When I’m wandering junkyards and looking for interesting stuff, I don’t pay much attention to Audis of our current century. No, I want to photograph old Audis, preferably ones from the 1970s. I make exceptions for discarded members of the Audi S family, however, because these cars do such a great job of demonstrating the ruthlessly quick depreciation of German luxury machinery that didn’t get the maintenance it deserved. Here’s an ’07 S6 that didn’t even see 15 years of use, found in a Denver-area yard last week.
While Europe often appears as a safe haven for punchy subcompacts, the reality is that the continent’s biggest sellers happen to be reasonably sized automobiles equipped with a tepid engine option. The Volkswagen Golf, Toyota Corolla, and Škoda Octavia (especially if you happen to travel through any former satellite states of the Soviet Union) are absolutely everywhere. Europe also has a strong taste for many of the compact crossovers that are popular here in North America, giving subcompacts an increasingly small share of the overall market. And it’s projected to get smaller (globally) under the existing European regulations.
Pint-sized economy vehicles aren’t exactly profit leaders for automakers and their margins are only going to become slimmer. The EU is now reaching a point where building them won’t make sense, as tailpipe regulations will eventually force some amount of electrification. This will jack up their price to a point where the kind of people that might have been considering them will probably shop used. But don’t take our word for it; Audi CEO Markus Duesmann recently said this is probably what will kill the A1.
The Rare Rides series featured a Passat wagon once before, in the long ago time of 2018. It was a 1992 G60 with all-wheel drive, a manual transmission, and supercharged engine. Staying true to quirky form, today’s newer and more luxury-oriented Passat pairs its all-wheel drive grip with an eight-cylinder engine.
Do you ever get the feeling that everything even remotely fun and interesting is being thrown on the pyre of progress so we can collectively live safer, duller lives? Case in point, Volkswagen is dismantling its racing operations so the 169 people it employed can be reincorporated. Responsible for the all-electric Volkswagen ID.R racer that showcased some of the performance advantages of EVs to attentive audiences around the globe, the team will now be responsible for building ID models intended for mass consumption.
While we’re sure spreading their engineering prowess around will benefit VW’s core brand, it’s unfortunate that it came at the expense of the brand’s motorsport activities — modest as they might have been in 2020.
In the last edition of Buy/Drive/Burn, we discussed three large European wagons with a $65,000 price point. The Buy vote was a toss-up between the E-Class and the A6 allroad.
Today we cover the sedan variants of the same three cars, at the exact same price point. Think you’ll choose differently?
In our last Rare Rides, we discussed how the W126 S-Class established the model as a default for the large German sedan shopper. I also referenced the failed attempt at S-Class competition which was the Audi V8 Quattro.
So today let’s expound upon that failure a bit.
Maybe I am softening in my old age, or maybe crossovers are getting a bit better to drive, or both, but I found myself semi-charmed by Audi’s Q8 crossover. Of course, a luxury crossover should be somewhat enticing, lest the buyer feel he or she wasted money each month when that car payment auto drafts out of the bank account.
I say semi-charmed for a few reasons. One, the Q8 is still a crossover, not a sport sedan. Two, there were tradeoffs.
With Porsche having secured itself an all-electric vehicle, the laws of trickle-down manufacturing dictate that Audi is the next on Volkswagen Group’s docket for performance-focused electrification. Using the J1 performance platform that underpins Porsche’s Taycan, the Ingolstadt-based automaker has reported that its own E-Tron GT is nearing completion — assuring us that it’ll will meet the bar in terms of “quality and progressiveness” in a handful of announcements on Thursday.
Probably the most important of these was that Audi would be ready to commence production at the end of this year at Böllinger Höfe, near Neckarsulm, alongside the R8. However the company leaked a few additional details, including that the E-Tron (which the brand stylizes in all lower-case letters, bleh) will come in an RS variant.
It’s an occasion worthy of a future “Rare Rides” label when the North American market is graced with a new large wagon. Only a few of the breed are for sale presently, and that quantity has remained largely unchanged since the late 1990s.
Audi is selling two new ones this year, but they don’t seem to be on anyone’s mind. Not even the wagon-loving car journalists.
Like it or not, and it seems most of our readers don’t, manufacturers are pressing ahead with the coupification of luxury-grade small crossovers. The BMW X4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe generally offer a more sport and less utility, thanks in no small part to a roofline that begins to swoop dramatically to the pavement just aft of the driver’s noggin.
Audi wants in, of course. The existence of a Q5 Sportback was confirmed earlier this year. Now they’re ready to show a production version, complete with its so-called Singleframe grille aggressively tapered rear end.
On Thursday, Munich-based prosecutors announced the indictment of four more ex-Audi managers in relation to Volkswagen Group’s infamous diesel emission scandal. This follows the charges brought against former CEO Rupert Stadler and a handful of Audi staffers in 2018.
The latest indictment involves three former board members and one department head who has since retired. Prosecutors stated the alleged crimes relate to 434,420 cars manufactured by VW Group brands which we already know where sold with trick software designed to circumvent emissions testing, according to Reuters and German outlet Handelsblatt. However, the grand total of vehicles suspected to be in violation of regulatory law are suggested to be closer to 11 million globally.
Have you seen an Audi E-Tron (officially, “e-tron”) on the street? This writer hasn’t. Yet the electric Audi crossover has been on offer for a little over a year now, slowly paving the way for an all-electric future.
Available to U.S. customers through special order and to dealers who just wish to keep one around, the E-Tron arrived in early 2019 with 204 miles of EPA-rated range. It’s now back after skipping a model year, with two improvements aimed at broader consumer appeal, if not adoption.
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- Dwford How many more wealthy performance car buyers does Chevy think they can drag into their showroom full of middle of the road crossovers? I guess they will find out
- SCE to AUX It's been done before, with varied success:Ford --> LincolnHyundai --> GenesisGM --> XLR (Cadillac), ELR (Cadillac)VW Touareg --> Porsche CayenneI suspect GM is trying to avoid the Mustang fiasco (which is working for Ford, BTW), by not making the Corvette name a sub-brand - only its hardware.(In the Mustang's case, YTD 46% of "Mustang" branded vehicles are the Mach-E, but they share no hardware. GM's plan is much different and less controversial.)Back to the sub-brand: the XLR and ELR experiments were total duds, borrowing hardware from the Corvette and Volt respectively. Both sullied Cadillac's name - not Chevy's.
- Art Vandelay I don’t care what they do with the brand. But I do want to see how a mid engined platform spawns a 4 door and a crossover
- Varezhka If they’re going to do this, might as well go all the way and make it a standalone brand instead of a Chevy sub-brand. They already have a unique emblem, after all. Shouldn’t there be enough empty former Hummer, Saab, or Cadillac dealer showrooms to house them?
- Steve Biro Not only do I not want this technology in any vehicle that I own, I will not have it. As in I will never buy it or, if forced by circumstances to accept its presence, I will find a way to disarm it.