Sunday, October 31, 2010

Audi R5: New mid-engine sportscar confirmed!


Volkswagen's new 'MiMo' sports car architecture has been approved at last - paving the way for a trio of sports cars from Audi, Porsche and VW.

The project had been up in the air while the engineers pondered the layout and the bean counters counted, well, beans. It is understood that the project has now been given the green light.

Mimo stands for Mittelmotor, hinting at its mid-engined roots. Porsche will lead much of the platform development, with its experience in mid- and rear-engined applications. And that means - for the first time in years - a rear-engined Audi is on the cards.

Audi R5: the lowdown
Our artist's impression (red car, above) shows how the E-tron concept car is likely to translate to the production R5. Both a coupe and open-top roadster models are expected (the E-tron Spyder concept car previewed the convertible).

Underpinning the business case is careful positioning of the Audi R5. This is no sub-TT cheapling; instead the R5 will be positioned above the TT and below the R8 supercar.

How the R5 measures up
That's a brave move by Audi, since the R5 has a compact footprint. At just 3933mm long, it's supermini short, a simple two-seater just a centimetre-and-a-bit longer than a Lotus Exige. But in this age of downsizing, people will pay a premium for a quality, compact sports car. It seems an apposite model for our times.

Although Audi has shown the E-tron concept car powered by electric motors - and a production EV is in the pipeline - the majority of R5 models will in fact feature conventional combustion engines. Word is the top motor will be the five-cylinder 2.5-litre turbo from the TT RS, enough for some 350bhp; but sub 2.0-litre engines are a certainty.

When will the Audi R5 be launched?
Now that the program has received the first stage official go-ahead, the Audi R5 is tentatively pencilled in for a 2014 launch. Audi's already shown two concept cars - the E-tron coupe and Spider - and we can expect further hints over the coming years.

Porsche is investigating its own version, dubbed 356, to slot beneath the Boxster, while VW plans to spin off a cheaper model based on the Bluesport concept. It's like the Q7-Cayenne-Touareg off-roader trio all over again.

Volkswagen's sports car will be built at the Karmann factory in Osnabrück, Austria. It's unclear at this stage where the other derivatives will be built.

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Audi Q5 by Rieger tuning


Rieger tuning enables the Q5 fun with a height reduction in H&R springs by 40 mm, riding on 21/265/40 wheels.

The 21-inch wheels are EtaBeta Jophiel X SS inlays and size 9.5 ET Jx21 35. This gives the Q5 a nice full fenders interpretation.
The exhaust is also modified by a new stainless steel system.

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Video: Audi S5 Sportback review


Fifth Gears Vicki Butler-Henderson giving her verdict on Audi’s S5 Sportback model. The five-door coupe is powered by a supercharged V6 engine with an output of 245 kW (333 hp) which helps it to reach 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in only 5.4 seconds and accelerate up to an electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h (155.34 mph).

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Friday, October 29, 2010

VW Golf Cabriolet will start production in spring 2011


Volkswagen announced that production of the new Golf Cabriolet will start next spring 2011.

The new Golf Cabrio will be born with a traditional canvas roof and will result in the displacement of commercial Eos.

The coupe-cabriolet, currently attributed to the C segment, will make a jump in class with the arrival of the next generation and will be repositioned within the range of discovery as a variant of VW Passat. The transaction will also result as the new first name of the model: Passat Cabriolet

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Video: Volkswagen Golf R - Ultimate Test Drive


The Golf R is put through its paces on the test track during the Ultimate Test Drive by professional driver Bob Nelson.

Four lucky winners of the Ultimate Test Drive as they experience the Golf R close up. During the course of a day's pro-driving tuition at the track, their driving skills and the cars performance is given a thorough work out.

Audi A2 e-tron (2013) Intel


Audi is reviving the A2 supermini in its quest to become the world’s number one premium car maker. Although not a commercial success, the original A2 was a car ahead of its time, with pioneering packaging and lightweight technology – and the new 2013 A2 will tread a similar path.

Why the original Audi A2 wasn’t the success story we all thought first time round
‘Contrary to popular belief, the A2 was not a cult car,’ maintains VW chairman Martin Winterkorn. ‘But it was a car ahead of its time. Why did it not sell in large enough numbers? Because buyers never really fell in love with the narrow and tall design. And because the bespoke high-tech aluminium spaceframe approach did not allow us to price the A2 sufficiently aggressively.’

Next time round, things are going to be different. The new Audi A2 MkII wears a dress made of steel and is part of Volkswagen’s entry-level New Small Family which is to be spread over four brands.

How the Audi A2 fits into Volkswagen’s masterplan
The next A2’s designated engines are low-cost high-efficiency three-cylinder units. While Seat and Skoda will to have make do with badge-engineered variants of the basic three- and five-door NSF matrix, Audi intends to modify the Space Up! microvan to meet its needs. Longer and taller, the Space Up! is remarkably similar in concept and appeal to the original A2.

‘With this car, Audi will offer a highly efficient solution to the
mobility requirements of the modern metropolis,’ promises Audi chairman Rupert Stadler. The new model is 3700mm long and can accommodate between 200 and 1000 litres of luggage, sources say.

Due in 2013, the A2 is expected to be launched as battery-powered e-tron variant - the bonsai electric counterpart to the mighty 313bhp R8 e-tron earmarked for 2011.

Audi A2 e-tron: the lowdown

The zero-emission version, which features a 60bhp electric motor, a single-speed transmission and a pack of lithium-ion energy cells, is claimed to have a driving range of 60 miles.

In a second step, the A2 will likely be offered with a still-to-be-defined hybrid drivetrain. Also under preparation are a new family of three-cylinder engines with displacements of between 1.1 and 1.2 litres and with power outputs stretching from 60 to 75bhp.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Video: Audi RS5 Fifth Gear test


The video attached is episode 3 from season 18 - To jump straight to the RS5 portion, go to the 1:20 point in the video above.

High in the French Alps lies the Col de la Bonette. Stretching 16 miles and reaching an astounding 2,802 meters (9,193 feet) at its peak, the road to the summit is not only one of the most challenging in Europe but also the highest. It's only appropriate then that UK motoring show, Fifth Gear choose this route to test the Audi RS5. Watch as host, Jonny Smith pushes the RS5's limits on not only on the road's sharp switchbacks but also tests the advanced quattro system on the icy stretches near the peak.

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New Porsche Cajun pics and details


Meet the baby Porsche with added spice! Our exclusive images preview a new SUV coupé that’s set to join the firm’s ranks.

Due to be called the Cajun, it slots into the range below the Cayenne and will go head-to-head with the Range Rover Evoque and BMW X4.

The Cajun is the first car to be developed under Porsche’s new owner, VW. And as the Cayenne was created alongside the VW Touareg and Audi Q7, so this model will have much in common with Audi’s Q5.

It will be slightly lower and shorter than the Q5, but around 90mm wider, giving an imposing, sporty stance. And it will tip the scales at around 1,700kg.

In a bid to distance the Cajun further from other models in the family, Porsche will offer it only as a three-door initially. Engines will be sourced from Audi, with buyers getting a choice of two units, two diesels and an electric hybrid.

Kicking off the range will be a pair of four-cylinder variants: a 237bhp 2.0L turbo and a 188bhp 2.0L TDI. Top-spec cars will get either a 3.0L TFSI V6, producing 328bhp, or 3.0 TDI with 237bhp and 550Nm of torque. Flagship Cajuns are expected to cover 0-62mph in less than six seconds.

A six-speed manual gearbox or seven-speed PDK twin-clutch auto will be offered, while the four-wheel-drive system is to be biased towards tarmac use, so off-road features will be limited to hill descent control and all-weather tyres. The hybrid model is based on Audi’s forthcoming green Q5, which features a 210bhp 2.0L engine mated to a 47bhp electric motor, and gives a zero-emissions range of 1.8 miles.

Although the Cajun is heavily based on the Q5, Porsche will fit unique suspension, damper and braking set-ups. The firm will also recalibrate the stability control for a sportier drive, and offer Porsche Active Stability Management as an extra, to control the new dampers.

The Sports Chrono package will be an option, too. This brings a sports exhaust to increase engine power, as well as launch control on cars with the PDK gearbox. VW Group design chief Walter de’Silva has already expressed interest in working on Porsche’s new models, and aims to move away from the controversial design seen on the Panamera. But the Cajun will still be striking, with a low, swooping roofline and short overhangs.

Inside, the four-seater cabin promises more luxury than the Q5. The centre console will be set higher, to cocoon the driver and give the car a small and nimble feel. Plus, the Panamera-inspired dash design and switchgear, set to appear in the new Boxster and Cayman next year, will ensure the model looks like a true Porsche.

When it goes on sale in 2013, it will be priced between the Q5 and Cayenne, which start from €32,039 and €47,410 respectively. The entry-level Cajun is likely to be slightly more expensive than the base Range Rover Evoque Pure, which will cost from around €34,352.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Audi’s sports car concepts have dominated auto show news for most of 2010, and now projections of a mid-engine Audi slotted below the R8 are fueling the gossipsphere like a splash of petrol doused on a hot exhaust. With all the conjecture in the media, we figured we could offer some analysis based on our own inside knowledge. What follows is a comprehensive breakdown of what we know as well as some educated guesses for the future of mid-engine cars at the Volkswagen Group and specifically Audi.

With Porsche now firmly under the Volkswagen Group umbrella, there’s finally a potential business case for a mid- or rear-engine sports car platform to be shared across the group. Top management at VAG wants to see Porsche grow its aims to achieve this in part through shared platforms with other group brands. As far as we know there are at least two main platforms or component sets at play here and they may possibly underpin nearly every sports car the company builds once the next generation 911, Cayman and Boxster run their course.

Below is a breakdown. Let’s start on the low end.

Transverse Mid-Engine, aka: MQB Mid
MQB is VAG’s upcoming modular architecture that will feature transversely mounted engines in the front of the chassis, following in the vein of Audi’s longitudinal engine MLB setup pioneered under Martin Winterkorn’s tenure at Audi. In MLB, key points are shared underneath everything from the A4 to the A8. MQB is apparently just as flexible as MLB and key components from this upcoming set were used to underpin Volkswagen’s mid-engine Bluesport Concept in 2009.We don’t yet know an official designation for this component set, but for now we’re dubbing it ‘MQB Mid’.

Since the debut of Bluesport, the group has been evaluating use of this cost-effective and likely rear-drive-only chassis for small Porsche and Audi sportscars and also for Volkswagen, maybe even for a third-generation modern Volkswagen Beetle. Its combination of lower cost and compatibility also make it a potential for a Seat like the Tango concept that appeared several years ago, though no reliable source has ever mentioned this possibility.

While Audi executives refused to get specific at the Detroit Auto Show last January, we were able to learn that the blue e-tron concept shown in Motown was, in fact, a mid-engine configuration, despite its almost Aston Martin-like proportions. Audi group design boss Wolfgang Egger also confirmed that the Detroit e-tron was roughly the same footprint as an Audi A1, so it’s easy to infer this car was Audi’s take on the MQB Mid chassis set. All rumors from informed corners of the press suggest the Audi, Porsche and VW have been evaluating whether or not to put this architecture into production, and the continued onslaught of concept cars suggest the future looks bright.

Possible VAG Cars That Could Make Use of MQB Mid
• Audi R4, R3 or TT Successor
• Porsche 914 or 356 Successor
• Volkswagen Bluesport or Beetle

At Audi this vehicle would most likely establish the smallest R-car, expanding from the lone R8 into a full line of sports cars. An R4 seems to be the most likely designation for the car, according to the rumor mill, but a transverse engine configuration and small size makes us wonder how likely this is. Based on the fact the A4 uses a longitudinal engine and is a much bigger car, we suspect it may bear an R3 designation. Discussion of a possible TT model on this platform seem unlikely, as our sources tell us the TT is set to remain front engined. Regardless of name, electric e-tron versions are likely.

Since the engine is transverse we can make a few more assumptions. Audi will be limited to use of its inline or narrow angle VR engines such as the V6 recently removed from the TT and A3 lineups. More than likely the largest and most powerful Audi engines in the car would be the 2.0T or the 350 hp 2.5T from the TT RS.

We have no direct intel from inside Porsche, but other news sources have suggested Stuttgart is working on a spiritual successor to the 914 or maybe even the 356 as an entry-level sports car slotted below the Boxster/Cayman. Trusted news sources seem to think the current Cayman/Boxster chassis is getting an overhaul with some added length in part to help make room for this new Porsche model below them. CAR magazine also hinted that Porsche might be considering a new turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engine for the car.

If a new boxer is developed, it could also see duty in a Volkswagen iteration. Still unclear about the name, it is likely that VW would go for a roadster similar to the original Bluesport concept. Add to that unconfirmed rumors of a New Beetle successor and the boxer engine makes even more sense from a heritage standpoint.

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VW’s Euro-spec Jetta official pictures


VW’s new saloon star has jetted in! These are the first official pictures of the European-spec Jetta. The firm first showed off the car in the US in June, but the newcomer has undergone a number of changes to meet European tastes, including upgraded interiors, different rear suspension and new engine choices.

The Jetta is a big seller in the US, and this time around, VW has worked hard to simplify the car, making it easier and cheaper to build, and thus cheaper to sell. However, the Euro-spec model is more sophisticated than ever before.

Styled by VW design boss Klaus Bischoff, the Jetta takes its inspiration from the NCC concept shown at the Detroit Motor Show last January. It’s a little bigger than the old car, with an extra 70mm in the wheelbase giving more rear passenger room. Euro-spec cars also benefit from a more luxurious interior trim spec than their US counterparts.

The Euro-spec Jetta features the same four-link rear suspension we get on the Golf, rather than the simplified torsion beam fitted to US models. Under the hood, the US car gets 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre petrols and a 2.0-litre diesel, while Europe will have the choice of 1.2-litre and 1.4-litre TSI petrols and a 1.6-litre and two 2.0-litre diesels.

BlueMotion Technology will be offered on the 1.2-litre petrol and 1.6-ltire diesel units, including stop start. This allows the petrol to return 53.2mpg and 123g/km, while the diesel manages 68.0mpg and 109g/km. A hybrid model will be sold in the US from 2013.

Buyers will have the choice of S, SE and Sport specs, and prices will be announced closer to the on sale date next year, but are predicted to be close to the current car, which starts at €19,544

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Audi A9 rendering


An interesting photo of an Audi A9 has appeared in the lastest issue of Auto Zeitung. We are not sure what to make of this and only currently have the rendering.

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Next Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car announced for 2011


Porsche GB has announced "updates" and pricing on the 2011 911 GT3 Cup racer - the best-selling racing car of all time with over 1,400 sold.

Porsche has issued a press release: The 2011 GT3 Cup race car is still based on the road going GT3 RS, just like the 2010 model was, and will continue to feature the same 3.8 liter flat six-cylinder engine that produces 450 PS (331 kW / 444 bhp) at 8,500 rpm, as did the 2010 GT3 Cup model.

Specs on the GT3 Cup race car: It is made of a monocoque bodyshell of hot-galvanised lightweight steel and carbon fiber body panels that keep its weight sharply down to 1,200 kg (2,645 lbs). Other technical data includes the sequential six-speed dog-type gearbox, ZF Sachs gas-pressure fixed dampers for the race suspension and Brembo racing brakes with 6-piston calipers at the front and 4-piston ones for the back wheels.

The GT3 Cup race car rides on (front) BBS 9.5J x 18 ET 37 rims with a central bolt fitted with 24/64-18 Michelin racing tires and BBS 12J x 18 ET 30 rims (also central bolt, of course) on Michelin 27/68-18 tires at the back.

The GT3 Cup will race in the 2011 Porsche Carrera Cup in the U.K. next year in addition to the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup on the occasion of Formula 1 races. Pricing is £94,600 plus VAT and deliveries will begin in early 2011.

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VW plans to become the world's largest auto maker by 2018


Volkswagen’s plan to sell 10 million cars per year by 2018, becoming the world's largest car maker in the process, has been brought forward by three years, a source has revealed.

The source, citing secret company documents, told Manager Magazine that VW is now targeting more than eight million sales by 2012 and 10 million sales by 2015. This will mean that VW will pass Toyota as the world's largest car maker.

VW's official goal is to increase annual sales to 10 million by 2018 although, when questioned about the report, a VW spokesman said: “We're keeping to our 2018 target but do not rule out that the goal can be achieved earlier".

To meet growing demand, two factories will be added in its biggest market, China, plans to double production to three million cars in four years. Another factory is planned in Tennessee to supply the US market and VW is also expanding capacity in Russia.

VW hopes for a second consecutive year of record global sales after selling 6.29 million vehicles in 2009.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Eisenmann Audi R8 Spark Eight


Eisenmann is company specializing in professional sport exhaust systems, but they decided to come up with a complete package for the Audi R8. And they’ve done a nice hob, sort of! They call it the Spark Eight, and let’s start with its high performance stainless steel exhaust system with a single tailpipe like that of Bugatti Veyron!

This 4600 Euro system has valves and flaps in it which are all electronically controlled enabling you to adjust the noise of the car via a remote control. As an option, Eisenmann also offers a 3800 Euro system with four tailpipes.

The aero kit they’ve put on the R8 includes front splitter, new grille and air intakes with new fins, brake cooling chambers, rear diffuser. That is complimented with 19-inch wheels and new shock absorbers with four performance springs. The wheels are wrapped in 235/35 (front) and 315/30 (rear) tires.

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TECHART Porsche Panamera Grand GT


German tuning house TECHART revealed their upgrade package for the Porsche Panamera, dubbed the Grand GT. What they’re proposing includes both mechanical and visual tuning, with more power than the standard car which is based on the Turbo model, and a more aggressive and more exclusive design.

Set for premiere at Zurich Car Show from November 11 to 14, the TECHART Grand GT gets a massive body kit made of fiber-reinforced composite based on carbon, glass-fiber-reinforced plastic and polyurethane RIM components. It consists of front bumper with integrated splitter and large ventilation intakes, multifunctional daytime running lights, and TECHART Aero engine hood.

That’s the front of the car, you also get side skirts and flared fenders increase the width of the Panamera by 21mm on each side of the front axle compared to the standard vehicle and 42mm on each side of the rear axle, roof spoiler, the much larger rear spoiler, rear apron with integrated air openings and matching diffuse and oval dual active tailpipes which can be controlled electronically.

As for the power, the standard 4.8 l twin-turbo engine is boosted from 368 kW to 426 kW, and simultaneously the torque has gone up from 700 to 830 Nm. That is due to the TECHART engine management TECHTRONIC system.

The Grand GT rides on TECHART Formula II design in 22-inch and the TECHART Formula III forged light alloy wheels in 21- and 22-inch. The interior is tweaked too, with an entertainment package with two 7-inch screens that are seamlessly integrated in the design of the front seat backrests, incorporated in a high-quality leather screen console matching the colour of the vehicle’s interior. You also get fold-away tables at the back.

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Friday, October 22, 2010

New Porsche 928 renderings


There has been a growing rumor that the 928 model will make a return in the Porsche lineup. Unfortunately, these are still but only rumors. We did however recently come across two renderings of the possible new 928. Based on what the president of Porsche Matthias Mueller has stated in interviews.

The Porsche 928 may be a result from Panamera DNA to represent a variant GT coupe. Until we hear more information, enjoy the renderings.

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Audi is set to broaden the brand’s appeal by attending the annual SEMA tuning show in the US in an official capacity for the first time. And to mark the occasion in style, Audi of America has commissioned US-based tuner STaSIS Engineering to create a very special one-off R8.

Based on the already-potent R8 Spyder V10, STaSIS has added a supercharger and sports exhaust to the engine, upping power from 518bhp and 530Nm to 700bhp and 709Nm. This chops a whole second from the 0-60mph time, with the tuned car completing the sprint in just 3.1 seconds.

To compliment the engine upgrades, STaSIS has also added bespoke Ohlins dampers, lowered the suspension by 20mm, added enlarged Alcon brakes and lightweight 20-inch wheels.

STaSIS products are available through Audi dealers in the US, so if an approved dealer completes the modifications, buyers also get a four-year, 50,000-mile warranty.

Also on display on Audi’s stand will be its autonomous TTS Pikes Peak technology concept, and an S5 Cabriolet, Q5 and S4 which have also been modified by STaSIS.

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Porsche considering new model between 911 and 918 Spyder?


Porsche – which currently offers the Boxster/Cayman twins, umpteen different variations of the 911, the Cayenne SUV and the Panamera sedan – is endlessly rumored to be considering more models. Most often, speculation seems to revolve around another nameplate to slot in below the entry-level Boxster, and certainly that's still a distinct possibility. We already know a smaller 'ute called the Cajun is (probably) on its way, along with the show-stopping 918 Spyder.

But Porsche chief Matthias Müller has apparently hinted that he sees room between the 911 and the upcoming range-topping 918. It seems that the high(ish)-end sports car would be based on existing components, which makes us wonder if it could possibly be a mid-engine car on the 918's platform that eschews that car's hybrid configuration for something more traditional... a flat-six from the 911, perhaps?

Whatever the case, Porsche's plans call on sales of roughly 150,000 units per year, which is nearly double what the marque manged to sell last year. Considering that each of Porsche's current models sell at a pretty decent clip for their individual classes, that much of an increase is likely certain to come from new machines in new segments. We just have a hard time seeing Porsche do anything that might diminish the relevance of the 911 range.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Volkswagen has introduced the Exclusive Edition package for the new Eos.

Available with all engine variants from the 140HP 2.0 TDI to the 210HP 2.0 TSI, the Exclusive trim adds a raft of features such as sports seats in two-tone Nappa leather upholstery and decorative elements in aluminum.

The interior also benefits from a sports steering wheel, gear lever sleeve and hand brake lever finished in leather with matching colored stitching, Black Piano lacquer trim elements on the center console, and unique door sills.

Every Eos Exclusive model gets standard 18-inch alloy wheels in a choice of two designs and standard sport suspension. Prices in Germany start from €35,275.

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