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The five-door Audi A3 hatchback, on sale in the States since the 2006 model year, never earned the respect it deserved. Despite possessing the automaker's well-regarded build quality and a range of strong powerplants (including an excellent diesel option), the entry-level model always played second fiddle to the rest of the Audi lineup, suffering from less innovative technologies and fewer premium options on its list. Many buyers considered it inferior to the rest of the models in the company's showroom. But those misconceptions could be about to change, as Audi is in the midst of introducing its third-generation A3 family to the States with expectations that the range will finally align with the rest of its portfolio.
First to arrive is this new sedan, notable as it is the first time the A3 has been offered as a compact four door. The new bodystyle is positioned as a premium C-segment offering, with its most obvious competitor being the new Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class (BMW has not officially announced a 2 Series Gran Coupe, which would be the third entrant in the segment). The automaker says its "A3/S3 models will be among the most technically advanced Audi products around" and there will be "no sacrificing Audi craftsmanship and premium appointments." To put the automaker's claims to the test, we spent a week with this new sedan in Southern California.Permalink | Email this | Comments
The debut of the Lamborghini Huracán was (and remains) big news in and of itself, but equally as exciting is the imminent arrival of the Audi R8, which the Huracán presages. While the two will share a common architecture, don't expect that new R8 will simply be a cheaper version of the Huracán (like the current one arguably is to the Gallardo).
For one, the next R8 will be larger than the Huracán. According to emerging intelligence, Audi will make its sports car both longer and wider than the Lamborghini version. It'll also share the new Lambo's innovative carbon-fiber structure that will replace both the firewall and central tunnel. But to power it all, Audi will get more creative.
The next R8 will, like the current model and like the Huracán, offer a V10 engine at the top of the range. It will also offer the same 4.2-liter V8 as the outgoing model. But that won't be the end of the matter. Word has it that Audi is also working on a smaller, turbocharged engine to offer in certain markets that mandate smaller-capacity engines.
Whether that will emerge as a turbo four, a turbocharged V6 or something else remains to be seen, but in speaking with Autocar, Audi technical chief Ulrich Hackenberg indicated they could be looking at "some numbers in between", suggesting that a turbo five like the one you'd find in the RS3, RS Q3 or TT RS could be under consideration.
One way or another, it wouldn't be the first time Audi would toy with the idea of a different kind of engine for the R8. It's experimented with V12 turbodiesels and electric propulsion for the supercar, so a turbo five - or whatever it settles on - would hardly be a big surprise.Permalink | Email this | Comments
While we're waiting for certain German scientists to perfect adaptive traffic lights
To say the 2014 Geneva Motor Show was packed full of news is an understatement as big as the show's home at the Palexpo convention center. Despite everything that we were able to cover during this year's show, there's still more coming out of Switzerland, including the announcement of the finalists for the 2014 World Car of the Year Awards.
We reported on the original list of finalists over three weeks ago, and now, that initial list has been pared down to three finalists for each of the five awards. The finalists were announced at a press conference by frequent Autoblog contributor and co-chair of the awards, Matt Davis (above).
The finalists for the overall title of 2014 World Car of the Year are the Audi A3, the BMW 4 Series and the Mazda3. The World Luxury Car of the Year will be either the Bentley Flying Spur, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class or the Land Rover Range Rover Sport, while the Performance Car of the Year will be awarded to the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, the Ferrari 458 Speciale or the Porsche 911 GT3 (which, um, yeah...).
Rounding out the trophy contenders are the finalists for World Green Car of the Year, which include the Audi A3 Sportback G-Tron and Audi E-Gas, the BMW i3 and the Volkswagen XL1. Finally, World Car Design of the Year will be contested by the BMW i3, Mazda3 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
The winners will be announced in April, at the 2014 New York International Auto Show. Scroll down for the official press release from the World Car of the Year committee.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Audi and BMW have long been enemies on both the road and the track, with their respective M and S/RS lines duking it out to the delight of auto enthusiasts everywhere. In this video from Evo, two of the rivalry's newest combatants take to the track - the Audi S3 and the BMW M135i.
The new Audi S3, which is finally coming to America, throws down with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder. 290 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque are deployed to a Quattro all-wheel-drive system via a six-speed, S-Tronic dual-clutch transmission, allowing the five-door Audi to scamper to 60 in under five seconds.
The BMW, which Americans will know as a long-roof version of the new M235i Coupe, comes to the track with 320 ponies and 331 lb-ft of torque. That's a good bit more than the Audi, but the M135i has only two wheels to send its power to, an eight-speed single-clutch automatic (a six-speed manual is available) and a slightly higher curb weight.
Which will be best on the track? Scroll down and find out.Permalink | Email this | Comments
While he won't go faster than the speed of sound