At Audi, diesel trumps hybrid
Selling diesels in THE U.S. is nothing new for Audi, but we were still surprised to hear that the American arm is planning a massive diesel expansion while passing on multiple hybrids. It all revolves around the Q7's 3.0-liter TDI V-6, which will find its way into the A6, the A8, and the Q5 by 2013. Product planners are also looking at a 2.0-liter turbo-diesel for the next A4 around 2014. A 27-mpg hybrid Q5 will arrive in 2012, but we won't get the gas/electric A6 or A8.
WHAT The next-generation small Audi will be a sedan, specifically to address the U.S. and Chinese markets.
THE HATCHBACK GETS THE HATCHET About the size of the original 1996 (B5-chassis) A4, the handsome A3 sedan was previewed by this show car in Geneva, which is a reliable indicator of the production version, save for the lower ride height, flared wheel arches, and pop-out door handles. Unfortunately, America won't get the Sportback. The TDI, however, will return, along with two turbocharged four-cylinders: a 170-hp 1.8-liter and a 211-hp 2.0-liter.
WHAT Audi's answer to the BMW M3 and the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG.
THE HARDWARE'S ALL THERE The RS5 sounds like a sweet machine: All-wheel drive, a torque-vectoring rear diff, a seven-speed dual-clutch Automatic, and a screaming 4.2-liter V-8 that hits its 444-hp peak at 8250 rpm. Whether it can match the BMW and Mercedes titans is yet to be determined.
WHAT Audi's sport coupe, turned up to 340 hp.
WHEN Late 2011
DEFINITELY NOT A CHICK CAR If there were any doubt about the TT's performance credentials, the RS's turbocharged five-cylinder should clear the air. It'll help the car do 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and reach a top speed of 174 mph. Oh, and it comes only with a manual.
WHAT The sub-Q5 compact crossover.
A SMALL GAMBLE The Q5 has been a big hit for Audi in North America; the smaller Q3 is less of a sure thing, but we wouldn't bet against it. Privately, U.S. execs tell us they'd be very surprised if it didn't end up coming here. If and when it arrives, it'll offer a trio of 2.0-liter engines -- gasoline versions making 170 and 211 hp and a 140-hp diesel.
S6, S7, and S8
WHAT High-performance versions of Audi's medium and large four-doors.
END OF THE TEN The V-10 engine is booted in favor of a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8. Compared with the V-10 in the current S6, power is slightly lower and torque slightly higher: 408 hp and 406 lb-ft in the new S6 and S7, where the turbo V-8 is mated to Audi's seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The S8's version is more potent, with 520 hp and 488 lb-ft; it's paired with an eight-speed automatic.