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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 S6, S7 and S8

Muscling in on BMW M territory.

by on Sep.01, 2011

The Audi S7 will make its debut at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show.

Audi is turning up the heat, taking aim at BMW’s vaunted M performance brand with the upcoming launch of three new S-Series models at this month’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

The S6, S7 and S8 offerings will not only introduce a new high-output twin-turbo V-8 but feature extensive use of aluminum to reduce weight and deliver even better performance.  But Audi claims they will also get as much as 25% better mileage than the previous generation of S-cars.

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Both the 2012 Audi S6 and S7 models will share a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 punching out 420 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque.  According to Audi, the sedan will make 0 to 60 in 4.8 seconds, the S7 hatchback running a tenth of a second slower.


First Look: 2013 Audi A5

German maker reveals updated coupe.

by on Jul.14, 2011

The 2013 Audi A5 will pick up new A7 front end cues.

The popular Audi A5 coupe, as well as its sporty sibling, the S5, will get some modest updates for the 2013 model-year, the most notable changes designed to pick up some of the design cues from the newest entry into Audi’s growing stable, the A7 coupe.

Though by no means the brand’s best-seller, the A5 line has nonetheless served as a halo for the Audi brand since its introduction three years ago, underscoring the claim by Walter da Silva, the brand’s former design chief and now head of styling for all of parent Volkswagen AG, that it was the best design he ever came up with.

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The 2013 A5 and S5 models will adopt the face of the new A7, with a new bumper, more angular fog lamps and redone LED running lamps.

The taillamps will also be revised, though it will likely only be noticeable to Audi aficionados.


First Look: Audi A1 Clubsport Quattro

Who says small has to be slow?

by on Jun.01, 2011

This pint-sized Audi is no econobox.

Anyone who equates small cars with underpowered econoboxes better take a deep breath before checking out the Audi A1 Clubsport Quattro.

Though technically a concept vehicle, the subcompact muscle car unveiled at Audi’s annual gathering in Worthersee could very well – many will hope – be a sign of things to come.

The show car starts out as a conventional Audi A1, the Volkswagen subsidiaries smallest offering.  But there most resemblances end.  For one thing, the Clubsport gets the signature Audi all-wheel-drive system, Quattro, which is not currently offered in the A1 line.  That’s only the beginning.

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The pint-sized fury 2.5-liter turbo inline-five goes through what might be called “extensive tuning.”  By the time the maker’s gearheads finished up, they were able to squeeze a screaming 500 horsepower and 487 lb-ft of torque out of the little package, a jaw-dropping 200 hp/liter, a specific output that would be the pride of many a race team.  Power is directed through a 6-speed manual gearbox to all four wheels.


First Look: Audi Quattro Concept

"Heritage," yes; retro, no.

by on Oct.01, 2010

Audi avoids the heavy-handed retro approach but still has a heritage feel to the Quattro Concept.

Marking the 30th anniversary of its original Quattro model, Audi has lifted the covers on a tempting new show car, the Quattro Concept, at the 2010 Paris Motor Show.

Though it’s anything but retro, the Quattro Concept revives the long-nosed, angular-backed shape of the original, 1980 Audi four-wheel-drive model. 

While there appears to be no immediate plans for production, Audi is in the midst of a rather rapid expansion of its line-up – most recently with the A7, also on display at the Mondial de l’Automobile.

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That’s keeping its engineers busy, but as CEO Rupert Stadler told, the Volkswagen AG subsidiary is keeping an ear out for public reaction to models like the Quattro Concept and eTron sports cars – the latter in both coupe and Spyder form.