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First Drive:2013 Audi S8

A gold medal contender.

by on Feb.19, 2013

Audi delivers a new flagship with the 2013 S8.

The Auto Union was an amalgamation of four German automobile manufacturers, founded during the Great Depression. The company eventually evolved into present day Audi, and the four rings that adorn the grilles of the brand’s modern offerings represent the four original companies of Auto Union: Audi, Wanderer, DKW and Horch.

Each company brought specific technology to the Union, and today Audi is widely known for building All-Wheel Drive cars that feature safety, prodigious performance and superior technology – as well as for its benchmark interiors.

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When you look at the four-ringed Audi grille, you can’t help but compare it to the Olympic symbol — five interlaced rings.  For 2013, just imagine that the Auto Union had an additional company–adding that fifth ring, as the all-new Audi S8 is truly a gold medal contender.


Audi Unveils Updated R8

Lighter, leaner, faster for 2013.

by on Sep.04, 2012

Audi will offer a new V10 Plus version of the R8 supercar for 2013.

Hard to imagine but it’s been a full six year since Audi first pulled the covers on the R8 supercar – which means it’s time for some changes for the new model-year.

The updated 2013 Audi R8 is making its debut at the Moscow Motor Show, apparently so all those oligarchs can look good stuck in the Russian capital’s endemic gridlock.  Should they finally get free of traffic they’ll be able to clock some serious performance numbers with a 2-seater that sleeker, leaner and – with the addition of the new R8 V10 PLUS model, a fair bit faster.

The 2013 Audi R8 gets only minor exterior tweaks, including redesigned front and rear bumpers, new LED headlamps, a new rear diffuser, revised exhaust pipes and an updated R8 logo.

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What should really matter to Audi aficionados will be found under the skin.  That starts with some significant gearbox changes.  The unloved six-speed electrically-shifted manual goes away, with few regrets.  In the base R8 424-horsepower V-8 it will be replaced by a seven-speed S tronic automatic.  And a new twin-clutch automated manual is offered as an option, as is a six-speed stick.


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.


Audi A3 Images Leaked

Downsized, up-marketed.

by on Feb.23, 2012

Audi's next-generation A3 will be offered in a wide array of body styles.

Weeks ahead of the upcoming Geneva Motor Show we’re getting our first good look at the next-generation Audi A3 thanks to some fortuitously leaked photographs.

As with the outgoing model, Audi will offer the subcompact model in a mix of body configurations – starting with the 3-door Avant, or wagon, we see here.  It’s expected to add a 5-door Sportback as well as a conventional sedan and a convertible.

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The look is likely to be familiar to Audi fans, the new A3 adopting a face much like the marque’s recently updated mainstay model, the A4, with a large grille that rises from the chin spoiler up to the hood. The headlamps now incorporate the familiar Audi LED accent lights.

While it may resemble the previous Audi A3, there’s a big difference under the skin, the 2013 model adopting the Modular Tranverse Matrix platform, (known internally as MQB) that will be shared with a wide range of Volkswagen AG products, all the way down to the base Skoda brand.


Audi R8 GT Spyder Breaks the $200,000 Barrier

Only 50 coming to the U.S.

by on Feb.06, 2012

Audi's R8 GT Spyder is its first model to top $200,000.

Start saving your change but don’t wait too long.  Audi says it plans to import only 50 copies of the hand-built R8 GT Spyder convertibles later this month.

The most exclusive version of what is already Audi’s top-line model, the topless supercar will carry a sticker price of $210,000, making it the German maker’s most expensive offering to date.  And that’s before you add on $1,200 for the destination charges and as much as $3,000 more for gas-guzzler taxes.


By comparison, that’s a $38,000 premium over the current Audi R8 Spyder.

For the money, the 5.2-liter R8 V-10 gets bumped up to 560 horsepower, enough to launch the GT Spyder from 0 to 60 in just 3.8 seconds – also making it the quickest Audi ever – with a top speed of 197 mph.


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.


First Drive: 2012 Audi TT RS

Return of a performance line.

by on Oct.18, 2011

Audi brings back its performance badge with the launch of the 2012 Audi TT RS.

We’ve never understood why Audi has been so stingy with its performance line-up.

True, there was a time when BMW’s M models and the Mercedes-Benz AMG offerings would come and go, disappearing for a model-year or two, but these days they are mainstays of their respective brands.  Not so the comparable Audi RS line, which hasn’t planted its badge on a U.S. offering in three years.

The good news is that the performance brand-within-a-brand is back, making its return debut on the 2012 Audi TT RS – with the RS5 set to follow.  That’s not the best-kept secret, we have to admit, Audi having set out to slowly build buzz with some carefully crafted social media campaigns over the past 18 months – which only made us more eager to climb behind the wheel when given the chance.

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Our destination: New England and upstate New York, a perfect time of the year considering the fall colors.  Or, at least it would be were it not for the steady drizzle that threatened to drench our initial enthusiasm.  Then again, considering the 2012 Audi TT RS will only be offered with the German maker’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system, we came to realize it really was the perfect opportunity to test the car’s mettle.


Audi Planning to Slash Q7 Weight by 770 Pounds

German maker the latest to target big weight cuts.

by on Sep.21, 2011

Audi turned to diesel power to help boost the mileage of the big Q7 but now it wants to address the problem by slashing the ute's weight.

Audi plans to trim the weight of its hefty Q7 sport-utility vehicle by as much 770 pounds.  The maker is just the latest to announce plans to significantly cut the heft of its future products.

Ford Motor Co., for example, hopes to trim the weight on future product lines by as much as 20%, product chief Derrick Kuzak recently told, while makers as diverse as Nissan and Land Rover are also setting aggressive weight targets as part of their efforts to meet tough new fuel economy standards.

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Audi’s planned diet for the roughly 5,700-pound Q7 would amount to a significant 15% cut in weight, according to a report in Car & Driver magazine.

Meanwhile, the Volkswagen Touareg – which shares many of the same underlying components as the Q7 – has already dropped about 400 pounds with the current, second-generation model, as has the other Q7 sibling, Porsche’s Cayenne.


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.