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First Look: Audi RS6

One of four new RS models due in 2013.

by on Dec.06, 2012

Audi's third-generation RS6 Avant will make its debut at the Detroit Auto Show next month.

Audi’s third-generation RS6 Avant will be making its debut at the Detroit Auto Show next month, but the maker has offered up a sneak peek at what will be one of four new RS offerings added to its line-up during 2013.

The new RS6 abandons the old Lamborghini-based V-10 in favor of a new 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 making a significant 552 horsepower.  The engine is essentially the same powerplant used by the latest-generation Bentley Continental. And to keep it in the broader Volkswagen AG family while putting things into perspective: the new Audi RS6 Avant is expected to deliver 0 to 100 kmh (0 to 62 mph) times of just 3.9 seconds.  The Porsche 911 Carrera S needs 4.5 seconds to get there.

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As the new RS6 will also feature cylinder deactivation – allowing it to shut off four of its eight cylinders when loads are light — it is anticipating better fuel economy than the outgoing model.  Also helping drive up mileage, the new Audi performance sedan will weigh in at about 200 pounds less than the old RS6, and it will be outfitted with new Stop/Start technology to shut its engine off instead of wasting gas idling.

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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.

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First Drive: Cadillac CTS-V Coupe

Successfully challenging German high performance cars.

by on Aug.23, 2010

General Motors President North America Mark Reuss gets out of the Cadillac CTSv after taking the vehicle on hot laps around the track at the Monticello Motor Club.

The GM President of North America, Mark Reuss, gets out of the Cadillac CTS-V after taking the car on hot laps at the Monticello Motor Club.

It’s refreshing when the president of an auto company strolls on to a race track to drive a car he actually worked on as an engineer.

It’s a tad embarrassing, though, when he’s as fast, well frankly faster, than any hot shoe out there. I guess it’s not true that all GM executives do is sit around and nitpick PowerPoint presentations while the firm’s market share erodes.

Mark Reuss, the president of General Motors North America, refuted precisely that stereotype at the Cadillac CTS-V coupe introduction.

Reuss was driving a supercharged, 556-horsepower (415 kW) 6.2-liter V8 powered V-coupe that uses the same engine found in the CTS-V Sport Sedan introduced 18 months ago. And Reuss appeared to be extracting almost all of the performance possible from both versions of the car – sedan or coupe – in a show of driving prowess.

Engineer though Reuss be, and former head of GM Performance, the Caddy Coupe actually owes its existence – improbably – to a design staff concept done without the usual, stifling beanie business case. The angular masterpiece was just too seductive for the now retired but then product king Bob Lutz to resist.  Darn the German torpedos, the engineers then went full speed ahead.

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Fast!

Although it draws from its sport sedan sister, the CTS Coupe shares only the instrument panel, console, headlamps, front fenders and grille. Riding on the same  113.4-inch wheelbase, the CTS coupe is two inches lower, has a two-inch wider rear track, and a shorter two-inch overall length than the sedan. The two, two and two might add to six in conventional beanie math, but in my calculation this roll of the dice adds to seven, a big fat lucky seven.

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