default rating of 40:60 with the rear wheels receiving the majority of the 4.2 liter FSI V-8 engine’s muscle, power can shift 70 to the front or 85 percent to the RS5 Coupe’s rear axle. Audi quattro drive with crown gear differential on the RS5 Coupe mates torque vectoring system and an electric stability program. In cases where the most aggressive track-like performance is being sought from the Audi RS5 Coupe, optional carbon ceramic brakes can be added to the vehicle.
Opening the two doors of the Audi RS5 Coupe, the sporty outer appearance is coupled with a racy inner cabin. Gripping onto a multi-function steering wheel, the driver of the RS5 Coupe is inundated by a colour driver information system. A variety of rich trim options such as carbon, aluminum, stainless steel and a glossy piano finish selectable inside of the Audi RS5 Coupe. Leather and Alcantara material upholsters the sport seating of the RS5 Coupe. Interior options available on the Audi RS5 includes MMI Navigation Plus system, Bluetooth phone and a Bang & Olufsen stereo sound system.
More detailed information on the Audi RS5 is expected as the car reaches United States shores in early 2012.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
The investment into a premium vehicle is not necessarily reserved for millionaires. Unless you’re a major celebrity and corporate executive gifted with exotic, expensive cars, a new or even a pre-owned Audi product is something each individual owner will respect. An investment in good taste, buyers of the premium Audi car should continuously stride to insure their transformation is maintained in the best possible shape.
In a world where we are used to instant on-line bill payment, automated meter reading and even control systems inside of automobiles, maintenance chores is still required to keep your luxury car reliable as appreciated. Whether caring for an Audi A3 or Audi R8, the preservation of a vehicle within the German luxury brand requires a four-ring approach to get the best resale value and overall satisfaction.
1. Know Your Audi Vehicle
Before purchasing your Audi vehicle, take time to carefully study the product you intend to buy. Consulting with the Audi website for the newest information on car and crossover vehicles is the popular start for many buyers.
Entering ownership with a foreign-built automobile presents some special considerations down the road in the case of maintenance and service. The search for a reliable mechanic is something deemed for inconvenient when an issue exists with an Audi vehicle. For newer Audi vehicle, the problem is compounded by the engineering philosophy. Due to some major mechanical design differences from the Volkswagen brand, many parts and components are unique only to Audi products. Because foreign cars are naturally found in lower numbers, vehicle components are very expensive for the reason of importation and due to short supplies in general. Conducting research beforehand on auto service centers can relieve headaches as well as second-guessing when an Audi needs special attention.
2. Accept an Audi as Family
While too many motorists accept a vehicle as a machine, the true reality is that thousands of pieces used to construct a mere single machine makes an automobile a near living being. Appreciation luxury cars have for their exotic rides often insures an Audi the respect it deserves.
Purchasing a desirable luxury brand vehicle is also a good chance to introduce yourself to the car’s family. Joining a car club can be an enriching experience as an exotic car owner to connect and share information on a lower production volume vehicle. For the United States and Canada, Audi Club North America has been uniting owners of the four-ring logo since 1984. A recreational car club is also a terrific source for exclusive special events and vehicle information relating to your Audi vehicle.
3. Acquire an Extended Warranty
When owning a luxury vehicle that extends beyond the standard warranty period, some owners could soon be bombarded by hefty bills for repairing failed or malfunctioning components.
Assuring an Audi owner will not be confronted by inconvenient, unscheduled repairs, an extended warranty could be the best investment to occupy your vehicle. With many private warranty programs on the market, factory-promoted Audi Pure Protection Extended Service Plans for vehicles exceeding the new car warranty involves several levels of defense against unplanned events. These plans cost into the thousands for several years extended protection but comes with the peace of mind that an Audi product can be repaired quickly. Depending on the extended warranty program, this assurance plan could be transferable in the event your Audi is sold assisting vehicle resale value.
4. Perform and Record Standard Vehicle Service
Extemporary engineering and construction goes a long way in preserving Audi vehicles for a long lifespan on the road. However, with all of the aluminum body panels, maintaining scheduled service is necessary for keeping an Audi in tip-top shape.
Adhere to Audi factory recommendation for oil change intervals and follow all other preventive maintenance chores. When performing all regular or unscheduled maintenance, there is a major advantage for an owner keep continuous records relating to a vehicle. Setting up a vehicle maintenance log book, collect all auto service bills storing any relevant information.
Information source: Audi Club North America, Audi USA
Photo Source: Chris Nagy
Preparing to show off the radical urban concept design at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, Audi’s inventive look to a motoring future could be seen as a little too distant. For North American motorists in particular, the small, ultralight concept car would instantly come into conflict with the desire for cargo room and passenger space. Planning a sensational arrangement of production and design evaluations for the auto show at Frankfurt, Audi has recently announced the addition of a compact, electric vehicle fitting more easily into today’s driving lifestyle. Registered as a concept car, the Audi A2 explores advanced technology integrating with contemporary automotive fashion.
Residing within tight quarters, the Audi A2 concept car advocates the incredible packaging potential of an electric powertrain platform. A total length of 3.8 meters (149.61 inches), the A2 concept is 19.37 inches shorter than the smallest North American Audi, the A3. Featuring Audi’s aluminum construction techniques along with a dark glass roof, the A2 concept is a four-door hatchback configured with a mature sport utility crossover gracefulness.
An all-electric powertrain on the Audi A2 concept keeps items such as the battery and motors positioned to maximize interior space. Though a small vehicle, four passengers are still positioned comfortably inside the Audi A2 concept. Thin seats manufactured using plastic blow molding is positioned individually in the cabin. Also included in the Audi concept vehicle‘s cabin is a center storage spot ideal for carrying a bicycle with front wheels removed. A flat floor area made of recycled polyester covers beneath the feet of the passengers of the Audi A2 concept car while gentle light enters overhead through the glass roof with press button operation. Inside the minimalist cabin, touch control panels and a 7-inch screen continues to inspire innovation of the Audi A2 concept.
Beyond exhibiting effective of space, the Audi A2 concept is highlighted by charming illumination inside and outside. Employing LED lighting for the headlamps and taillights, Audi touts their presence as “the next phase” in the technology‘s development. Positioned in what is known as a matrix beam, the headlamp construction involves diodes combined with microreflectors to create a better quality view of the road. In assisting other motorists, a rear fog light incorporating laser diodes provides superior warning to following drivers. With the use of lasers diodes, a warning triangle projected by the A2 concept can penetrate even inclement weather conditions such as fog.
Along with the LEDs found in the conventional lit positions of the Audi A2 concept, an application known as dynamic light. A pair of light bars runs under the A2 concept’s side windows delivering a number of functions. An extension of turn signal lighting when the vehicle is motion, Sensors included within Audi’s dynamic light assemblies offer driver and passengers touchless entrance through simple gestures.
A design exercise at the Frankfurt Motor Show for 2011, the implementation for a production-based compact Audi electrified powerplant has been a topic of automotive rumour mills. During the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, Audi revealed an A1 concept utilizing the company’s e-tron plug-in hybrid technology. Recent tests of a converted version of previous generation A2 compact showed immense potential. Said to have crossed a distance of 372 miles on a single charge, the experimental A2 was powered off an experimental battery created by Mirko Hannemann. Assembled through a partnership between Lekker Energie and DBM Energy, their Audi A2 electric was not an official factory prototype leaving uncertainty if Audi AG engineers have realized the battery technology for the new concept car.
Joining the urban concept and three new ranges of the Audi S model family debuting at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt starting September 15th, the A2 concept shows another dimension of the premium German brand’s automotive expression.
Information source: Audi AG, Engadget.com
Photo source: Audi AG
The kick-off to the world indoor auto show season, 2011 is the lucky biennial year where automotive enthusiasts get to relish in the spectacle of the Frankfurt Motor Show. Guaranteed already to be a showcase of new ideas in the ever-evolving auto industry, production and concept vehicles are presented in abundance for the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show even as more than two weeks separate the exhibit’s grand opening. A motor show of world intrigue, Ford Motor Company, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz and BMW have been wetting the appetites of potential show goers through previews of their Frankfurt Motor Show presentations. An exhibition based in their home country, Volkswagen’s luxury car brand Audi will also be making a strong showing on September 15th.
In preparation for the 2011 Frankfurt Motor show, Audi has a history of bringing profound guidance for where they want to take their brand’s image. In the last Frankfurt show in 2009, Audi presented their e-tron concept for the very first time to the public. Since the showing almost two years ago, Audi’s continuing development of e-tron is likely to directly lead to a production-based vehicle. Audi also publicly premiered the R8 Spyder at the 2009 show generating some more tradition open-motoring performance buzz. As their world sales increased by 15 percent in 2010 (just one year following the Audi’s last Frankfurt display), the German auto company’s success will garner more focus on their upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show plans. Supplying samples for performance and low-impact driving, Audi seems ready to entertain the German city’s crowd.
Presented in early to mid August, Audi’s prospect for exploiting a full city car design led to the urban concept brainchild. The urban concept car was unveiled ahead of the Frankfurt show in illustrated form ahead of the lightweight 1+1 passenger vehicle’s presentation in real life. Since the debut of the Audi urban concept sketches on August 10th, Audi immediately followed-up the early images with an open top version of the unique smaller car. The Spyder version of the urban concept shares the impressive sport style in a small, electric vehicle package.
Aside from the debut of a radical new way of motoring, Audi will use Frankfurt as the official public introduction of three new models of their S performance line. Added to the 2012 Audi portfolio, the S6 (including the S6 Avant) and the large S8 sedan will debut as new generation vehicles. For the first time since its introduction last year, the Audi A7 Sportback receives its initial taste of S line enthusiasm. Receiving its first eight-cylinder powerplant, the S7 Sportback, along with the S6 and S8, will receive a new generation engine engineered to provide top performance along with improved fuel economy.
Taking a similar approach as with Mercedes-Benz and BMW by consolidating engines used in their performance line-ups, a new 4.0 liter V-8 engine will beat under the hood of all three S models. Smaller than the S line’s previous benchmark, the more compact Audi engine is just as exciting as the next generation models. Providing up to 520 horsepower of sheer driving excitement, the S6, S7 Sportback and the S8 will be guided by Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system.
As a third separate feature ready to attract spectators at the Audi pavilion, the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show will debut a concept version of the A2. The Audi A2 concept displays a compact car form optimizing cargo space thanks to an electric powertrain. Just recently announced, the Audi A2 concept has become the latest edition to a flashy auto show presentation.
Starting September 15th, the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show will play host to more than 850,000 spectators and over 13,000 members of the esteemed media. With only two weeks remaining until Audi’s near and distant future vision of premium motoring is unveiled to the public, Audisite.com will provide fans of the German luxury brand with in-depth information on the vehicles being profiled.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
Higher end automotive are always under the test of social ideals and economic factors. Emerging as a challenge for future auto industry is limiting environmental impact. The reality of incorporating for fuel-efficient products into future vehicle line-ups is causing all luxury carmakers to envision their brand images much different forms.
While Mercedes-Benz allows the Smart car to advertise some type of more urban-directed content, BMW has most recently pressed the start of their electrified vehicle-oriented BMW i sub brand into the 2014 model year. For the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, American car company Cadillac explored more conservative proportions with their Urban Luxury Concept. In these cases, the premium carmakers, often challenged to prove their vehicles to be the best examples in the world, has risen to the occasion building smaller, lighter, fuel-efficient designs while preserving the best of their brand identity. Entering itself in a position to best what the world premium car industry has to offer, Audi will show up the latest edition in their e-tron electric vehicles in the smallest possible shape. Debuting a practical two-passenger concept at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show upcoming in September, the Audi Urban Concept car launches Audi onto an all-new wave of thought.
Existing in such a small confide the Urban Concept vehicle appears brilliantly relay common Audi exterior qualities. Though actual dimensions are not defined at this time, the Audi Urban Concept is certain to measure as one of the smallest design concept ever conceived by the Germany luxury brand. Likely to be more aesthetic than functional, the large simple front grille opening boldly holds the Audi rings. Primarily light silver exterior in the images issued by Audi, the Urban Concept is accented by a red stripe traveling upwards along each side of the vehicle. Massive 21-inch wheels complete the Audi Urban Concept further enhancing the sense of smallness for the design study.
Audi has been one of the leading auto brands in the implementation of lightweight technology throughout their product line. Relying on the properties of aluminum in creating the structure of current production vehicles, Audi ventures into design exploration with carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) creating the small Urban Concept car. The use of CFRP applied to the small vehicle should guarantee a relatively feather-light existence compared to production cars.
Powerplant has only been announced as featuring two electric motors propelled by energy stored in a lithium-ion battery. Benefiting from Audi’s e-tron program, the range and speed of the Audi Urban Concept was yet to be provided ahead of the unveiling at Frankfurt.
Opening up the interior through the movement of a single panel, the Audi Urban Concept introduces an interesting cabin layout. Called a 1+1 seat vehicle, the passenger sits slightly further back than the driver‘s position. Providing the passenger with a performance feel, the design should also be helpful in furnishing a greater field of view to the driver of the Audi Urban Concept.
Audi fans and small car enthusiasts can expect more information on the Urban Concept design to be revealed at the Frankfurt exhibit.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
Following their hard-fought race in France against the Peugeot factory squad, the Audi R18 grabbed the overall victory in the Le Mans 24 Hour endurance event for the 10th time in 12 races. While Audi Sport has routinely turned the 24 Hour of Le Mans into a glimmering showcase of their TDI technology, the German motorsport arm claimed another all-day affair just one country east of France. On the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium, the Blancpain Endurance Series competitors met the full force of the Audi R8 sports car.
Unlike the most renowned 24-hour of Le Mans where prototype sports cars dominate the headlines, the 24 hours of Spa is based solely on the competition of production-based vehicles. Though production-derived, there is nothing garden variety about the competing products in the Blancpain Endurance Series. A fleet of fast and exotic cars such as the Ferrari 458 Italia, Mercedes-Benz SLS, Chevrolet Corvette Z06 as well as Aston Martin DBRS9 committed to a gruelling 24-hour race on the 7.004-kilometer (4.352 mile) Spa-Francorchamps circuit. For Audi, specially fitted R8 LMS race cars were fielded under Audi Sport WRT and Team Phoenix. Featuring a modified version of the brand’s 5.2 liter V-10 engine, the Audi R8 LMS race car targeted to two major European sports car endurance races at Germany’s Nurburgring and the at the Spa-Francorchamps complex on the 2011 calendar.
Starting in 7th place after the Belgium sports car race’s pole was snatched by a German rival BMW Z4 GT3, the #33 Audi Sport R8 LMS launched into attack mode. By the fourth hour in the 24 Hours of Spa, the #33 Audi Sport WRT R8 LMS was holding tight in 2nd place behind a Team Phoenix R8 LMS sister car. Taking the lead early into hour five, the #33 car would lead often through the night as well as through light rain at the Belgium track in the collective hands of Mattias Ekström, Timo Scheider and Greg Franchi. Despite the team making two scheduled brake pad changes over the 24 hours of racing, the #33 Audi R8 LMS won by a 2-lap gap over the #76 BMW Z4. The win in the GT3 Pro category rewards the Audi R8 LMS with the second GT3 class victory following a similar triumph at the 24 Hours of the Nurburgring.
Finishing in 4th place was the Audi Sport WRT group’s second car. The #32 Audi R8 LMS piloted by the driving team of Filipe Albuquerqe, Bert Longin and Stephane Ortelli fought from a 41st place starting position finishing just a lap behind the #35 Mercedes-Benz SLS GT3 car. The Team Phoenix two-car team found turmoil in their 2011 24 Hours of Spa race. Competing in the Audi R8 LMS race cars, the Team Phoenix #98 driver grouping finishing 14th while their teammate’s #98 placed45th after having to retire in the early morning hours.
Apart from the GT3 Pro entrants, a three-car Audi R8 LMS effort was fielded the 24 Hours of Spa’s Amateur ranks. American-based United Autosports Audi R8 LMS assembled some established greats of racing such as Mark Brundell, Indy 500 winners Arie Luyendyk and Eddie Cheever as well as Formula 1 winner Johnny Herbert amongst their three race vehicles. In the 2011 race, the United Autosports’ top finishing result was 6th in the GT3 Pro-Am category translating to 13th overall. “I’d like to thank everybody who worked so hard and with so much commitment to make this victory possible. After Le Mans, Audi now stands in the winners list of another great 24-hour race. We were able to show that the R8 is a fantastic sportscar. Our increasing number of customer teams also confirms this.” were the words from Werner Frowein, Managing Director of quattro GmbH.
In front of a confirmed 60,000 spectators, the Audi R8 LMS led 22 hours of the 24-hour race’s run. The Audi R8 LMS race car’s win came after over 3,817 kilometers (about 2,372 miles) around the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
Information source: Audi AG, SRO Ltd.
Photo source: Audi AG
Confirmed by trade publication Automotive News, Audi is currently exploring prospects of producing at least new one vehicle stateside. In the article posted on July 11th, Audi Chief Executive Officer Rupert Stadler stated, “It is totally clear that we need new production capacity in the U.S.,” claiming it is a only a matter of time. These words followed Stadler’s 2010 projection for Audi to sell as many as 1.5 million vehicles worldwide by the 2015 calendar year. Parent brand Volkswagen could lure Audi to their new Chattanooga, Tennessee manufacturing facility. The Chattanooga complex has currently started production of the new Volkswagen Passat.
At that time, the Audi CEO stated production inside of the United States of America was not necessary to meet their sales target. Admitting there is a strong chance for a new assembly plant in North America; Audi has since indicated the United States may not be the exact location for future production. Audi could be more inclined to assembling their vehicles in Mexico favouring lower labour and operation costs. It was also reported by the Toronto Star that the Canadian province of Ontario plans to mount a bid for a potential manufacturing facility.
More recently published rumours mention the Audi Q5 is a likely candidate for North American production. Through the 2009 and 2010 model year, the Q5 compact crossover vehicle has been the Audi range’s 2nd highest selling product in the United States market behind the A4. Audi has previously dismissed any notion of producing vehicles specific to the United States as not being in the company’s interests.
Any decision made about potential United States production is expected ahead of 2015. Audi already assembles cars in Hungary and India assembly plants. Between 1987 and 1998, Audi had also previously constructed cars in Japan aligned with Hino Motors Limited.
Information source: Audi AG, Automotive News, Toronto Star
Photo source: Chris Nagy
So despite nobody having any money and car sales mostly bottoming out, Audi somehow managed to have a great 2008, posting record sales of 1,003,469 cars, which is up 4.1% from 2007. Overall revenue soared to $43,681,970, up 1.7% from the year before. Operating profit increased by 2.5%, and return on investment increased 1.2% overall. This called for celebration – each and every Audi worker got a $6,775 bonus last year.
So how did Audi Group manage to increase their numbers this much? They blame a good part of it on the new 2009 A4, which is rightfully selling like hotcakes right now. Additionally, the new Audi Q5 was the right car at the right time, and the updated A3 and A6 are doing quite well. And while other carmakers are canceling development on their new products, Audi is promising to bring 12 all-new models to the line-up in the next seven years, as well as invest in Clean Diesel technologies.
But don’t get too excited yet. While 2008 was excellent for Audi, 2009 is starting off pretty bad. January and February 2009 sales are already down 20.3% from last year, and Audi doesn’t expect it to get much better this year. Hold on tight folks…