By on December 17, 2019

With Cadillac torpedoing any hope we had that the touchscreen trend might come to swift end, we started digging around to see the latest and greatest interior screen experiences automakers are hoping to push onto the market. The worst offenders cropped up in concept vehicles, though most automakers aspire to equip future models with more screen space than you’ll know what do with — see China’s Byton for an example.

As for less speculative specimens, Audi had us covered. The brand’s MMI Touch Response infotainment system sacrifices physical controls for three rather large interactive displays. Limited to higher-end models (A6, A7, A8, and Q8), MMI groups a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, 10.3-inch central console, and a smaller 8.6-inch display for controlling the HVAC system. Apparently, that’s the interior Audi wants to run with for all future vehicles while it works up something new.  (Read More…)

By on December 11, 2019

Image: Porsche AG

Porsche has taken payments from 30,000 European customers eager to be among the first to drive the brand’s first all-electric vehicle, the Taycan sedan. The number of reservations exceeded the automaker’s expectations, according to CEO Oliver Blume.

It also gives some amount of hope that electric vehicles still have a place in the premium market space. EV sales remain weak and high-end models like Jaguar’s E-Pace and Audi’s e-tron have struggled, though both have suffered supply-related struggles since entering production. (Read More…)

By on December 10, 2019

Volkswagen Group can’t seem to escape the rippling effects of its 2015 emissions cheating scandal. It wasn’t long ago that the automaker was subjected to surprise raids from German prosecutors, still investigating its regulatory malfeasance. On Monday, Canada threw its hat into the ring — charging the company with importing roughly 128,000 vehicles into the country in direct violation of its environmental laws.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) announced VW is facing 60 counts of breaching the Canadian Environmental Protection Act by selling automobiles that fell outside the prescribed emission standards. Broken down, that includes 58 counts of contravening the law between 2008 and 2015 with two counts of providing misleading information.  (Read More…)

By on November 15, 2019

Volkswagen Group has decided to increase spending on the development of electric and digital technologies over the next five years to 60 billion euros ($66 billion USD). The automaker estimated the revised strategy amounts to slightly more than 40 percent of its investments in property, plant and equipment, and all research and development costs during the planning period.

Of that sum, 33 billion euros are expected to go directly toward the development of new electric vehicles. The increase allocates roughly €12 billion annually for hybridization, electric mobility and digitalization. The old plan set aside 8.8 billion euros per year. (Read More…)

By on October 14, 2019

While Porsche’s Taycan has been praised as unquestionably worthy of the Porsche name, it’s also subject to the brand’s (ahem) aggressive pricing structure. Gone are the days when you can purchase a basement-level Porsche 944 for the modern equivalent of $20,000. The cheapest model currently occupying the automaker’s portfolio is the 718, which sets you back 57 grand before you’ve added a single option.

When the Taycan debuted as Porsche’s first purely electric vehicle a number of weeks back, the model’s $150,900 (before destination) MSRP was expected. Porsche rolled out the higher-end “Turbo” trims first, with promises of more budget-minded models to follow. That car arrived today, and it costs $105,150. (Read More…)

By on October 7, 2019

Volkswagen has revealed an updated R logo that it says will still symbolize performance while also representing the brand’s “fresh start” — its refocus on electric vehicles, rather than the diesel ones that got it into trouble back in 2015.

VW similarly rejiggered is brand’s main logo, eliminating its three-dimensional aspects for a streamlined version highly reminiscent of the symbol used through the 1970s, debuting the new (old?) design at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. But the R’s transformation has resulted in something entirely novel, abandoning the leftmost vertical line in favor of an abstracted representation of the letter.

However, tweaking the visuals of a single character doesn’t have much meaning in itself. All we really care about is whether or not the R badge will still denote the maximum performance available from various VW models. (Read More…)

By on October 3, 2019

With the Audi RS 6 Avant confirmed for America and the manufacturer teasing wagons via social media throughout the summer, we figured Germany would soon send another wagen our way. And while nothing has been confirmed through official channels, Audi executives are already saying it’s to be the A6 Allroad.

Rumors stated that the model would make its way to the United States ever since the updated A6 premiered at the New York Auto Show in the spring. Audi managed to encourage these rumors without issuing any confirmation — at least until Oliver Hoffmann, managing director of Audi Sport, chimed in earlier this week.  (Read More…)

By on September 17, 2019

Dieselgate never dies. Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt) has informed Audi that it will be subjected to additional fines if it fails to meet upcoming deadlines for retrofitting manipulated diesel models with updated software.

Reports from Bild am Sonntag, later confirmed by Reuters, claim the regulatory authority issued three letters to the automaker stipulating that it had until September 26th to replace the software in emissions-cheating V6 and V8 TDI engines (originally certified as EU6 compliant) lest it be fined 25,000 euros (about $27,500) per vehicle. While fines are only applicable to cars still carrying illicit software, the transport ministry estimated some 127,000 Audi vehicles qualified in Europe last year. There were originally around 850,000.  (Read More…)

By on September 12, 2019

Image: Audi

You might not have noticed but Audi has been quietly reducing the complexity of its lineup by eliminating certain content combinations, often in select markets. Here, the biggest change was the elimination of the manual gearbox for 2019. But Audi said it needed to be done due to there being an abysmally low take rate for besticked vehicles in North America.

Apparently, the automaker is just getting warmed up on tamping down the configurations. In an recent chat with Autocar, Audi CEO Bram Schot said there was plenty more work to be done. Having already reduced the number of model variants in certain regions by 27 percent, compared to last year’s options, the CEO said the manufacturer still wasn’t where it wanted to be.  (Read More…)

By on September 11, 2019

Naming a car is difficult. All the best predatory animals have been taken and getting creative often results in the certain parts of the world thinking you’ve intentionally named your car something hilarious. Chevrolet’s Nova is the classic example, but modern automobiles still run into trouble. Hyundai’s Kona falls on Portuguese ears as the most vulgar synonym for vagina (an oddly common theme among car monikers) and Audi’s e-Tron translates roughly into French as “turd.” It’s no wonder so many automakers simply forgo issuing real names, opting instead for an alphanumeric jumble.

When Volkswagen began previewing concept versions of its electrified ID lineup, models used a bizarre naming strategy. Maybe titles like Roomzz, Buzz, Crozz, and Vizzion sound better in German, but they didn’t play well here. VW’s solution to the problem has been to simply assign their production counterparts with a number — and it’s looking like that will be continue to be the case.

While the brand was showcasing the new ID.3 hatchback at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week, it also teased a follow-up model that will actually make its way stateside. Originally dubbed the Crozz, the car is now named simply “ID.4.”  (Read More…)

By on August 29, 2019

Porsche’s app-based subscription service is creeping into to four new cities in the United States and Canada. While technically still a pilot program designed to probe the market’s willingness, the expansion would indicate it’s one the automaker has some level of faith in.

We, however, are not among the true believers. Despite the added convenience of incorporating maintenance and insurance into one’s regular car payment, subscription services have not proven themselves to be an affordable way to own a car. In fact, they’re typically the most expensive way to procure a ride. But that doesn’t guarantee they won’t eventually catch on or make nameplates like Porsche oodles of cash, especially as the brand intends on making the service more costly.  (Read More…)

By on August 27, 2019

Audi is teasing a new model slated to debut at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show — an off-road specialist called the AI:TRAIL Quattro. With massive wheels and a nonexistent approach/departure angle, the conceptual crossover certainly seems ready to scurry up a mountain. But the overall design is more hyper-modern RC car than traditional baja beast.

It’s not coming entirely out of left field. Audi has shown several electrified concepts using a similarly futuristic design language, among them the AICON luxury sedan, PB18 supercar, and AI:ME city vehicle. Like the AI:TRAIL, each is designed to tackle a very specific portion of the market. All will be on hand in Frankfurt to showcase Audi’s vision of what a car could be.  (Read More…)

By on August 26, 2019

Ferdinand Piech, Image: Volkswagen AG

The patriarch of the Volkswagen Group family, Ferdinand Karl Piëch, died in a Bavarian hospital on Sunday at the age of 82, Bloomberg reports. German newspaper Bild broke the story.

As CEO of Volkswagen Group from 1993 to 2002, Piëch, grandson of Porsche founder Ferdinand Porsche, led the VW brand back from the brink of bankruptcy and added a host of glitzy brands to the corporate fold. (Read More…)

By on August 22, 2019

With BMW and Daimler already getting cosy via their autonomous vehicle partnership, the duo plans on bringing self-driving (SAE Level 4) tech to the masses by 2024. While other automakers have promised more advanced autonomy on a shorter timeline, the reality of the situation is that true self-driving capabilities are proving difficult and expensive to produce. By partnering up, the Germans believe they can continue their quest while sharing the financial burden of development.

The more the merrier, apparently. According to Germany’s Wirtschaftswoche, Audi will be the next guest to arrive at the party. Daimler and BMW’s previous release stipulated that the pair would focus on the joint development of next-generation technologies for driver assistance systems, automated driving on highways, and automated parking — with the goal of seeing those technologies adapted for passenger vehicles by 2024.  (Read More…)

By on August 8, 2019

We’ve got some shocking news for convertible fans. The Audi A3 Cabriolet is still on sale in North America.

Did you forget that it existed? We sure did. Fortunately, this isn’t a problem we’ll have going into 2020, as this is to be the model’s last year. Of course, this changes next to nothing as we haven’t seen one in the wild some time. In fact, it’s difficult to recall the last occasion any automotive outlet even bothered reviewing one.

As the spiritual successor to VW’s now-defunct cabriolets, the open-air A3 occupies an interesting place in the market. It’s a little pricey for most parents looking to treat their college-aged daughters, with a starting MSRP of $39,000, and lacks the oomph and prestige of Audi’s other drop-top offerings.  (Read More…)

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