Bidding goodbye to an outstanding 2012 calendar year that saw an 11.7 percent global sales climb that amounted to roughly 1,455,100 vehicles, Audi enters 2013 in a position where even greater opportunity exists. Creating a product line-up that has nailed the current marketplace looking for modern, premium vehicles that marries old-school luxury comfort with innovative technology, the German auto brand’s most iconic feature celebrates an impressive milestone continuing to speak to Audi’s success. After 33 years, the five-millionth version of Audi’s quattro permanent all-wheel drive system was celebrated by the “four ring” marque.
Becoming the centerpiece of a monumental feat for the German luxury brand, a white Audi A6 Allroad was led down the assembly line of the Neckarsulm manufacturing plant. A vehicle limited to European markets, the A6 Allroad’s presence as the five-millionth quattro all-wheel drive vehicle comes after three decades that involved more than 140 Audi products sporting the trademark drivetrain. Audi’s all-wheel drive history was established in 1980 by the Audi Ur-quattro introduced as the Geneva Motor Show. An early adopter of all-wheel drive in the modern era of motoring, Audi’s original vehicle would be a forerunner to a trend that almost every current automaker has added to at least one car. Bridging the history of the Audi quattro all-wheel drive system employment in passenger cars, the 2013 A6 Allroad was photographed alongside an Ur-quattro at the German production facility.
Though the quattro name is bracing for its official 33rd birthday in March 3rd, the actual technology behind the all-wheel drive has been constantly improved. Audi’s quattro drive system evolved as it was mated to dual-clutch transmissions and TDI diesel engines in the late 1980s. Placed with coupes, sedans and eventually crossover vehicles such as the Audi Q7, quattro was proudly associated with a rear mid-engined production vehicle starting in 2007. The Audi R8 supercar’s success as a halo car allowed the quattro all-wheel drive system to be showcased in a state of pure driving performance. Ever evolving, a crown gear differential and torque vectoring have been most recent additions to quattro drive now more than ever making use of electronic driving assist programs.
The five-millionth quattro all-wheel drive fitted Audi is definitely a standout number based on the reality the auto brand is traditionally reaching an upscale automotive crowd. Making the milestone especially impressive is how the production total had made such strides in recent years. During the 30th anniversary of the quattro system, there were 3.3 million Audi cars and crossover vehicles mated with the permanent all-wheel drive configuration. According to Audi, new car buyers in 2012 requested a quattro-equipped model 43 percent of the time. The Neckarsulm manufacturing facility output of Audi vehicles accounts that one-half of all products are powered through quattro all-wheel drive systems.
In recent Audi global line-ups, only the subcompact Audi A1 had been denied a quattro all-wheel drive system. This changed when Audi green lit production of an A1 quattro in Europe. Bred through racing and even provoking bans by some sanctioning bodies, Audi quattro drive has also regained its spectacular appearance in competition as late. Creating their electrified version of a prototype sports car, the quattro name joined the Audi R18 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year. The Audi R18 e-tron quattro racecar was driven to overall victory in 2012 becoming the first hybrid vehicle to win the great sports car endurance challenge. The 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona more than six months later was another great moment took place when a Alex Job Racing Audi R8 Grand Am car fitted with quattro all-wheel drive grabbed first place in the GT class.
Reaching five million vehicles, Audi only intends to extract more potential from the quattro drive trekking into new realms of driving excellence.
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
Audi just released pricing and release information on the American version of the R8 V10. We’ve been waiting for this ever since Europe got it, and Audi said they’ll be shipping the first R8 V10s to the States starting this week!
Pricing for the regular R8 (V8) stays at the same $114,200 for the 2010 model, with the V10 version coming in at $146,000 – a $32K price difference. Still not bad if you consider what you’re getting dollar-for-performance. The 5.2-liter V10 engine in the R8 5.2 is the same powerhouse found in the R8 LMS GT3 racecar. It produces 525 horsepower, 391 lb/ft of torque, and can get you from 0-60 mph in only 3.7 seconds. That’s fast.
The 2010 Audi R8 V10 gets some special equipment too, of course. Some unique exterior features include wider sideblades to catch more air, a shinier front grille, full-LED headlights, new 19-inch wheels, new oval-shaped exhaust tips, new rocker panel design, a larger rear diffuser, and “V10″ badges all around, including on the instrument cluster. As expected, it has Audi’s quattro AWD system, and comes standard with navigation, a 465 watt Bang & Olufen sound system, 10-way power heated sport seats, rear view camera with parking system, and a few other gadgets. “Sepang Blue Pearl” paint will be offered exclusively on the R8 V10. It looks fantastic, in case you were worried.
The first two 2010 R8 V10s bound for the States were sold to two rich bastards at the Boca Raton Concours d’ Elegance charity auction who paid $500,000 and $450,000 for the cars. Good to know everyone isn’t struggling financially right now.
I’m going to try to get into one of these soon, assuming there are any available. If I succeed, expect a full review posted here immediately afterwards. Many more pictures below:
Audi just chose a production site for the upcoming Q3 crossover – the SEAT facility in Martorell, Spain. Manufacturing should being in 2011 with a production capability of 80,000 units/year. Audi threw around €300 million into this, and chose the site after careful consideration of other facilities internationally.
The Q3 will be a small SUV, coming in just below the Q5. They’re calling it “coupe-like,” with 5 doors and other characteristics similar to an SUV, but with a “supremely sporty driving experience.” One has to wonder with SUVs getting smaller and smaller, at what point are we going to reach the size where calling it an SUV and not a wagon (or “Avant,”) is inaccurate?
Market launch of the Q3 is set for 2011.
Audi just released a new promo video for the R8 V10 (a.k.a Audi R8 5.2 quattro FSI V10.) The video is typical of the car driving around on an open road and includes a few interesting special effects. I’m sure the video will be playing in Audi showrooms around Europe, which us Americans are sitting here twiddling our thumbs waiting for the car.
As I’m sure you know, the R8 V10 has a 5.2-liter FSI V10 engine producing over 520 hp. The car can run from 0 to 60 in only 3.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 196 mph. These specs make it the fastest ever road-going Audi, and comes dangerously close to knocking the Lamborghini Gallardo directly on its ass.
Audi (and parent company VW) are launching their initiative to get diesel into the American mainstream again. With hybrid-level efficiency and plenty of power on tap, we Americans need to start learning from the Europeans and looking at getting a diesel-powered car on our next purchase.
So here we have a large Audi SUV that runs on a 225 horsepower 3.0-liter TDI V6 which pushes out an exceptional 406 lbft of torque available at a mere 1750 RPMs – a direct side effect from diesel-powered engines. The Q7 TDI will get a 6-speed Tiptronic transmission paired to a quattro AWD drivetrain.
For those who don’t know, TDI stands for “Turbocharged Direct Injection,” which is simply VW’s term for their modern turbocharged diesel engines. The benefits of driving a diesel are many, but it hasn’t really caught on in the States yet, but with our recent gas price spike, people might start thinking more about the future and buy diesel. The problem is that currently, diesel fuel is more expensive than standard petrol, which cancels out the advantage of better fuel efficiency.
But now, diesel prices are falling again (although very slowly,) and hopefully people will start seeing the upsides again. Modern diesel engines are significantly better than the black smoke-spitting engines of yore. Not only do they provide better fuel economy, but it burns cleaner and emits fewer emissions, and provides exceptional power and torque compared to their gasoline-burning siblings.
Here’s one man looking forward to seeing many “TDI” badges roaming our streets.
More pictures of the Audi Q7 TDI below: