The tasty RS 7, with a 4.0L bi-turbo V8 belting out nearly 600 horsepower packed into a slinky sportback body, is the sort of delightful lunacy which acts as a speedy tonic to the raft of dour crossovers and SUVs which crowd parking lots at the mall. A new exclusive edition – a trim infuriatingly spelled in all lower-case letters – ratchets up the rarity even if it doesn’t provide any extra German horses.
The price goes up, too. A lot.
If you’re one of the moneyed set who enjoys a pint-sized car powered by a frantic five-cylinder engine, 2022 will be the last opportunity to pick up an Audi TT RS. With the 394 horsepower rocket set for its swan song next year, you know Audi will be offering some sort of special edition to mark the end of this era.
A large portion of the automotive industry tends to follow Audi’s lead on interior design. That has resulted in the proliferation of the worst phenomenon in modern automotive history — the floating tablet-style infotainment screen.
With the refresh of the Audi Q7, the biggest scourge on automotive design since spinner wheels may finally be coming to an end.
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?
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.
No auto brand in the world sells more all-wheel-drive vehicles than Subaru, says Subaru.
Autocar is reporting figures from Subaru UK that say 15 percent of the global market for all-wheel-drive vehicles is scooped up by the Subaru brand.
In Subaru’s fiscal year from April 2015 to April 2016, the automaker finished with nearly 1 million sales of all-wheel drive vehicles — 245,382 more than the next-highest-volume all-wheel-drive provider: Audi.
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.
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.
The recent news that Volkswagen is pondering an all-wheel-drive Golf for U.S. customers surprised many.
“All-wheel drive is now part of the Volkswagen DNA,” commented Dr. Hendrik Muth of Volkswagen at the U.S. launch of the Alltrack.
That means Volkswagen will be taking on Subaru, the reigning king of all-wheel drive for the masses in the U.S. And since the Golf is already fairly dear in price, adding an all-wheel-drive option to the hatch will make Volkswagen’s compact a near-luxury item. At that price, why wouldn’t you just buy an Audi? It’s the brand with the all-wheel-drive expertise in the VAG clan.
But the reality of an all-wheel-drive Golf is now 20 years old.
Let’s take a look back at nine of the more interesting pre-Alltrack, pre-4Motion versions of the Golf that most U.S. customers have never even heard of.
TTAC commentator Fordman_48126 writes:
I have a 2015 Lincoln MKC powered by the base 2.0-liter turbo and all-wheel drive. My issue is that the AWD system is a part-time setup that defaults to front-wheel drive. Do you know if there a way to convert it via changing and/or modifying the programming on the ECM to run it in all-wheel-drive mode all the time?
We recently reviewed the 2016 Volvo XC90, the long overdue redesign of Volvo’s family hauler. First introduced as a 2002 model, the XC90 was a teenager by the time it was finally replaced. Oddly enough, it’s a similar story with the Audi Q7.
In response to Volvo’s then-new XC90, Audi began development of the seven-seater Q7 in 2002, which later hit the market in 2005. It received a facelift in 2009, but the basics of the slab-sided Audi remained. Eleven years later, and at around the same time as the new XC90, Audi has finally reinvented the Q7 as a sort of soft-road A8 Avant.
Can it compete against the new XC90 for the hearts and minds of luxury-minded families?
The C3 Audi 100 was sold in the United States badged as an Audi 5000 … until the “unintended acceleration” nightmare nearly killed Audi in North America and the company decided, after a few years of abysmal sales numbers, to go ahead and call this car the 100 over here. Because so few were sold, the 1989-1990 Audi 100s are very, very rare these days.
Here’s one that I spotted in a Denver-area yard a couple of weeks back.