Four men tasked with developing a very dirty diesel engine for use in Audi vehicles have been indicted by a U.S. grand jury. The four, including the head of Audi’s Diesel Engine Development department, face charges of wire fraud, violation of the Clean Air Act, and conspiracy, all stemming from the development of an engine that didn’t have a chance of being certified in the U.S.
And, because they’re believed to be living in Germany, they’d best leave the U.S. off their list of vacation destinations.
Audi is claiming women want butch, masculine, testosterone-saturated designs when it comes to their automobiles. Though it isn’t clear if they’re doing this because the automaker conducted extensive research on the matter or because they happen to be selling a muscular-looking crossover they’re really hoping will be popular with women.
Truth be told, while we wouldn’t have expected male and female tastes to perfectly overlap, we didn’t know that women were biased toward vehicular beefcake one way or the other.
Customers won’t get a chance to buy an Audi E-tron SUV until next year, but, if money’s tight, they might want to hold off for a while. The German brand’s first electric utility vehicle (seen above) arrives in the second quarter of 2019, carrying a base price of $74,800 — at least once the launch editions clear out. More E-trons will follow, including a Sportback version of the SUV and a top-flight GT sports sedan.
Green, but still requiring plenty of green to plunk one in your driveway. Audi apparently has a solution for budget-minded premium EV shoppers, and it plans to make it happen with help from Volkswagen.
After some healthy automotive foreplay, Audi finally took the wraps off its new e-tron GT Concept at the LA Auto Show. Offering the best elements of the brand’s design language, the vehicle previews a production model that’s scheduled to appear late in 2020, as well as Porsche’s upcoming Taycan EV — which will share the Audi’s drivetrain and platform.
Relatively handsome, if you like Audi sedans and oversized grilles on electric cars, the GT avoids getting overly ambitious with the futuristic styling we see on a lot of mainstream EVs. We’d call this “extremely modern” rather than some truly visionary design you’d expect from a concept car. It’s safe but not so safe that anyone should be left fretting.
However, it’s not quite the Tesla destroyer the media is eternally hunting for. Despite boasting some impressive specifications, the e-tron is roughly on par with the Model S when viewed broadly. But it should still make for healthy competition while encouraging the American brand to step up its game.
Audi has confirmed its design team has finished applying the finishing touches on the company’s first-ever Q4. Its job will be to tackle the increasingly popular subcompact luxury crossover segment populated by the likes of the Range Rover Evoque and Mercedes-Benz GLA. As such, the German brand will provide its customers with a vehicle that’ll assuredly be marketed as an adventure-ready SUV while still being a luxury-focused tech buffet that handles like a sports car and looks phenomenal.
It’s an interesting situation. Despite the industry’s fierce determination to make premium sedans and SUVs ever more “coupe-like,” nobody seems to be selling legitimate coupes anymore. You don’t see that much with other products. Sporks exist because companies didn’t want to pay to stock twice as many eating utensils, not because people were clamoring for a fork-like spoon.
That might not be a fair comparison, though. While everyone hates the spork, only a small subset of jaded automotive journalists and driving purists feel like crossover vehicles are an unfair compromise. The rest of the population seems to adore them, at least according to the sales statistics, and Audi is trying to tap into everything that’s hot right now with the Q4.
According to sources who spoke to Reuters, Volkswagen Group has more interest in pursuing technological relationships with new partners, especially Ford, than continuing on with Audi as its main development hub. At least for a while.
VW CEO Herbert Diess will reportedly unveil a 10-year plan to his company’s board later this month, part of an efficiency initiative born of diesel fines and the need to stay ahead of rivals. While the move would lessen Audi’s importance in the group, VW would stand to save big on R&D costs. Meanwhile, Ford might get access to VW’s electric vehicle architecture.
As supercars go, Audi’s R8 is one of the more endearing examples. Unlike the stereotypical Lamborghini Huracán driver, you don’t normally see someone exiting an R8 wrapped in a gaudy, overpriced t-shirt from Ed Hardy, their hair slicked up into a pompadour that clears the car’s roof by less than a millimeter. No, the Audi driver looks like someone who probably has to work for a living to afford such baubles and isn’t all that interested in flaunting it. They’re someone who probably dreamed of owning a Porsche 911 as a child, made a lot of smart financial decisions as an adult, and ultimately found themselves with more money than they needed.
Whether or not this portrayal is accurate is largely irrelevant. The assumption is that someone who bought an R8 is focused on the fundamentals — fitting, considering that’s very much what the automobile is about. Refreshed for 2019, Audi is keeping the R8 true to form. Visual enhancements are subtle and minor mechanical improvements have been made everywhere else to help build a better car.
Audi is prepared to debut important updates for the second-generation R8 within the next few months, assuming a teaser image floating around the internet is anything to go by. While you’ll still have to do a side-by-side comparison from most angles, most of the changes seem beneficial. Gone are the vertical slats on the air inlets, replaced by a mesh akin to what you’ll find on the R8’s new grille — which is slightly wider and tappers inward at the bottom.
Above it, a row of vents lead into what would normally be an engine bay. That’s a clear nod to the Sport Quattro of the mid-1980s and a tasteful reference the brand’s motorsport heritage (they also appear on the new A1 Sportback). Still, we doubt the mid-engined R8 would make a stellar rally car without some serious suspension mods, and it’s not clear what purpose those openings serve.
Audi’s first electric sport utility vehicle, the much-touted E-Tron, will arrive at dealerships a month later than anticipated. According to the automaker, a software development issue has stymied the rollout.
While nothing has reportedly busted, Audi claims it needs to obtain the necessary regulatory clearances for some ones and zeros that were modified during the development process. Normally, we would assume the applicable agencies would have been informed of this in advance, but we don’t know what Audi changed. All the manufacturer admits to is that alterations were made to benefit the customer.
The scandal has raged for over three years, and Audi clearly wants to be done with it. The company said in a regulatory filing Tuesday that, like Volkswagen, it will not fight a fine handed down by German prosecutors over the selling of rigged diesel engines in that country.
Earlier this month, Audi said auf wiedersehen to jailed CEO Rupert Stadler, who’s accused of fraud in relation to the diesel emissions affair. Now, the automaker will hand over a towering pile of euros to finally close this messy chapter in its history.
Big scandals have a way of sticking around for a while. Not just days or weeks, but years.
That’s the case with Audi, which is now facing a new investigation in Germany for falsifying documents, mileage readings, and vehicle identification numbers (VINs) in South Korea, going back to 2013.
It’s an idea that seems stupid and brilliant all at once, and a Dutch firm wants it to find a home in Europe’s passenger cars.
Europeans, often portrayed in films as sexy people with a penchant for rich foods and impeccably fashionable clothing, aren’t immune from the sedentary lifestyles and obesity afflicting their Western compatriots. Commutes eat up a lot of time, and not everyone bikes or takes a train to work — even in insufferably progressive Amsterdam.
Following a request from an inventor looking to free up more exercise time during the day, Dutch engineering firm BPO set about converting an Audi A4 wagon to run on pedal power. The car’s turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder still does the work, but it won’t work if the driver doesn’t break a sweat.
Rupert Stadler, now former CEO of Audi, saw his contract with Volkswagen Group terminated on Tuesday, thus allowing the automaker to distance itself from a PR-squashing reminder of its disastrous diesel emissions fiasco.
Serving as Audi AG’s CEO since 2010, Stadler’s June arrest on suspicion of interference in an ongoing German fraud investigation pushed an interim CEO into the top chair. It was the highest profile arrest thus far in the diesel emissions scandal. As investigators continue probing his potential involvement in the diesel fraud, the jailed Stadler also gives up his seat on VW’s management board, effective immediately.
Volkswagen Group’s supervisory board has postponed a decision on the future of Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, who has been in jail since June due to his presumed connection with the automaker’s diesel malfeasance. Despite having scheduled a Monday meeting to assess Stadler’s role within the company and how best to end it, the board found itself unable to come to a conclusion by Friday.
That does not mean the imprisoned CEO will be getting a pardon from the company, however. Stadler’s representatives and VW simply failed to negotiate a solution that would see Stadler step down from his role as Audi CEO and as a VW Group management board member, sources close to the situation told Automotive News Europe.
Marketing materials aside, visitors to Audi dealers in the near future won’t see much of the new E-Tron crossover. They’ll have to ask about it first, and, if they’re in luck, there’ll be a demonstrator on hand.
Audi’s proceeding cautiously with its mass-market EV. For now, it’s only taking refundable reservations from customers, hoping that keeping the E-Tron out of the normal vehicle flow will help it turn a profit — a problem facing most EVs.
Audi’s fourth-generation A8 sedan is the pinnacle of the brand’s opulence, so long as you’re willing to ignore every model that begins with the letter R and the forthcoming Q8. Starting at $83,800 before destination, the A8 isn’t cheap. But it does represent a relative bargain compared to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, a model which has long been the poster child for automotive grandeur.
While the A8 is sumptuous affair, the S-Class pulls away the second Daimler tacks on the Maybach prefix and its corresponding price tag. Finding its competitive spirit, Audi is resurrecting the historic Horch name to rival Mercedes’ super-luxury flagship. Available within the next two to three years, the Horch A8 will feature additional creature comforts, palatial touches, and a much higher price tag than the car it’s based upon.
Today’s Buy/Drive/Burn trio represent the high-dollar sports car that doesn’t quite make it into supercar territory. They’re very expensive, yet among other extra-fast vehicles in the six-figure segment, they’re considered relatively good value.
This makes them all oddballs; none ever burn up the sales charts. But that doesn’t mean they can’t catch fire.
Unverified industry rumors claim Audi has no intention of bringing back the R8 for a third generation. The problem is deeply rooted in stagnating sales and further exacerbated by tightening emissions standards and Volkswagen Group’s new role as an environmentally conscious manufacturer. However, new reports indicate the brand’s flagship supercar will see new life as a cutting-edge electronic menace. A real Max Headroom, if you’ll forgive the incredibly dated reference.
The R8 has already done some time as an EV. Back in 2015, the German brand launched an e-tron variant that swapped the model’s stellar V10 for an all-electric drivetrain. But the project was short lived. After years of teasing and endless production headaches, the million-dollar R8 e-tron quickly died. Audi pulled the plug after less than two years of production, leaving fewer than 100 examples to tend to its legacy.
While that might cast a rather long shadow on the new model, Audi is keeping electrification in mind from Day One this time around.
Concept vehicles have been a bit of a snoozefest for enthusiasts lately. Despite the fact that automakers are still plenty capable of bringing out gorgeous designs, the autonomous angle has become so pervasive that it’s overridden the idea of having fun.
Then, during this week’s Monterey Car Week festivities, Audi dropped the PB 18 e-tron concept at Laguna Seca and fun slapped us across the face. This is the kind of car you have on your bedroom wall as a child and work your entire life to put into a garage as an adult.
With three electric motors (one driving the front axle and two out back) providing a combined output of 671 horsepower and 612 lb-ft of torque, the PB 18 should already be a menace. However, it can also temporarily bump itself up to 764 hp using stored energy via a kinetic energy recovery system. As a result, Audi claims the car is capable of a 0-to-62 mph rush in just over 2 seconds.
Combine that with an ultra-modern design that’s within the boundaries of what’s currently possible and several scoops of driver-focused tech, and you have one of best concept vehicles we’ve seen in years. The PB 18 expertly rides the line between fanciful and plausible.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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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- Dave M. The only MB I'd consider is one made in Germany. And at that it would be a base model.
- 285exp If the conversion to EVs was really so vital to solve an existential climate change crisis, it wouldn’t matter whether they were built by US union workers or where the batteries and battery materials came from.
- El scotto Another EBPosky, "EVs are Stoopid, prove to me water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius" article.It was never explained if the rural schools own the buses or if the school bus routes are contracted out. If the bus routes are contracted out, will Carpenter or Bluebird offer an electric school bus? Flexmatt never stated the range of brand-unspecified school bus. Will the min-mart be open at the end of the 179-mile drive? No cell coverage? Why doesn't the bus driver have an emergency sat phone?Two more problems Mr. Musk could solve.
- RICK Long time Cadillac admirer with 89 Fleetwood Brougham deElegance and 93 Brougham, always liked Eldorado until downsized after 76. Those were the days. Sad to see what now wears Cadillac name.
- Carsofchaos Bike lanes are in use what maybe 10 to 12 hours a day? The other periods of the day they aren't in use whatsoever. A bike can carry one person and a vehicle can carry multiple people. It's very simple math to figure out that a bike lane in no way shape or form will handle more people than cars will.The bigger issue is double parked delivery vehicles. They are often double parked and taking up lanes because there are cars parked on the curb. You combine that with a bike lane and pedestrians Crossing wherever they feel like it and it's a recipe for disaster. I think if we could just go back to two lanes of traffic things would flow much better. I started coming to the city in 2003 before a lot of these bike lanes were implemented and the traffic is definitely much worse now than it was back then. Sadly at this point I don't really think there is a solution but I can guarantee that congestion pricing will not fix this problem.