Audi – Automobile Magazine http://www.automobilemag.com No Boring Cars! | Reviews, Auto Shows, Lifestyle Sat, 01 Oct 2016 10:10:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.4 All-New 2018 Audi Q5 Coming to U.S. Next Year http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-audi-q5-first-look/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-audi-q5-first-look/#respond Thu, 29 Sep 2016 23:00:49 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=998661 Second-gen crossover is Audi's first North American-built model

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The Audi Q5 is the brand’s best-selling model, but it’s also its oldest. That changes in spring 2016 when the all-new 2018 Audi Q5 arrives in the U.S. Unveiled at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, the second-gen Q5 is now lighter, more powerful, and finally has styling to match its new siblings, the Q3 and Q7.

In addition to the Q5, the high-performance SQ5 will return. And the good news is that Audi won’t delay launching the SQ5–it’ll launch at the same time as the Q5.

The Q5 will be powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 making 252 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque that comes mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. We’ve praised this powertrain in the 2017 Audi A4, and we expect to feel a noticeable improvement compared to the outgoing Q5 with its 2.0-liter turbo-four rated at 220 hp and 258 lb-ft. Audi estimated the 2018 Q5 will run from 0-60 mph in 6.4 seconds.

Audi says handling is better, too. Thanks to an updated version of the VW Group’s MLB platform, the new Q5 is reportedly up to 198.4 pounds lighter than its predecessor.

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The SQ5 also gets a bump in power. Now powered by a new 3.0-liter, turbocharged V-6, the 2018 Audi SQ5 is rated at 354 hp and 369 lb-ft–23 lb-ft more than the outgoing SQ5 with its supercharged V-6. Audi promises the new turbocharged mill will be just as peppy as the engine it’s replacing, thanks to a compact engine design with the turbocharger sitting in the “V” of the engine. The new SQ5 will still get an eight-speed auto and its estimated 0-62 mph time is pegged at 5.2 seconds. Despite Audi’s push to grow its RS lineup, it doesn’t appear the Q5 will join the RS party. That said, expect to look for more powertrains in the future, perhaps a hybrid and maybe even an all-electric version.

Despite the weight loss, the Audi Q5 has grown all around. Overall length is now 183.6 inches, while its wheelbase stretches to 111.6 inches, improving both passenger and cargo room. Much of the interior mimics the new Q7, and that’s a good thing. Overall design and materials are a big step up from the current model and Audi’s signature digital virtual cockpit is available as an option. Also improved is the MMI infotainment system that combines rotary and touchpad controls, just like the one that debuted in the Q7.

And as previously reported, production of the Q5 moves to Audi’s new production plant in Mexico, which is slated to go online this week.

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U.S.-Bound Audi RS3 Sedan Packs TT RS Five-Cylinder Power http://www.automobilemag.com/news/u-s-bound-audi-rs3-sedan-packs-tt-rs-five-cylinder-power/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/u-s-bound-audi-rs3-sedan-packs-tt-rs-five-cylinder-power/#respond Thu, 29 Sep 2016 22:53:50 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=998655 If you’re exited by the prospect of the five-cylinder powerhouse in the new Audi TT RS, but have a need for more than two doors and a small interior, you might want to get in touch with Audi. At the Paris auto show on Thursday, the German automaker yanked the covers off a fantastically aggressive...

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If you’re exited by the prospect of the five-cylinder powerhouse in the new Audi TT RS, but have a need for more than two doors and a small interior, you might want to get in touch with Audi. At the Paris auto show on Thursday, the German automaker yanked the covers off a fantastically aggressive RS3 sedan, packing the same five-pot dynamo from the TT RS.

In essence, this RS3 is to the Audi TT RS as the less-potent Audi S3 is to the Volkswagen Golf R. In the S3, the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and knife-sharp dual-clutch transmission is purloined from the Golf R; in the new RS3, it appears the transmission and engine is lifted from the TT RS.

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In the compact sedan, as in the TT RS, the 2.5-liter five-cylinder spits out a tremendous 400 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque, providing enough oomph to crack-off a claimed 4.1-second 0-60 run and a limited top speed of 155 mph; 174 mph is available if you buy an optional package. As independent testing has proven time and time again, this is likely a very conservative figure. We wouldn’t be surprised to see that 0-60 time dip beneath the four-second mark.

To let everyone else know you’re packing heat, Audi puffed out the RS3’s front and rear track, widening it by an impressive 0.8-inch in the front and 0.6-inch in the rear, when compared to the milquetoast A3. Of course, to shroud all of this extra axle, the car sports aggressive fender flares, giving the RS3 a properly mean stance.

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Along with the widened body, the RS3 features an entirely new suite of aerodynamic components, including a modified front fascia, rear decklid, and side skirts. With the uprated performance suspension, the car drops by one inch when compared to a standard A3.

With regard to other go-fast bits, it’s business as usual. The brakes are beefier, the suspension is stiffer, the steering is sharper, and tires are grippier.

On the inside, the cockpit receives the standard RS treatment, including aggressive performance seats, carbon-fiber pieces, and brushed aluminum surfaces.

The U.S. market has traditionally not received many of Audi’s RS models, and the last RS3 was no different. Now, Audi is singing a different tune, announcing U.S. cars will arrive in summer 2017.

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http://www.automobilemag.com/news/u-s-bound-audi-rs3-sedan-packs-tt-rs-five-cylinder-power/feed/ 0 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view 2018 Audi RS 3 Sedan front view
2018 Audi TT RS vs. 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman S http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-audi-tt-rs-vs-2017-porsche-718-cayman-s/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-audi-tt-rs-vs-2017-porsche-718-cayman-s/#respond Mon, 26 Sep 2016 10:00:41 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=991956 Hating turbocharged engines is en vogue among purists these days. When Saab in 1979 introduced the 900 Turbo (it destroyed turbochargers faster than front tires), and when BMW launched the 2002 Turbo (it featured what felt like 10-second throttle lag), the world could not have cared less about artificial aspiration. More than 40 years later,...

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Hating turbocharged engines is en vogue among purists these days. When Saab in 1979 introduced the 900 Turbo (it destroyed turbochargers faster than front tires), and when BMW launched the 2002 Turbo (it featured what felt like 10-second throttle lag), the world could not have cared less about artificial aspiration. More than 40 years later, though, at the height of the turbo era and on the eve of affordable electro-mobility, hardcore car guys are mourning the apparent demise of pure and simple old-school drivetrains.

I consider myself part of this group, and I reluctantly admit I wanted to hate Porsche’s new forced-induction four-cylinder boxer engine ahead of this test of its new 718 Cayman S and Audi’s new TT RS. This engine has, in both Boxster and Cayman, replaced the normally aspirated flat-six. I’ve been critical of the current breed of let-me-do-this-for-you Audis, thanks to their lack of thrill and enthusiasm. “Androgynous,” “aseptic,” and “artificial” are terms that come to my mind when sampling these near-perfect but cold products from Ingolstadt. But is this a case of personal preconceptions? Join us for a day of surprises, confirmations, and new findings.

“Anticlimax” is the first thought when you twist the Porsche’s lozenge-shaped ignition key and start the engine the old-fashioned way. What disappoints is the noise generated behind your back, a metallic jam-session oddly reminiscent of an Oettinger-tuned Beetle from way back when: plenty of initial clatter and splutter, followed by a hoarse, uneven, and atonal idle. We hoped for a more extrovert performance, even though the tune does get catchier as you select a gear and add revs. There are 7,500 revolutions to play with, plus that optional extra-loud exhaust system acting as mobile speaker array, and yet your ears feast primarily on a dense mix of high-decibel buzz and jarring, bassy rasp.

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Let’s move over to the Audi, which adopts the racy steering wheel with the big starter button from the R8. Hit that red circle, and people who live on the same street will hate you forever. If the explosive hard-rock intro is anything to go by, this synthesizer has all the marks of the world’s first external combustion engine. The initial firings could jerk a baby out of its stroller and make grandpa turn down his hearing aid. Like the 718 Cayman S, the TT RS is fitted with the optional hooligan exhaust, which must have been certified by the Albanian branch of Deaf & Dumb Inc. When pushed through its paces, however, the unexpectedly melodic 2.5-liter alloy-block five-cylinder induces goose pimples and smiles so fast that you instinctively clench your first—well done, Herr composer!

Even before we take off, at mile marker 0.0, the Porsche has some catching up to do. To match the Audi’s specification, it is fitted with the seven-speed PDK transmission, not the six-speed manual. In the TT RS, a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox is the only choice. Next, please erase everything you remember about previous Caymans, because this one is different. High revs required to deliver the goods? Not anymore. At 1,900 rpm, the single-turbo, 2.5-liter engine dishes up 309 lb-ft of torque, and this rich torque menu is available all the way to 4,500 rpm. At the word “go,” the new four-cylinder boxer tears down the wall that used to separate cruise mode from instant grunt, which is no mean feat. The secret to this always-on-the-alert attitude is a variable-vane wastegate turbocharger.

Even at part-throttle, it whips up enough boost pressure by synchronizing wastegate aperture, ignition timing, and throttle position. As a result, the 16-valver drops the hammer hard as soon as the driver puts a foot down.

In a very wise move, Audi—under former research-and-development chief Ulrich Hackenberg—developed a new, low-friction, high-efficiency, all-aluminum five-cylinder unit that weighs 57 pounds less than its cast-iron predecessor. Rated at 400 horsepower in the TT RS, the 2.5-liter engine boasts a broader max-torque band than the Porsche engine, spreading its peak twist action of 354 lb-ft from 1,700 to 5,850 rpm. We expected awesome punch in any gear at any time, but there was a snag. When you coast along, for example, at 60 mph and suddenly feel the itch, throttle tip-in is painfully slow; the gearbox takes much too long to change down from fifth to third. Compared to this lengthy pause, normal turbo lag almost feels like a time-warp experience. Audi is aware of this problem and will reprogram the software for hard and fast downshifts.

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In the TT RS, seventh is normally a rev-cutting, waft-along gear. In Dynamic mode, however, the black box will zoom in on the bottom six ratios. Although you can slide the shifter across to the manual gate, the steering-wheel paddles are a much more intuitive option. We have also nothing but praise for the PDK box fitted to the 718. Dial in Sport or even Sport+, and the Porsche will change the shift pattern in an even more dramatic fashion than the TT RS. It has to do with how long to hold onto the gear you’re in through fast corners and at high or low revs, how to time upshifts and downshifts, and how to best manage the power and torque flow. When fitted with the Sport Chrono pack, the Cayman S features a so-called Sport Response button in the middle of the rotary drive-mode selector. Push it, for instance in preparation of a close overtaking move, and the drivetrain switches to high alert for the next 20 seconds. Also worth noting is the coasting mode, which automatically selects neutral under trailing throttle.

Despite all the marketing efforts, these two coupes are not really brand-new cars. The TT RS’s genetic roots trace back to Wolfsburg where Volkswagen developed the MQB architecture now also used by Audi in the 2012 A3 and the current TT. The 718 Cayman is in essence a heavily modified version of the original mid-engined coupe launched in 2006. If you think that’s too harsh an assessment, please consider that neither model offers modern conveniences like a head-up display or sophisticated assistance systems. While Audi is rightly proud of its versatile virtual cockpit display, Porsche has at long last introduced a decent infotainment with a new touchscreen and plenty of fresh features. Ergonomically, the latest Cayman S is nonetheless still a hodgepodge of random push, turn, and touch commands. Some of the submenus—case in point is the Individual program—are awkward to access, the main dials including the digital speedometer are too small, and the center stack is cluttered.

The TT RS cabin is a nicer place to be. Where the Porsche has a firewall, the Audi has two token rear seats that fold down to increase the luggage space. It also sports more head- and legroom, easier-to-use controls, and a more stylish cockpit equipped with more modern materials. While the car from Ingolstadt comes with Quattro all-wheel drive, S-tronic transmission, and 19-inch wheels, the guys from Stuttgart make you pay extra for the dual-clutch gearbox and bigger wheels and tires.

2018 Audi TT RS steering wheel

As far as costs go, well, Audi has not yet priced the TT RS for the U.S., but we expect it to start at about the same price as the PDK- and Sport Chrono-equipped Cayman S. For the first time in its life, the 2017 Cayman is actually less expensive than the corresponding Boxster. It may not mean much, but the TT RS loses only two-tenths against the R8 V-10—which costs more than twice as much—in the 0-60-mph trial. In the same discipline, the 718 equipped with the PDK, Sport Chrono package, and launch control beats the base 911 Carrera that carries a 50-percent price premium. There is no doubt: The days when the number of cylinders and amount of displacement determined a car’s performance are over.

When speed is a drug, then this colorful couple will get you hooked for life after a single day’s hard driving. One is almost always going too fast on those empty B- and C-roads in the Regensburg hinterland, and even on the unrestricted Nuremberg-Munich autobahn, the fast lane was rarely clear enough to reach terminal velocity. The Audi normally tops out at 155 mph, but our test car came with an extra-cost 175-mph speed limit.

Even at that velocity, there was still a bit of forward thrust left. Officially, the Cayman S will do 178 mph. We saw an indicated 186 mph moments before another mirror-less and indicator-less holidaymaker pulled out in front. Slamming on the brakes accomplished reassuring deceleration, but the freeze-frame effect was even more mind-boggling in the TT RS fitted with carbon-ceramic reins up front. The Porsche, which relied on steel rotors all round, is also available with compound stoppers. Sadly, they cost about as much as a small farm in Swaziland.

What sets these two cars apart philosophically is one simple fact: The Porsche is a sports car, the Audi is a very sporty car. Compare, for a start, the driving positions. In the 718, you sit low down, close to the road, under a low roof. The TT RS is much easier to get in and out of, the position behind the wheel is more relaxed, the roof peaks at a less extreme height. But the Audi is clearly more A3 than R8, despite the red stitching, the fancy instruments, and that fixed wing in the rearview mirror. What splits the hatchback coupes dynamically is the steering. The Cayman S uses the same rack as the 911 turbo, one of the most satisfying man-machine interfaces. The TT RS benefits from a variation of the MQB steering, which offers three different settings labeled Comfort, Auto, and Dynamic. I give it only 7.5 points on the total immersion scale, where the Cayman scores a solid 10.

2018 Audi TT RS Georg Kacher driving

Depending on your definition of perfection, the Audi comes close to being one of the easiest cars to drive fast, irrespective of road and surface conditions. Instead of bothering you with too much information, it likes to act as a sublime filter with a twist. The steering is slightly over-damped, over-assisted, and over-eager to step in. Somehow, it seems to have a life of its own, and the mission of that life is to absorb or enhance, depending on the situation. Along with torque vectoring, it will, for example, miraculously pull the car straight again at the exit of a bend or under hard braking into a downhill corner.

But a committed driver might be reluctant to accept any intervention, unless we’re talking true life-saving devices like anti-lock brakes or skid control. Once again, this Audi struggles to fuse maximum active-safety features and total involvement. The Porsche allows more leeway and provides more freedom, it still inspires confidence despite the longer leash, and it has been engineered for absolute interaction. The steering plots the tarmac with rare accuracy, even though this setup accepts, to a certain degree, vibrations, kicks, and nudges. Since the communication is totally authentic, you always know exactly what the car does, and what it will likely do next. And here’s the thing: Porsche still champions the fixed steering-calibration strategy en lieu of a variable-this-or-that gadgetry. This parameter can make all the difference. The main active-safety device installed in the Audi is Quattro all-wheeel drive. In foul weather and on slippery turf, a hard-charging TT RS remains relatively unperturbed while the Cayman S has long entered phase-two twitchiness. Does this focus on active safety make your heart beat faster? Probably not. Does it make the drive home less challenging? Absolutely.

Click the thumbwheel from Comfort to Sport, and the Porsche flexes its muscles instantly. Twist it one notch further to Sport+, and the car prepares for a racetrack visit. Your best bet is thus perhaps Individual mode, which can, for example, blend compliant dampers with fast shifting and eager throttle response.

Better still, dial in PSM Sport, which is, on cold tires, almost as exciting as PSM Off. If testing boundaries is all about putting abilities and ambitions into perspective, then the 718 is a better tool for this job than the TT RS. It simply is the more tactile car, provides feedback in abundance, talks you through the tricky bits with subtle body language, and leaves some latitude before stepping in. The Cayman is happy to indulge in the complete handling spectrum from mild understeer to wild oversteer. It is a classic case of challenge followed by instant reward—or instant punishment.

Having said that, the Audi is on certain days the quicker A-to-B car. Its trick driveline now boasts wheel-selective torque delivery, the cornering grip of the 20-inch Pirelli P Zeros (the Cayman ran on the same tire type) is little short of phenomenal, and in Dynamic mode more grunt can be relayed to the rear wheels in the blink of an eye.

2017 Porsche Cayman S cabin 02

Through fast sweepers, the TT RS is surreally fast, poised, and grounded. Where ripples and grooves start to annoy the Porsche, its challenger continues to be an unreservedly focused, unswerving carver. Even though the 718 received the 911’s four-piston front brakes, it cannot quite match the fast-rewind stopping power of a TT RS with carbon-ceramic rotors. Another forte of the coupe with the four rings is the sprint against the stopwatch. Thanks to Quattro, launch control, and an extra 45 lb-ft of torque, it beats the Porsche by a significant half-second from 0 to 60 mph.

At the end of the day, the TT RS’s handling balance costs it precious virtual points. How come? Because turn-in just isn’t quite as eager, and because eventual understeer is the name of 10/10ths cornering exercises, and because the car likes to be in control. When we entered the zig-zag roller-coaster part of the route, the TT RS started with a tire pressure of 33 psi all-around. About 40 minutes later, rubber melting and brakes fuming, the readout signaled a jump to 48 up front and 38 in the back. Sure, we could have let air out and hoped for the best on the re-run. Alternatively, though, Audi could have agreed on a more adventurous torque split not unlike the setup Ford chose for the remarkable Focus RS. After all, truly fast cornering is not about overt leeriness but about a predominantly neutral attitude that stretches a bit either way when required.

On paper, these two contenders have a lot in common. On the road, however, they display quite different strengths and weaknesses. The TT RS wears a flashy, aggressive outfit, but it delivers when pushed, and its dynamic potential is remarkably accessible. The 718 Cayman S is a more complete car than last year’s GTS, and it ticks all the critical boxes, moving one more step closer to the 911. Despite the paradigm shift toward the turbocharged flat-four engine, it still is the more emotional choice, the more engaging drive, and the sole proper sports car.

2017 Porsche Cayman S Specifications

On Sale: November
Price: $70,550 (base with PDK transmission)
Engine: 2.5-liter turbo DOHC 16-valve flat-four/350 hp @ 6,500 rpm, 309 lb-ft @ 1,900-4,500 rpm
Transmission: dual-clutch automatic
Layout: 2-door, 2-passenger, mid-engine, RWD coupe
EPA Mileage: 20/26 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H: 172.4 x 70.9 x 51.0 in
Wheelbase: 97.4 in
Weight: 3,054 lb
0-60 MPH: 4.0 sec
Top Speed: 177 mph

2018 Audi TT RS vs 2017 Porsche Cayman S 07

2018 Audi TT RS Specifications

On Sale: Spring 2017
Price: $68,000 (base) (est)
Engine: 2.5-liter turbo DOHC 20-valve inline-5/400 hp @ 5,850-7,000 rpm, 354 lb-ft @ 1,700-5,850 rpm
Transmission: dual-clutch automatic
Layout: 2-door, 2-passenger, front-engine, AWD coupe
EPA Mileage: N/A
L x W x H: 165.0 x 72.1 x 52.9 in
Wheelbase: 98.6 in
Weight: 3,175 lb
0-60 MPH: 3.5 sec
Top Speed: 155 mph (175 with optional package)
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Audi Q5 Teased Ahead of Paris Debut http://www.automobilemag.com/news/audi-q5-teased-ahead-paris-motor-show/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/audi-q5-teased-ahead-paris-motor-show/#respond Thu, 22 Sep 2016 20:00:22 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=993650 Audi has released a teaser video of its new Q5 crossover before it heads to the Paris auto show next week. As showcased in the video, narrow headlights dominate the new front end. Out back, the Q5 receives new taillights, which appear to have unique lighting elements that correspond to the turn signal. Lines and...

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Audi has released a teaser video of its new Q5 crossover before it heads to the Paris auto show next week.

As showcased in the video, narrow headlights dominate the new front end. Out back, the Q5 receives new taillights, which appear to have unique lighting elements that correspond to the turn signal. Lines and creases make it clear that the shape of the Q5’s back end has changed a bit, though cut lines seem to suggest the model will retain its signature clamshell liftgate.

Now that the Q7 has been completely revamped, it’s about time Audi changes up its mid-range sport ute. The Audi Q5 is still in its first generation, which launched in the U.S. for the 2009 model year.

Expected to arrive for model-year 2018, the second-generation Q5 will likely bring a more potent turbo-four engine and improved technologies, including an available fully digital Virtual Cockpit instrument cluster.

The Audi Q5 reveal comes on the heels of minor changes to the Q3 compact crossover, which features noticeably different design cues compared to the Q5. The Q3 launches overseas this fall with deliveries later in the year, and we bet the Q5 won’t be far out from that.

Watch the video below for a closer look at the Audi Q5. The model makes its official debut September 29 at the Paris auto show.

2016 Audi SQ5 front three quarter 01 2016 Audi SQ5 rear three quarter in motion 03 audi sq5 tdi plus lead 2016 Audi SQ5 profile

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http://www.automobilemag.com/news/audi-q5-teased-ahead-paris-motor-show/feed/ 0 Audi Q5 Teased Ahead of Paris Motor Show | Automobile Magazine Audi has released a teaser video of its new Q5 crossover before it heads to the Paris auto show next week. As showcased in the video, narrow headlights dominate the new front end. Out back, the Q5 receives new taillights, which appear to have unique lighting elements that correspond to the turn sign Audi Q5 2016 Audi SQ5 profile 2016 Audi SQ5 profile 2016 Audi SQ5 profile 2016 Audi SQ5 profile
First Drive: 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-audi-tt-rs-coupe-first-drive/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-audi-tt-rs-coupe-first-drive/#respond Mon, 19 Sep 2016 20:07:17 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=991992 MADRID, Spain—The first drive of the new 2018 Audi TT RS began at Spain’s Jarama circuit, an old Formula 1/MotoGP track. I raced in Spain some years ago, but never at Jarama, so I enjoyed learning it. The circuit flows nicely, with decreasing-radius turns and several 90-plus mph kinks per lap; the layout is 2.3...

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MADRID, Spain—The first drive of the new 2018 Audi TT RS began at Spain’s Jarama circuit, an old Formula 1/MotoGP track. I raced in Spain some years ago, but never at Jarama, so I enjoyed learning it. The circuit flows nicely, with decreasing-radius turns and several 90-plus mph kinks per lap; the layout is 2.3 miles of undulating busyness. I cannot imagine racing F1 there, as passing must have been impossible—oh wait, I think we still have that problem in F1…

Regardless, my first impression upon seeing the new TT RS in the flesh was positive. It looks sporty and has a solid, businesslike stance. The new front-end design is sharp, with large air intakes, a honeycombed front grille, and a Quattro logo on the splitter. There are new, aerodynamically shaped side sills, and aluminum-colored accents on the mirrors and the front splitter are a nice touch. The rear wing blends in well and doesn’t scream “Race me!” to every wannabe on the road. Compared to lesser TTs, the larger oval tailpipes come in chrome or black, depending on exhaust options.

2018 Audi TT RS Coupe front three quarter in motion 12

The TT RS’s taillights use all-new organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology, so they don’t cast shadows and don’t require reflectors. When lit they can show variable patterns determined by the shape of their inlays and how they are programmed or activated. They look different and are visually impressive.

The main story, though, is that the RS features an all-new turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine, and Audi managed to shave off 54 pounds compared to the previous unit while increasing power output. The old TT RS made 360 horsepower, while the new five-cylinder makes 400 hp from 5,850-7,000 rpm and 354 lb-ft of torque from 1,700-5,850 rpm. Combined fuel mileage is estimated to come in at an improved 27.8 mpg. Overall the RS weighs 3,175 pounds, 131 pounds lighter than the old model.

The cars designated for track duty in Spain were optioned with the Dynamic Package, which includes the sport exhaust, non-adjustable performance shocks, and 14.6-inch ceramic front brakes and 12.2-inch steel rears. Cars for the U.S.—don’t expect to see the TT RS on sale here until next spring—will all come with 20-by-9-inch wheels sporting 255/30 Pirelli P Zero tires front and rear. The track-drive cars sported optional, stickier Pirelli Corsa tires.

2018 Audi TT RS Coupe rear three quarter in motion 09

I initially had to follow a track instructor in another RS for two sighting laps. He was not hanging about and I’d say his speed was equivalent to a very spirited drive on your favorite country road. The RS showed no understeer and followed my steering-wheel input well. Despite the pace I had no ABS, traction/stability-control intervention or any appreciable tire slip. The RS dash told me we were already at 1.1 g laterally, both left and right, and I later saw a maximum of more than 1.5 g laterally.

This was a good sign, as street cars are setup usually to understeer. This makes them easier to control and thereby safer, but managing heavy understeer on a racetrack is about as much fun as watching paint dry. The RS of course has Audi’s Quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system, but front-engine, AWD cars usually understeer more than most. It was early, but considering how quick I was going, encountering no understeer was a solid start.

After they let me loose, I turned on the sport exhaust; it was solid without, Audi said, being enhanced artificially as is becoming common. I really like the tune, as low revs sound like a low growl becoming more urgent and loud as the revs rise. I let the RS shift itself in Sport mode and it did so flawlessly, both upshifting and downshifting, and as always you can use the steering-wheel shift paddles if you prefer.

2018 Audi TT RS Coupe side profile

The RS’s turbo blows out a heady 19 pounds of boost at full steam. To me, it doesn’t have turbo lag in the traditional sense, because you do feel acceleration as soon as you hit the gas. Boost pressure takes about a second to peak, and when full boost hits, the RS accelerates like it got rear ended by something quite large. The powerband is intoxicating rather than frustrating.

As I built up to maximum track speed, the RS was flying and I was genuinely enjoying the drive. The limits of traction were transferring to me as slight understeer. However, grip stayed consistent, allowing me to keep up my lap speed; things never generated into some terminal (extended) understeer scenario.

I decided to use a different cornering technique to see if I could make the RS lap quicker. As an example, picture a second-gear, 120-degree corner (though it is possible to use this technique on all corners to varying degrees). I enter the brake zone with enough brake pressure to feel minimal ABS interaction. In the later part of my brake zone I start to modulate off of that full pressure. Before I am off the brake pedal completely, I begin my corner turn-in. The RS responded well, slowly rotating with a slight rear slide. I control the frequency of vehicle rotation with my steering wheel turn-rate.

The split second I was completely off the brakes and the car was almost finished rotating, I mashed the gas. Why mashed? Because the turbo takes time to reach full boost and I felt the AWD could more than handle it. But, as the boost started to peak, I got enough wheel slip to wake up the electronic stability control. (I knew it was the ESC and not the traction control because the TC was off already.) I attempted to turn off the ESC, but couldn’t. The ESC was only holding me back a little, but it cost time. However, the test was a success in the sense that the RS allowed me to use rotation on corner entry, which will produce quicker lap times.

2018 Audi TT RS Coupe cabin 02

After my 3 laps, I asked an Audi engineer about my issue. He confirmed the “ESC off” setting was disabled for the event—in all the cars. I told him I totally understood, thanking him for his time and his reprogramming. I might have wandered off muttering to myself …

The hot-lap format required everyone to run through the pit lane each lap, as the pit straight was being used for launch-control demonstrations. But even with that break from the action, I experienced slight brake fade on my last lap, but a little extra foot pressure covered it and I made my normal turn-in. Front tire pressures went from 32 psi to 40 psi, so the rubber was obviously heating up but I felt no grip degradation. High-speed stability is very good. Jarama’s fastest right-hand kink (more than 100 mph) is over a slight vertical top (positive vertical g-load), and is followed immediately by a quick left-hand flick under heavy braking, while then turning back to the right. This proved no problem for the RS to cope with.

Outside of the track, my first road trip was a 50-mile route including highway, city, and two-lane roads. There are two colors unique to RS, Catalunya Red and Nardo Grey. Our Catalunya Red RS had the Dynamic Performance package and the standard Pirelli P Zero tires fitted. I immediately attempted to turn off the ESC, with the same result as before. I was beginning to have ugly feelings toward an engineer I hardly knew.

The TT RS has fewer knobs and switches than most cars these days, with a central round controller for the infotainment system. The entire setup is easy to understand and operate. The RS comes with the Audi virtual cockpit found in the R8 and it does look good. The 12.7-inch display is viewed easily through the steering wheel. The navigation was excellent, voice commands being clear enough through the Bang and Olufsen sound system that I rarely had to look down. The Audi’s Sport Performance phone app allows you to move everything you or a passenger need to use/see, directly from your phone to the screen, and the RS also has Wi-Fi capability.

2018 Audi TT RS Coupe center console 01

There are four drive modes, accessible through a dedicated button on the steering wheel. I liked the Individual mode as it allowed me to request comfort (lighter) steering, which I prefer to the heavier steering normally found in sportier settings. The ride of the Dynamic-optioned RS was sports-car firm, as expected. However, initial shock compression felt a little too jarring over road imperfections/expansion joints, low-profile tires.

Still, the RS was a total joy to drive on the frequently deserted roads. Steering was precise and the chassis allowed numerous line corrections at speed, with no drama. The RS feels fast and it is fast. I never tired of hearing the sport exhaust’s growl, and the seats are very good with excellent support and comfort on both the racetrack and public roads.

For the next drive I took the same 50-mile route in a magnetic-shock optioned RS with steel brakes and no sport exhaust. I wasn’t even out of the paddock, but it was obvious I was going to prefer the damping in this car. The initial compression jarring was gone. Oh, and I again tried to turn off the ESC. And … amazingly, it turned off. I did leave all the safety nannies on for the majority of my street driving, but it’s satisfying to have the option to deactivate them.

I felt the magnetic-shock RS handled equally as well as the Dynamic suspension version, and I preferred the smoother ride, keeping the shock settings in comfort most of the time. The standard exhaust note is still a nice growl, it just doesn’t sound as racy. I would definitely want the sport exhaust option.

2018 Audi TT RS Coupe climate vents

Driving along, there were plenty of deserted places to try the corner-rotation technique with TC and ESC off, just to see how the car responds in those situations. The RS was eager to play. With corner-entry rotation almost complete (and the car still facing the right way for exit), I mashed the gas. Boost pressure built, full boost hit, the engine screamed, the exhaust howled, and the RS rocketed out the corner, all four tires ripping at the pavement. The ability of the AWD RS to corner like this is not only impressive and quick, but about as subtle as a steam hammer at a flower festival; please sir, can I have another go.

To finish the day off, I was excited to try the launch control. Here’s the simple launch procedure: make sure the car is in Sport mode, put your left foot on the brake, then bury the gas pedal. The revs rise automatically and hold around 3,700 rpm. Pull your foot quickly off the brake pedal when ready to rock. Bang! The RS leaps off the line. It felt very Porsche 911 Turbo-like to me. One of the other journos recorded a 0 to 60 time of 3.5 seconds, and there were rumors Audi engineers have seen a time of 3.3secs. I don’t doubt it, as the RS pulled more than 1.1 g longitudinally on my launch according to the Audi in-car recorder. That is quite impressive.

The dinner conversation that night was very interesting. Plenty of people could name a bunch of cars in the $60,000 to $80,000 range that might compare to the RS: Porsche Cayman, Mustang GT350, BMW M2, Corvette Z51, etc. But what came up again and again, causing severe head scratching, was the 0-to-60 time. Three-and-a-half seconds or less is not common at this price point, and it could well be an outlier. If you can actually measure a car’s potential by the head scratching of automotive journalists, Audi may well have a winner in the new TT RS.

2018 Audi TT RS Specifications

On Sale: Spring 2017
Price: $68,000 (base)(est)
Engine: 2.5-liter turbo DOHC 20-valve inline-five/400 hp @ 5,850-7,000 rpm, 354 lb-ft @ 1,700-5,850 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Layout: 2-door, 2-passenger, front-engine, AWD coupe
EPA Mileage: N/A
L x W x H: 165.0 x 72.1 x 52.9 in
Wheelbase: 98.6 in
Weight: 3,175 lb
0-60 MPH: 3.5 sec
Top Speed: 155 mph (175 mph with optional package)
2018 Audi TT RS Coupe rear view 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe rear view in motion 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe rear three quarter in motion 08 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe rear three quarter in motion 07 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe rear three quarter in motion 06 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe rear three quarter 06 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe rear three quarter 05 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe rear three quarter 04 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe rear three quarter 03 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe front view in motion 04 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe front view in motion 03 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe front view 02 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe front view 01 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe front three quarter in motion 10 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe front three quarter in motion 09 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe front three quarter in motion 08 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe front three quarter in motion 11 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe front three quarter in motion 07 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe front three quarter in motion 06 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe front three quarter 07 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe front three quarter 06 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe front three quarter 05 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe front three quarter 04 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe front three quarter 03 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe headlamp 02 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe rear spoiler 02 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe grille 01 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe grille 02 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe headlamp 01 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe front end detail 02 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe front end detail 01 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe exhaust 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe side mirror 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe fuel door 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe cabin 01 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe center console 02 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe interior detail 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe door sill plate 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe door trim panel 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe seats 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe rear three quarter in motion 05 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe rear three quarter in motion 04 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe rear three quarter in motion 03 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe rear three quarter in motion 02 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe rear three quarter in motion 01 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe rear three quarter 02 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe rear three quarter 01 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe front view in motion 02 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe front view in motion 01 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe front three quarter in motion 05 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe front three quarter in motion 04 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe front three quarter in motion 03 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe front three quarter in motion 02 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe front three quarter in motion 01 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe front three quarter 02 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe front three quarter 01 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe tail lamp 01 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe rear spoiler 01

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Audi Q3 Gets S Line Competition Trim http://www.automobilemag.com/news/audi-q3-updated-europe-s-line-competition-package/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/audi-q3-updated-europe-s-line-competition-package/#respond Thu, 15 Sep 2016 16:14:00 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=990844 Audi has updated its Q3 compact crossover, giving it a more athletic body and a new S line competition trim. The model goes on sale in Europe later this year. On the Sport trim, the Q3 receives larger air intakes and a stone gray finish for the grille. The blade below the center inlet is...

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Audi has updated its Q3 compact crossover, giving it a more athletic body and a new S line competition trim. The model goes on sale in Europe later this year.

On the Sport trim, the Q3 receives larger air intakes and a stone gray finish for the grille. The blade below the center inlet is finished in the body color, in this case, yellow. The S line exterior package adds a diamond pattern inside the air inlets and a new front skirt. High-gloss black accents adorn certain sections of the car’s front face, and wheel arches are accented in stone gray. The Audi Q3 can now be had in Camouflage Green, and Tundra Brown is no longer available.

The new Audi Q3 S line competition adds glossy black accents to the wheel arches, roof rails, door trim strips, exterior mirrors, window trim, roof-mounted spoiler, and bumper. An S line badge is displayed in a subtle fashion along the fenders. New 19-inch gloss black wheels designed by Audi Sport finish off the look.

2018 Audi Q3 European Spec interior

Inside, the competition package comes with S-line-embossed sport seats covered in a mix of black leather and fabric. Buyers also have the option to upgrade to sport seats with Nappa leather and Alcantara. Other touches include aluminum-finished controls, stainless steel pedals and foot rest on dual-clutch models, sport leather steering wheel with a three-spoke design and S badging, and an aluminum-and-leather shift knob for models paired with the manual transmission. The S line sport suspension system is standard on the competition model, which can be paired with any engine in the Q3 lineup.

Considering the current Audi Q3 has been on sale in Europe since 2011, the updates come as a welcome surprise. The new Audi Q3 launches overseas this fall, and deliveries will start later in the year. Audi says the new competition model will go for 33,050 euros, which is about $37,173 at today’s exchange rates. Pricing and availability in the U.S. has not yet been announced.

Source: Audi

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The Audi R8 Takes a Step Back http://www.automobilemag.com/news/audi-r8-takes-step-back/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/audi-r8-takes-step-back/#respond Sun, 11 Sep 2016 10:00:49 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=987006 The Audi R8 was a ground-breaking car for the four-ringed German brand when launched in 2007. Journalists and owners fell in love with the mid-engined, bargain-priced exotic. Now there’s a second-generation R8 which, quite frankly, takes a step in the wrong direction. The new Audi R8 has a lot going for it, most importantly a...

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The Audi R8 was a ground-breaking car for the four-ringed German brand when launched in 2007. Journalists and owners fell in love with the mid-engined, bargain-priced exotic. Now there’s a second-generation R8 which, quite frankly, takes a step in the wrong direction.

The new Audi R8 has a lot going for it, most importantly a fantastic V-10 developing 540 hp—and a staggering 610 hp in top-spec R8 Plus trim. The engine isn’t saddled with throttle-response sapping turbochargers and sounds simply amazing as its 5.2-liters rocket towards the 8500 rpm redline. Audi’s baby supercar also continues to ride impressively, which is particularly remarkable given the 20-inch wheels carry ultra-low-profile, 30-series tires. The interior and exterior both received a nip and tuck and the R8 has gained a level of refinement that was lacking in the old car.

2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus rear three quarter 03

“But it drives like an Audi TT with a world-class engine,” is what I noted down after driving the top-spec R8 Plus in December of 2015 in Pahrump, Nevada during the annual Automobile Magazine All Stars competition. The new Audi R8 didn’t get an All Star. The first-generation R8 was our 2008 Automobile of the Year. That should tell you something. Yes, sometimes a previous-generation car isn’t actually as good as we remember it but I recently had the opportunity to drive a 2017 Audi R8 back-to-back with a 2009 Audi R8. This experience only reiterated the conclusion I came to in Pahrump.

I started my R8 comparison by having a go in the new car. This round it was in a base R8, not the R8 Plus. Top-shelf quality is seen and felt everywhere inside and the cabin carries a lovely, modern design. Every switch, compartment cover and stalk clicks and slides with the utmost precision. You can’t help but be impressed. Unfortunately, Audi buried nearly all systems into the instrument cluster behind the steering wheel. While that’s not necessarily a bad move and it makes for a clean and tidy dashboard, controlling all carries a steep learning curve. I appreciate that it takes time to absorb all the ins and outs of many modern infotainment systems but I was surprised how many times I was forced to refer to the owner’s manual just to find certain functions.

2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus interior instrument cluster

Once I sorted all the settings and set off, the engine impressed once again. The V-10 engine pulls and pulls, emitting that glorious soundtrack. The dual-clutch gearbox swaps ratios quickly and effortlessly. But there’s something missing from the whole experience. Much of this comes down to the steering, as it offers basically zero feel and feedback. Electric power steering has advanced in spades but it seems Audi has fallen asleep at the wheel. You’re able to play around with the various drive modes and even setup a personalized ‘Individual’ mode but the R8’s steering and overall chassis never feels special. The test car wasn’t fitted with the optional dynamic steering but historically, that option isn’t the enthusiast’s choice. The company does try to add a bit of verve by programming the audio system to play the company’s signature heartbeat ‘thump-thump’ sound when you turn off the R8. It’s the same sound that’s heard in their television commercials but the synthesized pumping of blood simply comes off as contrived. I wish they would have instead spent further time on the steering.

Then we come to the 2009 Audi R8. It’s clear the interior is slightly dated—especially when it comes to the infotainment system—but the overall simplicity and lack of unneeded extras is welcomed. You turn an actual key to ignite the 4.2-liter V8 and there are dedicated buttons for key functions, with no drive modes to fiddle with. This focused setup leaves you to enjoy the pure, tactile driving experience instead of being overwhelmed by the technology and configuration options. Yes, the car I was driving featured a manual gearbox, no doubt helping pump-up the visceral experience, but I’ve actually never been a big fan of the gated shifter on the R8. It’s a bit clunky and I feel Audi should have fitted a more conventional shifter instead of going the Italian-style, metal-on-metal route. Yes, the original R8 shares underpinnings with the oh-so-Italian Lamborghini Gallardo but the Audi is a German car and should have a more mainstream, German shifter design. It’s the buttery steering and overall chassis balance that is so special with the first-generation R8. The lighter V8 engine helps the handling and still offers plenty of power, helped by short gearing. The key here is that you don’t need to drive the old R8 at insane speeds to enjoy it. Slow or fast, it’s rewarding. That’s something that’s lost with the new car.

2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus front end

There’s now no V-8 option on the R8 and the manual gearbox is gone. The latter is frustratingly understandable given the way the market has moved but the V-10-only setup has pushed the base price of the 2017 R8 to $165,450. When the original R8 launched, it was a smoking deal at $109,995—nearly $20,000 cheaper than a period 911 Turbo. Now, the R8 is some $5000 pricier than the more usable 911 Turbo and throwing in an extra $20,000 buys you the much better to drive McLaren 570S. The Audi R8 Plus is actually more expensive than the impressive, Automobile Magazine All Star-earning McLaren. There’ are also fun but flawed cars like the Mercedes-AMG GT/GT S and Jaguar F-Type that reward more than the Audi for less money.

The second-generation Audi R8 may be a better, more refined car for 90% of buyers and they’ll likely be happy with their purchase but I want an Audi R8 that’s less of an Audi and more of an R8. I want it to carry a chassis that truly rewards at all speeds. I hate feeling the need to mention the old R8 every time someone asks me about the new R8. The technology advancements on the new car are understandable and I can even live with some of the infotainment foibles but an Audi R8 needs to feel truly special where it truly counts, behind the wheel. If it wasn’t for the wail of the V-10 engine, the second-generation R8 would feel much like any other Audi. That’s not what an R8 should be.

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Five-Door Audi A5/S5 Sportback Debuts for Europe http://www.automobilemag.com/news/five-door-audi-a5s5-sportback-debuts-europe/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/five-door-audi-a5s5-sportback-debuts-europe/#respond Wed, 07 Sep 2016 19:00:30 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=987592 Audi has unveiled the five-door Sportback variant of the A5 and S5 for Europe. Though we still don’t have confirmation, the new 2018 Audi A5 Sportback is rumored to come to the U.S., which would mark the first time the body style is offered on our shores. The A5 Sportback wears the front end of...

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Audi has unveiled the five-door Sportback variant of the A5 and S5 for Europe. Though we still don’t have confirmation, the new 2018 Audi A5 Sportback is rumored to come to the U.S., which would mark the first time the body style is offered on our shores.

The A5 Sportback wears the front end of the A5 coupe, but features a wheelbase stretched by 2 inches to help accommodate the two extra doors. The rear uses taillights similar to those found on the coupe, but like the A7 gets a liftgate for the cargo area. Like the coupe, the Sportback receives a mixed-material body that makes it 33.1 pounds lighter than the previous generation, which wasn’t offered in the U.S.

2018 Audi S5 Sportback European Spec rear three quarter

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In Europe, the A5 Sportback will come with two available gas engines and three diesel options. If it comes to the U.S., we’ll probably get the same 2.0-liter turbocharged TFSI four-cylinder offered in the A5 coupe. That engine makes 248 hp and 278 lb-ft of torque in the A4 sedan. It’s unclear if a diesel engine will be offered for our market given the recent emissions scandal. The S5 Sportback is powered by the same turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 as the S5 coupe, which makes 349 hp or 16 hp more than the previous supercharged V-6. With standard Quattro all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic, the S5 Sportback is estimated to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds, and on to an electronically limited top speed of 155.3 mph.

2018 Audi S5 Sportback European Spec cabin 01 1

Inside, traditional analog gauges come standard, but Audi’s Virtual Cockpit gauge display is available. That option includes a high-resolution 12.3-inch TFT screen that can be configured by the driver to show whatever info is desired. A head-up display is also available as is Audi’s MMI navigation plus infotainment system with MMI touch and smartphone integration.

The Audi A5 and S5 Sportback go on sale in Germany and other European countries in early 2017. If the rumors prove to be true, expect to see the Sportback arrive in the U.S. to do battle with the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe sometime after.

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Audi Prepares Factory Race Team for Formula E http://www.automobilemag.com/news/audi-preparing-factory-race-team-formula-e/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/audi-preparing-factory-race-team-formula-e/#respond Fri, 02 Sep 2016 17:10:32 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=986280 Since the first Formula E races began in 2014, Audi has given its name to Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport. Now, the automaker has announced it will expand its investment in the race team over the next few years. For the upcoming third season of Formula E, Audi has committed to intensifying the partnership through...

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Since the first Formula E races began in 2014, Audi has given its name to Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport. Now, the automaker has announced it will expand its investment in the race team over the next few years.

For the upcoming third season of Formula E, Audi has committed to intensifying the partnership through financial and technical support. And for the 2017/2018 season, Audi will take a bigger role in the development process in an effort to form its own full-fledged factory race team.

“In the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi was the first manufacturer to have achieved victories with a TFSI engine, a TDI and a hybrid race car, so writing motorsport history on several occasions,” Audi motorsport chief Wolfgang Ullrich said in a statement. “Now we intend to repeat this in fully electric racing…and Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport [is] a logical partner for us.”

This year, the ABT Schaeffler FE02 will sport new Audi badging in honor of the commitment. Drivers Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi will race for the team, the latter barely missing the championship title last season. The races begin October in Hong Kong, and end July 2017 in New York. Jaguar and Faraday Future Dragon Racing will make their debuts in the upcoming season.

Audi says the races provide a proving ground to test new technologies. By 2025, a quarter of its vehicles will be electric.

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Audi A9 e-tron EV Approved for Production: Report http://www.automobilemag.com/news/audi-a9-e-tron-ev-approved-for-production-report/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/audi-a9-e-tron-ev-approved-for-production-report/#respond Wed, 31 Aug 2016 14:30:21 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=984034 Audi has already confirmed the production of a new all-electric SUV, and now it appears the automaker has greenlit another all-electric model. Autocar reports that Audi boss Rubert Stadler has approved an EV sedan slated to arrive by 2020 that will target the Tesla Model S. Stadler said the new model will sit “as high...

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Audi has already confirmed the production of a new all-electric SUV, and now it appears the automaker has greenlit another all-electric model.

Autocar reports that Audi boss Rubert Stadler has approved an EV sedan slated to arrive by 2020 that will target the Tesla Model S. Stadler said the new model will sit “as high up as possible, in the A8 segment” that includes competitors like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The report also suggests the EV sedan will be called Audi A9 e-tron.

The report speculates the A9 e-tron will share technology with Audi’s upcoming all-electric SUV, expected to arrive in 2018 under the Q6 nameplate. That means the A9 e-tron could feature three electric motors and a battery pack providing at least 300 miles of range. Styling for the Q6 e-tron should mimic the E-tron Quattro concept that debuted at last year’s Frankfurt motor show.

The A9 e-tron is also slated to receive a new generation of Audi’s autonomous driving capabilities, dubbed “level four technology.” According to the report, level-four autonomous technology will allow the vehicle to drive itself in situations other than just the highway, which likely means more capability in urban situations. The next-generation A8 arrives next year with level-three autonomous driving technology that’s limited to speeds of up to 37 mph.

In addition to the Q6 e-tron, the A9 e-tron will be the second of three EV Audi plans to add to its lineup by 2020. The automaker hasn’t announced the third model, though it predicts that by 2025, 25 percent of its lineup will be dedicated EVs. By that same year, Volkswagen Group has committed to have 30 EVs across its brands.

Next-generation Audi A8 prototype pictured above

 

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