The Truth About Cars » Audi http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 19 Dec 2014 15:54:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Audi http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/reviews/audi/ Supercars To Go, Fifth Place: Audi R8 4.2 R-Tronic http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/supercars-go-fifth-place-audi-r8-4-2-r-tronic/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/supercars-go-fifth-place-audi-r8-4-2-r-tronic/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 20:48:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961697 Let’s start with this: Under no circumstances is a Lamborghini Gallardo “just an Audi R8″. The Gallardo was already old hat by the time the R8 arrived, having gone through three model years and one major revision. If anything, the R8 is a Gallardo, not the other way ’round. Except it isn’t, which is both […]

The post Supercars To Go, Fifth Place: Audi R8 4.2 R-Tronic appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
r81

Let’s start with this: Under no circumstances is a Lamborghini Gallardo “just an Audi R8″. The Gallardo was already old hat by the time the R8 arrived, having gone through three model years and one major revision. If anything, the R8 is a Gallardo, not the other way ’round.

Except it isn’t, which is both good and bad.

I’ve driven most variants of the Audi R8, starting from a 4.2 six-speed on the day that I met Murilee Martin for the first time all the way to the V10 Plus S-Tronic during last year’s R&T PCOTY. It would be an understatement to say that I’m fond of the model. There’s so much to admire: the aesthetically satisfying yet completely usable interior design, the superb amount of passengerr space compared to pretty much any other supercar, (including the Gallardo, which has a much lower roof) and the way it combines exotic-car looks with everyday practicality.

I was surprised at how often my single-serving students at the Xtreme Xperience mentioned Tony Stark and “Iron Man” as the reason they’d chosen to drive the R8. I never really thought of it as the “Iron Man” car. Apparently everybody else does. Not that the Audi doesn’t continue to look futuristic in its ninth year on the market. You can argue that it’s better-looking than the Gallardo. It’s certainly more noticeable on the street; through the miracle of fourteen thousand sales and a rather conservative shape, the baby Lamborghini no longer turns many heads.

Most people can comfortably wear a helmet in the R8. It’s not that difficult to park or maneuver at low speeds. The stereo and navigation are Audi-standard. Entry and exit is easier than in, say, a Viper (had to mention it for the sake of the B&B’s self-satisfaction!) and the seating position is also somewhat better than what you get in the Italians or the McLaren. If you had to cross the county in one of our Final Five, you’d take the Audi, no question about it. Even the climate control is luxury-car-spec, as I discovered when testing the original 4.2L cars during a Texas summer.

In isolation, the R8 feels rapid. There’s a brilliant noise from the 8250-rpm 4.2L V8, the R-tronic single-clutch automated manual doesn’t get confused on-track, and the acceleration seems more rapid than the 12.8-second quarter-mile time suggests. The front axle is always working, but it rarely works very hard. In wet conditions, it’s very confidence-inspiring and it can take full throttle in anything short of a full-on rainstorm.

Yet the modest tire size and significant stagger (235 in front, 285 in back) both make it easy to reach the R8 limits on-track and contribute to the Audi’s pace being noticeably lower than that of the other cars in this comparison. More so than any other car I drove that weekend, the R8 offers gentle, progressive, controllable understeer and very little sense of the heavy engine behind you. It’s the Cessna 172 of supercars: slow, stable, easy to get out of trouble. Dropping the tire stagger to 30mm or so, as I’ve done with my Porsche 993, would go a long way towards restoring the natural balance of the chassis, at the expense of predictability.

As the car with the oldest transmission technology in the group, the R8 has the worst automatic mode. For my students, I left the car in manual and shifted it for them. It was simply in the wrong gear at the wrong time otherwise. In manual mode, as noted above, it works fine, as long as your expectations are based on single-clutch hardware. This is not a Ferrari 458, which will handle repeated and random stabbing at brakes and throttle with instantaneous gearcharges perfectly chosen to maximize power or stability depending on one’s twist of the manettino. But it’s a bit better than the F430’s single-clutcher.

If you’re careful with the front tires, the R8 delivers a surprising amount of midcorner speed. It did, however, prove tricky in the turn known at Hallett as “The Bitch”. The Audi was simply more sensitive to low grip there than any of the other cars, likely because of the combination of narrow tires and significant rearward weight distribution of 44/56. (The Gallardo is usually quoted at 43/57 but I’d be surprised if the difference between the cars was a full percentage point.) Still, overall I’d say my students got more out of the R8 than they did out of anything but the GT-R.

So why fifth place? Well, it’s just this: The R8 looks like a supercar but it struggles to stay with V8 M3s and C6 Corvettes around a road course. The weight of 3,650 pounds or so is pretty considerable for the 415 horsepower on tap, particularly given the fact that torque peaks up at 4500rpm. It’s more show than go. If you choose the Audi R8 V10 Plus model, you’ll get a dual-clutch transmission and nearly a Gallardo’s worth of power — but the R8 V10 Plus doesn’t feel as light on its feet or as enthusiastic around a racetrack as the Gallardo LP-560. And in so doing, you’ll lose the V8 model’s characterful noises and real-world focus.

The best R8 to get is a six-speed manual 4.2V8 post-2012 model. If you get one of those, you’ll have all of Tony Stark’s style and daily usability to rival a Lexus ES350. You’ll just have to put on your turn signal when a real supercar appears. The next four cars in this test are on another level of performance entirely.

The post Supercars To Go, Fifth Place: Audi R8 4.2 R-Tronic appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/supercars-go-fifth-place-audi-r8-4-2-r-tronic/feed/ 27
Loaner Car Review: 2015 Audi A3 (1.8T) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/loaner-car-review-2015-audi-a3-1-8t/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/loaner-car-review-2015-audi-a3-1-8t/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 13:30:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=956522 Three years ago, I posed the question of what you’d do if your car was consumed in a natural disaster and your insurance settlement allowed you to get a brand new version of the same car. Back then, the question was about whether I’d replace our 2005 Acura TL with a 2012 edition. Now, the […]

The post Loaner Car Review: 2015 Audi A3 (1.8T) appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
A3 front headlight detail

Three years ago, I posed the question of what you’d do if your car was consumed in a natural disaster and your insurance settlement allowed you to get a brand new version of the same car. Back then, the question was about whether I’d replace our 2005 Acura TL with a 2012 edition. Now, the question concerns whether I’d replace our 2008 Audi A3 with the 2015 Audi A3.

You see, my wife and I have a lovely 2008 A3 3.2 (reviewed by our own Robert Farago in 2006) and it’s been reliable and fun to drive, even over the craptastic roads around our house (two nearby are on a recent top-ten list of worst streets in Houston). There’s a recent problem with the idle, though. Normally it purrs quietly at 600rpm, but it will occasionally decide to crank up to 1300rpm, wherein the whole car vibrates like crazy. I took it to the dealer, for the second time, in attempt to get it fixed (FWIW, it’s still not fixed). So what did they give me as a loaner? A brand new 2015 A3. So far as I can tell, it’s close to the bottom-of-the-line base $30k “Premium” model with the 1.8 liter turbo and FWD, although it does have the $1900 über traffic-aware nav system option which lets you doodle the letters in on the MMI knob. Also, this car seems to have the “cold weather package” ($500) and “aluminum style package” ($450).

"aluminum style" package

Interior / telematics: The first thing you notice is that the new A3, like all Audis, has a very refined interior. Nice leather seats. It’s a comfortable place to drive, although there are So. Many. Buttons. You see those two toggle switches above the central spinner thing? Those pick the main infotainment operating mode (nav, phone, media, radio), then the spinner thing lets you make your choices with all the UI simplicity of Atari Tempest. The four buttons next to the spinner correspond to additional options presented in the four corners of the pop-up screen. You can select things by pressing the spinner and you’ve got further a menu button and a back button below it! Everybody remember when Steve Jobs said the Mac had only one button on the mouse so you’d be unlikely to ever press the wrong button? Yeah, that’s the problem we’re talking about here.

shift knob and MMI controller

How about taking a phone call? Luckily, from my older Audi, I just happened to know that you can answer and hang up the phone by clicking the unlabeled left scroll-wheel on the steering wheel. Yes, it clicks in. You might naïvely think that you answer the phone by pressing the “talk”-looking button on the right side of the wheel. Dummkopf! No, too obvious. Also, check out all those other steering wheel buttons. So. Many. Buttons.

steering wheel detail

I used the nav to get to across town to a restaurant. The nav computer didn’t know the name of the restaurant, which has been there for well over a year. Instead, I entered the numbers and letters of the address by spinning the wheel and doodling with my finger on top of the spinner. (It’s unclear there’s much of a speed advantage either way, particularly with the non-trivial error rate on the gesture recognition.) Voice input? Not for general-purpose addresses or points of interest, although it apparently can connect to your personal address book. Rant: all of this just totally embarrassing. Dear car manufacturers: please just let Apple and Google do the job properly (via CarPlay and Android Auto, respectively). Buyers: wait a couple months until the auto manufacturers properly support this stuff, as they’ve claimed they’d do in the 2015 model year.

entering digits into the navnavigation display

So, the A3 is a technological usability disaster area, but does it at least do its job once you figure it out? The stereo system, Audi’s base model, so far as I can tell, is leaps and bounds better than our 2008 A3’s optional uprated Bose-branded system. (Friends don’t let friends buy Bose. Or Monster Cable. But I digress.) The 2008 A3 is tolerable for listening to NPR, but a polyphonic muddle for music. In contrast, the 2015 A3 is seriously good: strong bass that differentiates well across different frequencies. Tight, clear treble. Bluetooth Audio works properly, including some (but strangely not all) album art. And who really cares that there’s no CD player in the dash? (Incidentally, I recently rented a Buick LaCrosse, which also had a kick-ass stereo. I don’t know if this is a new industry-wide trend, but I strongly support it.) Summary: the A3 now has a quality sound system. No Bose about it.

Music display

Option-wise, the base A3 is missing a lot of things you might want or expect from a luxury car. Notably absent from this A3 (here sorted in order from “come on, really?” to “would be nice”): automatic climate control, memory seats, automatic-dimming rear-view mirror, HomeLink garage door opener, power passenger seat, rear-view camera, keyless entry/ignition, parking sensors, blind-spot warning, or adaptive cruise control. Some of that is available as options on the more expensive A3 models. At least the rear seats fold down so you can get some cargo utility, and all A3’s seem to include automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers. (Curious note: Audi’s web site claims that “dual zone automatic climate control” is included in the base model. This particularly A3 proves that statement false.)

HVAC controls

Driving: I’m now deep into this essay and haven’t said anything about how the A3 drives. Based on not nearly enough time to really push it, I’d say: not bad. It’s got the stereotypical Teutonic stiff suspension, where you feel all the bumps but the sharp edges have been shaved off. The engine is zippy and there’s no noticeable torque steer, although there’s a definite lag while the transmission ponders whether it wants to shift gears when you stomp on the gas. (You can move the shift gate to the right and have block-rocking instantaneous DSG manual shifts. There are no flappy paddles on the base-model A3.) For contrast, our A3 3.2 performs much better when you leave it in drive. It’s not that it has any less lag, but rather than it has a whole lot more torque. Shrink the engine down and you have to shift more often.

The brakes are strong but way too grippy, requiring a super-sensitive touch to avoid jerking your passengers around in stop-and-go traffic. Likewise, Audi probably needs to tweak the DSG’s computer to smooth out low-speed launches. (Our 2008 A3, when it was new, just desperately wanted to dump the clutch into first gear with even the slightest amount of gas, which was just unacceptable. They did a software upgrade on the transmission after a year or two and it’s been smooth as silk ever since.)

steering wheel at night

Mileage: in stop-and-go traffic around town, I was seeing 15-20mpg, which is roughly in line with most other cars I’ve tested or owned. However, I had some spare time on Saturday morning so I took it for a spin on mostly empty freeways, sticking to the right and going with the flow. As you can see from the photo, this yielded an astonishing 37.4mpg (indicated) over the course of a 28-ish mile drive (of which maybe one mile was on surface roads before I got on the freeway). Compare those numbers to the EPA estimates (23 city / 33 highway) and make of it what you will. I’m impressed.

37.4 mpg!

37.4 mpg!

Overall: Should you buy a totally stripped out A3? At that price point, you’re right in the thick of well-optioned standard sedans (e.g., Camry, Accord, Altima, Mazda 6) as well as entry-level luxury competition from other manufacturers  (e.g., Acura TLX or the aforementioned Buick LaCrosse). I hate to end with a cop-out, but it’s really hard to say that there’s any one winner at the $30k price point for four-door performance sedans. Too many shadows, whispering voices. Cars on web sites, too many choices. That said, if my 2008 A3 was consumed by Godzilla and I was looking to get a good replacement for it tomorrow, I’d be looking primarily at the Volvo V60, the Volkswagen GTI, or the replacement A3 hatchback when it finally comes back to the U.S. market.

The post Loaner Car Review: 2015 Audi A3 (1.8T) appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/loaner-car-review-2015-audi-a3-1-8t/feed/ 109
Volkswagen Unveils Plans For 5 Series/E-Class Fighter http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/volkswagen-unveils-plans-5-seriese-class-fighter/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/volkswagen-unveils-plans-5-seriese-class-fighter/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 11:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=957841 The world is not enough for Volkswagen AG, as it now has plans to introduce a mid-size sedan to slot between the Passat and the Phaeton. AutoBild reports the proposed model will do battle with the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class, with sedan and wagon variants on the table, with U.S. and Chinese markets […]

The post Volkswagen Unveils Plans For 5 Series/E-Class Fighter appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Passat-BlueMotion-Concept-04

The world is not enough for Volkswagen AG, as it now has plans to introduce a mid-size sedan to slot between the Passat and the Phaeton.

AutoBild reports the proposed model will do battle with the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class, with sedan and wagon variants on the table, with U.S. and Chinese markets receiving the sedan while the Europeans can buy either style.

Regarding platforms for the sedan, VW is considering either its MQB architecture — following the next-gen Passat in 2017 — or Audi’s MLB platform, which underpins the A6. Power is expected to come from four- and six-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines, and would be linked to all four corners via DSG and Audi’s Quattro AWD system.

The proposed base price for the model would begin at €37,500 ($46,500 USD), and would be assembled in either China, Mexico or North America. The new model would go on sale sometime near the end of this decade.

The post Volkswagen Unveils Plans For 5 Series/E-Class Fighter appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/volkswagen-unveils-plans-5-seriese-class-fighter/feed/ 59
Next-Gen Audi Q7 First VW Product With Diesel PHEV Option http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/next-gen-audi-q7-first-vw-product-diesel-phev-option/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/next-gen-audi-q7-first-vw-product-diesel-phev-option/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 11:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=956754 When the next-gen Audi Q7 turns up in showrooms next year, it will be the first among Volkswagen AG’s offerings to have a diesel PHEV option. Automotive News reports the plug-in option will follow standard gasoline and diesel models, and will be sold in the United States and Europe. The Q7 PHEV will only be […]

The post Next-Gen Audi Q7 First VW Product With Diesel PHEV Option appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2014-Audi-Q7-beauty-exterior-05

When the next-gen Audi Q7 turns up in showrooms next year, it will be the first among Volkswagen AG’s offerings to have a diesel PHEV option.

Automotive News reports the plug-in option will follow standard gasoline and diesel models, and will be sold in the United States and Europe. The Q7 PHEV will only be the second diesel PHEV sold in Europe, joining the €56,200 ($69,000 USD) Volvo V60.

The announcement follows statements made this summer by development chief Ulrich Hackenberg, who said the Q7 and the A8 would come with a diesel PHEV option, combining a 3-liter V6 engine with an electric motor, but didn’t say which would be the first out of the gate with said option.

As for the move itself, Hackenberg and CEO Rupert Stadler both proclaimed PHEVs would be the company’s best solution for low-emission vehicles, with greater range than pure electrics being the biggest factor.

The post Next-Gen Audi Q7 First VW Product With Diesel PHEV Option appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/next-gen-audi-q7-first-vw-product-diesel-phev-option/feed/ 14
Expanding Portfolios Overwhelm Automakers, Consumers Alike http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/expanding-portfolios-overwhelm-automakers-consumers-alike/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/expanding-portfolios-overwhelm-automakers-consumers-alike/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 11:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946586 With as many plentiful lineups as the eye can see, consumers are beginning to feel overwhelmed, as are the manufacturers who are coming to realize that too many choices are just as bad as offering too few. Yahoo Finance reports automakers like Porsche, Audi and BMW are reaching a point where their respective lineups may […]

The post Expanding Portfolios Overwhelm Automakers, Consumers Alike appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
porsche-macan-2013-la-auto-show-11

With as many plentiful lineups as the eye can see, consumers are beginning to feel overwhelmed, as are the manufacturers who are coming to realize that too many choices are just as bad as offering too few.

Yahoo Finance reports automakers like Porsche, Audi and BMW are reaching a point where their respective lineups may soon — if not already — overlap themselves, prompting consumers to go as far as to use Excel just to find the exact model and array of features they desire.

Auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers forecast the growth among German automakers would peak at 230 total models in 2018, then begin to flatten out as they cut production costs and improve differentiation among their portfolios, while also injecting what they sell with the latest technologies available at the time.

However, while automakers like Porsche and PSA Peugeot Citroën are implementing caps or drastically cutting down their offerings, others, such as Mercedes-Benz and Opel, plan to add more vehicles to their lineups. The expansions could lead to situations where models can only be seen in virtual showrooms — such as what has happened for BMW — as well as most consumers walking away from buying any vehicle or feeling less satisfied with the one they do buy, due to feeling overwhelmed.

The post Expanding Portfolios Overwhelm Automakers, Consumers Alike appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/expanding-portfolios-overwhelm-automakers-consumers-alike/feed/ 78
Lexus Europe Boss: Teutonic Trinity “Impossible” To Beat http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/uyttenhoven-teutonic-trinity-impossible-beat/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/uyttenhoven-teutonic-trinity-impossible-beat/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 15:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944057 While American premium brands Cadillac and Lincoln look to the Germans for inspiration — and their places on the podium — Lexus Europe chief Alain Uyttenhoven proclaimed that the Teutonic Trinity — BMW, Mercedes and Audi — were “impossible” to beat on a global scale, settling for fourth if possible. According to Just-Auto, Uyttenhoven says […]

The post Lexus Europe Boss: Teutonic Trinity “Impossible” To Beat appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2014 Lexus CT200

While American premium brands Cadillac and Lincoln look to the Germans for inspiration — and their places on the podium — Lexus Europe chief Alain Uyttenhoven proclaimed that the Teutonic Trinity — BMW, Mercedes and Audi — were “impossible” to beat on a global scale, settling for fourth if possible.

According to Just-Auto, Uyttenhoven says the parent company is “out of its adolescence,” a turbulent time that included taking a one-two combo from the Great Recession and the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Global sales prior to the occurrences topped out at 518,000 in 2007, with 2013 sales hitting a new peak of 523,000 units sold. That figure is just a quarter of what Audi aims to sell by 2020.

He adds that after establishing a reputation for high quality, customer service and environmental responsibility, Lexus will now focus on “emotion.” Thus, more high-performance vehicles with better driving dynamics, and likely more Predator grills. Diesels in Europe, on the other hand, will need more work:

The next big discussion will be about particulates. CO2 is not behind us, but we have to go to 99g/km by 2020. So, diesel has been growing because that CO2 average is easier to achieve with diesel. But the cost of purifying a diesel car is going to rise, so in the future, these engines are going to cost a lot more… For us, [petrol] hybrid is the answer.

The post Lexus Europe Boss: Teutonic Trinity “Impossible” To Beat appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/uyttenhoven-teutonic-trinity-impossible-beat/feed/ 81
Capsule Review: 2014 Audi SQ5 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/capsule-review-2014-audi-sq5/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/capsule-review-2014-audi-sq5/#comments Sat, 01 Nov 2014 12:35:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=938313 The number of double-takes was odd, I thought. In the summer, with the top down in a red Camaro ZL1, rubberneckers are a dime a dozen. But the SQ5 is a subtly enhanced version of the Audi Q5, a small crossover that’s been around for more than five years; the best-selling model at one of […]

The post Capsule Review: 2014 Audi SQ5 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2014 Audi SQ5The number of double-takes was odd, I thought. In the summer, with the top down in a red Camaro ZL1, rubberneckers are a dime a dozen. But the SQ5 is a subtly enhanced version of the Audi Q5, a small crossover that’s been around for more than five years; the best-selling model at one of America’s/Canada’s fastest-growing luxury brands. Sure, this one has optional 21-inch alloy wheels, valued at $800, but are big wheels enough to cause the majority of passersby to turn for another look?

Ah yes, the noise, that’s what did it. Audi’s supercharged 3.0L V6 does have the tendency to bark melodically, particularly when Audi Drive Select is used to switch engine noise (along with engine/transmission and steering) to Dynamic mode, up a notch from Comfort and Auto. Added to that was the 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, which was used extensively at wake-the-neighbours volume. How civilized.

Less civilized is the amount of understeer and the way that understeer is encountered prematurely. Yet that’s only a surprise because of the dynamics manifested by the SQ5 most of the time – it’s not a high-riding SUV that you drive like an SUV. At all. Naturally, when taking corners like the TTS you forgot it wasn’t, the SQ5 plows sooner and with more disconcerting pressure on the outside front tire than you expected. After all, you forgot you were driving a 4400-pound, 65.3-inch tall utility vehicle, not a 3858-pound, 55.4-inch tall S4.

2014 Audi SQ5That you could forget something so obvious is a testament to the SQ5’s overall balance. Of greater interest to those who prefer the SQ5 over conventional Q5s like the 220-horsepower 2.0T and 240-horsepower 3.0L TDI because of the SQ5’s rate of acceleration, ride quality is firm but compliant over the worst roads, if slightly busy in routine driving.

But what acceleration it is. The SQ5 is less expensive than other hyper-quick SUVs, the AMGs and M-badged BMWs, less costly than the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, as well. Audi’s supercharged 3.0L, with 354 horsepower and 346 lb-ft of torque, is mated here to an 8-speed automatic, not the 7-speed dual-clutch from the similarly engined S4.

Not at any moment do you feel as though the meat of the power band is located elsewhere, although Comfort mode does seem to use very economy-minded programming for the 8-speed auto, refusing to drop down a gear without a real kick in the pants. Audi’s famed Quattro all-wheel-drive means firm prods of the throttle always result in instantaneous forward motion almost regardless of surface. (We’d strongly recommend something other than 255/40R/21 Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GTs if you’ll be driving in snow. Nothing kills the benefits of all-wheel-drive quite like skipping out on winter tires.)

The true brute force of the supercharged V6 is felt not from rest but at speed, however. Squirting around traffic to get to an off-ramp ahead, rather than behind, of a line of slow-moving CR-Vs and RAV4s is a task completed with shocking quickness.

TTAC 2014 Audi SQ5All the while, SQ5 pilots are ensconced in a typically classy Audi interior. There are letdowns. For starters, the interior doesn’t feel fresh, perhaps because of the overarching darkness. Even the optional aluminum inlays ($1100) don’t spice up the ambience. I wouldn’t say the SQ5 offers luxury-like silence, either, with wind noise being rather prevalent. There are a number of blanked-out switches in prominent locations, too, which always causes you to wonder what you’re missing out on after spending $53,595, or $68,745 fully equipped ((U.S. market pricing including destination). Audi’s MMI is simple, though, with shortcut buttons spread around a central control knob, and everything feels so very expensive. As it ought to.

Rear seat space does not stand out, not for its snugness or its abundance of space. Yet cargo dimensions are a letdown. The Q5 is 183 inches long from bumper to bumper and 75.2 inches wide. That’s nearly five inches longer and nearly four inches wider than the Honda CR-V, but the CR-V offers 24% more seats-folded cargo capacity and 28% more space behind the rear seats. The SQ5 remains a flexible cargo carrier, but the sloping roof which helps to make all Q5s so handsome reduces the SQ5’s ability to take a young family away on vacation.

2014 Audi SQ5 interiorThe SQ5 is not alone in this luxury crossover cargo conundrum: GLKs and X3s are also down on luggage capacity compared with America’s similarly-sized top-selling utility vehicles.

The Audi SQ5 is the fast Q5, an older and popular vehicle, and thus a common vehicle. It’s also tiny in the back and, not unexpectedly, quite a guzzler. We averaged 18.7 mpg during the week Audi Canada allowed the SQ5 to visit our driveway, in keeping with its ratings and appropriate for a pickup truck. Fortunately, Audi adds a healthy dose of standard equipment to the SQ5’s performance credentials, the kind of stuff we often see on premium brand option sheets: panoramic sunroof, power tailgate, three-zone automatic climate control, keyless access, twelve-way power seats with driver memory.

One could make an argument that with this amount of power, unavailable in the Q5’s direct rivals, and this level of equipment, the SQ5 is making an overture to the value-conscious corners of our brains. Meanwhile, the SQ5 is also playing another tune, courtesy of Bang & Olufsen and a supercharged 3.0L, in order to tug on our heartstrings.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

The post Capsule Review: 2014 Audi SQ5 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/capsule-review-2014-audi-sq5/feed/ 35
Consumer Reports: Infotainment System Woes Mark 2014 Reliability Survey http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/consumer-reports-infotainment-system-woes-mark-2014-reliability-survey/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/consumer-reports-infotainment-system-woes-mark-2014-reliability-survey/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 10:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=936826 Consumer Reports released its Annual Reliability Survey for this year, focusing some of the attention on the woes experienced by a handful of infotainment systems. According to the publication, the absolute worse of the pack in 2014 was Infiniti’s InTouch system in the new Q50, with over one in five owners wanting to take a […]

The post Consumer Reports: Infotainment System Woes Mark 2014 Reliability Survey appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Infiniti InTouch - Infiniti Q50

Consumer Reports released its Annual Reliability Survey for this year, focusing some of the attention on the woes experienced by a handful of infotainment systems.

According to the publication, the absolute worse of the pack in 2014 was Infiniti’s InTouch system in the new Q50, with over one in five owners wanting to take a crowbar to the whole thing. The brand itself took a beating, dropping 14 points to 20th out of 28 as a result of the Q50’s issues, as well as the overall reliability issues in the QX60. Other infotainment systems ironing out the bugs included Ford’s MyTouch, Honda’s HondaLink and Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s UConnect.

Concerning overall reliability, Lexus once again took the top of the podium, while Toyota and Mazda respectively brought home silver and bronze, and Honda finished in fourth. Buick, meanwhile, was the only brand among the Detroit Three to place in the top 10, jumping from 16th to sixth on the strength of its entire portfolio.

As for why the other Detroit brands failed to reach the top 10, Consumer Reports says domestic small and compact cars, along with full-size trucks, are holding everyone back. Tesla also didn’t make the list, but that was due to criteria than low quality: the publication only rates brands with a minimum of two models, a situation that will be remedied when the Model X rolls out next year.

Finally, Audi took fifth behind the Japanese makes, while Porsche took ninth ahead of Kia. BMW and Volvo remained within the top 20. Only Mercedes-Benz took a hit among the Europeans this year, falling 11 spots to 24th thanks to the new CLA and S classes.

The Consumer Reports 2014 reliability survey obtained its information from 1.1 million vehicles, the largest survey of its kind in the publication’s history.

consumer-reports-reliability-list-1

The post Consumer Reports: Infotainment System Woes Mark 2014 Reliability Survey appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/consumer-reports-infotainment-system-woes-mark-2014-reliability-survey/feed/ 91
Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce SUVs Still Waiting For Green Light http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/lamborghini-rolls-royce-suvs-still-waiting-green-light/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/lamborghini-rolls-royce-suvs-still-waiting-green-light/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935290 Saving away for either a Lamborghini Urus or the Rolls-Royce SUV with no name (yet)? You may end up in an Aventador or Wraith instead if neither one are green-lit. According to AutoCar, the £180,000 ($289,000 USD) new-age Rambo Lambo is awaiting the go-ahead from Audi, which an anonymous insider claims will come when economic […]

The post Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce SUVs Still Waiting For Green Light appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2014-lamborghini-urus13

Saving away for either a Lamborghini Urus or the Rolls-Royce SUV with no name (yet)? You may end up in an Aventador or Wraith instead if neither one are green-lit.

According to AutoCar, the £180,000 ($289,000 USD) new-age Rambo Lambo is awaiting the go-ahead from Audi, which an anonymous insider claims will come when economic and geopolitical conditions calm down:

We are convinced the Urus can significantly boost global sales, but the financial conditions need to be sound. Right now, there are signs we may be heading for a downturn in the markets due to various factors, including trouble in the Middle East, although this is not reflected in the current sales situation, which puts us ahead of 2013.

Over at BMW, the Grey Poupon delivery wagon — set to move out of mainly Chinese showrooms at £200,000 ($321,000) — is still in the design phase. Board member for the high-end premium brand, Peter Schwarzenbauer, said the proposals are closing in on BMW’s vision for the SUV, but if the execs can’t be convinced that the final design resembles a Rolls-Royce, the vehicle will not be built.

Both SUVs are expected to enter production in 2017.

The post Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce SUVs Still Waiting For Green Light appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/lamborghini-rolls-royce-suvs-still-waiting-green-light/feed/ 9
Projects In Germany, US Closer To Low-Cost Carbon Fiber Manufacturing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/projects-germany-us-closer-low-cost-carbon-fiber-manufacturing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/projects-germany-us-closer-low-cost-carbon-fiber-manufacturing/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 10:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=931938 Though carbon fiber is being used more extensively in new vehicles, the high costs associated with building a vehicle out of the material have kept it to the likes of the Lexus LFA and BMW i Series. This could soon change, however. Bloomberg reports MAI Carbon Cluster Management GmbH, with financial backing from BMW, Audi, […]

The post Projects In Germany, US Closer To Low-Cost Carbon Fiber Manufacturing appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2014 BMW i8 04

Though carbon fiber is being used more extensively in new vehicles, the high costs associated with building a vehicle out of the material have kept it to the likes of the Lexus LFA and BMW i Series. This could soon change, however.

Bloomberg reports MAI Carbon Cluster Management GmbH, with financial backing from BMW, Audi, Airbus, Siemens and around 70 other manufacturers, have made progress on reducing the cost of carbon fiber, with the goal of slashing 90 percent of the total cost. Klaus Drechler, head of the €80 million ($102 million USD) project, as well as professor at the Technical University of Munich, explains:

We’ve certainly reached a halfway point on our cost-cutting target for suitable carbon-fiber parts. We’ll see a lot more carbon-fiber use in the next generation of cars. The key is to really drive automation [in production]. There are different scenarios about how carmakers can use carbon fiber — extensively like BMW, with a carbon-fiber chassis, or with smaller components.

Similar cost-reduction efforts are being carried out in the United States at the Oak Ridge Carbon Fiber Composites Consortium in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The consortium, established in 2011, has partnered with Ford, Dow Chemical and other companies in developing lower-cost carbon fiber materials.

The post Projects In Germany, US Closer To Low-Cost Carbon Fiber Manufacturing appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/projects-germany-us-closer-low-cost-carbon-fiber-manufacturing/feed/ 13
Paris 2014: 2016 Audi TT Roadster Bows http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/paris-2014-2016-audi-tt-roadster-bows/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/paris-2014-2016-audi-tt-roadster-bows/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 20:30:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=924785 You’ve seen the Audi TT Sportback. Now, it’s time for the 2016 Audi TT Roadster to shine at the 2014 Paris Auto Show. The 2016 model rides on the MQB platform with a wheelbase that has gained 1.5 inches over the current TT, while the overall length is just an inch shorter. Weight comes in […]

The post Paris 2014: 2016 Audi TT Roadster Bows appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2016-Audi-TTS-03

You’ve seen the Audi TT Sportback. Now, it’s time for the 2016 Audi TT Roadster to shine at the 2014 Paris Auto Show.

The 2016 model rides on the MQB platform with a wheelbase that has gained 1.5 inches over the current TT, while the overall length is just an inch shorter. Weight comes in at 2,910.1 lbs. with manual transmission and front-wheel drive, and the chassis is stiffer thanks to solid steel tubes inside the A-pillars, steel ribbing in the sills, and various V braces throughout the underside.

The soft-top is 6.6 lbs. lighter than the top now in play, can be operated up to 31.1 mph, takes up little of the TT’s 9.9 cubic-feet of trunk space, and can open or close within 10 seconds.

Up front, the U.S. market will receive a 2-liter turbocharged engine delivering 230 horses, 310 in the TTS model. A spoiler deploys at speeds above 75 mph.

Finally, a revised Quattro system puts more power to the back, allowing for safer, more controlled drifts on low-friction surfaces.

2016-Audi-TTS-03 2016-Audi-TTS-01 2016-Audi-TTS-05 2016-Audi-TTS-11 2016-Audi-TTS-08 2016-Audi-TTS-07 2016-audi-tt-roadster-18 2016-audi-tt-roadster-10 2016-audi-tt-roadster-08 2016-audi-tt-roadster-03 2016-audi-tt-roadster-04 2016-audi-tt-roadster-15 2016-audi-tt-roadster-13 2016-audi-tt-roadster-11 2016-audi-tt-roadster-17

The post Paris 2014: 2016 Audi TT Roadster Bows appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/paris-2014-2016-audi-tt-roadster-bows/feed/ 14
Paris 2014: Audi TT Sportback Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/paris-2014-audi-tt-sportback-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/paris-2014-audi-tt-sportback-revealed/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 12:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=923233 Following up on the TT Allroad Shooting Brake and TT Offroad, Audi revealed the TT Sportback at the 2014 Paris Auto Show. This TT adds two rear doors to the original three, along with an 11-inch boost in overall length, a 2.4-inch increase to the width, and an additional 4.7 inches for the wheelbase, no […]

The post Paris 2014: Audi TT Sportback Revealed appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Audi-TT-Sportback-Concept-5

Following up on the TT Allroad Shooting Brake and TT Offroad, Audi revealed the TT Sportback at the 2014 Paris Auto Show.

This TT adds two rear doors to the original three, along with an 11-inch boost in overall length, a 2.4-inch increase to the width, and an additional 4.7 inches for the wheelbase, no doubt giving plenty of room for the two passengers fortunate to sit in the back. The two rear passenger doors also have frameless windows, just like the TT coupe.

Under the hood, a 2-liter TFSI turbo-four drives 400 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic to all corners, each bearing a 21-inch wheel mounted on 255/30s, and containing an 18-inch disc. The drivetrain is also efficient at the pump — delivering an average of 33.6 mpg — and off the line; nil to 62 arrives in 3.9 seconds.

Inside, the driver receives their info via a virtual cockpit system inside a 12.3-inch display, which can be operated either via steering-wheel controls or the touchpad on the MMI terminal near the shifter.

Audi-TT-Sportback-Concept-8 Audi-TT-Sportback-Concept-7 Audi-TT-Sportback-Concept-6 Audi-TT-Sportback-Concept-5 Audi-TT-Sportback-Concept-4 Audi-TT-Sportback-Concept-3 Audi-TT-Sportback-Concept-2 Audi-TT-Sportback-Concept-1 Audi TT Sportback concept Audi TT Sportback concept Audi TT Sportback concept Audi TT Sportback concept Audi TT Sportback concept

The post Paris 2014: Audi TT Sportback Revealed appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/paris-2014-audi-tt-sportback-revealed/feed/ 26
Audi Leaves CVTs Behind For Dual-Clutch Automatics http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/audi-leaves-cvts-behind-for-dual-clutch-automatics/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/audi-leaves-cvts-behind-for-dual-clutch-automatics/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=873010 CVT haters, rejoice: Audi’s latest set of Multitronic CVTs will be the automaker’s last. According to The Motor Report, the automaker believes it has done all it can with CVTs, and will instead focus on the S-tronic dual-clutch automatic family of transmissions. Both the S-tronic and traditional automatic offerings will fill the void left behind […]

The post Audi Leaves CVTs Behind For Dual-Clutch Automatics appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
34 - 2012 Audi A7 - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

CVT haters, rejoice: Audi’s latest set of Multitronic CVTs will be the automaker’s last.

According to The Motor Report, the automaker believes it has done all it can with CVTs, and will instead focus on the S-tronic dual-clutch automatic family of transmissions. Both the S-tronic and traditional automatic offerings will fill the void left behind when the models so equipped with Multitronic are updated or replaced.

However, Audi may also do away with the traditional automatic, as well. Currently, the automaker is hard work on an S-tronic built to handle the torque loads and AWD that are being handled by eight-speed autos at present. No word on when the traditional auto’s day may come to pass.

The post Audi Leaves CVTs Behind For Dual-Clutch Automatics appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/audi-leaves-cvts-behind-for-dual-clutch-automatics/feed/ 42
Clean-Diesel Sales Up 25 Percent In The US For 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/clean-diesel-sales-up-25-percent-in-the-us-for-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/clean-diesel-sales-up-25-percent-in-the-us-for-2014/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=869994 Though hardly any of the offerings can be found in a brown wagon with a six-speed manual pushing power to the back, U.S. sales of clean-diesel vehicles have climbed up 25 percent this year. Autoblog Green reports clean-diesels are set to double their current 3 percent of total vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2018, […]

The post Clean-Diesel Sales Up 25 Percent In The US For 2014 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015-Volkswagen-Jetta-13

Though hardly any of the offerings can be found in a brown wagon with a six-speed manual pushing power to the back, U.S. sales of clean-diesel vehicles have climbed up 25 percent this year.

Autoblog Green reports clean-diesels are set to double their current 3 percent of total vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2018, according to Diesel Technology Forum. The group also noted the 25 percent jump is besting overall sales thus far in 2014, having only seen a boost of 4.2 percent in comparison.

As for the cause of the leap into oil-burning, consumers seeking better fuel economy find a 30 percent gain when the engine quietly purrs, especially when 27 of the 46 available clean-diesel models for the U.S. market are cars and SUVs. Winners include Audi and Chevrolet, both moving 8,100 and 3,000 units through the first half of 2014. Meanwhile, Volkswagen, lost 8 percent in sales during the same period, though still lead the way with 42,000 vehicles leaving the lot.

The post Clean-Diesel Sales Up 25 Percent In The US For 2014 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/clean-diesel-sales-up-25-percent-in-the-us-for-2014/feed/ 12
2015 Audi A3 Sedan Sales Outpacing Supply, Stealing From Honda, Toyota http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-audi-a3-sedan-sales-outpacing-supply-stealing-from-honda-toyota/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-audi-a3-sedan-sales-outpacing-supply-stealing-from-honda-toyota/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 11:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=860769 The 2015 Audi A3 Sedan is doing quite well for itself in the United States since its arrival back in April of this year, even if the hipster parties during the sedan’s U.S. unveiling more than likely just amused the automaker’s traditional clientele instead of attracting younger buyers as the party plan intended. Autoblog reports […]

The post 2015 Audi A3 Sedan Sales Outpacing Supply, Stealing From Honda, Toyota appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Audi S3 Limousine

The 2015 Audi A3 Sedan is doing quite well for itself in the United States since its arrival back in April of this year, even if the hipster parties during the sedan’s U.S. unveiling more than likely just amused the automaker’s traditional clientele instead of attracting younger buyers as the party plan intended.

Autoblog reports Audi of America sold 2,452 A3 Sedans in June alone, with just over 25 percent of consumers under the age of 30. That particular group of young Audi drivers are new to the automaker, brand conquests over Honda and Toyota.

As for buying one right now, there may be a line ahead of you: Audi is still stocking its dealer network with the $30,795 sedan, with a wait as long as 30 days for those wanting specific features for their A3. The line may grow longer, however, when the automaker’s A3 E-tron arrives in Q2 2015, with every one of Audi’s U.S. dealerships being granted the opportunity to sell the PHEV.

The post 2015 Audi A3 Sedan Sales Outpacing Supply, Stealing From Honda, Toyota appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-audi-a3-sedan-sales-outpacing-supply-stealing-from-honda-toyota/feed/ 117
Low-Cost Tesla EV To Use Steel To Hit A4, 3 Series Pricing Levels http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/low-cost-tesla-ev-to-use-steel-to-hit-a4-3-series-pricing-levels/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/low-cost-tesla-ev-to-use-steel-to-hit-a4-3-series-pricing-levels/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 11:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=857993 Though Tesla’s low-cost EV won’t be able to put the E in between the S and the X, it will be able to meet its price target thanks an alloy swap in its construction. Autocar reports steel instead of aluminum will make up the low-cost EV, which CEO Elon Musk stated will be 20 percent […]

The post Low-Cost Tesla EV To Use Steel To Hit A4, 3 Series Pricing Levels appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
550x365xtesla-model-s-logo-550x365.jpg.pagespeed.ic.C2rTVvi0LG

Though Tesla’s low-cost EV won’t be able to put the E in between the S and the X, it will be able to meet its price target thanks an alloy swap in its construction.

Autocar reports steel instead of aluminum will make up the low-cost EV, which CEO Elon Musk stated will be 20 percent smaller than the Model S. The steel construction will likely be assembled through bonding and rivets, as well.

The use of steel will allow the new EV — expected sometime between late 2016 and early 2017 — to better compete against the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series on price, backed up by the reduced cost in battery production once the Gigafactory goes online at the same time as the low-cost Tesla arrives in showrooms.

The post Low-Cost Tesla EV To Use Steel To Hit A4, 3 Series Pricing Levels appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/low-cost-tesla-ev-to-use-steel-to-hit-a4-3-series-pricing-levels/feed/ 57
BMW Mexico Plant To Build 150,000 Annually http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/bmw-mexico-plant-to-build-150000-annually/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/bmw-mexico-plant-to-build-150000-annually/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=857249 Though BMW may announce Thursday where in Mexico it will build its second North American plant, sources close to the matter said the plant will pump 150,000 units annually into auto trains bound for the United States. Automotive News Europe also reports a Mexican government official claimed the new plant would come with a €1 […]

The post BMW Mexico Plant To Build 150,000 Annually appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015-MINI-Countryman-Cooper-S-8

Though BMW may announce Thursday where in Mexico it will build its second North American plant, sources close to the matter said the plant will pump 150,000 units annually into auto trains bound for the United States.

Automotive News Europe also reports a Mexican government official claimed the new plant would come with a €1 billion ($1.36 billion USD) investment, and may either be located in the state of Hidalgo just north of Mexico City, or in San Luis Potosi in central Mexico.

The plant — following on the heels of a new Daimler-Nissan small-car factory to be built in Aguacalientes, as well as an Audi factory in San Jose Chiapa — will likely be used to build MINIs and the FWD 1 Series, with localized 3 Series assembly also speculated based on the automaker’s potential need to better compete against the U.S.-assembled Mercedes C-Class on price.

The post BMW Mexico Plant To Build 150,000 Annually appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/bmw-mexico-plant-to-build-150000-annually/feed/ 12
BMW To Announce Second North American Factory Before Summer Break http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/bmw-to-announce-second-north-american-factory-before-summer-break/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/bmw-to-announce-second-north-american-factory-before-summer-break/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 13:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=852977 Still mulling over where to build a second North American factory, BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer stated his company would have an answer before the automaker goes on summer break. Automotive News Europe reports the automaker is considering countries who have signed the North American Free Trade Agreement, including Canada, United States and Mexico, for a […]

The post BMW To Announce Second North American Factory Before Summer Break appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2012_BMW_328i_sedan_--_2012_DC_1

Still mulling over where to build a second North American factory, BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer stated his company would have an answer before the automaker goes on summer break.

Automotive News Europe reports the automaker is considering countries who have signed the North American Free Trade Agreement, including Canada, United States and Mexico, for a factory where it may build the 3 and 1 series, as well as MINIs.

BMW is doing this in order to properly battle Teutonic competitors Audi and Mercedes, both of whom have or will have factories in place to meet demand, as well as better handle currency challenges by producing popular vehicles in the same market they are bought. All three are also battling it out on record deliveries for 2014, with China and the U.S. as the battleground.

Meanwhile, BMW is spending $1 billion to expand its Spartanburg, S.C. plant to 50 percent increased production capacity by 2016, when the full-size X7 will be among the 450,000 X Series SUVs to leave the line annually. The outgoing record holder in Dingolfing, Germany produced 342,000 3, 5, 6 and 7 series models in 2013.

The post BMW To Announce Second North American Factory Before Summer Break appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/bmw-to-announce-second-north-american-factory-before-summer-break/feed/ 16
Volkswagen To Triple SUV Lineup In Fight Against Toyota For Total Global Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/volkswagen-to-triple-suv-lineup-in-fight-against-toyota-for-total-global-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/volkswagen-to-triple-suv-lineup-in-fight-against-toyota-for-total-global-sales/#comments Wed, 04 Jun 2014 11:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=836730 With Toyota still in its sights, Volkswagen plans to triple the number of SUVs in its lineup in its fight for the top sales podium among the Global Three. Bloomberg reports the current offerings — the midsize Touareg and compact Tiguan — will soon be joined by the upcoming seven-passenger CrossBlue-based SUV that will either […]

The post Volkswagen To Triple SUV Lineup In Fight Against Toyota For Total Global Sales appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Volkswagen-T-ROC-Concept-02

With Toyota still in its sights, Volkswagen plans to triple the number of SUVs in its lineup in its fight for the top sales podium among the Global Three.

Bloomberg reports the current offerings — the midsize Touareg and compact Tiguan — will soon be joined by the upcoming seven-passenger CrossBlue-based SUV that will either be assembled in Mexico or Tennessee, coupe and long-wheelbase versions of the Tiguan, the Touareg and a subcompact based on either the Taigun or T-ROC concepts. The strategy would provide VW with the opportunity to meet Toyota across the latter’s range on its way to beat the Japanese automaker in global deliveries by 2018, and would build brand strength in the United States and emerging markets such as China.

Meanwhile, Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini and Porsche are also moving further into the SUV market, ranging from the Cayenne and new Macan — both of which are expected to account for 64 percent of all Porsche sales by next year, according to IHS Automotive — to the Q1 in 2016 and Urus in 2017. The overall game would net Volkswagen an operating profit boost over 6 percent of sales over the current rate of 2.9 percent, as SUVs are considered to be more profitable than other vehicles.

The post Volkswagen To Triple SUV Lineup In Fight Against Toyota For Total Global Sales appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/volkswagen-to-triple-suv-lineup-in-fight-against-toyota-for-total-global-sales/feed/ 14
Capsule Review: 2014 Audi A6 TDI Prestige http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/capsule-review-2014-audi-a6-tdi-prestige/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/capsule-review-2014-audi-a6-tdi-prestige/#comments Thu, 29 May 2014 13:15:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=833226 It’s likely that we all have been asked the most dreaded question at parties: “what’s your favorite car?”. I prefer to put a different spin on it: what car would I most like to take a cross-country road trip in? There is always a compromise of comfort, cabin space, trunk space, speed, cost, and/or fuel […]

The post Capsule Review: 2014 Audi A6 TDI Prestige appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2014 audi a6 tdi side

It’s likely that we all have been asked the most dreaded question at parties: “what’s your favorite car?”. I prefer to put a different spin on it: what car would I most like to take a cross-country road trip in? There is always a compromise of comfort, cabin space, trunk space, speed, cost, and/or fuel economy. After spending a weekend with this car, I can say that my answer to that question undoubtedly is the Audi A6 TDI.

2014 audi a6 tdi front

From the side it is uniquely Audi, offering perfect proportions when compared to the shrunken down A4 and the elongated A8. The once bizarre corporate grill has faded into normalcy over time, as have the often duplicated fancy headlights, which, by the way, are amazing. The rear is reminiscent of the original A8. Overall the exterior design is clean, modern, but conservative at the same time. The S-line treatment of the pictured vehicle hints of its sporty aspirations without being obnoxious about it. Bystanders will like this car when they see it but forget about it few minutes later.

2014 audi a6 tdi dash

The interior looks great, too. Every surface is pleasing to the senses; the soft leather smells great, the wood grain is intentionally left uneven, and the minimalist layout is pleasing to the eye. What’s important on a long trip, however, is comfort. The vehicle is very quiet at all speeds and the suspension does a fantastic job of keeping the unpleasantness of the outside world, outside. With plenty of room for four passengers, very comfortable seats, those complaining about these accommodations should have just stayed home.

The infotainment screen hides into the dash to further underscore that clean layout, which is especially nice for night driving. Vital information such as Sirius XM channel or navigational directions are displayed in the gauge cluster. Audi’s MMI Navigation interface is one of the best and easiest to use in the business. The main, iDrive-like, knob is positioned right where your hand is when your arm is resting on the armrest. It is surrounded by hard and soft keys, operation of which is reflected on the screen. All basic controls are easy to access, and once your presets, iPhone and gadget-de-jour, are synced and set to your liking, there is really no need do anything there.

2014 audi a6 tdi interior details

Nobody with an ounce of oil in their blood wants to drive a boring car, which many so-called luxury cars, tend to be. The beauty of the A6 TDI is that, despite the aforementioned refined ride and isolated comforts, it is simply fun to drive. The steering is quick, if a little over-boosted, the adjustable suspension is set just right, allowing plenty of highway ramp fun. The three suspension settings do not change vehicle dynamics drastically, and with sincere respect to Audi chassis engineers, I really question the need for those settings.

The real story here isn’t the ride, or the interior, or the looks. Rather, it is the 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine and its 428 lb-ft of torque at 1750 rpm. Numbers themselves are never impressive; it’s translating those numbers into real world driving characteristics that make so many of us lust after compression–ignition engines. This engine turns this car into a beast. The power is instantaneous; no lag, no delay, no nothing. It. Just. Goes. Off the line, highway passing, the A6 TDI doesn’t care. It just goes, pressing you deeper into the seat. It goes smoothly, it goes evenly, it goes without any drama, and it goes while getting 38mpg on the highway.

2014 audi a6 tdi engine

But nothing is perfect, and neither is this vehicle. For instance the two front cup holders are simply too small. And there is no USB or auxiliary audio input ports (you need to use Bluetooth). Its price, which starts at $57,500 ($67,295 as pictured), does not do it any favors, either. Furthermore, any potential buyer would be a fool to ignore Audi’s reputation for long-term reliability. And yet, if anyone asked me what I would want to drive from New York City, around the Great Lakes and over Rocky Mountains, to San Francisco, this would be my answer.

In my lifetime of automotive obsession, two decades of driving, dozens of personal cars, and years of reviewing cars, I have never been more impressed. As a reviewer, this frustrates me because in my mind I sound like some kind of wobbler. 

2014 audi a6 tdi rear

Audi provided the car for the purpose of this review.

The post Capsule Review: 2014 Audi A6 TDI Prestige appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/capsule-review-2014-audi-a6-tdi-prestige/feed/ 112
New York 2014: 2016 Audi A3 TDI Sportback Live Shots http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2016-audi-a3-tdi-sportback-live-shots/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2016-audi-a3-tdi-sportback-live-shots/#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 19:22:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=803234 The 2016 Audi A3 TDI Sportback turned up at the 2014 New York Auto Show wearing white over its diesel-driven FWD system and automatic transmission. The diesel in question is a 2-liter turbo pushing 150 horsepower to the front through a standard six-speed S tronic transmission. Inside, drivers can kick out the jams through the […]

The post New York 2014: 2016 Audi A3 TDI Sportback Live Shots appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015-Audi-A3-TDI-Sportback-6

The 2016 Audi A3 TDI Sportback turned up at the 2014 New York Auto Show wearing white over its diesel-driven FWD system and automatic transmission.

The diesel in question is a 2-liter turbo pushing 150 horsepower to the front through a standard six-speed S tronic transmission.

Inside, drivers can kick out the jams through the hatchback’s MMI infotainment and Bang & Olufsen audio systems while passengers make use of the on-board 4G LTE connection.

No word on pricing, fuel economy or other details beyond an arrival time of Summer 2015.

2015-Audi-A3-TDI-Sportback-7 2015-Audi-A3-TDI-Sportback-6 2015-Audi-A3-TDI-Sportback-1 2015-Audi-A3-TDI-Sportback-5 2015-Audi-A3-TDI-Sportback-4 2015-Audi-A3-TDI-Sportback-3 2015-Audi-A3-TDI-Sportback-2

The post New York 2014: 2016 Audi A3 TDI Sportback Live Shots appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2016-audi-a3-tdi-sportback-live-shots/feed/ 15
BMW May Build Second NA Plant To Fend Off German Rivals http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/bmw-may-build-second-na-plant-to-fend-off-german-rivals/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/bmw-may-build-second-na-plant-to-fend-off-german-rivals/#comments Wed, 09 Apr 2014 14:04:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=791289 In its battle against Mercedes-Benz and Audi for record sales, BMW is mulling over the possibility of a second plant in North America. Bloomberg reports the automaker would place its second factory in Mexico, with two sites under consideration. The decision to expand will take a few months according to BMW production chief Harald Krueger, […]

The post BMW May Build Second NA Plant To Fend Off German Rivals appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
BMW Spartanburg

In its battle against Mercedes-Benz and Audi for record sales, BMW is mulling over the possibility of a second plant in North America.

Bloomberg reports the automaker would place its second factory in Mexico, with two sites under consideration. The decision to expand will take a few months according to BMW production chief Harald Krueger, Should the move be given a green light, the Mexican plant is likely to build the 3 Series.

The second factory would add to the long-term growth strategy BMW is using to fend off its German premium market competitors in a heated battle for records global sales, fueled by growing demand in the United States and China. Mercedes will add the C-Class to its Alabama facility in June with a new plant in North America due near the end of this decade, while Audi is in the middle of setting up shop in Mexico with a $1.3 billion plant set to produce crossovers beginning in 2016.

Previously, BMW announced it would invest $1 billion to expand its South Carolina plant by 50 percent in 2016, as well as add the X7 large SUV to the X Series lineup currently produced in the plant.

The post BMW May Build Second NA Plant To Fend Off German Rivals appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/bmw-may-build-second-na-plant-to-fend-off-german-rivals/feed/ 25
VW Confirms New Turbodiesel Due Later This Year http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/vw-confirms-new-turbodiesel-due-later-this-year/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/vw-confirms-new-turbodiesel-due-later-this-year/#comments Wed, 19 Mar 2014 10:15:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=775585 Fans of Volkswagen diesels will be thrilled to know that later this year, the automaker’s latest 2-liter turbo-four will be available for the 2015 Golf, Jetta, Passat, Beetle and Beetle Convertible. Autoblog reports the new EA288 TDI will produce 150 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque, with an additional 10-horsepower boost for road train-passing emergencies. […]

The post VW Confirms New Turbodiesel Due Later This Year appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
VW EA288 TDI Diesel Engine

Fans of Volkswagen diesels will be thrilled to know that later this year, the automaker’s latest 2-liter turbo-four will be available for the 2015 Golf, Jetta, Passat, Beetle and Beetle Convertible.

Autoblog reports the new EA288 TDI will produce 150 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque, with an additional 10-horsepower boost for road train-passing emergencies. Other features include EGR, an intake manifold with integrated intercooler, and low-friction camshaft bearings.

Though the turbodiesel will arrive in five VW models for the 2015 model year, all Audis and Volkswagens will eventually receive the EA288 as the automaker phases out the current 2-liter TDI; 12 such models are in showrooms at present, with 105,899 units sold in 2013.

The post VW Confirms New Turbodiesel Due Later This Year appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/vw-confirms-new-turbodiesel-due-later-this-year/feed/ 29
VW Group, Led By Porsche, Aiming For 10 Million In Sales By Year’s End http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/vw-group-led-by-porsche-aiming-for-10-million-in-sales-by-years-end/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/vw-group-led-by-porsche-aiming-for-10-million-in-sales-by-years-end/#comments Fri, 14 Mar 2014 11:37:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=771258 Volkswagen Group’s goal of selling 10 million units annually may come as soon as the end of 2014, with Porsche leading the way in operating profitability. Automotive News reports the target, originally set for 2018, is on-track to come this year, according to CEO Martin Winterkorn. The group sold 9.72 million units last year, beating […]

The post VW Group, Led By Porsche, Aiming For 10 Million In Sales By Year’s End appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Porsche-911-991-Targa-01

Volkswagen Group’s goal of selling 10 million units annually may come as soon as the end of 2014, with Porsche leading the way in operating profitability.

Automotive News reports the target, originally set for 2018, is on-track to come this year, according to CEO Martin Winterkorn. The group sold 9.72 million units last year, beating General Motors to become the world’s second-largest automaker.

Fueling the growth are rising volumes in Europe and China, and introductions of over 100 models between now and the end of 2015, including new and updated SUVs for Volkswagen and Porsche.

Speaking of Porsche, the premium sports car brand’s profit earnings tripled to 2.58 billion euro last year, while those of VW and Audi fell to 2.89 billion and 5.03 billion, respectively. Overall revenue for Porsche totaled 14.3 billion euro on sales of 155,000 units worldwide.

The post VW Group, Led By Porsche, Aiming For 10 Million In Sales By Year’s End appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/vw-group-led-by-porsche-aiming-for-10-million-in-sales-by-years-end/feed/ 8
Audi Takes Lead From BMW In Global Premium Car Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/audi-takes-lead-from-bmw-in-global-premium-car-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/audi-takes-lead-from-bmw-in-global-premium-car-sales/#comments Wed, 12 Mar 2014 18:17:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=770714 For the first time this year, BMW loses the best-selling premium brand crown to a rival as Audi squeaks past the Bavarians in the first two months of 2014 to take the title. Automotive News reports Audi delivered 242,400 units in January and February of this year, 383 more than BMW; at the same time […]

The post Audi Takes Lead From BMW In Global Premium Car Sales appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015-Audi-A3-beauty-exterior-005

For the first time this year, BMW loses the best-selling premium brand crown to a rival as Audi squeaks past the Bavarians in the first two months of 2014 to take the title.

Automotive News reports Audi delivered 242,400 units in January and February of this year, 383 more than BMW; at the same time last year, BMW led Audi by 429 units in their nine-year period of dominance over the global premium car market.

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler appeared not to be impressed by the news, however, as he noted in the brand’s annual press conference this week:

We’re ahead of our two main rivals in the first two months, but this doesn’t really interest me much. Our focus is on further growth.

Said growth aims to be driven by the introduction of 17 new or revamped models this year — including the A3 sedan roll-out in the United States and China, as well as the refreshed A3 hatchback and TT — as part of a five-year, 22-billion-euro investment in the brand, with goal of surpassing BMW once and for all in global sales by 2020.

BMW sales chief Ian Robertson, for his part, was confident his employer would take back the crown soon enough:

The innovative new models coming out this year, such as the 2-series Active Tourer and 4-series Gran Coupe, will give us the momentum to keep growing in 2014.

The new models will likely help the Bavarians rule the market for a 10th consecutive year, selling a projected 1.77 million units in 2014 over Audi’s 1.66 million and Mercedes’s 1.56 million according to IHS Automotive. However, previous reports indicate that the United States will not receive the 2-Series Active Tourer, which is taking heat for its front-drive layout.

The post Audi Takes Lead From BMW In Global Premium Car Sales appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/audi-takes-lead-from-bmw-in-global-premium-car-sales/feed/ 43