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Audi Shoots for the Moon

German automaker outlines tech goals – including new moon mission.

by on Jan.12, 2016

Audi's U.S. CEO Scott Keogh, left, and Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, talk about Audi during the Detroit Auto Show.

It weighs just 75 pounds, boasts wheels made of a titanium-aluminum alloy, and its “sunroof” is an array of solar panels. The little buggy rolling around the Audi stand at the North American International Auto Show isn’t nearly as sleek and sexy as the rest of the vehicles Audi has on display. But it doesn’t have to be, not when it comes time to start rolling around the surface of the moon.

The German maker is lending its financial support to a team of scientists chasing the latest Xprize. They hope to launch their mobile lab next year atop an Indian rocket, and if all goes well, it will travel nearly a quarter-million miles before landing on the Taurus Littrow Valley – which just happened to be the last place an Apollo moon mission landed 43 years ago.

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“We plan to go back and look at the (lunar rover) they left behind,” Karsten Becker, a member of the German team told TheDetroitBureau.com. During the 11 days it’s expected to be operational, the Audi-funded buggy will also perform a wide range of experiments before being plunged into the deep freeze of a lunar night. (more…)

Audi Allroad Shooting Brake Defies Easier Categorization

Is it crossover, wagon…or something new?

by on Jan.12, 2014

Audi's Allroad Shoot Brake concept may have observers wondering what it is: crossover, sport utility or station wagon?

Automakers seem to take delight in delivering new designs that don’t fall into any handy category. The idea is to find new “white space” that the competition hasn’t thought up yet. And that seems to be what Audi has in mind with the Allroad shooting brake it will formally unveil this week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The luxury maker alternately refers to the concept vehicle as a “crossover” and a “shooting brake,” a British term that usually translates into “wagon.” We can understand Audi’s reluctance to use that term, particularly in the U.S., where station wagons are anathema to most buyers. But call it what you will, the Allroad shooting brake concept picks up on the more sporty, wagon-esque stance that is quite popular in Europe and many other parts of the world. And it just might be handsome enough to click with American buyers, as well.

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It better. Audi’s tech director, Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, suggests the show car is “offering very concrete glimpses of the near future.” In other words, expect to see it in production in the very near future. (more…)

First Drive: 2013 Audi Allroad

Plenty going for Audi's latest wagon, er, ute, er, whatever you want to call it.

by on Aug.15, 2012

Audi brings back the Allroad - in smaller, more affordable form.

Audi is likely to confuse some potential customers in the months ahead.  The maker has announced it will stop importing the wagon version of its small A4, known as the Avant, in 2013.  So what should a buyer make of the vehicle that will be taking its place?  Replacing the Avant, Audi has begun importing the new Allroad.  And, yes, if it looks like a wagon to you, you’re not alone whatever the German maker wants to call it.

But before writing the new offering off, wagon-phobic shoppers should give pause.  The 2013 Audi Allroad is an attractive, fun and highly functional addition to the maker’s line-up.  And if it had to come down to a choice between Avant and Allroad, Audi has come up with the right decision.

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Audi aficionados will undoubtedly recognize the Allroad name.  The maker previously sold a model bearing that badge between 1999 and 2005.  But the original model was bigger – based on the same platform as that era’s Audi A6, and worked hard at passing itself off as a sport-utility vehicle.  Though you can order optional side-cladding, just like the old model, the 2013 Audi Allroad has been downsized to share the A4 platform.  It loses the height-adjustable air suspension and optional two-speed transfer case, as well as the original’s knobby, off-road tires.

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First Look: 2012 Audi A4 and S4

Getting ready to take on the new BMW 3-Series.

by on Oct.27, 2011

Audi makes some modest but notable changes to the A4 and S4 for the upcoming model-year.

It’s never easy to go up against a powerhouse like the BMW 3-Series, and that’s especially true when an all-new version of the Bavarian juggernaut is getting ready to roll into showrooms.  So, it’s understandable why Audi is also getting ready for a mid-cycle update of its own compact luxury line, with updated A4 and S4 models slated for 2012.

Don’t expect anything radical.  Audi isn’t tearing up the blueprints and starting over.  The basic dimensions remain largely the same.  The new model is stretched by a few millimeters – unlike the 3-Series, which grows substantially for 2012.  But Audi aficionados will recognize there are some significant changes, nonetheless.

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The most distinctive, however, will be found under the hood, with a range of new or modified engines for the global line-up expected to deliver both better mileage and improved horsepower and torque.  New Stop/Start technology is one way Audi has been able to pull off that seemingly incongruous improvement.

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