In 2005, Audi previewed the second-generation Audi TT in the form of a three-door hatch concept. Now Audi is showing off another three-door hatch concept on the eve of unveiling the third-generation 2015 Audi TT. See a trend here?
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Another auto show, another Audi concept. Curiously, all Audi is just calling these sketches the "Audi show car" and a "compact sports car." No it isn't. But it's probably a concept bound for the Detroit Auto Show previewing the Audi Q1
Judging by the direction Audi is taking with recent concept vehicles, the forthcoming Audi Q1 crossover - confirmed for production in 2016 - should be an exciting little crossover. Last year, the automaker revealed the Crosslane Coupe Concept, and now it has announced it will reveal a new CUV concept at the Detroit Auto Show next month.
Teased in a trio of sketches, Audi says this unnamed concept is designed with a shooting brake style, which to us it makes it look like a combination of an Audi Allroad and a three-door A3. Little information is available on this concept, but it is about seven inches shorter than the Q3 and Audi notes that it will possess "design elements that are typical of e-tron models," which suggests some sort of powertrain electrification. There's still about a month before the Detroit show kicks off, but until then you can check out the sketches and press release (posted below) that Audi has provided.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Wolfgang Egger, Audi's chief designer, is leaving the company according to a Automotive News Europe, which cites a report from Germany's Automobilwoche. Egger won't be going far, though, remaining within the Volkswagen family and taking up head design position Italdesign Giugiaro, a VW subsidiary as of 2010.
Egger took over the position at Audi from Walter de Silva, and has been responsible most recently for the Audi A6 and A3, as well as the 2010 Quattro Concept and the E-Tron Concept. He previously was head of design at Lancia and then at Alfa Romeo, where he was responsible for the achingly gorgeous 8C Competizione.
If Egger does move to Italdesign, his successor is likely to be Marc Lichte, the Volkswagen designer behind the current Golf. Of course, these personnel changes haven't been officially confirmed, and Audi is thus far refusing to comment on either Egger or Lichte's possible career shifts. We'll stay with this one, so sit tight.Permalink | Email this | Comments
I've struggled with diesel technology. It's not that I have a problem with it or dislike it, but rather that I don't particularly understand what stops its wider-spread adoption. Sure, memories of rust-prone, smoky, sluggish and uneconomical Oldsmobile diesels aren't exactly easy to erase from the collective memory of the North American motoring public, but I'd think that a few years into the latest crop of clean diesels, there'd be wider adoption - or at least consumer consideration - by now.
Part of the issue is the still limited number of segments that diesels are available in. The Volkswagen Golf/Jetta TDI is finally getting a challenger in the form of the Chevrolet Cruze Diesel, and the BMW 328d is bringing something new to the entry-level sports sedan, but there are still a huge group of segments where diesel-power has no representation.
The small, luxury crossover realm is not one of those. It has the Mercedes-Benz GLK250 Bluetec, a stylish crossover with a silky-smooth 2.1-liter, turbodiesel four-cylinder that can return the kind of fuel economy that makes people take notice. And while the GLK250 is quite good, economy will only spread the diesel's appeal so far. People need to experience the seat-flattening torque that these mills can produce, and for that, we most humbly recommend the new 2014 Audi Q5 TDI.
- Rather than the 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine from the Audi A3/VW Golf/Jetta, the Q5 makes excellent use of the Audi Q7's 3.0-liter, TDI V6. The only issue we have with this engine in this car is that it took so long for Audi to pull the trigger on it in the US market. With 240 horsepower and 428 pound-feet of torque, the ability to hit 60 mph in 6.5 seconds and a promised highway fuel economy of 31 miles per gallon, you'd be silly to consider the Q5 and not at least test drive the TDI variant.
- The Q5 TDI is officially rated at 31 mpg on the highway and 24 mpg in the city. Hogwash. Driving carefully, I saw an average in mixed driving of 29 to 30 mpg, besting the 27-mpg combined rating. A 240-mile highway road trip, meanwhile, saw my average climb up to 34 mpg while doing roughly the 70-mile-per-hour speed limit. What makes the Q5 TDI's driving character special, though, is that so long as I wasn't a total boob with the gas pedal, netting those numbers was a snap.
- Ignore all the polar bears the Q5 TDI's fuel economy can save by diving into the skinny pedal, though, and the 428-pound-feet of torque are quick to rear their head. There's some turbo lag, which we've come to accept from diesel engines, but it's followed up by a huge surge of torque. Power is super accessible, making the Q5 TDI quicker than it really seems on first glance. This is especially evident on the freeway, where passing maneuvers are a snap.
- Joining the 3.0-liter V6 is an eight-speed automatic transmission that feels perfectly suited to this oil-burning application in the Q5. It's smooth, predictable and fast in both upshifts and downshifts, delivering the sort of unobtrusive power that further enhances the waves of torque that the diesel engine generates. The manual mode is snappy, but to our eyes, it's a bit unnecessary in this setting.
- Ignore the graphics you see in the images up top - not every Q5 TDI will be adorned with ridiculous billboard-sized promotions meant to ballyhoo this car's different powertrain. The CUV that will be on dealer lots will be indistinguishable from a model with the 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder or the 3.0-liter, supercharged V6, aside from a small TDI badge on the hatch lid.
- Opting for the diesel model doesn't limit you to a few optional goodies, either. Like the supercharged Q5, the TDI is available in the mid-range Premium Plus and top-end Prestige trims (the base Premium trim is for 2.0-liter gas models only), and then has a number of packages and optional extras on top of that, including navigation, adaptive dynamics, 20-inch alloy wheels and a Bang & Olufsen stereo. Really, Audi has gone to some lengths not to penalize Q5 TDI buyers.
- Pricing for the Q5 TDI starts at $46,500 for the Premium Plus model, which makes it pricier than both the similarly equipped 2.0 TFSI ($41,200) and 3.0 TFSI ($44,400), but cheaper than the more complex and less entertaining Q5 Hybrid ($51,300). (All prices subject to a $895 fee for destination and delivery).
- The latter is similar in price to our tester's Prestige trim, which adds additional features like the B&O stereo, navigation, adaptive xenon headlights (the Premium Plus comes with just regular xenons), blind spot monitoring and a power tailgate, among other features, will ding its new owner for $51,900.
Audi just announced its intentions to build the Q1 in 2016. By that time, the company will already have introduced the opposing bookend to that subcompact utility vehicle, the fullsize Q7. The last time we saw the next-gen Audi Q7 out testing, our spy shots were very low quality and didn't reveal much about the luxury SUV. This time around we're able to make out a few key elements about the Q7.
For starters, the unfinished headlights have a stylish, wave-like lighting element with a three-dimensional appearance, while the rear of the Q7 will definitely get a similar wraparound liftgate as the current model. Overall, this prototype looks to be about the same size as the existing Q7, so it will be interesting to see how Audi squeezes almost 800 pounds from the SUV's curb weight. The diet will surely help improve efficiency, and we also hear that Audi is considering a plug-in hybrid model in addition to the standard gas and diesel variants.
Riding on a shared platform with the next-gen Volkswagen Touareg, Porsche Cayenne and the upcoming Bentley Falcon SUV, the next Audi Q7 is expected to bow in late 2014 for the 2015 model year.Permalink | Email this | Comments