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Audi Goes Evolutionary With New A4

Maker ensures new model chock full of technology.

by on Sep.15, 2015

The fifth-generation A4 is generating plenty of enthusiasm as Audi expects it to deliver some notable improvements in fuel economy.

After the debut of a new battery-electric SUV with a 300-mile range, you might expect the new Audi A4 to get lost in the shuffle at the annual Frankfurt Motor Show, especially with the new sedan opting for mostly subtle, evolutionary changes rather than the revolutionary updates of generations past.

Nonetheless, the fifth-generation A4 is generating plenty of enthusiasm as Audi expects it to deliver some notable improvements in fuel economy. Lower emissions and higher mileage were two of the key targets for the 2016 Audi A4. Audi claims best-in-class aerodynamics help it get there.

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The new compact model also gets a lot of new technologies, some lifted from the top-line Audi A8, others entirely new to the Audi brand. (more…)

Audi Nanuk Quattro Concept is One Wild Ride

Another surprise from Frankfurt.

by on Sep.10, 2013

Audi teamed with Italdesign on the Nanuk Concept.

Audi, it seems, is full of surprises as it helps get the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show underway.  We’ve already gotten a look at the Sport Quattro Concept and the new 2014 A3 Cabriolet, but this year the maker is kicking in with a third new design, the wild and striking Audi Nanuk Quattro Concept.

Bearing hints of a tricked-out A7 – with just a hint, dare we say it, of a Chevy Camaro – it’s an all-wheel-drive, turbo-diesel supercar designed by the legendary Italdesign Giugiaro. Oh, and if the Nanuk creates a sense of déjà vu, no surprise. The Italdesign team just happened to craft the not-so-coincidentally similar Giugiaro Parcour Concept for Audi earlier this year.

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Like the Sport Quattro Concept, the Nanuk highlights the Audi all-wheel-drive system, and it is also meant to prove that high performance is not necessarily synonymous with low fuel economy.

The Nanuck’s twin-turbocharged 5.0-liter V-10 turbodiesel pours out a solid 544 horsepower – but what’s really impressive is its 738 pound-feet of torque delivered through a modified 7-speed Steptronic gearbox.  That’s enough to launch the nearly 4,200-pound concept vehicle from 0 to 100 kmh – 0 to 62.5 mph – in a mere 3.8 seconds, with Nanuck top speed rated at 190 mph.


First Look: 2014 Audi A3 Cabriolet

Audi adds another option to its new entry-level line-up.

by on Sep.09, 2013

The Audi A3 Cabriolet for 2014 continues the makers expansion of its product line-up in the U.S.

We’re expecting to hear a lot about the Audi Sport Quattro Concept, already generating the buzz likely to make it one of the big hits of this week’s Frankfurt Motor Show. But let’s clear the air…the luxury maker has some other interesting offerings to show us, including the new 2014 Audi A3 Cabriolet.

It will become the latest in a growing line-up of entry-level body styles replacing the old A3 model, starting with the wagon we saw in Geneva earlier this year, followed by the A3 sedan developed specifically for the American market and unveiled at last spring’s NY Auto Show.

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The fourth model in the new A3 range will stick with a conventional fabric roof that Audi promises can be opened and closed in a mere 18 seconds – and which will operate at modest speeds allowing a driver to get out of the rain without having to pull over. The top will be completely concealed, Audi adds, when retracted. (more…)

Audi Unveils Sport Quattro Concept Ahead of Frankfurt

Show car pays homage with a forward-looking design and 700-hp plug-in powertrain.

by on Sep.04, 2013

Audi offers a modern take on some classic design details with the Sport Quattro Concept.

Audi’s homage to the ur-Quattro of years past will make its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show barely a week from now but the automaker is already offering us up a few different angles on the striking Audi Sport Quattro Concept.

The “legitimate successor” to the ‘80s-era Audi Quattro also provides a sneak peak at the sporty coupe expected to make it to market in about two year’s time. Whether the production model will share the high-performance plug-in hybrid drivetrain found in the coupe remains to be seen, however.

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The new Audi Sport Quattro Concept – which updates a concept vehicle Audi revealed at the 2010 Paris Motor Show — clearly pays its respects to the original Quattro coupe, with details such as the angular, flat C-pillars, the rectangular double headlights, the blisters above the fenders, and the overall, muscular design. But don’t confuse this with some of the retro-mobiles we’ve seen in recent years.

The Audi Sport Quattro Concept features a 700-hp plug-in hybrid drivetrain.


Audi Bringing Quattro Sport E-Tron Concept to Frankfurt

Angular plug-in hybrid said to deliver over 700 hp.

by on Aug.14, 2013

Audi will update the 2010 Quattro Concept with a new plug-in drive system.

Audi apparently plans to electrify the Quattro Concept it first revealed at the Paris Motor Show three years ago when it brings the Quattro Sport E-Tron Concept to the Frankfurt Motor Show next month.

Rumors of a new Quattro prototype have been making the rounds of the automotive circuit in recent months and what to be official Audi sketches have surfaced in news magazine Auto Zeitung and elsewhere in Germany, clearly through authorized leaks from the Volkswagen luxury subsidiary.

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The basic design is quite similar to that of the 2010 Quattro Concept, harkening back to the long-nosed, angular-backed shape of the original, 1980 Audi four-wheel-drive model. In terms of dimensions, the 2013 Sport E-Tron will come in about five inches shorter than a production Audi S5.


Closer Look: Audi A2 Concept

Audi takes aim at BMW’s new i3 battery car.

by on Sep.07, 2011

The Audi A2 Concept is aimed to challenge the new BMW i3 urban micro battery car.

After providing some initial renderings of its new A2, the folks at Audi have decided to go all-out – almost – and provide more complete images and a few more details about the new battery minicar making its debut at the Frankfurt  Motor Show next week.

As we earlier noted, American motorists are used to equating price with pounds and inches.  The bigger and heavier the better.  But Europeans recognize that good things often come in small packages.  And with fuel prices surging to nearly $10 a gallon in some Continental markets there’s growing demand for small luxury cars like the Audi A2.

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What Europeans have lagged behind on is the adoption of hybrid technology.  Diesels have long been the fuel-efficient powertrains of choice.  But, with government regulators there pushing for numbers that will approach 100 mpg in not that many years, there seem to be few options but for automakers like Audi to accept the need for electrification.

After initially holding back on details, the maker has now confirmed that the Audi A2 Concept will feature an all-electric driveline that appears to position the anticipated production version as a response to the upcoming i3 battery-electric vehicle, or BEV.

The cutaway shows a flexible interior package.

The Audi minicar features an 85 kW, or 116 horsepower, electric motor.  With 199 lb-ft of torque, it should deliver a reasonably impressive launch feel — hitting 0 to 60 in about 9 seconds and topping out at 93 mph – thanks to the extensive use of carbon fiber and aluminum, much like the BMW i3.  The total package weighs in at around 2,535 pounds, Audi reports.

The lithium-ion powerpack will need about 4 hours to charge on a 240-volt line and is expected to deliver about 125 miles range before running out of juice.

Measuring just over 12 feet, bumper-to-bumper, Audi describes the four-seat A2 Concept as a “premium-class space concept.”  It’ll be a trick to pull that off considering the comparably-sized Mini Cooper fits four but just barely, despite its own innovative interior layout.

An 85 kW electric motor should launch the lightweight A2 Concept from 0 to 60 in 9 seconds.

There is a more than subtle similarity in exterior design to Audi’s Q5 crossover, with a strong character line linking headlamps and taillights.  That’s actually a functional part of the new car’s design, with the line made up of red LED lamps that pulsate when the turn signal is activated and flash in varying intensity to indicate how hard the driver has stomped onto the brake pedal.

The high-tech lighting also includes new matrix-beam headlamps that use reflectors to concentrate the power of the A2’s LED lights. In the rear, laser diodes can project a red triangle onto the road to warn oncoming traffic when the vehicle is stopped.

An initial rendering of the A2.

Meanwhile, Audi takes keyless entry a step further with a proximity sensor designed to recognize an authorized driver.  Hand motions can then be used to unlock the doors.

Inside, passengers won’t feel so claustrophobic thanks to the sweeping panorama of glass – which includes an electrochromic roof that can switch from dark to transparent with the touch of a button.

A 7-inch LCD display provides critical driver information, framed by the steering wheel, with smaller displays offering additional controls and data.  Most vehicle functions can be operated by touch using controls on the inside of the wheel.

The BMW i3 (foreground) and i8.

The thin seats can all be moved – - or removed – as necessary, and even fold up to provide additional storage space.

While many of the features of the new Audi A2 Concept aren’t likely to find much use off the show stage it appears the German marque is serious about the production opportunities.  While there might be a more conventional powertrain in the plans, as well, Audi’s focus seems to be on coming up with an answer to the battery-based BMW i3, which is set for launch in 2013.  The Audi A2 is reportedly set to follow two years later.


First Look: Audi A2 Concept

A good thing in a small package.

by on Sep.06, 2011

Audi's A2 Concept is one of a variety of production and prototype vehicles the maker will show in Frankfurt next week.

American motorists are used to equating price with pounds and inches.  The bigger and heavier the car the more it costs.  But Europeans have come to recognize that good things often come in small packages.  And with fuel prices surging to nearly $10 a gallon in some Continental markets there’s growing demand for small luxury cars like the Audi A2.

Measuring just over 12 feet, bumper-to-bumper, the German maker describes the four-seat A2 Concept debuting at the Frankfurt Motor Show next week as a “premium-class space concept.”  It’ll be a trick to pull that off considering the comparably-sized Mini Cooper fits four but just barely, despite its own innovative interior layout.

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The Audi A2 Concept is just one of an assortment of new products and prototypes the maker plans to unveil at the biennial Frankfurt show.  It’s also got new performance versions of its main line-up, with the S6, S7 and S8 models set for introduction.  But clearly, Audi’s emphasis is on downsizing.  One of its most unusual show cars in years is the tandem two-seater, the Audi Urban Concept.

The A2 is a bit more practical and more likely to show up in the Audi line-up.


Audi Offers Closer Look at Urban Concept

1+1-seater will be shown in coupe and roadster trim.

by on Aug.30, 2011

Two takes on the Audi Urban Concept theme: a roadster and a coupe.

Audi is offering up a closer look at the battery-powered Urban Concept vehicle it will formally reveal at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show – or, more precisely, the two Audi Urban Concepts it will plug in at next month’s automotive extravaganza.

The maker, it turns, out, has two versions of the unusual 1+1-seater design to reveal: a coupe and a roadster, both sharing the same e-tron battery drivetrain.

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The hotrod design, with its 21-inch outrigger wheels, is designed to give a sporty appearance to what is functionally an around-town commuter car.  The latest version of the e-tron drivetrain uses two electric motors drawing power from a lithium-ion battery pack.

But the styling is what is likely to draw crowds to the Audi stand.


First Look: Audi Urban Concept

Electric drive and 1+1 seating.

by on Aug.10, 2011

Audi's ultra-light Urban Concept will premier at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Taking its etron concept in a new direction, Audi will unveil the new Urban Concept battery car at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show.  The latest in a series of innovative offerings designed to test the limits of high-mileage design, perhaps the most distinctive feature of the carbon fiber prototype is its use of a 1+1 seating arrangement.

Designed for congested urban roads, Audi says the Urban Concept “combines elements of a racing car, a fun car and an urban car into one radical new concept.”

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The prototype is assembled out of ultra-light carbon fiber-reinforced plastic, or CFRP, panels; light and strong, many experts believe the material will eventually replace steel if the industry can only figure out how to mass produce it and drive down costs.

The design utilizes offset seating with access through an aircraft-like sliding canopy and tailgate.