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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
2017 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro Review, Part Deux - Second and Third Weeks Confirm What Week One Made Clear
One year ago, Audi Canada delivered a 2017 Audi A4 2.0T to my driveway. In the official TTAC review, it was my mission to declare everything that was wrong with the fifth-generation A4.
“But there’s a problem with that strategy,” I wrote in September 2016, “because there isn’t much wrong with the 2017 Audi A4, a car that I believe has shot to the top of its segment.” One week with the Audi A4 revealed only a few faults, all of which were minor.
Fast forward to August 2017, however, and I’ve relocated to another province. Audi Canada saw fit to deliver another 2017 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro to my driveway, almost identically specced out. This time, a scheduling quirk means the A4 hangs around Margate, Prince Edward Island, for two weeks.
If a one-week stay in an urban environment couldn’t expose the B9 Audi A4 as an overpriced, underbuilt, upmarket Volkswagen, could a two-week visit to the rough-and-tumble red dirt roads of rural Prince Edward Island do the trick?
The Audi 100 was the car that made most Americans aware of the Audi brand for the first time. The 100 wasn’t particularly reliable in American hands, to put it mildly, and most examples were long gone by the time the 1980s came to a close.
Here’s a long-neglected ’76 that just showed up in a Colorado Springs self-service wrecking yard.
American investigators, hot on the trail of Volkswagen Group executives and managers with dirty hands, haven’t had the easiest time bringing suspected emissions scandal conspirators to trial. Germany doesn’t extradite citizens facing charges in other countries, making justice a tricky pursuit for U.S. authorities.
So far, only two players in the diesel deception find themselves in the arms of U.S. law enforcement— James Liang, a former executive who worked in California (and has pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges), and Oliver Schmidt, a former U.S. environmental liaison who previously worked out of VW’s Michigan emissions office. Federal agents nabbed him during a Miami layover as the German national returned home from a tropical vacation in January. Six others remain safely in Germany after a U.S. indictment.
Well, expect another trial now. Earlier this week, Munich police arrested an Italian national, Zaccheo Giovanni Pamio, the former head of thermodynamics at Audi’s engine development division. It’s the first diesel-related arrest in Germany and Pamio’s citizenship means he’s a candidate for extradition to the United States.
Now charged in connection to the scandal, American authorities hope Pamio squeals on his bosses at Audi. As for his involvement, the federal government alleges Pamio and others decided a premium sound system was a better use of vehicle space than a proper emission control system.
Whether A3 and Q5 and Allroad drivers in 2017 know it or not, much of Audi’s modern reputation is built upon a foundation cemented by the Audi Quattro rally car in the 1980s.
In the capable hands of drivers such as Hannu Mikkola, Stig Blomqvist, and Walter Röhrl, Audi brought dominant traction to the World Rally Championship and eventually found traction in the marketplace as well.
Fast forward to 2017 and Audi consistently reports meaningful growth in the North American market. Audi sales in the United States have grown in seven consecutive years, more than doubling since 2010. And while U.S. auto sales are dipping in the first half of 2017 — including declines at the only three premium brands that outsell Audi — the Audi brand is up 7 percent, year-over-year.
Audi’s methodology has been well and truly copied by many of its rivals. Quattro isn’t the only all-wheel-drive brand in town. Badges for 4Matic and xDrive are common on the trunklids of many a Mercedes-Benz and Audi.
How then can Audi stand out from the pack? With its high-performance models, the RS variants, Audi may well drop Quattro all-wheel drive on some models in a bid for rear-wheel-drive performance supremacy.
As an automobile journalist, I’m supposed to qualify certain statements.
This car is gorgeous, I might say, but only with an asterisk that denotes beauty being in the eye of the beholder. This car is gorgeous, I might say, but not as gorgeous as its predecessors, and then I’d draw your attention to the fine print where I describe my lack of a fine arts degree.
The 2017 Audi TTS is gorgeous. Even more stunning than the exterior is the interior.
Yet just because the third-generation TT continues to major in the arts doesn’t mean Audi completely forgot to educate the TT in the modern STEM curriculum.
The Audi TT has always been focused more on style than substance. But the 2017 TTS is more than just a pretty face.
Audi’s European introduction of the beastly SQ7 SUV caused no shortage of speculation last year. Even as Volkswagen Group’s emissions scandal raged, many hoped the raw power of the SQ7’s cutting-edge diesel engine would be enough to compel Audi to bring the model stateside.
Waiting followed. Then, even more waiting. Audi told excited journos it hadn’t greenlit the model for a U.S. launch, despite its very marketable 435 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque — power made possible by 4.0 liters of displacement, two turbochargers and a lightning-quick electric supercharger.
Late last year, Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess put the chill on expectations, telling everyone it wasn’t likely they’d ever see a new diesel Volkswagen product in the United States. This, despite current advancements in diesel technology. It now seems any hesitation the automaker might have felt about that proclamation has evaporated.
Diesels? Dream on.
I was incredulous. My eyes must have been deceiving me. The number at the top of the page surely did not belong with the number at the bottom of the page. I rubbed my eyes, took another swig of the awful office coffee, and looked again at the window sticker that arrived in my inbox.
The price was indeed right. Audi would be delivering a $58,725 Q7 to my door the next day.
However, the 2.0T nomenclature at the top of the page was a shock. A three-row luxury SUV from a premier German manufacturer with a four-cylinder engine under the hood? Inconceivable. Can the two-liter turbo really move this big SUV with Teutonic aplomb?
As Audi pushes new and refreshed product out the door in a mad rush, hoping to create the youngest lineup of any German automaker, it can’t ignore the requests of brand loyalists. In the United States, those buyers want one thing more anything else: a bigger SUV.
The three-row Q7 is nice, but in the land of Expeditions and Suburbans, it simply doesn’t measure up. Space-obsessed German vehicle aficionados can climb into a Mercedes-Benz GLS and enjoy more room. Naturally, Audi isn’t about to let an opportunity slip away.
It also wants to do something about those pesky buyers who want more cargo room, but won’t drive an SUV.
There’s a bit of an automotive renaissance occurring just below the radar. While pure electrics and plug-in hybrids garner endless headlines, several luxury brands are sneaking more mild hybrid arrangements under their vehicles’ hoods via a 48-volt electrical system.
Audi is a firm believer in the technology and is making moves to implement the system in numerous vehicles in its lineup, starting with the fourth-generation A8 arriving later this year. Combining regenerative braking with a small lithium battery and belt-driven alternator, the system harnesses wasted energy and is a more affordable way to tap into the benefits of hybridization. So affordable, automakers are using the KERS-like system on models as standard equipment, not a optional extra.
In this regard, Audi’s A8 is no different. The next generations of the A6 and A7 will also use the technology.
Audi’s increasingly mature A4 stands to see less front-wheel motivation in the coming model year.
As the compact sedan’s clout and content grows, Audi plans to take one drivetrain configuration off the table come 2018. The move will mean that Quattro all-wheel drive will soon cover a larger slice of the lineup, but it could also mean crossing the 200-horsepower threshold in an A4 is about to become more expensive.
If the future is electric, it’s also crossover heavy. Volkswagen and Audi plan to dominate two tiers of that fledgling segment by the turn of the next decade with the production version of two crossover EVs revealed today.
The selection of the Auto Shanghai 2017 show for the unveiling wasn’t a fluke of timing. Both automakers plan to field a slew of electric models in China, while saving certain high-profile products for North American and European markets.
Bet on these two models eventually making the cut.
NYIAS 2017: Audi's Rootin' Tootin' Little RS3 Sedan is Coming to America (and It's Expensive as Hell)
German performance sedans aren’t exactly a steal of a deal, but Audi’s RS3 is coming to America with a price well-above its chief rival from the Fatherland. The RS3 sedan, available for the first time in the North America, will start at $55,875 when it begins appearing in showrooms later this year.
That’s $5,000 more than a Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG — which starts at $50,875. It’s also a couple grand more than BMW’s M2, even though the Bavarian coupe is a less direct comparison.
Audi isn’t trying to pull a fast one on us; just the opposite, in fact. Audi designed the new RS3 with the United States in mind and is giving Americans what we covet most — horsepower.
Math was never this writer’s strong suit, but it’s easy to work out what the looming Audi TT RS means for its occupants: 100 horsepower per passenger. (Does anyone ever venture to that abbreviated backseat?)
That’s right, Audi’s smallest offering will gain an impressive amount of brawn when the new-for-2018 RS variant bows at the New York International Auto Show. It also grows an extra cylinder.
Some cars genuinely suck. There is essentially no price at which, for instance, wooden ride quality and inept handling and nonexistent acceleration and uncomfortable seats and disappointing fuel economy are worth the asking price. There are simply far too many decent alternatives for a vehicle such as, oh, I don’t know, the Mitsubishi Mirage.
Some cars, however, only suck in the context of their respective MSRPs. Take the Ford Flex we reviewed recently as an example. Though showing signs of age, it’s still a fine family hauler. But at the $50,000 as-tested price, the Flex is uncompetitive.
Then there’s this 2017 Audi Q3. Perhaps it’s an acceptable machine at its $33,875 entry price. But optioned up to $44,150, the aged Q3 may be guilty of simply resting upon the laurels of its four-ring badge.
Does the 2017 Audi Q3 suck, or does it only suck when it strays out of Single-A ball into the Major Leagues?
As Volkswagen Group’s emission scandal settles down in the United States, things in Europe remain unresolved. German police raided the headquarters of Volkswagen and Audi as part of the never-ending investigations into the company’s diesel cheating.
The German blitz was carefully orchestrated as investigators simultaneously hit Audi’s headquarters in Ingolstadt, the corporate offices at its Neckarsulm plant, and VW’s headquarters in Wolfsburg. Separate spokesmen from VW and Audi confirmed the raids, both adding they’re cooperating with authorities.
The automaker that can’t seem to catch a break in overall quality rankings — or more comprehensive ones — doesn’t get a reprieve in Consumer Reports‘ latest brand ranking.
In its 2017 list of the best and worst brands, which combines scores for predicted reliability, road testing, safety and owner satisfaction, a familiar German brand returned to the same podium it occupied last year. Unfortunately for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the bulk of its brands languished — once again — on the lowest steps of the pyramid.
There’s no end to the layers of intrigue swirling around the upper echelons of Audi.
Last week saw four engineers who worked on the company’s emissions-rigged diesel engines fired, with one of them, former engine development chief Ulrich Weiss, claiming in court that CEO Rupert Stadler was privy to the deception.
Audi fired back with a lawsuit threat against one or more individuals for “baseless accusations” and the revealing of internal documents. Now, the German publication Bild has released information on a potentially damning document that was reportedly locked away in Weiss’s safe since 2015 for exactly this purpose.
Weiss pulled out the document in a German labor court Tuesday to prove he’s the “pawn” his lawyer claims.
Audi appears to be going on the defensive and closing ranks around its CEO following a tumultuous week filled with accusations and revelations.
Late last week, the automaker fired four top engineers who worked on the brand’s diesel technology, including head of engine development Ulrich Weiss. Germany’s Handelsblatt reports that Weiss, who has been on paid leave since the diesel emissions scandal erupted, presented documents in court that appeared to show CEO Rupert Stadler had knowledge of the defeat devices as early as 2012.
Audi is now seeking charges against one or more individuals for “baseless accusations,” as well as revealing internal documents. Unfortunately for the automaker, another German media outlet has gotten its hands on an infamous PowerPoint presentation.
Along with the rest of Volkswagen AG, Audi has made plans to invest heavily into electric vehicles. The company expects EVs to comprise 25 percent of its U.S. sales by 2025 and is devoting the e-tron moniker to an entire division of electrified models, with the first arriving next year.
Addressing the J.D. Power Summit at this year’s National Automobile Dealers Association Convention and Expo, Audi of America President Scott Keogh told salesmen to welcome the electric mobility market with open arms or learn to cope with an ambivalent future. However, jumping head-first into a relatively small market with a huge potential for growth isn’t without pitfalls, and it isn’t unwise for dealers to remain cautious. Still, with Audi planning to introduce three new BEVs within the United States by 2020 and Volkswagen Group hoping to have 30 battery-electric models out by the 2025, you can see why Keogh is pressing the issue.
“Four-door coupe.” The exasperating designation won’t go away, despite the best efforts from automakers to endow all sedans and five-doors with coupe-like rooflines. Did we forget to mention crossovers and SUVs? Yes, those can be four-door coupes, too.
In traditional use, a four-door coupe designates a sedan with a different roofline and an extra dose of luxury, though the dose is often mental, not physical. Not one to let an opportunity to pick up a few extra sales pass by, Audi is gearing up to bring the four-door coupe lifestyle to customers at the bottom of its product ladder.
Think of it as climbing an extra rung, but without paying for it.
As if to further the global agenda to kill off all sedans in favor of yet more SUVs, two of Audi’s three reveals at this year’s NAIAS were crossovers (the third was the new S5 Cabrio).
By 2015, the mid-size Q5 represented a quarter of Audi’s annual sales. It only stands to reason the Ingolstadt company has high hopes in its pursuit of another record year ahead. While not a volume leader, the pricier, high performance SQ5 nevertheless helps line the coffers at Audi.
Though it may seem hard to believe, we’re only a month away from celebrating the 50th anniversary of the start of the Wedge Era in automotive designs.
To those of us who still think of the Countach as a sharp enough design to be considered cutting edge, this is a sad reality. Yet the prototype of what would become the 1980s poster child was first shown in a hard-to-conceptualize 1971.
The influence of the angle extended far beyond the Countach in the 1980s. It also started before the scissored doors opened on the stand in Geneva in 1971 and was seen in many more marques than just those wearing the Raging Bull. Even more impressive than its age is the reach of these designs, some of which are still being refined today. So, let’s take a look at some of the interesting and influential doorstop shapes and where they later found a home.
While the general populace will likely remain confused, automotive enthusiasts will now be able to differentiate between Audi’s all-wheel-drive system and its performance sports car subsidiary.
The company has officially taken its Quattro GmbH division and renamed it Audi Sport GmbH. Quattro (which means four) will now only refer to the all-wheel drive system and Sport (which means sport) will denote the high-performance RS cars, Audi-exclusive customization, and customer motorsport.
It’s a one-way flight, obviously.
Audi has announced that its Lunar Quattro has a ticket to ride on a moon-bound spaceflight booked for late next year. Refined, finessed, and now 18 pounds lighter, the automaker’s plucky moon rover is bound for a rendezvous with another extraplanetary car.
That one, however, is a 1970s model.
Audi was in the market for a new technical development chief after losing the last two to Volkswagen’s emissions-cheating scandal. This time around it wisely decided to shop outside of the company store, poaching top Volvo R&D chief Peter Mertens.
The automaker has high hopes for its growing crop of Swedish-sourced talent.
As U.S. and European authorities gear-up for another round of investigations, Volkswagen confirmed Audi did produce cars equipped with software that can distort emission test results. Although VW was careful not to be too committal in its wording, hinting at it being a handy driver’s assist instead of a defeat device.
This must be a great time to be a corporate lawyer.
Affordable wagons? There are a few left: the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen, the Toyota Prius V, the Mini Clubman (if the definition is stretched). Premium wagons persist at Volvo. The BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon continues. ( For now.) Mercedes-Benz does an E-Class Wagon.
But if wagons that were available in the relatively recent past — TSX, A6, CTS, 5 Series, Magnum, Focus, Taurus, Elantra, C-Class, Lancer, 9-3, Legacy, Passat — were to return to the United States, they would likely have to do so in elevated fashion.
Just look here. This is an Audi A4 Avant, a successor to the car that finished its course in 2012. Add up to 4.5 inches of matte black cladding, raise the ride height by nine-tenths of an inch for 6.5 inches of ground clearance, and you have a 2017 Audi A4 Allroad. The Avant that’s available.
Thanks to U.S. regulators and a new consumer advocacy lawsuit, Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal now includes gasoline-powered Audis!
That, Continental still believes in rubber, the NHTSA plans on staying the course after their captain leaves the ship, and Toyota takes a knee on Superbowl LI… after the break!
A U.S. regulator has come across another emissions-cheating device on a Volkswagen Group product. This isn’t more of the same — rather, it’s an entirely different apparatus used on vehicles until well after the company’s diesel emissions scandal became public knowledge.
This isn’t a great time for Volkswagen to be caught with its pants down for not disclosing something they were already in big trouble for. With the company trying to wrap things up with the Department of Justice, the new report from German outlet Bild am Sonntag could sour things.
Compared with Audi’s new, fifth-generation 2017 Audi A4 sedan, the 2017 Audi A4 Allroad is nine-tenths of an inch higher. Ground clearance grows from 5.2 inches to 6.5.
It’s not exactly Rubicon ready.
But wait. Audi added four inches of black cladding above the front wheel arches; four-and-a-half above the rear wheels. Jeep Jamboree, here we come.
My wife and I visited the Bay Area a couple of weeks ago. Our plan was open-ended and started with a one-way ticket to Oakland and two nights at the Westin in Union Square. Since parking in San Francisco is expensive, we decided to forgo renting a car at the airport and took an Uber into the city.
After exploring the city for a bit, we decided to head up north and visit some wineries. One of the more convenient options to rent a car for the day is the new Audi On Demand service, so we picked up an A4 and headed north.
Bob Lutz has worked as an executive for General Motors, Chrysler, Ford, and BMW at various points in his storied life. Saying he’s a man who is well-versed in the automotive industry would be a colossal understatement. And that expertise has led him to the assertion that a certain manufacturer is a cult led by a false god.
That, Audi has abandoned its wildly successful career in endurance racing for something far less popular, Ford takes a financial body blow, and Volkswagen Group continues to suffer with Porsche as its sugar daddy… after the break!
Before the Audi 5000 (the 100 or 200 outside of the US market) became notorious for playing the lead role in the first unintended acceleration fiasco (technically, the Ford “park-to-reverse” fiasco involved unintended shifting, not acceleration), it was known as an expensive, luxurious German car purchased by a handful of car-savvy California orthodontists. Sales of the first-generation 5000 began in the 1978 model year, so this high-mileage ’79 is a rare one. I spotted this lil’ beige devil in a Denver-area self-service yard last week.
A German newspaper claims that Audi will buy back 25,000 U.S. vehicles sold with a 3.0-liter diesel V6 engine.
According to a story published in Der Spiegel, the automaker has determined the vehicles cannot be fixed, Reuters reports. A total of 85,000 Audi, Porsche and Volkswagen vehicles contain the same emissions-cheating defeat device found in the automaker’s 2.0-liter TDI engines, which are already in the process of being bought back.
Until now, the formula for most “sporting” crossovers was simple: make north of 300 horsepower and ensure the suspension can get a two-ton vehicle around a corner without drama.
That status quo may be changing, as Autocar reports that Audi is putting the finishing touches on a SQ5 focused specifically on creating a little drama in those corners.
Is Audi starting new trend or merely fixing the old one?
The halo effect isn’t working for Acura with its NSX.
That, governments in Canada and those of states in the U.S. are still looking to make Volkswagen suffer for crimes against nature, Ford decides to stop producing the F-150 for a bit, Subaru reconsiders its headquarters in New Jersey, and VW could be forced to buy back all its vehicles sold with defeat devices … after the break!
Who built the first 250-horsepower Quattro? The first turbocharged German wagon? The first long-wheelbase Audi with all-wheel drive? The first all-wheel-drive convertible? The first off-road-inspired Audi? The first aluminum space-frame car? The first mid-engine car with Volkswagen’s Audi Group underpinnings?
They all came from the mind of one incredible engineer named Walter Treser.
It’s not that Treser was without connection to the company, though, as he was intimately involved with developing the legendary Quattro and other models, then later headed up Audi’s rally program. Sure, Ferdinand Piëch gets all the credit for being the visionary that made all-wheel drive possible, but Treser is the engineer that actually turned that vision into reality.
But he didn’t rest on his laurels for long.
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- John It is ashame that a company that evaluates toaster ovens, like consumer reports, is allowed to cast such negative press upon what is perhaps the world's best selling pickup truck, such being a classic engineering marvel like the ford f150 series. I have personally bought, lived with, and have driven these vehicles for almost half a century, and I can tell you that to me they are incredible wonderfully crafted machines that have been not only helpful in every respect a truck can be, but beautiful to drive particularly with the modern technology packages now incorporated in their systems packages. I say leave the evaluations and judgement calls to those who's knowledge of automotive engineering and design are expert to the matter in question.
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- SCE to AUX This is a policy problem, not a technology problem. Asking electric buses to do this service is just as absurd as asking a fleet of jitney drivers to do it.But they're thinking too small - the Tesla Semi could do the job.
- TheEndlessEnigma Ah Mini, the news no-one was waiting for.
- TheEndlessEnigma Gruesome Newsom has spoken, you are now required to bow and do his bidding.