Audi's U.S. Lineup Will Be Free of Manual Gearboxes In 2019

The manual transmission continues to die a slow, lingering death. Audi is now eliminating the manual option from its entire U.S. lineup, not that the majority if its customers will actually miss it. While the 2018 Audi A4 can still be had with a six-speed manual, the refreshed 2019 model will not. The same will be true for the less-popular A5 coupe.

It’s a bum deal for enthusiasts but it’s difficult to come down too hard on Audi. The A4’s seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic isn’t exactly a terrible transmission and, considering it outsells the manual by a huge margin, it doesn’t make financial sense for Audi to ship anything else across the ocean.

Applying that logic hasn’t make us feel better about the situation, though.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: Checking Out German Strippers From 2002

German cars in North America are not immediately associated with base, no-option models or economical motoring. But that didn’t stop Adam Tonge from suggesting today’s trio. Which vehicle gets the Buy when you’re shopping at the bottom of the German luxury barrel in 2002?

Ladies and gentlemen, select your strippers.

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As Court Rejects Ex-Audi CEO's Prison Appeal, Automaker Chooses Its Future Boss: Report

Rupert Stadler, whose reign as CEO of Audi came to an end after his June arrest, won’t walk out the front doors of his Bavarian jail anytime soon. A Munich court has rejected the former auto executive’s appeal for release.

The appeal came nearly a month ago, around the same time Stadler — suspected of fraud in the diesel emissions scandal — stopped talking to prosecutors. The reason for the court’s decision is the same reason why a judge remanded Stadler in custody back in June. Worries remain that he might tamper with evidence if freed.

Meanwhile, there’s change brewing at the top of Audi’s corporate hierarchy.

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2019 Audi Q3 Teased Ahead of Official Reveal

The new Audi Q3 is en route for a launch later this week, but Audi gave us a sneak preview of the model in a teaser video. As the smallest crossover the brand has ever sold in the United States, the Q3 is in a hot segment right now. However, it hasn’t managed to outpace the more expensive Q5 in terms of overall sales. With 20,633 deliveries in 2017, the crossover sells well enough, but pales in comparison to the units moved by its larger sibling.

It does look to be on schedule to surpass the A3 in terms of sales by the end of the year, though. The fact that crossovers are killing the smaller to midsize car segment isn’t much of a secret anymore. But it’s as true for Audi as it is most other brands, which is why the Q3 needs to be a success. You can see the brand going the extra mile — even in this little teaser.

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Ex-Audi CEO Clams Up, Wants Out of the Clink

Former Audi CEO Rupert Stadler’s “How I spent My Summer Vacation” story isn’t likely to make any of us jealous. The one-time top dog at the German luxury automaker has cooled his heels in a Bavarian jail ever since German authorities arrested him on suspicion of fraud back in June. Stadler’s arrest served as a shocking escalation in Germany’s investigation into Volkswagen Group’s diesel emissions scandal.

It seems like time behind bars is getting to Stadler. As the suspended executive attempts to gain his release from prison, new details have emerged over the reasons for his arrest.

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Rare Rides: NSU's New Way to Wankel - the Spider From 1965 (Part IV)

Part III of this Rare Rides series explored how NSU readied itself to re-enter the car market and end its longstanding production tie-up with Fiat. Shortly after the painful divorce from the Italians, NSU’s first rotary-powered car was ready.

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Rare Rides: NSU's New Way to Wankel - the Spider From 1965 (Part III)

Part II of the NSU story gave some color to the company’s first bout of financial trouble, and how it passed on a Ferdinand Porsche design that would go on to become the Volkswagen Beetle a few years later.

As we left off last time, NSU and Fiat were locked in a longstanding disagreement about who could brand which cars in which way.

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Rare Rides: NSU's New Way to Wankel, the Spider From 1965 (Part II)

In Part I of this four-part NSU Rare Rides series, we covered the beginning of the NSU brand and its initial product offerings — which included knitting machines. The company moved into bikes and motorcycles, as well as a three-wheeler considered a midpoint between motorcycle and car.

The engineers were certainly busy, but all was not well over at the bank.

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Rare Rides: NSU's New Way to Wankel - the Spider From 1965 (Part I)

Back in the 1960s, a little German car company decided to spend a lot of money to create a new-to-them type of engine. The car company in question was NSU, and the engine that cost them so much money was a Wankel.

In a first-ever for the Rare Rides series, this will be a four-part entry. Come along as we explore the NSU brand and the Spider; a tiny roadster which ended up almost entirely responsible for the demise of its parent company.

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Junkyard Find: 2002 Audi A4 1.8T Wagon
Here in Denver 15 or so years ago, the Subaru Legacy Outback wagon was king among car shoppers looking for a vehicle suited for their dog-owning, ski-slope-visiting, REI-shopping lifestyles (that is, most of the population). But what about those who wanted an all-wheel-drive wagon that was a bit less… stolid?While you could get the Outback with a manual transmission or a six-cylinder engine (sorry, one or the other) back then, only the most rabid Subaru fanatics would describe the driving experience of the Outback as fun. That’s where the second-generation Audi A4 wagon came in, and they sold very well here. Here’s one that looked to be in pretty good condition when it got rear-ended, spotted in a yard just south of town.
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Ghost Refresh: 2019 Audi A4 Sedan Sees Some Wildly Subtle Changes

Despite the pervasive nature of crossover vehicles, Audi has done alright with the A4 sedan. Sales have remained reasonably consistent over the past few years in both the North American market and abroad.

While it doesn’t appear to be gaining any ground, it also isn’t losing much. Still, Audi knows you have to update the recipe every so often to tempt consumers, so it’s updating the A4 sedan and A4 Avant wagon for the 2019 model year — subtly, and in the typical German fashion.

You would be hard-pressed to spot the differences under any kind of pressure. As mid-cycle refreshes go, this one has to be one of the least obvious we’ve ever encountered.

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Pesky Arrest Issue Has Audi Thinking America for New Car Launch

Audi had hoped to unveil a new challenger to Tesla’s electric throne at a Brussels marketing event, but the ill-timed arrest of its former CEO forced the automaker to shelve those plans. Rupert Stadler remains in custody, casting a dark cloud over the brand and the vehicle its engineers spent years developing.

What to do? Apparently, the solution involves bundling the car into a plane and sending it to America.

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Take Note, Hollywood: Germany Cancels Prestigious Auto Awards Due to Criminality, Awkwardness

The organizers of televised U.S. awards shows, who annually serve up a night of lectures, sermons, hypocrisy, and guilt for an increasingly small audience, should realize that the show doesn’t necessarily have to go on.

It’s certainly not going on in Germany. Axel Springer, a top publishing house for numerous German media sources, including AutoBild, has now wrestled the prestigious Golden Steering Wheel award out of everyone’s hands. There’ll be no thanking of grade school teachers by auto execs this year. Blame, well, the auto industry.

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Audi Now Has Permission to Test Flying 'Cars' in Germany

The flying car repeatedly proves itself as the dumbest idea since the industrial revolution kicked off. With the exception of takeoffs and landings, aircraft don’t need roads and automobiles aren’t really engineered for the sky. They’re typically far too heavy and have aerodynamics intended to keep them on the ground. A good car does not make for a good plane, and vice versa.

While a few flying cars do exist, they’re really just airplanes modified to allow for car-like earthbound driving. Functional, but not particularly effective on the road. That’s why the industry is shifting toward designs more akin to helicopters. The newest trend is to supersize drones and affix them to the top of lightweight self-driving automobiles.

That appears to be the direction Audi is headed in its partnership with Airbus. But surely this is engineering at is most masturbatory. If you’ll excuse the pun, these kinds of projects never really get off the ground. We see concept designs, hear some lofty promises, and then nothing ever comes of it. Moller International has been working on its SkyCar for decades and now the company is trading at a penny per share with nothing to show for itself but a concept capable of covering a couple feet from the pavement.

What does Audi have that’s so different?

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2019 Audi A1 Sportback Breaks Cover and Needs to Immigrate ASAP

Yesterday, we discussed the merits of Suzuki’s Jimny and how North America could benefit from adding the brand back into its automotive market by any means necessary. I am going to do the same thing today with a model that has never traversed the purple mountain majesties or amber waves of grain — let alone graced the True North strong and free.

The Audi A1 enters its second generation for the 2019 model year, and it should be here. With Ford’s Fiesta about to take a dirt nap, the suggestion may sound counterintuitive, but bear with me.

The supermini and city car segments have dwindled over the last few years, especially the models that were fun to drive. After the Fiesta leaves us, we’ll be left with the Fiat 500 and its improved base engine, the fun-loving Abarth variant, Mini’s Cooper, and a bunch of economy vehicles that don’t prioritize fun on any trim level.

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Audi's Stadler Out as CEO, but Perhaps Only Temporarily

An emergency board meeting held in the wake of Audi CEO Rupert Stadler’s Monday arrest led to the chief executive’s suspension from the company. It was Stadler’s idea, apparently.

As the former CEO cools his heels in a Munich jail, held on suspicion of fraud and evidence suppression related to Volkswagen Group’s diesel emissions scandal, the automaker’s board named sales and marketing chief Abraham Schot as interim CEO. Whether or not Stadler returns to his former post depends on his innocence.

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Audi CEO Rupert Stadler Arrested, Declared a Flight Risk

Rupert Stadler, chief executive officer of Audi AG, was arrested in Munich Monday morning on suspicion of fraud, according to German prosecutors.

The CEO, who took the helm at Audi in 2007 after joining the company in 1990, was taken into custody following a years-long probe into Volkswagen Group’s emissions cheating. While the automaker has already paid a steep price at home and abroad for its defeat device-equipped diesel engines, today marks the highest profile arrest so far in the ongoing investigations.

According to German media, prosecutors claim Stadler poses a flight risk, meaning he’ll remain in custody for the time being.

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Reporting for Flagship Duty: Audi Unveils Q8 'Four-door Luxury Coupe'

Audi finally revealed its latest entry in the increasingly popular luxury SUV segment: the Q8. Think of it as a more contemporary take on the Q7. The automaker calls it an expressive new design that serves as “the new face of the Q family.” While we’re all for German manufacturers occasionally drawing outside of the lines, we’re not positive it was a good idea in this case.

No shortage of hype preceded the debut, which tricked many into thinking the vehicle behind the curtain would reveal itself as irrefutably gorgeous. Instead, what we received is an interesting looking crossover that’s certain to be (at least somewhat) polarizing, heralded by dozens of teasers — including an internet-based video drama.

Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t bring myself to continue discussing the turd sandwich that was Audi’s promotional miniseries for the Q8. It was only ever going to progress into more and more hateful rants. However, I now fully recommend you watch the series in its entirety, as the ending was dumb enough to prompt a violent laughing fit.

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Audi Finally Shows Q8's Face in Laughably Awful Miniseries

Audi officially unveils its all-new Q8 utility vehicle next week. Unfortunately, I’ll be forced to watch episodes of the terrible miniseries the company decided to use as a digital hype machine until that time.

After expressing my concerns over the initial episode’s lack of vision and total inability to provide viewers with a single meaningful image of the automobile, I can happily report back that Audi has solved one of those problems nine days later. Having just finished episode three, the plot remains as meaningless as the lyrics to Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti.” However, we are finally treated to a brief glimpse of the Q8’s bodywork — which is all I’m willing to care about at this point.

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Infiniti, Redux? Audi's Q8 Miniseries Doesn't Showcase Vehicle in the Opening Episode

The marketing wizards at Audi decided to unveil the upcoming Q8 crossover via a series of internet shorts, called #Q8Unleased #Q8Unleashed, chronicling the antics of Sandra and Quentin — who we’re told are an “an extravagant power couple” living in California who have fallen upon dark times. Curious about the vehicle and Audi’s attempt at digital drama, I caught the first episode today.

Having just completed my viewing, I have to admit I feel a little cheated. To my dismay, the three-minute video didn’t include a single meaningful shot of the new utility vehicle. While I didn’t expect Audi to give up a front three-quarter view in episode one, I also didn’t expect a half-second glimpse of the Q8 badge followed by tight interior shots of the protagonists. Unless you have supreme interest in the vehicle’s headrests, there is really nothing for you here.

However, if you’re interested in extended shower scenes, brief fights that involve men hugging each other, and bad R&B songs produced exclusively for internet dramas, then you’ll be elated with the rest of this article. As for the Audi that’s likely to appear in subsequent episodes, all I can tell you is I think it’s orange.

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Q8 Teaser Shows Audi Sticking With New Taillight Design; SUV Gets Its Own TV Show

Audi released a new concept sketch of the Q8, but the Hot Wheels aesthetic doesn’t give us much to go on. We doubt the production model will come adorned with 30-inch wheels and balloon out toward the bottom, as illustrated. However, the drawing does appear to indicate an adherence to a taillight design not all that different from what we’re seeing on the A8.

Extending across the entirety of the vehicle’s rear, Tim Cain compared the sedan’s brake light styling to the now dead Dodge Dart. While the colorful Q8 draft indicates something a bit more angular, the basic shape remains intact and makes us wonder if this aesthetic will eventually spill into the rest of Audi’s stable.

That theory will take some time to pan out, but discovering the final decision on the SUV’s taillights won’t. Despite the official reveal still being a few weeks away, Audi has announced an original, adult-themed five-part video series — called Q8 Unleashed — starring the vehicle. The first episode is scheduled to drop May 21st.

The concept is derivative of the BMW film series The Hire, which initially came out in 2001 to showcase Clive Owen manhandling the brand’s fleet. The series returned for a brief run in 2016, which makes us wonder if a marketing manager at Audi was a fan.

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Audi Announces A8 Pricing, but Model Lacks Tech Promised for U.S.

Audi recently announced pricing for the V6-equipped A8, arriving in dealerships this fall for the rock-bottom price of $83,800. Alright, so that’s not exactly chump change, but Audi promised tech that would embarrass practically everything else on the road — including the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

In some markets, it seems as if the brand will deliver on those promises. The sedan is practically dripping with technology, including the impressive-sounding Traffic Jam Pilot. The system offers a claimed hands-free experience at speeds below 37 mph, as the vehicle can crawl in heavy traffic without the need of a driver. You’ll still need to turn it off and take over in urban environments but, so long as it’s a relatively straight shot, the car will do all the work.

Unfortunately, Audi seemed to have axed its availability for the United States.

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Losing the Pricey German Three: Audi Joins Mercedes-Benz, BMW in Pulling Out of Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 North American International Auto Show will be decidedly less Germanic than in years past. On Thursday, Audi announced plans to ditch the upcoming Detroit show, joining its two premium German rivals in steering clear of the wintry venue.

It’s the latest blow for a marquee auto show currently in the process of reinventing itself amid declining relevance and automaker interest.

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Water and Fire: Audi Recalling 1.16 Million Vehicles

Audi is recalling some 1.16 million vehicles worldwide, 342,867 of them in the United States, to prevent the risk of fire in several 2.0-liter models.

The issue stems from a component Audi’s had trouble with before: the coolant pump. According to the automaker’s engineers, the pump can either become blocked with debris from the cooling system or short-circuit from moisture within the pump. Regardless of the cause, an increasing number of reports of overheating pumps tipped Audi off that its earlier recall wasn’t enough.

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Audi Builds 815 HP Racecar That Debuted Inside Video Game

Gran Turismo is arguably the first video game franchise to appeal to car enthusiasts en masse. While Sega’s Out Run had us sitting behind the wheel of a Ferrari Testarossa as early as 1987 and Road & Track Presents: The Need for Speed let us abuse a handful of exotics by 1994, Polyphony Digital hit us with 140 licensed reproductions of real-world automobiles in 1997. Two years later, Gran Turismo 2 upped the ante with 650 new and used cars, even more tracks, and extensive modifications. This kicked off a bizarre symbiotic relationship between game developers and automakers.

Advancements in technology allowed burgeoning car fans to virtually experience their favorite rides, as well as new models they’d never even heard of. Developers took notice of the GT success story, as did manufacturers, which recognized the usefulness of these games as an incredibly potent marketing tool. Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz have all developed concept vehicles that debuted inside a video game, Ford briefed Turn 10 Studios so it could nail the GT’s specs in Forza 6 before the car even finished development, Toyota offered a free demo disc of Gran Turismo 4 as part of its 2004 model brochure, and Porsche unveiled the GT2 RS during the Forza Motorsport 7 press announcement at last year’s E3 conference.

While corporate partnerships between automakers and game developers are nothing new, it’s exceedingly rare to see a vehicle intended exclusively for the digital realm drive off the screen and onto the racetrack. But that’s exactly what Audi has done with the E-Tron Vision Gran Turismo.

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Attention, Sport Wagon Enthusiasts: It's Time to Write Audi Some Letters

Back in 2016, Audi announced it would be going mental with its high-performance RS models, delivering eight new rip-roaring RennSports by the end of 2018. It even said it would ship some to the United States, though there wasn’t to be a single wagon among them. In fact, Audi’s entire American lineup is piss poor when it comes to liftbacks in general — despite Europe being flush with them.

Sure, the U.S. has a few sportbacks on offer. But the only vehicles that even begin to approach wagondom are an economy minded hatchback (the A3 e-tron) and an extra car-like crossover (the A4 Allroad). So, where does that leave wagon fans who might want to occasionally burn some rubber? Out of luck.

Fortunately, luck can change. Audi’s vice president of product management said shipping RS Avants to North America isn’t out of the question if the company thinks there could be a market for them. All wagon fans need to do is establish a write-in campaign pleading for them.

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QOTD: What's the Most Reliable Car You've Ever Owned?

Back in January, we asked you B&B to tell us about the least reliable car you’d ever owned. The stories poured in, amounting to a shocking 240+ comments. It took us days to emotionally recover from the sad tales expressed in your replies.

But today will not be a day of tears. We want to know: what’s the most reliable car you’ve ever owned?

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Audi Abandons W12 Engine, New A8 Will Be Its Last Hurrah

Audi will continue offering a big W12 engine as an option on the 2019 A8, but it also confirmed the current generation will serve as the motor’s swan song. Afterward, none of its models will boast 12 cylinders, at least for the foreseeable future.

While the matter is less pertinent for North America, as the largest powerplant currently available for the sedan stateside is the 4.0-liter TFSI, it’s always sad to see downsizing. But it doesn’t make much sense for Audi to stick with the Bentley Bentayga-sourced 6.0-liter W12 when it isn’t a big money maker for the brand.

Prospects don’t look particularly good for Audi’s V10, either. As the brand presses deeper into electrification, engine size will take a backseat to kilowatt hours and hybridization. In fact, the R8 already has a twin-turbocharged V6 in the works. That motor could end up be a replacement, rather than an option.

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Audi Confirms Production of E-Tron GT and Quattro SUV, More EVs to Come

Established automakers have finally decided they have the stones to challenge Tesla. Over the last few months, premium manufacturers have issued a glut of product announcements on vehicles targeting the premium EV segment. Audi dabbled in electrification earlier than most before scaling back a bit. However, it’s now positioning three new battery-electric models for production — the E-Tron Gran Turismo, Quattro SUV, and Sportback crossover.

The “e-tron” branding (obnoxiously styled by the automaker in all lower case) has been affixed to countless concept hybrid and battery-electric vehicles. But with the R8 e-tron killed off (in 2016), the only production model currently wearing the badge is the A3 Sportback. Audi claims this will change when its first round of fully electric vehicles arrive later this year. Unfortunately, the E-Tron GT isn’t supposed to commence production until “early next decade.” At that point, Tesla’s Model S will be nearly a decade old.

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2017 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro Rental Review - From Hertz to the Track

If the 60 Minutes-driven fall of Audi in America was a perfect example of media activism gone wild, the brand’s Millennial resurrection was surely a perfect combination of cynical engineering and masterful marketing.

Yes, there was some genuine innovation present in the form of the aluminum-framed A8 — but it was the decidedly prosaic A4 that led the charge back to desirability. Essentially an early release of the G.O.A.T. with less room, more profit, and a variety of “Cool Shades” that looked stunning in the showroom but persisted only indifferently under the assault of the Southern sun, the A4 was a showroom success simply because it offered a credible alternative to the default-choice E36 BMW 325i. The fact that the BMW was a thoroughbred rocketship while the A4 was a slightly scaled-up Volkswagen Fox mattered not at all. By 1995, the Roundel had become more than a bit passe among the cool kids.

Fast forward 20-plus years and four generations. The A4 is neither cool nor hot nowadays. Rather, it’s the sensible-shoes sedan for people who are too proud to buy the Golf-derived A3 and too poor to buy the increasingly strident A6. It’s also a pretty good value. A front-wheel-drive, 190-horsepower “Ultra” model starts at just $36,500, while the 252-horse Quattro Premium is a tick north of forty grand. Hertz would love to sell you a used 2017 A4 2.0T Quattro Premium at a $15,000 discount. Should you bite on that? And what if you found out that the person who rented it before you bought it took it to a racetrack? Would that bother you?

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Rare Rides: The DKW Wagon From 1962 - Deceptive Geography (Part II)

Last time, in Part I of this DKW wagon’s saga, we covered a condensed history of the Audi marque. From its inception as Horch, through separation, renaming, and merger into the Auto Union fold, Audi wavered along unsteadily. The company even performed a vanishing act between 1940 and 1964.

In the middle of all this history is our Rare Ride, a tidy DKW wagon from 1962. But all is not as it seems.

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Rare Rides: The DKW Wagon From 1962 - History Time (Part I)

A little grey wagon popped up on my radar the other day, presenting the perfect opportunity to write about DKW, Audi, and Auto Union for the first time. Those familiar rings on the hood are paired with the DKW shield and an Auto Union badge, but eventually all would separate. A few short years after this wagon was produced, the Audi rings stood alone for the first time in many decades.

This is Part One of a two-part entry into the Auto Union world of DKW and Audi.

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Audi Launching Vehicle-integrated Toll Technology in North America

Depending on where you live, toll roads might be a significant part of your driving life. There are a few ways to handle these moderate annoyances. You can carefully plot your course to avoid them, adding time to the journey and eventually trapping yourself in a situation where you’re scrambling to find enough change under your seat to appease I-95. However, a better solution would probably be to have some cash on hand, or maybe pick up one of those ugly boxes used for electronic toll collection.

E-ZPass, QuickPass, SunPas FasTrak, TxTag, and every other electronic collection measure require that you adhere a card or unsightly hunk of plastic to your vehicle’s windshield. While they don’t take up a lot of space, their placement can sometimes impede visibility and the cheap white plastic is bit of an eyesore — especially in a well-appointed interior.

Audi says it’s through with them and plans to launch an automated toll payment technology, integrated in the car’s rear-view mirror, for North American models. It might be one of the most mundane problems currently facing motorists, but somebody had to solve it.

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It's No Wonder the Germans (and Brits) Want Electric Flagships

Stately. Elegant. Dignified. Endangered?

This isn’t the first time someone has applied that final descriptor to flagship passenger cars, and with good reason. As SUVs gobble into traditional passenger car market share, sales of even the most prestigious sedans have taken a hit — leaving premium automakers wondering “what’s next?”

Well, more SUVs, for one, but also more electrification. Luxury car buyers have shown themselves to be more receptive to plug-in hybrid or fully electric vehicles, but more importantly, one pesky American automaker — Tesla — is threatening to eat everyone’s lunch.

In Europe, competition between the Old World and Silicon Valley is heating up, and the newcomer is winning the sales race.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: A Luxury All-Wheel Drive Wagon Awaits

Our previous entry into Buy/Drive/Burn asked which brougham personal luxury coupe you’d choose from the Big Three for the 1980 model year. Today we’ve got a different Big Three — two Germans and a Swede. (Read ground rules here.)

All of them offered luxury wagons with all-wheel drive around the turn of the century, and we hone in on 2004 today. Which one will you drive up to the Alps and then set on fire?

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QOTD: What's the Most Unreliable Car You've Ever Owned?

Ah, a lack of reliability. No, we’re not talking about your friends or employees, but cars. Whether it’s a reliable Toyota or something German, if you’ve been driving for any extended period over a number of different vehicles, you’ve likely got a story about unreliability.

Today you get a chance to let it all out — tell us the tale of the most unreliable vehicle you’ve ever owned. We’ve got the tissues handy.

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QOTD: What Models Were on Your First Car Shopping List?

Recall the days all those years ago (probably over a century for some of you), as the time approached for you to start driving. Some of you may have been prescribed a vehicle by the gift of a generous or perhaps spiteful relative. Others received a set stipend from the Bank of Parentus, while the rest worked at a low-end job to scrape up funds for an automotive purchase.

Today, we want to know what your aspirations were at the time; which vehicles did you desire and shop for as your first car?

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Audi's Sick of Making Look-alike Cars; Design Chief Wants an 8 Series Rival

You’re driving down the freeway on a cloudy day when German sheetmetal catches your eye. New Audi, by the looks of it. Well, it could be new. Yeah, that’s a nice A6 up there. Or is it an A4? Hold on a second, it wasn’t as far away as you thought — that’s the new A3, which borrowed its its older siblings’ clothes.

Suffice it to say, and Ingolstadt isn’t alone in this, that design DNA runs very deep in the Audi family. To see an Audi is to recognize an Audi, but not necessarily to discern what particular Audi you’re seeing. Well, the company wants to change that.

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2018 Audi RS3 Review - Wizard of Aahs

It’s nice to be born into good stock. Having the correct last name or access to a hefty trust fund certainly gives one a leg up on their competition. We see this in business, Hollywood … and car lines, too.

Not everyone makes the best of the hand they’re dealt. Plenty of famous sons and daughters have frittered away their chance at greatness assuming they can coast on the accomplishments of their forebears instead of doing, y’know, actual work.

The newly christened Audi Sport branch of the Haus der Ingolstadt trades upon its 80-year trail of success on motorsport. The R8, the RS5, and the fabulously bonkers RS7 all live up to family expectations with fabulous driving dynamics and a healthy dose of performance. Can their new little brother, the compact and slight manic RS3 do the same? Or has it simply been given a corner office without earning it?

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Nearly There: Feds Green-light Emission Fix for More Audi Diesels

The Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board have approved emissions repairs for another 24,000 Audi vehicles equipped with the 3.0-liter diesel V6.

Back in May, a U.S. District Judge ruled that if Volkswagen Group failed to obtain government approval for fixes on its emissions-cheating diesels, it would be forced to offer owners buy-backs. Keen not to spend even more money as a result of dieselgate, the company went to work on a solution — resulting in an initial 38,000 Audi and Porsche vehicles spared from the wrecking yard.

The new approval covers 2014-2016 Audi A6 Quattro, A7 Quattro, A8, A8L and Q5 diesel models. The vehicles are to have their defeat device software removed and various hardware components replaced to ensure emissions compliance. VW says it has now has a remedy for about 75 percent of its tainted 3.0-liters, and hopes to have a solution for the remaining 20,000 soon.

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Piston Slap: The B7's Bemoaning Fuel Pump?

Paul writes:

Hi Sajeev, I have an opinion/advice question for your column:

I have an ’05 Audi S4 (B7 generation), and this is not a question about this model’s notorious timing chain that so frequently scandalizes car website comment sections.* I have a longstanding issue with fuel pump vibration. It is extremely noisy when it primes, making a rapid clicking or clunking noise that is audible both inside and outside the car. It only lasts for the priming process, and afterwards, the car starts and runs as normal. There is no hesitation in starting, misfiring, or power loss. It is only a noise.

I assumed it was the fuel pump, so I replaced it, but the problem did not go away. I took it to a German car specialist that I’ve used for many years, someone trusted but also somewhat expensive. He confirmed that the pump is not at fault, but suspects that the housing for the pump — which is built into the fuel tank — is broken. There is some kind of vibration dampener assembly that not doing its job and the noise is from the pump rattling the housing around during priming.

Repairing this, according to him, would involve replacement of the entire fuel tank.

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Moving Forward: Audi Dissolving Dieselgate Task Force

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler has announced his company will dismantle the task force assigned to investigate how many of its diesel cars came equipped with defeat devices. The company established the team after Volkswagen Group admitted to selling 11 million diesel models, through its various brands, with illegal engine management software that hid peak NOx emissions during testing.

Even though Volkswagen has found itself smack-dab in the center of another costly controversy, Stadler claims that Audi is on the cusp of wrapping up its own diesel crisis. “We will have documented and processed all the engine/transmission combinations by the end of the first quarter 2018,” the CEO told journalists at Audi’s headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany, this week.

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Hey, That's My Bike! Sale of Ducati Shelved by Audi CEO

Like an overspending spouse whose partner has commanded they sell their toys to pay off debts, Volkswagen put all its options on the table earlier this year in a bid to raise some cash.

After mulling a sale of Ducati during the darkest days of Dieselgate, VW now plans to hang on to the brand. Recently taking action to curb costs and cut red tape, chief executive Rupert Stadler said the company is “gradually increasing our financial and organizational leeway.” Sounds like VW has found a few more coins amid the couch cushions.

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QOTD: What Cars Would You Like to Set on Fire? (A New TTAC Series)

Today we have a dual-function Question of the Day. The primary function will be informative; detailing an upcoming new series here at TTAC and explaining how it all works. The secondary function is to solicit ideas from you, our dear readers, for said new series.

By now you’re undoubtedly intrigued, so keep on reading.

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Oil Crash: Audi, Volkswagen Discounting Old 3.0-liter TDI Models

Volkswagen’s 3.0-liter diesel V6 isn’t returning to the U.S. anytime soon. After forking over roughly $25 billion in the wake of its diesel deception, the company’s not exactly enthused about getting back into the compression ignition game. But that doesn’t mean buyers aren’t.

Europhiles with a penchant for low-end torque can still get their hands on a diesel Volkswagen or Audi SUV that meets federal emissions standards. And, thanks to new discounts, they’ll stand to save some money.

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Ferdinand Pich Peels Away From the Family Business

After an extended battle with his family, Ferdinand Piëch has finally acquiesced to resign from the board of Porsche Automobil Holding SE and sell off his remaining shares. At 80 years of age, leaving VW Group’s parent company was probably long overdue for Piëch, but you can’t help but wonder if the manner in which his retirement unfolded hasn’t left him bitter.

Still, with his 14.7 percent stake rumored to be worth over a billion euros, he’ll have the means to stage the most elaborate revenge any of us could possibly imagine — assuming that’s what he intends. One certainly could make the case that he’d have valid reasons for doing it.

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QOTD: What's Your Favorite German Car From the 1990s?

Ah the Nineties. Lots of cylinders, reliable new technology, and wide-track styling. But enough about Pontiac and the 3800 V6, because we’re talking today about German cars from the era.

Which German vehicles from the best decade really caught your eye?

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QOTD: Fly or Flop? New Wagons Brave Rough North American Shores

Two new models are entering the [s]not[/s] hot wagon market in North America. While one wagon entry is aimed squarely at the near-luxury market, the other aims higher and challenges established luxury wagons.

Our question today is this: Will either of the models work?

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Utterly Ridiculous New Audi Nomenclature Scheme Is Not Happening in the United States

See that new Audi A3 with between 109 and 129 horsepower? That’s an Audi A3 30. And see the badge on the back of that Audi A4 2.0T? Right, it doesn’t say 2.0T. It says Audi A4 45.

Huh?

Exactly. Huh. Many huhs. “Huh?” is being heard everywhere. In fact, even within Audi, “Huh?”, was an expression heard often enough that Audi of America won’t be adopting the new model designation format. That’s a relief.

Remember when you looked at the back of a German car and could instantly decipher its engine displacement?

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First Look: 2019 Audi A7 Sportback

One of the biggest problems with buying a new car is that it’ll start looking dated in a few year’s time. Audi doesn’t have this problem. By keeping a relatively consistent design language for over a decade, you really have to squint to pin down which models are new and which ones aren’t. That effect is lessened when you actually climb inside one, though.

Such is the story with the new A7 Sportback. First glances leave you mumbling to yourself, “That certainly is an Audi.” But it’s the finer details that point to it being something wholly unique and modern.

This leaves us in a gray area, wondering whether Audi’s styling decisions are incredibly lazy or absolute genius. The company doesn’t wow you with flamboyant newness or dramatic bodywork but the fact remains that it continues to deliver exceptionally handsome cars that are inoffensive enough to remain relevant several years on.

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This Is the New Audi A7… 's Silhouette

At 1 p.m. ET on Thursday, October 19, 2017, the second-generation Audi A7 will be unveiled. Based on the silhouette Audi has already revealed, and based on Audi’s historic design habits, the second-generation A7 will appear remarkably similar to the first-generation Audi A7.

At some point in November, Audi USA will sell its 50,000th A7, making the hatchbacked A6 a low-volume car even by the standards of America’s third-ranked German luxury brand. Yet as a style and status symbol, the A7 remains a model of great importance to the overall Audi lineup.

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Hey, If Audi Wants the New 2018 A8 to Look Like a Discontinued Dodge Dart, I'm Okay With That

My Dodge Dart awareness is not what it should be. I’m not fully up to speed on the Dodge Darts of yore. Despite my parents’ ownership of a Dart, the 1960-1976 period was not an era in which I was a sentient being.

As for the newer Alfa Romeo Giulietta-based Darts, I’m not fully on board with America’s rejection of the car. By the end of its second full year, nearly 200,000 Dodge Darts had been sold. Sales increased yet again in 2015. But without factory support, real demand was rather limited. Only 43,402 Darts were sold in the United States in 2016, the year Dart production came to a premature end.

Man, I loved that car. Oh, I don’t mean the way it drove, and certainly not the way it shifted. I’m not talking about interior packaging or its engine lineup or its interior quality. Whatever. Pfft. Who cares. I just genuinely liked the way it looked: the proudly Dodge front end, those completely wheel-filled arches, and especially that distinctive rear end.

I’m therefore pleased to see Audi resurrecting that look for the fourth-generation 2018 Audi A8, the brand’s flagship sedan.

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Ford Retiree J Mays Says German Cars Don't Look German, Reserves Particular Criticism For One Automaker

“I think the British do a pretty good job — they seem to produce cars that look British,” Ford Motor Company’s retired design chief J Mays says.

Given that Minis essentially look the same as they’ve always looked, Mays makes a good case.

But Mays tells Automotive News he’s “a big stickler for cultural relevance.” And while the man whose influence can still be seen across much of the Ford lineup — he retired three years ago — credits the Brits for bringing culture to car design, he gives no such credit to the Germans.

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Electric Cars Are Nice, but Audi Customers Still Demand V8s

Did you hear the news? Every automaker worth its salt will switch to electrified, fully autonomous vehicles yesterday.

Bored yet? Very likely so, but the people laying out money for cars still have a say in what vehicles automakers produce, and for high-end buyers, prestige doesn’t necessarily come wrapped in the latest technology from the pages of Wired. Big-money buyers want big power and, while that increasingly means the latest in twin-turbocharged, downsized wonderengines, it isn’t always so.

Audi can’t wait to challenge Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Jaguar in the premium electric car race, but there’s no way its customers would agree to the disappearance of a proper eight-cylinder gasoline engine, claims the brand’s technical development chief.

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What's the Volvo XC40 Getting Into? America's Subcompact Luxury Crossover Segment Is Tiny But Growing Fast

Of the 1.4 million new vehicles sold in the United States of America each month, premium auto brands account for slightly more than one out of every ten new vehicle acquisitions.

More than 55 percent of the vehicles now sold by premium auto brands in America are utility vehicles. Of the nearly 100,000 luxury SUVs/crossovers sold in America each month, 7 percent are subcompacts, vehicles positioned below the compact BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Audi Q5, and a variety others.

It’s a sliver of a slice of a chunk of a pie. But that sliver is growing far faster than the overall U.S. auto market, far faster than the U.S. luxury vehicle market, and far faster than the U.S. luxury SUV/crossover market.

Into that four-vehicle premium subcompact crossover segment now jumps the Volvo XC40, timed to roughly coincide with the arrival of the Jaguar E-Pace. It’s a segment that, to date, no automaker has yet found a way to dominate.

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These 16 Cars Are Bucking America's Anti-Car Trend in 2017

Through the first eight months of 2017, consumers across America have acquired 12 percent fewer new passenger cars than during the first eight months of 2016.

That’s a drop of 565,000 sales, a rate of decline that stands in stark contrast to the U.S. auto industry’s 4-percent year-over-year light truck improvement. Cars now account for just 37 percent of all auto sales, down from more than 50 percent as recently as 2012. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Some auto brands are selling more cars this year than last, and a wide variety of cars are accelerating their sales pace. Subaru, for example, has already sold 17,981 more Imprezas in 2017 than in the same period of 2016.

So we’ve compiled a list of every passenger car that’s making meaningful headway in America’s anti-car market — the cars that are selling more and more often even as many of their competitors suffer under the weight of a pro-F150, pro-RAV4, pro-Escalade ESV wave.

The list is not very long.

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Former Lamborghini Boss Stephan Winkelmann Leaving Audi Sport to Run Bugatti in 2018

According to a report in Autocar, the rise through Volkswagen Group ranks accomplished by Audi Sport CEO Stephan Winkelmann will continue in 2018.

Formerly a Fiat employee, the 52-year-old Winkelmann became famous in the auto industry during his decade-long run as president and CEO of Lamborghini. Winkelmann then took over at Audi’s Quattro performance division in March 2016 before changing its name to Audi Sport. But the Rome native’s tenure at Audi Sport will reportedly be cut short by Volkswagen Group’s need to fill the lead position at its flagship brand, Bugatti.

If Autocar’s sources are right, look for Winkelmann to take over at Bentley in 2019, as well. Makes you wonder: Winkelmann has climbed from Fiat to Lamborghini to Audi Sport to Bugatti and Bentley. What’s next?

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Report to the Bridge: Audi AG Sees an Upper Ranks Shakeup

Audi announced a rather high-level reorganization of management on Monday as it continues grappling with life after Volkswagen Group’s diesel-emissions scandal.

The automaker is still on the receiving end of numerous criminal investigations and vehicle recalls, as well as criticism from unions. But four of its board members aren’t coming along for the ride. Audi AG is replacing CFO Axel Strotbek, production chief Hubert Waltl, human resources head Thomas Sigi and sales chief Dietmar Voggenreiter, effective at the end of this month.

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Number Crunching: Audi's New Model Naming Process Inspires Confusion, Math

Remember the good old days, back when the numerical part of a car model’s alphanumeric name usually referred to its placement in the lineup or engine size? That went out with powdered wigs and polio. Get with the times. You can’t even count on Mercedes-Benz or BMW to follow through on that anymore.

Audi, however, seems to be blazing a confusing new trail, one that hopefully doesn’t become the norm within the industry. The automaker announced today it will tack an extra number onto existing alphanumeric names, describing not the displacement, not the wheelbase, but the specific vehicle’s power ranking within the model’s range — using a two-digit number (which means nothing on its own) as a signifier of the vehicle’s horsepower.

Prepare to feel nostalgic.

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2017 Audi Q3 Premium Rental Review - Bias Against 'Basic'

Confirmation bias can be a tricky thing to overcome in this business. You might not know this, but some people in this business think I have a bit of a preference for the Blue Oval. Some of my frenemies in the automotive journalism world have accused me of being pro-Honda. As for me, I’d like to think that I can objectively evaluate any car, but let’s be realistic here — we’re all humans. We have experiences and biases that rear their ugly heads even when we are doing our damnedest to shove them deep down inside ourselves.

But there’s a entire class of car I personally find reprehensible, for no other reason than I find the types of people who drive them to be, well, reprehensible. When I think “Luxury Compact CUV,” I think “ Basic Bitch.” These vehicles serve no actual purpose. In most cases, they have less space than their compact car siblings, worse gas mileage, and prices that soar at least $5-7k higher. The only reason to purchase or (more likely) lease such a Basicmobile is to fit in with the other SAHMs in your subdivision who have seamlessly transitioned from college frat mattress to PTA vice-president in only 10 years flat. When a female friend of mine texted me recently with, “What do you think about the Audi Q3?” my response was so vile that I can’t put it into print (and if you think about the things I’ve written, that’s saying something).

As a result, I was absolutely determined to hate the 2017 Audi Q3 Premium when I selected it from the Emerald Aisle at Miami International Airport. There was only one problem with drinking this particular flavor of haterade.

It’s a pretty damn good car.

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  • FifaCup Loving both Interior and exterior designs.
  • FifaCup This is not good for the auto industry
  • Jeff S This would be a good commuter vehicle especially for those working in a large metropolitan area. The only thing is that by the time you put airbags, backup cameras, and a few of the other required safety features this car would no longer be simple and the price would be not much cheaper than a subcompact. I like the idea but I doubt a car like this would get marketed in anyplace besides Europe and the 3rd World.
  • ScarecrowRepair That's what I came to say!
  • Inside Looking Out " the plastic reinforced with cotton waste used on select garbage vehicles assembled by the Soviet Union. "Wrong. The car you are talking about was the product German engineering, East German. It's name was Trabant.