Audi – Automobile Magazine http://www.automobilemag.com No Boring Cars! | Reviews, Auto Shows, Lifestyle Sun, 28 Aug 2016 17:04:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.3 Audi Might Be Considering RS6 Allroad for China: Report http://www.automobilemag.com/news/audi-might-considering-rs6-allroad-china-report/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/audi-might-considering-rs6-allroad-china-report/#respond Fri, 26 Aug 2016 19:50:48 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=983380 Finally, for the many, many mountain-dwelling, wagon-loving people who live near a racetrack, Audi just might have the perfect car. A new report from Autobild claims a rugged, lifted variant of the Audi RS6 Avant is on the horizon, arriving with a shiny “Allroad” badge on the rear hatch. According to the report, this uber-wagon should...

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Finally, for the many, many mountain-dwelling, wagon-loving people who live near a racetrack, Audi just might have the perfect car. A new report from Autobild claims a rugged, lifted variant of the Audi RS6 Avant is on the horizon, arriving with a shiny “Allroad” badge on the rear hatch.

According to the report, this uber-wagon should arrive sometime in 2017. Like the regular RS6 Avant, the RS6 Allroad would likely pack a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8, good for a monumental 553 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque.

If this sounds like the perfect backroad bomber for your Colorado mountain home, we’ve got some somber news. First, the regular Audi A6 Avant is a no-show on our shores, so you can forget about a weirder, more expensive, and less-popular variant making its way over here. In addition, if Autobild is to be believed, not even the home team Germans are going to get a crack at this autobahn offroader.

Only buyers in China will get their hands on the RS6 Allroad. Apparently, the strange, strange Chinese market adores high-horsepower off-road vehicles, so this would be a perfect fit. It wouldn’t cost much either, as the parts required for an Allroad conversion all come from other vehicles, and there really aren’t that many differences between the regular Avant and the lifted oddity. Essentially, the Allroad would carry special plastic body cladding, fender liners, higher heavy-duty suspension, underbody protection, and slight tuning adjustments to the all-wheel-drive system.

Look for the Audi RS6 Allroad to arrive at your local Audi dealer never.

2014 Audi RS6 Avant overhead front close up on track lines 2014 Audi RS6 Avant front three quarter in motion 2014 Audi RS6 Avant front three quarter 2014 Audi RS6 Avant front 2014 Audi RS6 Avant interior 2014 Audi RS6 Avant rear three quarter 2014 Audi RS6 Avant rear 2014 Audi RS6 Avant overhead front three quarters1 0712 02 z  2008 audi RS6 avant engine 2014 Audi RS6 Avant side going fast on track 2014 Audi RS6 Avant cockpit

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Proper Sendoff: Driving the Final Audi S4 Offered with a Manual Transmission http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2016-audi-s4-manual-sendoff-drive-ohio/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2016-audi-s4-manual-sendoff-drive-ohio/#respond Fri, 26 Aug 2016 13:05:27 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=979452 For a company who trumpets fancy slogans like “Truth in Engineering” and “Advancement Through Technology,” you’d imagine Audi would have phased the manual transmission out of its model lineup years ago. It nearly succeeded in the gearbox subjugation, but the B8 S4 remained a stick-shift holdout during the advent of the dual-clutch, right up to...

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For a company who trumpets fancy slogans like “Truth in Engineering” and “Advancement Through Technology,” you’d imagine Audi would have phased the manual transmission out of its model lineup years ago. It nearly succeeded in the gearbox subjugation, but the B8 S4 remained a stick-shift holdout during the advent of the dual-clutch, right up to the end of the 2016 model year. This is the final year for both the B8 generation of S4 and Audi’s manual transmission, at least here in the U.S. On the twilight of their departure, we took one last gulp of what made the transmission and the outgoing S4 special.

The B8 S4 arrived for the 2009 model year, packing a somewhat demure 333 hp to the 2008 BMW M3’s 414 hp and the Mercedes’ C63’s 451 hp. Then again, Audi’s S lineup was never designed to butt heads with such super sedans. The S4 and bigger S6 always aimed right down the center of the performance bull’s-eye, not leaning too far into soft, cushy comfort nor too far into the opposite end of the spectrum of punishingly harsh performance. Unlike some of its more powerful rivals, the S4 wasn’t a performance car that happened to have four doors; it was a livable, comfortable four-door sedan that was still able to crack off whip-quick lap times.

That was then, and this is now. The S4 has remained on the market for seven years, sporting only a handful of updates to keep the innards market fresh. Initially in a class of its own, the S4 now occupies a $50,000 segment bursting with options like the BMW 340i and Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG Sport (C43). Somehow, despite its age, the S4 still feels special in a segment that sometimes tries too hard.

To give the S4 a proper send-off, we scuttled down to central Ohio, where near-abandoned roads snake through hills and valleys to create an ideal, real-world test track. It’s close to a five-hour drive from metro Detroit, and the deliciously dual-purpose S4 couldn’t have been more compliant; our bottoms and our ears escaped fatigue. On the highway, the car is as reassuring and confident as any regular Audi four-door. Inside, Audi did its best to cram the sedan chock-full of gizmos and tech bits from its sizeable stable. The age of the car shows through but just barely; the car was refreshed in 2012, so the switchgear and design isn’t too stale.

Ohio State Route 26 undulates through a lush, idyllic swath of countryside, carving through a landscape of decrepit farmhouses and abandoned general stores. The road brims with elevation changes, switchbacks, and long, smooth straights. On Route 26, the S4 shed its lazy road-cruiser attitude and hopped from turn to turn with surprising lightness. The 3.0-liter doesn’t have the explosiveness of its twin-turbo counterparts, but the V-6 was exceptionally smooth. It pulled clean and hard to redline, ripping from a standstill to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, according to Audi. From behind the wheel, we’re sure that is conservative; we’ve seen tests producing the B8 S4’s 60 mph sprint at around 4.4 seconds.

2016 Audi S4 Manual 30

Despite the fun we had, it’s not perfect. The S4’s V-6 is still mounted over the front axle, serving up an unhealthy dollop of understeer when you push too hard. Ours did not have the optional rear sport differential either, an option we’ve heard makes a large difference during corner exit.

On back roads the six-speed manual is a joy. The shifter and pedals are spaced perfectly, accommodating simple heel-toe downshifts without fuss or muss. Gearing is short, so the 333 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque are managed well in tight environments.

When we finished pretending to be DTM superstars, the S4 settled down. We rejoined major highways and cruised comfortably back to Michigan, with our nerves and the car no worse for the wear. Over the course of around 800 miles, the B8 S4 and its six-speed manual proved itself to be as dual-purpose and easy to drive as sports sedans come. When the 2017 Audi S4 arrives on dealer lots, we’ll be first in line to see how the new conventional eight-speed lives up to the bygone six-speed manual. And with the handling improvements Audi has made to even the regular A4, our hopes are high for Ingolstadt’s sporty sedan.

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Track Drive: 2016 Audi TTS http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2016-audi-tts-track-drive/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2016-audi-tts-track-drive/#respond Thu, 25 Aug 2016 10:00:54 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=965761 SOUTH HAVEN, Michigan — The Audi TT has always been plagued by criticisms that it’s not a serious sports car. People have long knocked its Volkswagen Golf roots and bubbly styling, writing it off as a half-hearted performer without the handling chops of a rear-wheel-drive car. For a slew of reasons, those claims are a...

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SOUTH HAVEN, Michigan — The Audi TT has always been plagued by criticisms that it’s not a serious sports car. People have long knocked its Volkswagen Golf roots and bubbly styling, writing it off as a half-hearted performer without the handling chops of a rear-wheel-drive car. For a slew of reasons, those claims are a lot harder to make these days. Not only does the 2016 Audi TTS look the part of a proper sports car, but it hustles around a track like it’s out to prove it belongs there.

So why this feeling that $57,525 is still too much for too little, at least around a road course?

At first, the TTS is quick to earn its keep around GingerMan Raceway. It makes easy work of the wet pavement on this drizzling afternoon, the all-wheel drive working its magic around the placid stillness of GingerMan’s deeply satisfying bends. Slimy and damp sections are mowed over like they were barely there. We’re sure to be in Dynamic mode, increasing throttle response, tightening the steering, and firming up the standard magnetic ride suspension. Crucially, while in Dynamic the TTS has a rear bias and can send 100 percent of its torque to the rear axle, while still constantly monitoring conditions and delivering torque to the tires with the most grip.

2016 Audi TTS coupe side profile in motion

The dual-clutch transmission fires off shifts with perfect execution time and time again, blipping the revs to just where we need them as we brake hard into corners and never shifting unexpectedly when we need instant throttle response. The transmission and engine were such competent dance partners we never once deferred to the steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles. Few cars are this easy to just jump in and drive, and soon we’re carrying thrilling speed through GingerMan’s tightest sections while barely breaking a sweat.

While 2016 Audi TTS is no longer a servant of the foul force known as understeer, that doesn’t make it an oversteering buffoon, either. You have to snooze the stability control and put in serious work to make the TTS break out of its fiercely neutral bubble. That kind of trust and predictability is exactly what we want out of an everyday sports car, but track driving begs for a little more dialogue between you, your courage, and your car. It’s definitely quick, but for the most part, the TTS is soft-spoken.

2016 Audi TTS coupe rear three quarter in motion 01

Steering is quick and accurate, which is a gift from above whether on a road course or the street. There’s some good feedback coming through the steering wheel about what the front tires are doing, as well. The trouble is that Audi has filtered out too much of the bad, creating a degree of distance between you and the road.

We fly down the back straight well into the triple digits, watching the digital speedo nestled into Audi’s slick virtual cockpit display climb north. Urged on by the pleasant belches of the sport exhaust, the TTS and its 19-inch wheels and summer tires claw at the supremely smooth asphalt, until we plunge our little piggies into the brake pedal. The 13.3-inch front brakes with painted four-piston calipers bite hard — at least at first. After only few short sessions the pedal turns to mashed potatoes, which is something a comparably priced BMW M2 would not abide.

The flip side, of course, is that the TTS is supremely livable. On a winding road, it’s almost effortless to get up to speed and start carving corners, but the car doesn’t punish you in rush-hour traffic or on the highway. It’s in those moments we take stock of Audi’s new driver-focused interior, which is mirrored in the new R8 supercar. Ingolstadt has always had a knack for great materials and assembly. But the innovation that went into this new center-screen-less design, perfectly ergonomic steering wheel, plus the ever-so-lovely optional Nappa leather seats, is just a huge step above any car the TT competes with. Neither the BMW Z4, M2, Mercedes SLC, nor Mercedes-AMG CLA45 have done anything quite this special and thoughtful.

2016 Audi TTS coupe cabin 05

2016 Audi TTS coupe tail lamp and badge 01 2016 Audi TTS coupe wheel 2016 Audi TTS coupe engine 2016 Audi TTS coupe fuel door cover 02

Especially when it comes to the coupe, the 2016 Audi TTS makes a really strong case as an everyday luxury sports car. The 12 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk is a huge improvement compared to the 7.5 cubic feet in the roadster, and dropping the rear seats easily makes the TTS a viable chariot for a couple on a road trip. Although the design has devolved into a geometric shell of the once mind-blowing shape, the TTS undeniably looks the business, especially when it blasts around a corner in a blur of bright yellow paint.

Still, the 2016 Audi TTS wouldn’t be our first choice for a day of lapping a track as enjoyable as GingerMan. Understandable as it is for the average TTS customer, for a sports car in the mid-$50,000 range and below there are faster and more communicative cars to be had, including purebred track stars like the M2 and the Camaro SS. Of course, the competence and balance of the TTS chassis does leave us thirsty for a crack at the upcoming TT RS, which will add one cylinder, more than 100 extra horsepower, and beefier brakes for a considerably more track-focused approach.

2016 Audi TTS coupe front three quarter 07

2016 Audi TTS Coupe Specifications

On Sale: Now
Price: $52,825/$57,525 (base/as tested)
Engine: 2.0L DOHC 16-valve turbocharged I-4/292 hp @ 5,400 rpm, 280 lb-ft @ 1,900 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch automatic
Layout: 2-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, AWD coupe
EPA Mileage: 23/27 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H: 165.0 x 72.1 x 52.8 in
Wheelbase: 98.6 in
Weight: 3,241 lb
0-60 MPH: 4.6 sec
Top Speed: 102 mph
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New Audis to Offer Red Light Countdown Feature http://www.automobilemag.com/news/new-audis-will-tell-you-how-long-youll-have-to-sit-at-a-red-light/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/new-audis-will-tell-you-how-long-youll-have-to-sit-at-a-red-light/#respond Mon, 15 Aug 2016 22:00:46 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=978124 Audi is rolling out a new feature this fall that should make city driving a lot less annoying for some people. Select new Audi models will offer a traffic light information system, which can actually tell drivers how much longer they’ll be stuck at a red light. The system enables the car to communicate with...

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Audi is rolling out a new feature this fall that should make city driving a lot less annoying for some people. Select new Audi models will offer a traffic light information system, which can actually tell drivers how much longer they’ll be stuck at a red light.

The system enables the car to communicate with the infrastructure in certain “smart” cities across the U.S. While driving, an Audi car receives real-time signal information from the city’s advanced traffic management system that monitors traffic lights. The vehicle receives the information via its on-board LTE data connection and servers from Audi’s partner, Traffic Technology Services.

The feature will be available on 2017 Audi Q7, A4, and A4 Allroad models built after June 1. Drivers can view the red light countdown on the instrument cluster as well as the head-up display, if the model is equipped with one.

In the future, Audi says the traffic light feature could be used to improve stop/start systems and navigation services. Eventually, city infrastructure will not only be able to send, but also receive, data from traffic on the road. This information should allow cities to locate bottlenecks created by poorly timed lights and improve traffic.

The new feature will be available starting this year in Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., Seattle, and Portland. Expect to wait at least one or two years before it heads to Los Angeles, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Watch the video below for a closer look at this new technology.

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One Week With: 2016 Audi TTS http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2016-audi-tts-one-week-review/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2016-audi-tts-one-week-review/#respond Thu, 11 Aug 2016 11:00:13 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=971085 Groceries in the trunk, wife in the passenger seat sipping Starbucks; we’re enjoying the warm Southern California summer air with the windows down. We waft from Target to the donut shop on the corner, our backsides bathed in soft and supple leather and our ears awash with the sounds of Hugh Laurie’s piano in “St....

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Groceries in the trunk, wife in the passenger seat sipping Starbucks; we’re enjoying the warm Southern California summer air with the windows down. We waft from Target to the donut shop on the corner, our backsides bathed in soft and supple leather and our ears awash with the sounds of Hugh Laurie’s piano in “St. James Infirmary.” We’re living the supposed American dream. Everything should be perfect, but the 2016 Audi TTS we’re in makes me feel like something’s missing.

Its turbocharged engine is peppy and its Quattro all-wheel drive, combined with capable Pirelli P-Zero tires, keeps the TTS planted at enthusiastic speeds on the long sweeping canyon roads of Angeles National forest. Yet I can’t seem to find a reason to care. I’m struck with the persistent notion that the TTS is just a car. It simply doesn’t feel special — a huge problem for a car costing almost $60,000.

2016 Audi TTS rear three quarter 07

The aforementioned soft and supple leather – the seats it wraps are comfortable and supportive for most body types – is the highlight of the interior. The rest of which is just…meh. Quality plastics, leather, and aluminum are liberally used throughout, but in a bland manner lacking any hint of spice or charming quality that makes you want to linger in the driver’s seat. It is a space inspired by Ben Stein’s soft, monotone voice.

This inspiration seems to extend, uncharacteristically for an Audi with a Bang & Olufsen, to the optional premium stereo. The fidelity and lacking bass oomph doesn’t gel with the $950 price tag.

2016 Audi TTS front end

Unlike its bulbous predecessors, the 2016 TTS has sharp, angular lines that make it look perpetually pissed off. Its R8-inspired wheels add to this effect. Unfortunately for Audi, which made the mistake of sticking the exact same body on every single one of its cars, today’s automotive marketplace is full of aggressively-styled cars – e.g. Lexus’s entire lineup. As a result, the aggression is muted and the car’s overall design suffers since nothing about it is unique.

Mechanically, what supposedly makes the TTS special mechanically has been lifted from Volkswagen’s Mk.7 Golf R. Its 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 cylinder engine develops the same 292 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque as the family-oriented hot-hatch. It even uses the same Haldex all-wheel drive system and the same six-speed dual-clutch transmission. Given that the Golf R was one of our All-Stars, you’d think that the same drivetrain in a two-door coupe would be one of our favorite things ever. You’d be wrong.

2016 Audi TTS cabin

Somehow, Audi managed to remove much of the fun. On the tight switchback roads of California’s Angeles Crest Highway, the TTS feels surefooted. There’s no roll or pitch as you hammer the car through the turns. It stays flat, giving confidence to push as hard as you dare. But it doesn’t matter how hard or how long you spank the car up and down mountain roads, you’ll never really develop a connection with it. Instead, you’ll find yourself mentally scrolling through your grocery list as if the canyon drive is just another day at the office.

In the Golf R, you feel as if you shouldn’t be able to do the things it’s capable of doing. It feels like it’s entirely too fast for public consumption, let alone for strapping a child or dog into the back seats. And that’s exactly what the TTS is missing, that sense of wonderment of what the car is capable of. It just does it, and in this respect, the TTS feels like a smaller Nissan GT-R. There’s no fun in removing the driver from the equation, letting the car do all the work.

2016 Audi TTS grille

Why Not Just Buy a Cayman?

Base price for the Audi TTS is $52,825 including destination. The brand new 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman? At $54,950 with the Porsche you get so much more, as long as you’re willing to give up all-wheel drive and go easy on the options list. It’s not only faster than the TTS, but it’s more precisely balanced than the 718 Cayman thanks to its mid-engine layout. You also get the enhanced brand cachet of owning a Porsche. And those that love the act of driving are able to get a 718 Cayman with a manual transmission, something unavailable in the dual-clutch-only TTS.

2016 Audi TTS rear three quarter 05

Another omission is that, unlike Porsche and its Boxster, Audi doesn’t offer a convertible version of the TTS. (For now you can only get a drop-top version of the base TT, although the upcoming TT RS is expected to arrive on U.S. shores as both a coupe and convertible). Recently, we sent executive editor Mac Morrison to drive the new Boxster, and he came back with nothing but praise for the new Porsche, saying, “Indeed, the new Porsche 718s remain focused performance cars, with sublime balance through corners, and the engine and chassis changes mean they take those corners faster than ever before. It’s the best in its class.”

In the end, you’ll be happier with the Cayman or the Boxster. They’re better cars, have a better nameplate behind it and you won’t feel like you’re in a slightly more expensive Volkswagen.

2016 Audi TTS Specifications

On Sale: Now
Price: $52,825/$58,975 (base/as tested)
Engine: 2.0L turbocharged DOHC 16-valve Inline-4/292 hp @ 5,400 rpm, 280 lb-ft @ 1,900 rpm
Transmission:  6-speed dual clutch automatic
Layout: 2-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, AWD coupe
L x W x H 165.0 x 72.1 x 52.8
Weight 3,241 lb
EPA Mileage: 23/27 mpg (city/highway)
0-60 MPH: 4.6 sec
Top Speed: 155 mph (electronically limited)
2016 Audi TTS front three quarter 01 2016 Audi TTS front three quarter 03 2016 Audi TTS rear three quarter 01 2016 Audi TTS badge 01 2016 Audi TTS rear three quarter 04 2016 Audi TTS badge 02 2016 Audi TTS rear three quarter 03 2016 Audi TTS body detail 2016 Audi TTS rear end 03 2016 Audi TTS rear three quarter detail 2016 Audi TTS front three quarter 04 2016 Audi TTS badge 03 2016 Audi TTS steering wheel 2016 Audi TTS side profile detail 01 2016 Audi TTS seats 2016 Audi TTS rear three quarter 06 2016 Audi TTS rear end 01 2016 Audi TTS side profile detail 02 2016 Audi TTS rear end 02 2016 Audi TTS rear three quarter 02

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A Dangerous Situation in a 2016 Audi RS7 Performance http://www.automobilemag.com/news/dangerous-situation-2016-audi-rs7-performance/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/dangerous-situation-2016-audi-rs7-performance/#respond Wed, 03 Aug 2016 15:00:06 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=972707 SANTA CLARITA, California – Friday night. The fire could be seen from a ridge near our house. I wasn’t worried, though – there was still plenty of distance and it appeared that the brave men and women of fire departments around Los Angeles County had the situation under control. I was only upset that I...

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SANTA CLARITA, California – Friday night. The fire could be seen from a ridge near our house. I wasn’t worried, though – there was still plenty of distance and it appeared that the brave men and women of fire departments around Los Angeles County had the situation under control. I was only upset that I had forgotten my camera at work, rendering me unable to take beautiful photos of the fire as it danced along the night sky.

I woke the next morning with an ashen taste in my mouth. Bags of precious keepsakes, six dogs, and whatever else we could think of were ready by the door in case the fire department told us to evacuate. Never have I appreciated having access to a car like the 605-horsepower 2016 Audi RS7 Performance more than during this tumultuous time.

As the second day of this raging inferno went on and the Santa Clarita valley became caked in the ash and soot of over twelve thousand acres of Angeles National Forest, We watched the news, nervously cradling our phones waiting for alerts; every sound felt like the fire department was about to tell us to get the hell out of dodge.

2016 Audi RS7 Performance side profile 01

An Untamed Monster

Heading home on Friday, my first impression of the Audi RS7 was that of it being unbalanced. The twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 engine is categorically manic; a simple prod of the throttle sends the turbos spooling and feels like a launch into a parallel dimension. If Tesla hadn’t scooped up Ludicrous Mode, Audi would’ve had a better name for the RS7’s Dynamic Mode.

An aggressive push of the accelerator jolts you into your seat with jet-like vigor, pinning occupants with the sort of ferocity that could cause older passengers and young children to get whiplash. While those of the right age and temperament will have a blast goosing the gas pedal at every light, that speed will also get them into trouble, and not just with Johnny Law.

The RS7’s steering feel is beyond vague. Ray Charles would have a better chance finding a black cat in a dark room. The steering itself is precise, but it feels as if you’re playing a racing simulator from the early 2000s, before haptic feedback and well-calibrated gaming rigs were ever conceived. Thus, you’re never really sure that the front tires are in contact with the road. Combined with the car’s panic-attack inducing speed, this lack of feedback can catch you unaware when making high-speed directional changes. Something I really wish Audi had sorted as the doomsday scenarios played in my mind while the flames kept creeping closer.

But that’s not all. The standard carbon-ceramic brakes meant to stop the substantial 4,497-lb sedan felt as if they needed a considerable amount of heat in them before they provided enough braking force.

2016 Audi RS7 Performance headlamp

Heating Up

110 degrees, winds constantly changing direction, and a never-ending stream of phone calls and texts from friends and family worried for our safety. My wife and I were making routine walks to the ridge near our house to see how close the flames were getting. They had already evacuated a section of homes nearby and an animal sanctuary right smack dab in the middle of a blaze that had reached over 22,000 acres.

Two weeks prior, my parents, my wife, a few friends and I had shot a video of a GT350 in the very spot that was now engulfed in the wildfire. My thoughts drifted back to the potential energy of the Audi RS7, and if it would be fast enough to take my family out of harm’s way if the fires came closer.

Thankfully, the Audi’s interior is spacious enough to accommodate my wife, myself, and our four dogs. And the two other dogs we were watching over the weekend. Unlike the outgoing Porsche Panamera and its drastic sloped roof, the RS7’s rear seats have plenty of head and leg room. Or at least good enough that our 60lb husky wouldn’t be cramped while the other five scurry around the rear seats.

Additionally, the trunk — back hatch, really – provides a sizable amount of space; there was enough for our clothes, pictures, dog food, and the important document “Go”box we would have had to bring had we been told to evacuate. And as the skies blackened and the ash began to fall faster, that moment appeared to be descending upon us.

2016 Audi RS7 Performance front three quarter 02

Shifting Winds

Around 4pm on Saturday, the wind shifted and gave the fire more fuel. Smoke could be seen from our offices in El Segundo, roughly 40 miles to the south, blocking out the sun and giving the entire area an eerie red hue. An eighth of an inch of ash lay everywhere, as if a volcano had erupted. The landscape became otherworldly even to the most seasoned of Southern California residents.

Santa Clarita fire 06 Santa Clarita fire 01 Santa Clarita fire 03 Santa Clarita fire 02

For hours, we nervously kept ourselves busy watching TV, reading books, and trying to keep the dogs from committing mutiny and eating us alive as they became increasingly bored and hyperactive confined indoors.

Darkness—nighttime that is—edged closer and still firefighters continued to battle the flames, giving those affected time to either mount a proper defense or safely leave the area, leaving behind their homes and memories. As the winds shifted and whipped up the flames to new heights, anxiety settled as we waited for the word to come down from the fire department. Evacuate.

Santa Clarita fire 07

A Stupid Thought

Midway through a mild panic attack, my mind wandered to Audi’s reaction to me shoving all my stuff into the RS7 without care. Worst still, I’d have to throw six dogs into the plush leather, carbon fiber, and Alcantara lined super sedan. “This is a $140,000 car,” I told myself. “The leather alone will likely need to be replaced as the dogs nails will dig into it as they hold on for dear life when I floor the car to get away from the encroaching flames. Mike (our Editor in Chief) and Audi are going to never give me a car again!”

I knew deep down it wouldn’t matter, but when you’re the newest kid on the block, you’d like to not screw up the other kid’s playground; especially if that playground has beautifully stitched and supple leather and Alcantara seats. It’s just not a thing you’d wish to do no matter what the circumstances may be, even life threatening ones. But like I said, a stupid thought.

2016 Audi RS7 Performance rear three quarter 02

Sunday. Daybreak.

During the night, the firefighters managed to contain 10% of the fire. That is until the winds started blowing faster and the fire began to quickly spread once again. 12,000 acres had become 22,000 acres, which soon became 35,000 acres, with smoke hanging in the air like a perpetual fog that choked all those that entered it.

The winds were constantly shifting, fueling the fire and sending it straight towards our neighborhood. Our bags still packed inched closer to the garage and the back of the RS7. We watched the news and intermittently headed outside to gauge the fire’s proximity.

It was getting close.

Fire crews armed with heavy lift helicopters and fire suppression planes became a more regular sight, buzzing our home with greater frequency. The constant noise from the rotors set our dogs off every time they passed. As we climbed up a near slope to gain a better look, six fire engines and a couple police cruisers blitzed into a neighborhood right behind ours, getting ready to protect those homeowners and attempt to stop the advancement of the blaze.

California highway 14 was closed except for evacuations during this period. For three straight days, the Audi’s 605 horsepower twin-turbo V-8 was ready to whisk us away.

Santa Clarita fire 05

A More Restful Night

Danger eased come Monday. That evening, as we gathered our bags and started to put all our stuff back into its proper place, firefighters were still battling the blaze fire that had spread though much of the Angeles National Forest. Smoke and ash could still be seen in the dying of the light, but it was no longer lingering in the air, glistening in the blood red sun, or choking us every time we stepped outside. Our community was safe from the fire’s path, which now led further east, away from Santa Clarita and its residents.

The RS7 then, wouldn’t be called on. Its usefulness as a getaway car, though, was appreciated. It was a tool that I was glad to have my disposal should the need arise. But is the RS7 a good car? I’m not completely sold on that. The $140,000 price tag seems high for what is essentially an A7 with a massive engine. Additionally, the car’s dash and central controls feel a generation old, definitely not as up-market as the price would have you believe. But would it make for a great car for when you need to escape the apocalypse? Hell yes.

2016 Audi RS7 Performance side profile 02

2016 Audi RS7 Performance Specifications

On Sale: Now
Price: $129, 500, $141,950 (base/as tested)
Engine:

4.0L DOHC 32-valve Twin-Turbocharged V-8/605 hp @ 6,100-6,800 rpm,

516 lb-ft @ 1,750-6,000 rpm (553 lb-ft @ 2,500-5,500 rpm with overboost)

Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Layout: 4-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, AWD sedan
EPA Mileage: 16/26 mpg (city/highway)
L x W x H: 197.3 in x 75.2 in x 55.9 in
Wheelbase: 114.8 in
Weight: 4,497 lb
0-60 MPH: 3.6 sec
Top Speed: 190 mph
2016 Audi RS7 Performance side profile 02 2016 Audi RS7 Performance wheel 2016 Audi RS7 Performance rear three quarter 01 2016 Audi RS7 Performance front three quarter 02 2016 Audi RS7 Performance side profile 01 2016 Audi RS7 Performance grille 2016 Audi RS7 Performance front three quarter 01 2016 Audi RS7 Performance rear three quarter 02 2016 Audi RS7 Performance headlamp

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2017 Audi A4 Allroad Starts at $44,950 http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-audi-a4-allroad-starts-44950/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-audi-a4-allroad-starts-44950/#respond Tue, 26 Jul 2016 16:09:06 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=970751 The 2017 Audi A4 Allroad will start at $44,950 when it heads to dealerships this fall. The wagon, which debuted earlier this year at the Detroit auto show, features the A4 sedan’s new 2.0-liter engine as well as off-road capability. The A4 Allroad comes equipped with a redesigned 2.0-liter turbo-four producing 252 hp and 273...

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The 2017 Audi A4 Allroad will start at $44,950 when it heads to dealerships this fall. The wagon, which debuted earlier this year at the Detroit auto show, features the A4 sedan’s new 2.0-liter engine as well as off-road capability.

The A4 Allroad comes equipped with a redesigned 2.0-liter turbo-four producing 252 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. That’s more juice than the 2016 Allroad, which made 220 hp and 258 lb-ft. Also new is a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission, replacing the eight-speed automatic on the previous model.  All these changes warrant a higher price tag; the 2017 A4 Allroad is about $1,300 more expensive than the outgoing model.

Standard features on the A4 Allroad include a panoramic sunroof, leather seating surfaces, three-zone automatic climate control, LED daytime running lights, and “Audi pre sense basic” that sharpens the brakes and adjusts seat belt tensioning in preparation for impact. Stepping up to the mid-level Premium Plus trim will cost $47,950. Top-of-the-line Prestige models, which come standard with Audi side assist and Audi pre sense rear, will set buyers back $52,350.

Unlike the sedan, the A4 Allroad benefits from an additional 34 mm of ground clearance as well as off-road features including added underbody protection, raised roof rails, hill descent control, and a special off-road driving mode. Quattro all-wheel drive is standard, and the model also promises more cargo capacity than the sedan.

Source: Audi

Audi A4 Allroad Quattro rear three quarters 02 Audi A4 Allroad Quattro rear three quarters 03 Audi A4 Allroad Quattro rear three quarters 04 Audi A4 Allroad Quattr front interior 02 Audi A4 Allroad Quattro front three quarters in motion Audi A4 Allroad Quattro profile Audi A4 Allroad Quattro badge Audi A4 Allroad Quattro rear three quarters

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2017 Audi A5 and S5 First Drive http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-audi-a5-s5-first-drive/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-audi-a5-s5-first-drive/#respond Wed, 22 Jun 2016 18:02:02 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=958641 Standing on the shoulders of giants allows us to see far, indeed, but playing leapfrog with giants can be next to impossible. Case in point: the new 2017 Audi A5 and its sporty S5 variant. The original A5 was designed by Walter de Silva, who described it as the most beautiful car he ever penned....

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Standing on the shoulders of giants allows us to see far, indeed, but playing leapfrog with giants can be next to impossible. Case in point: the new 2017 Audi A5 and its sporty S5 variant. The original A5 was designed by Walter de Silva, who described it as the most beautiful car he ever penned. Even today, nearly 10 years on, the design holds up well. Trying—and not quite managing—to clear the shoulders of the previous A5 in a single bound, the newest A5 does not fare so well in the eyes of the aesthete.

From its pinched, lemon-sucking nose to the multi-straked hood, the new A5 gives a busy first impression. Along the side, the previous A5’s sensuous curves echo in the creased character line—but that crease is too sharp, casting a severe, overhanging shadow, especially where it is formed by the cutline of the hood. The greenhouse profile and rear three-quarters offer shades of the new Camaro; this is probably not a good thing for a premium-targeted sport coupe. The swell of the body over the fenders, however, works quite well, especially on the S5, and bodes well for the wider, even raunchier RS5 to come (and it is coming). In short, it feels like every detail was designed in a vacuum, without an eye for how it all comes together.

None of this is to say the new A5 is an ugly car, or one that will be likely to drive away fans. Rather, the new A5 is a perfectly good-looking car that has the marked misfortune of following a gorgeous one. Inside, however, the story is fortunately different. The A5 reflects the new A4’s tech-focused look precisely yet somehow retains a kind of warmth that’s often lacking in German car interiors. Is it on par with the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class in design and premium feel? No, but neither is the BMW 3 Series—or any other car in the segment—and what the Audi may lack in expressive design, it makes up for with cutting-edge tech.

2018 Audi A5 interior 1 2018 Audi A5 center console gear knob 2018 Audi A5 interior seats 02 2018 Audi A5 center screen

Like the TT, R8, and A4 before it, the A5 gets Audi’s new driver-centric instrument panel display, which allows the entire cluster to be reconfigured to show Google Earth-driven navigation data, performance instruments, and more. A HUD display relays those directions right into the driver’s line of sight. For those desiring a more conventional arrangement of information, the center display can handle navigation and media duties, as well.

But the A5 and S5 are luxury coupes—so it’s not just about how they look and the gadgets inside. How they drive is important, too. Here, the base A5 ticks most of the right boxes but leaves the driver a bit underwhelmed. The 252-hp, 273-lb-ft 2.0-liter TFSI turbocharged four-cylinder engine is punchy, with ample torque throughout the rev range, making it an easy car to drive quickly. Both the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission in the A5 and the eight-speed paddle-shifted automatic transmission in the 3.0-liter TFSI V6-powered S5 are quick, smart, and as hiccup-free as any on the market. The Quattro all-wheel-drive system vectors torque and offers a self-locking center differential that ensures great all-weather forward traction.

2018 Audi S5 front three quarter in motion 05

On the handling side, the A5 is a bit numb on the front end. Steering feel exists but is essentially nondescriptive; it just imparts a sense of weight rather than any idea of how much grip remains as the tires build toward the adhesion limit. The linearity of the buildup during cornering feels synthetic, unnatural. The chassis is stiff, the suspension relatively compliant (especially on the smaller 18-inch wheel/tire combo), and ride quality is good while controlling body roll. All of these add up to a car that will thrash a curvy road with aplomb at very brisk speeds, but without the spirited joy of a true sport coupe.

Dynamic mode makes the ride harsher without a perceptible improvement in actual vehicle dynamics—a typical move for modern sport and luxury coupes, based on customer focus-grouping rather than performance. Likewise, the transmission in Dynamic mode can deliver the occasional harsh, oddly timed shift. Fortunately, you’re not limited to a simple three-mode buffet; you can build the Individual mode to suit your tastes, dialing in drivetrain, suspension, and other settings independently.

The S5’s front end is much livelier, and steering feel is more natural and more communicative of both the road surface and the build/fall of grip levels. The overall balance feels more neutral than in the A5, like the car will gradually release with all four corners past the limit, rather than the nose letting go first, and terminally, as in the A5.

Like the A5’s four-cylinder, the S5’s V-6 engine is strong, with good mid-range acceleration and on-demand torque (max torque of 369 lb-ft arrives at just 1,370 rpm), but ultimately lacks the frenetic surge of power you might expect from a car with a 354-hp rating, despite an estimated 4.5-second 0-60 mph time. As more than one colleague put it, the S5’s engine lacks personality. But again, tech makes up for anything that is missing: The new S5’s 3.0-liter TFSI V-6 uses a “hot V” setup that integrates the exhaust manifolds into the heads and mounts a single, rather large turbo on top of the engine between them. The engineering is brilliant, both in terms of thermal management and packaging, and is what enables the S5’s always-on-tap torque.

If any of this makes it sound like the A5 and S5 are in any way boring cars—or cars that you’d be anything but perfectly happy to wake up to every morning—chalk it up to slightly dashed hopes, because both variants of the new Audi coupe are smart, fun, and extremely capable. Compared to the previous A5, the new car is a much better handler, even if it still isn’t a stunner of a performance coupe. It’s also lighter by up to 132 pounds, depending on the trim package in Europe; what we get here in the U.S. may alter that figure. And it is stiffer, more aerodynamic, and packed full of better technology, driver aids, and much-improved engines.

It’s just that in the world of the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the new Cadillac ATS, and even the new Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang, it’s become the norm to expect more than just a good-looking coupe that’s packed with technology and easy to drive in the daily grind. We’ve come to expect cars that carve canyons like a chainsaw artist at a lumberjacking festival, without forgetting about the grocery list or the three-piece suit in the closet at home. But, then, there’s always the RS5

2018 Audi S5 side

2017 Audi A5/S5 Specifications

On Sale: Spring 2017
Price: $42,000/$54,500 (base) (est)
Engines: 2.0L turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4/252 hp @ 5,000-6,000 rpm,
273 lb-ft @ 1,600-4,500 rpm;
3.0L turbocharged DOHC 24-valve V-6/354 hp @ 5,400-6,400 rpm,
369 lb-ft @ 1,370-4,500rpm
Transmissions: 7-speed dual-clutch/8-speed automatic
Layout: 2-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, AWD coupe
EPA Mileage: N/A
L x W x H: 184.0/184.7 x 72.7 x 54/53.9 in
Wheelbase: 108.8 in
Weight: 3,307/3,560 lb (European spec)
0-60 MPH: 5.6/4.5 sec (est)
Top Speed: 155 mph
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Ignition Takes the 2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus to Big Willow (W/Video) http://www.automobilemag.com/news/ignition-takes-2017-audi-r8-v10-plus-big-willow-wvideo/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/ignition-takes-2017-audi-r8-v10-plus-big-willow-wvideo/#respond Mon, 20 Jun 2016 19:08:39 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=957655 On the latest episode of “Ignition,” host Jonny Lieberman gets behind the wheel of the second-generation 2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus with the hopes of answering one question: Can Audi’s supercar avoid the sophomore slump? Not only did Lieberman want to find out if the R8 replacement can stack up against the original, he wanted...

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On the latest episode of “Ignition,” host Jonny Lieberman gets behind the wheel of the second-generation 2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus with the hopes of answering one question: Can Audi’s supercar avoid the sophomore slump?

Not only did Lieberman want to find out if the R8 replacement can stack up against the original, he wanted to see if it was as good as its mechanically identical sibling, the Lamborghini Huracán. Every aspect of this supercar gets explored, from the design to performance on the street and track.

Looking at the numbers, the new Audi R8 V10 Plus gets a performance bump from the outgoing model, delivering 602 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque from its 5.2-liter naturally aspirated V-10 engine without superchargers or turbochargers. “When you’re driving the R8, you just want to be on the throttle. The engine is just so damn magnificent,” said Lieberman.

With a 0-60 mph time of 2.6 seconds and a quarter mile time of 10.6 seconds at 129.8 mph, it’s time to take the 2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus to Big Willow and let professional race car driver Randy Pobst get behind the wheel. “It’s very controllable, but the understeer is actually downright frustrating,” said Pobst during his warmup lap.

Check out the video below to see the second-gen Audi R8 V10 Plus in action.

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Watch the Audi R8 V10 Plus WEC Safety Car Execute a Perfect Drift http://www.automobilemag.com/news/watch-audi-r8-v10-plus-wec-safety-car-execute-perfect-accidental-drift/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/watch-audi-r8-v10-plus-wec-safety-car-execute-perfect-accidental-drift/#respond Fri, 17 Jun 2016 16:43:21 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=956945 The 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans is fast approaching, and the participating teams just wrapped up qualifying sessions to solidify this year’s starting grid. Unfortunately, torrential rain turned qualifying into a Slip-‘N-Slide affair, with low visibility and dangerously slick surfaces. The track was so washed out, even the Audi R8 safety car was caught...

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The 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans is fast approaching, and the participating teams just wrapped up qualifying sessions to solidify this year’s starting grid. Unfortunately, torrential rain turned qualifying into a Slip-‘N-Slide affair, with low visibility and dangerously slick surfaces. The track was so washed out, even the Audi R8 safety car was caught in an accidental drift.

While the rain continued to fall, the third qualifying session was red flagged due to worsening conditions. Before the red flag fell, some of the drivers were having a rough time out on the glassy tarmac. In the video below, a Ferrari 488 GTE is caught executing a pitch-perfect 360-degree spin around the 0:18 second mark.

With the track empty, WEC safety car driver Yannick Dalmas navigated the swamped circuit in the Audi R8 V10 Plus safety car to determine the safety of track. The conditions were so soggy, Dalmas’ R8 began to lose grip mid-corner. Not only did Dalmas save the Audi from the impending spin, but he performed a near-perfect four-wheel drift, saving the R8 and making him look quite heroic.

Despite this deliciously perfect drift, it isn’t really a surprise that Dalmas pulled it off. He has quite a colorful competition history under his belt, with 24 Formula 1 Grand Prix starts in the late 1980s and early 1990s. While he didn’t find much success in Formula 1, he made the switch to Le Mans prototypes in the mind 1990s, and proceeded to win Le Mans four separate times, each time under the banner of a different manufacturer.

Take a look at the video below to see an Audi R8 drift worthy of Formula D.

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http://www.automobilemag.com/news/watch-audi-r8-v10-plus-wec-safety-car-execute-perfect-accidental-drift/feed/ 0 Watch the Audi R8 V10 Plus WEC Safety Car Accidentally Execute a Perfect Drift - Automobile With the water level reaching dangerous levels during qualifying, the safety car is caught performing a perfect four-wheel drift in the inclement weather. safety car