Some designs are perfect in their initial run, others need a mid-cycle rethink to make ‘em sing. The 4000 is the latter: cost effectively ushering a new era of modern and luxurious Industrial Design for Audi. I loved the styling, but a classmate at CCS showed me the light: he was an SCCA racer with a similar CS Quattro in the dorm’s parking lot. And while CCS was a total bummer at times, we enjoyed the 4000 in the horrible winter weather around Metro Detroit. Especially at one of our favorite hangouts: Belle Isle. At night. In a 4000 CS Quattro. Oh hell yes. (Read More…)
One of my Automotive Design teachers at CCS made us take a personality test to determine our strengths(?) as a designer. It was beyond stupid, or so I thought. To wit, a (paraphrased) question: do you collect old things? The answer was supposedly neutral: no matter what you answered on this query, your overall score didn’t change.
Which is a total crock. The history of design is so very important, especially for a powerhouse like Audi. Please! (Read More…)
The 1984 Audi 5000 Junkyard Find reminded us about the nightmare faced by Audi after 60 Minutes framed the 5000 as a an unintended accelerator in 1986. Audi sales took a real beating in the late 1980s, but some 5000s (renamed the 200 in an attempt to banish the stigma of a car whose greatest sin was the proximity of the brake pedal to the gas pedal) were bought in 1989. Here’s an optioned-up example that I found in the same Denver junkyard as the ’84. (Read More…)
Sajeev and Steve:
Q1. Do you like it?
A1. Unequivocally! It’s amazing.
Q2. Are you going to buy it out or extend the lease?
A2. Absof@!%inglutely not.
Q3. Why not – you just said you loved it?!
A3. True, but it’s a constant reminder of the adages (i) never buy a first year vehicle (ii) never lease a car out of warranty and (iii) someone, somewhere, is tired of her sh!t. Well, maybe just the first two.
It’s been a while since you’ve heard about our project car’s voyage, unfortunately not much has happened. Our man in Germany, USAF Captain Mike Solowiow, is busy saving the world…meaning our Sierra sits and waits for a shipping container to finish the journey to America.
Too bad the Sierra is no longer mobile. Because its UK road tax expired, Mike cannot legally insure it. Therefore, no more photos like the one above. That’s right, the Sierra got its Nürburgring cherry popped! In his spare time, Mike is an instructor (yes, really) at this famous road course, so he can probably get away with such actions with minimal detriment to his “car guy” credibility. So the Sierra sits and waits on a gravel parking spot at the base of the Castle Nurburg…but luckily for me, I have a plan to get him motivated to take action.
Although it did what it needed to do, it looks awful
Peter Birtwhistle, designer of the legendary short-wheelbase Audi Sport Quattro (above), tells Autocar what he really thinks about its design… and just in time for Audi to announce that its Ur Quattro-inspired Quattro Concept will be built in limited numbers. Birtwhistle explains that the real cause for Ur-ugliness was “stretching the Quattro look over [the shorter Audi 80 platform],” a challenge that also echoes with the Quattro Concept, which slaps retro design elements on a short-wheelbase version of the handsome RS5. As a result, the Quattro Concept looks every bit as awkward and disjointed as the Sport Quattro, with just a touch of Camaro-esque retro-self-consciousness. But as Birtwhistle’s line reminds us, sometimes ugly is the best way to emphasize purpose.
One of the enduring lessons of the car game is that good vehicles don’t always sell well. As a car writer who took on news analysis before ever getting manufacturer-sponsored time behind the wheel, this lesson can’t help but tinge my impressions of a road test. So when my first weeklong tester arrived in the form of a Q7 TDI, I felt no desire to justify Audi’s decision to bring the thing to market. After all, by any reasonable analysis, the brand built by Quattro wagons should have been the primary beneficiary of America’s SUV craze. Or, at least its worst enemy. Instead the Q7 showed up for the party fashionably dressed but fashionably late. And very few wanted to buy it. With the high price of luxo ute party fuel already killing the festive vibes, is switching to a new drink enough to make Audi’s SUV sales party like its 1999?
Living in Breckenridge, Colorado, you need some sort of All-Wheel Drive setup. Snow remains the small town’s primary reason to exist. This explains the multitudes of Subarus, Audis, Volvos, and SUVs all equipped with four wheel motivation. Most drive away blissfully unaware of how recent this feature came to market (as little as 27 years ago). In 1980, Audi introduced the first permanently engaged all-wheel drive system in the Audi Quattro. Prior to this, all vehicles had a part-time system where only two wheels were driven most of the time, requiring driver intervention should the going get slippery. Audi changed all this by putting one driveshaft inside the other, saving space and weight and making it possible for a complex, permanently engaged system to function on a small car. Vorsprung durch Technik, baby!