Wednesday, October 3, 2007

2008 Audi R8 Arrives

Audi Australia has today launched its most anticipated car yet, the R8 sports coupe. The $259,000+ car marks Audi's first attempt at joining the high-performance sports coupe club.

The R8 is powered by a high-revving 4.2-litre V8 FSI engine with 309kW and 430Nm, it will go from 0-100km/h in 4.6 seconds. On paper, the R8 should be able to steal some sales from the similarly priced Aston Martin V8 Vanquish.

Audi Australia's Managing Director, Joerg Hofmann, says the R8's introduction will help boost the company's profile in Australia.

"The Audi R8 will become an icon for Audi and albeit niche, this is a car that clearly embodies our Vorsprung durch Technik (progress through technology). It will be instrumental in further boosting our brand image and awareness in this market," Mr Hofmann said.

If you think 260k is a lot for an Audi, it's best to remember the car is engineered with huge racing credentials. Besides, almost 15% of the R8 is shared with the Lamborghini Gallardo, including the transmission and chassis.

Using a mid-engined concept and quattro drivetrain, the R8 promises to be one extremely competent car.

Audi's Space Frame ASF aluminium technology means the R8 weighs only 1560KG and the car utilises Audi's new magnetic ride adaptive damping system for better handling and comfort.

The R8 package includes high performance ceramic brakes, a Bang & Olufsen sound system, rear view camera, Audi's Multi Media Interface MMI and in another world first for Audi, the 2008 model R8 will be the first car in the world with all-LED headlights.

There will be two variants of the R8, the 6-speed manual variant ($259,990) and the six-speed sequential R-tronic version ($274,900).

Audi believes at least 100 Australians will take home an R8 per year. The German company is currently producing 20 R8s per day. The first 25 Australian buyers will take delivery within the next 2 months.


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Audi Quattro’s Renewed Glory

Audi Quattro is a car make and model that is often identified with spectacular performance. This, together with its uniquely designed interiors and exterior, makes the Audi Quattro distinct from all other cars. Innovations of style and design that Audi has been recognized for are well manifested in all their Quattro models. No surprise then why first time Audi Quattro buyers owners always come away satisfied. For this reason, Audi continues its production of Quattro models, each one with upgrade than the last.

Cars of this must always be kept in good shape to ensure that the stunning performance it is capable of is never compromised. This is easy enough to do, since Audi Quattro Parts are being offered by a lot of aftermarket dealers. With such available sources in tow, even the oldest Quattro models will be able to regain a semblance of their former glory simply by securing new and high quality Audi Quattro Parts that match the specific make or model of the car in question. But while replacing old and impaired components with new Audi Quattro Parts, there is one device in particular that one must not forget: the Audi Catalytic Converter.

In this day and age, distinction is all very well and good but the emergence of greener technology, especially in the automotive industry, has given rise to the production of car devices that are more environmentally friendly. With car owners becoming more environmentally-conscious nowadays, making sure that one installs a catalytic converter in one's Audi vehicle is a must. An Audi Catalytic Converter is responsible for processing unburned fuel through a chemical reaction. Oxidization is the chemical reaction that turns carbon monoxide into a mixture of just carbon dioxide and water. This leads to the production of lesser harmful engine emissions. Thus, in the end, having a fully modified Quattro, updated with the latest Audi Quattro Parts that may include an Audi Catalytic Converter, is simply ideal. This is true not only in terms of acquiring a car capable of spectacular road performance but of having one that's healthy for the environment as well.


Audi R8 Best Handling Car of 2007

AutoCar awarded the Audi R8 as the best handling car of 2007. Why? Well watch this video and you will find out why!
The R8 is powered by a 4.2 liter V8 engine with an output of 420 hp. 0 to 60 mph sprint is made in just 4.5 seconds.


Power of Audi

It was a new record. About 250,920 spectators attended the 75th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and watched the Audi R10 TDI win back to back victories. For Audi, it was the seventh win in nine starts at the French long-distance classic. Indeed, when it comes to racing, Audi models have had a quite successful history. In the United States, the 2003 SSCA Speed World GT Challenge saw an Audi RS6 compete with Corvettes, Vipers and BMWs. All of them proved inferior to the RS6, as the Audi.

Taking engineering to the next level, Audi produces the same high octane design in every automobile it releases out in the consumer market. These cars are equipped with highly efficient parts and accessories that supplement the overall performance of Audi. On the subject of acceleration, the Audi Belts provide the essential capability to control the timing of the engine's valves. A timing pulley transmits force to the belt via evenly spaced grooves, which meet with the teeth in the belt. These same grooves and teeth prevent belt slippage. Synchronous belt drives are highly efficient and contribute to power transmission. The Audi belt basically connects the crankshaft to the camshaft which, in turn, controls the opening and closing of the engine's valves. Of course, efficient timing belts results clockwork precision in engine operation. On the other hand, another Audi part offers superior stopping power. The Audi brake booster, typically mounted on the firewall, amplifies the available foot pressure applied to the brakes. Its power is derived from the vacuum coming from the engine. Audi specifically developed the boosters to effectively support the braking technology in every Audi vehicle.

Audi sets new goals for the incoming years. The European car maker is working on pursuing leading-edge technology and innovative, unconventional design. With parts like the Audi belt and Audi brake booster, Audi's current success proves to be just the tip of a gigantic iceberg.


Audi Targets American Luxury Market

Audi AG is setting its sights on a far larger slice of the American luxury car market with a plan to more than double its sales there to 200,000 by 2015.

"We are selling 95,000 [vehicles] now. By 2015 we want a doubling of the number," Ralph Weyler, Audi's head of marketing and sales, told the Financial Times.

Audi's ambitious target is the German automaker's effort to close the sales gap with industry leader Toyota Motor Corp. by investing in territories where the Japanese car manufacturer dominates. The premium brand of Volkswagen AG will put emphasis on the manufacture and sale of sport utilities, the segment where Toyota is hauling shoppers.

Martin Winterkorn, the Volkswagen CEO, wants the brand to increase its global sales by ten percent a year and exceed eight million units by 2010.

Additionally, the German automaker will retool its dealership network in the United States. The company will also develop a new sport utility dubbed the Q5. This is to elevate its standing in the world's biggest auto market. This is why the company is improving not only the Audi clutch master cylinder and other auto parts but the entire lineup itself.

Audi has to struggle to cope with the increasing challenge in the American market where it is less successful that European automakers like BMW. Audi intends to become "the most successful premium brand in the world", with 1.5 million sales by 2015, although BMW's own unit sales targets are even more ambitious. Audi's newest models are receiving rave reviews in Europe, and in China the brand outsells both BMW and Mercedes.

In the United States, the brand has underperformed since the 1980s, when reported problems with "unintended acceleration" of one of its cars hit its business. To stress, Mercedes-Benz and BMW were quicker to develop sport utilities - a popular auto format in America. More recently, Audi has been successful with its Q7 SUV.

Audi planned to increase the quality of its dealers in the US, many of which are "multi-franchise" outfits selling its cars alongside those of other brands, Weyler said. The company has about 110 exclusive dealers, and will maintain its focus on large metropolitan areas on the American coasts and cities such as Dallas, Houston and Chicago.

Sales of luxury cars in the United States are proving tough in spite of recent market volatility linked to the subprime mortgage crisis. BMW, Mercedes, Toyota's Lexus brand and Audi all reported higher sales in August this year. Unlike Mercedes and BMW, both of which have factories in the United States, Audi had no plans for local production. "At the moment, we don't have adequate volume," Weyler said.

Volkswagen, on the other hand, is weighing the possibility of building its first US production plant.


Monday, October 1, 2007

Spy photos: Audi A1

Altough the car looks like a tuned Volkswagen Polo, the car you see in the photo is actually the future Audi A1. The future Mini rival will share the same platform,which will be cheaper to build and more flexible, with the 2010 Audi A3.

According to CarOnline there are chances to see on the streets derivates of the Audi A1 like the Q1 and the S1.  Also the quattro system will be available on the future Mini rival. More things will be revealed next month when Audi will unveil the A1 prototype at the Tokyo Motor Show.


2007 Audi TT Roadster 2.0 Road Test

"Audi's latest TT Roadster in 2.0 (Turbo) FSI guise nails its German rivals on almost every level, despite its smaller engine and lower price"

Test Model: 2007 Audi TT Roadster 2.0 TFSI S tronic
Colour: Sahara Silver
Options Fitted: Metallic Paint @ $1300 (yes because flat colours don't suit the TT)Fine Nappa Leather @ $800 (yes- for comfort alone) Electric Front seat/Lumbar support @ $2100 (No should be standard and the manual system works well)Xenon Plus Headlights @ 2500 (I'm a huge fan of Xenon and Bi-Xenon but at this price on this car I'd pass)Acoustic Rear Parking (a must – but again, rear sensors should be standard fit)
Recommended Retail Price: $77,500 without options

Where it sits: It's the entry level TT Roadster, but don't think for one minute that you've got a compromise. In many ways this car is the most rewarding drive of the two new TT Roadsters. The bigger engine 3.2 quattro S-tronic, commands a premium at $92,900.

We can be mildly dismissive of the weaker race here at Car Advice, generally preferring a seat behind the wheel of the more powerful variants of each model we test. Yes, it's downright immature and not professional.
But more power is not always better. Never so true than with the smaller engine TT Roadster 2.0 T (for Turbo) FSI fitted with Audi's warp-speed shifting S tronic gearbox.

Any pervious thoughts that my time with the less powerful TT might be a little dull were banished the moment I gave the car a gentle prod.

It's not just quick and that's 0-100km/h in 6.5 seconds or better quick, it's more that bruup sound it makes every time the 2.0L direct injection turbocharged inline four shifts up a gear, with your right foot hard on the pedal. Almost sounds like Superbike legend Troy Bayliss, peddling up through the gears on his V-twin Duke*. Can't get enough of it!
There's barely any turbo lag, and that, with a positively decent 280Nm of torque, all the way from 1800rpm to 5000rpm, would have you believing this car is quicker out of the blocks than its 3.2- litre big brother. With a top speed of 237km/h its just 13km/h off the pace of the V6 which is limited to 250km/h.
If that doesn't do it for you, then 22kms of deserted snake bends (somewhere on the NSW coast) will see you begging for more. Bend to bend performance is erotic. Scuttle shake – non-existent. This is a seriously good drive.

The S tronic (twin clutch and twin gear sets) gearbox and the steering wheel mounted shift paddles is a marriage made in heaven.

With gear changes happening in 8 milliseconds, downshifts into corners sound like an F1 car.

Just like the new TT Coupe we road tested a month or so back, the TT Roadster has had a growth spurt. Longer, wider and way more stiffer in the body department. Try 120% stiffer – if you're talking torsional rigidity.
And that's not the only reason this TT Roadster behaves impeccably on the road. Unladen weight is just 1,295 kilos, which is remarkable when you consider the additional size and additional structural integrity.
You can put much of these improvements down to one major component. Audi's space frame body. It's 58% aluminium and only 42% steel, which adds hugely to the driving dynamics of this Roadster.

Steer into a corner and the TT sticks to a precise line regardless of the road surface. This is a particularly easy car to drive at pace, with excellent feedback through the steering wheel.
The electro-mechanical Speed Sensitive power steering does its job of ensuring the right amount of boost in almost all driving situations.
The car feels well planted at all times with wider low-profile rubber in 245/45 sitting on the standard 17-inch alloy rims. They look fine, but the optional 18's and 19's look better.

Like all cars in the Volkswagen group – Audi have got the compromise between ride quality and handling, pretty much right. The TT Roadster is a perfect example of that. You won't feel any harsh body jarring in this car, even if you're well into it, on less than perfect bitumen.

Brake pedal response is phenomenal and inspires tremendous confidence from behind the wheel. New brake pads generate substantially more friction and brake rotors and sufficiently large at 312 mm and 286mm respectively.
As good as the TT Roadster is as a fully-fledged sports car, it probably isn't the prime reason for buyers choosing this car.
It's all too easy to forget that the TT Roadster is also one of the finest looking drop tops in the automotive world. It's also got the fastest electric roof in the business. Twelve seconds flat – even at 30km/h and that's guaranteed. We timed it. MG die-hards lament.

I guess I'm sitting on the fence when it comes to the pros and cons of soft tops verses folding hard tops, but let's be honest – authentic drop tops are not metal, they're fabric!
The benefits are more to do with driveability than practicality. Less weight in a roadster is a major plus and when the roof is up – the centre of gravity is even lower.
The TT's folding roof is a clever system for a number of reasons; the framework under the fabric is a blend of aluminium and steel with an integrated glass rear window. Most folding roofs whether fabric or metal rob the boot area of valuable space, rendering them next to useless as a luggage area. Not so with the TT Roadster.

The Z-fold soft top fits neatly into it's own compartment between the bulkhead and rear lid leaving a decent size cargo area.

It's also wonderfully neat with its own built in tonneau cover. And for highway cruising – you'll need to hit the wind deflector button and all will be sorted.

Noise levels inside the car are not that dissimilar to that of the full metal coupe due partly to the acoustic mat between the frame and the skin, which also assists with thermo insulation inside the cabin.
I'm running out of superlatives for this review, but I need a couple more to describe the TT Roadster's interior fit out.
Audi does the finest production car interiors today, and that's just fact. But they seem to raise the Bar when it comes to their iconic TT.

From the ridiculously good sports seats covered in the most comfortable Fine Nappa Leather I've ever sat in, to the flat bottomed racing style steering wheel and bespoke-like switchgear and materials – its all top shelf and a level of quality unsurpassed by any of its competitors.

As an amateur audio buff, I can tell you that the bog standard Symphony sound system with 9 active speakers via a 6 disc CD changer head unit in the TT is a cracker - tried and tested with roof down at speeds north of 100km/h.
I'm utterly surprised that this thing only puts out 140watts but unfortunately there's still no standard fit MP3 input which allows you to plug an iPod directly into the head.
The driving position is Porsche like. I mean 911 Porsche like, in that you are sitting in the car – not on top of the car. The ergonomics are particularly well sorted and driver focussed. You could do a long trip in this car and still manage a game of golf at the end of it all.

As expected, a full inventory of the latest active and passive safety features are on board with dual stage airbags for driver and passenger only, remembering that the TT Roadster is strictly a two seater.
As far as German rivals for the TT Roadster 2.0 TFSI go, you could look at the Z4 2.5si Roadster, but that's going to cost you $80,000 with a 6-speed auto. It's also slower and not nearly as stylish.
You might take a peak at the SLK 200 K from Mercedes Benz, which has a 1.8-litre supercharged engine with a 5-speed auto and good for a 0-100km/h time of around 8 seconds. Problem is – you'll need to find $89,474 before you tick any of the options.