Sneak Peek: Audi R5 (“Baby R8”) Illustration

Brenda Priddy on

We've seen this referred to as the upcoming R4, as well as an R5; but, whatever Audi decides to call this, many will continue to think of this hot-looking sports car as the “baby R8.”

Based on the Audi e-tron styling, we're expecting the production version to look much like this illustration (check out the future Audi A3 Cabrio). In addition to the R5 (or R4, as may be the case), the on-again off-again VW BlueSport and entry-level Porsche—if they go to production—will also be riding on this same chassis.

More details to follow on the production version as they come in.

Illustration Copyright: Brenda Priddy & Company

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2012 Audi A6

2012 Audi A7

2011 Audi A8 more

Sneak Peek: Audi A3 Cabrio - Illustrations

Brenda Priddy on

Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen recently confirmed that the Audi A3 will be sold in sedan form in the United States—implying that the hatchback will not arrive in the marketplace here. 

But what about the convertible?  

There is strong speculation that it, too, will be sold in the U.S., and we now have several illustrations of the new cabrio. 

Although we haven't been able to confirm powertrains, there are rumors of a pure EV and/or a PHEV variant. 

We're expecting lots of A3 news at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.

Illustrations Copyright: Brenda Priddy & Company more

24 Hours of Daytona Preview: How and What to Watch During the Weekend Race

Ryan ZumMallen on

It's finally here! Dive into your complete guide to the cars, stars and festivities taking place at the 50th Rolex 24 at Daytona this weekend.

The 50th running of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona will drop the green flag at 3:30 pm ET Saturday, officially marking the beginning of the 2012 racing season. Whether you'll be following the action on the SPEED Channel, kicking back in your favorite chair, or taking in the whole scene from the famous Daytona infield, our comprehensive guide has you covered. Here's what you should be watching and doing this weekend:


There is never a lack of big-name drivers at the always star-studded event, and this year will be no exception. Celebrity drivers include actor Patrick Dempsey and AC/DC singer Brian Johnson, and in the spirit of late Daytona legend Paul Newman, both figure to fight for a top finish. Professional drivers include superstars like Dario Franchitti, Juan Pablo Montoya, Graham Rahal, Scott Dixon and four-time Daytona winner Scott Pruett. If that weren't enough, AJ Foyt himself will serve as the race's Grand Marshal. more

Audi Unleashes Trio of 2013 Turbo "S" Editions at 2011 LA Auto Show

James M. Flammang on

A triple threat of high-performance offshoots of midsize and full-size Audi models are the main attraction at this German automaker’s display stand at the 2011 LA Auto Show. For this new generation, Audi has abandoned the big V-8 and V-10 engines that powered previous “S” editions, in favor of a smaller-displacement V-8 with twin turbochargers. Sales of the S6 and S7 begin next spring, as 2013 models, while the S8 is scheduled to reach dealerships earlier.

Starting at the top, the big, luxurious 2013 Audi S8 flagship sedan debuted at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September, fitted with a new 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V-8 engine that’s shared with Bentley (Audi’s sister company). Rated at 520 horsepower and generating 479 pound-feet of torque, driving an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, the new V-8 delivers 70 more horsepower than its V-10 predecessor. Yet, the turbo engine beats its predecessor in gas mileage by nearly 23 percent. “Cylinder-on-demand” technology deactivates half the engine cylinders during lower-load periods, cutting fuel consumption by up to 10 percent. Active noise control negates undesirable changes in engine/exhaust when cylinders are temporarily deactivated, making the transition “virtually undetectable,” according to Audi.

Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive, including a sport differential, is standard on the S8. So are S8-specific 21-inch wheels. The driver-adjustable air suspension provides a choice of three ride heights. Front seating adjusts 22 ways with standard heating, ventilation, and massage functions. Options include adaptive cruise control, Audi side assist and lane assist, and night vision. Audi Connect includes Google Earth and Search, weather forecasts, and a wi-fi hotspot. more

Quick Spin Test Drive: 2012 Audi A6
Gary Witzenburg on

This new 2012 Audi A6 luxury performance sedan is a solid, handsome piece with a best-in-class aero drag coefficient of 0.26. The $50K U.S. volume model is motivated by a delightfully eager 310-hp supercharged, direct-injected 3.0-liter V6, happily wedded to an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission that can be manually shifted via steering wheel paddles. It drives all four wheels through Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system, which asymmetrically distributes drive torque 40 percent front, 60 percent rear under normal conditions, and it’s good for 5.3-sec. 0-60 performance and a respectable 19 mpg city/28 highway/22 combined EPA mpg.

Or, for more fuel efficiency at a lower price (about $42K), you can opt for the 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injected TSFI four, which delivers a lively 211 horses to the front wheels through a “multitronic” continuously variable transmission (CVT). It offers a much more frugal (and best-in-class) 24 EPA mpg city, 33 highway and 28 combined.

The 2012 Audi A6’s structure is steel, but its multi-link suspension and most of its body panels are lightweight aluminum. Its steering is speed-sensitive servotronic power rack and pinion, and its brakes are four-wheel discs with anti-lock, electronic stability program (ESP) and rear pressure proportioning. more

2011 Audi S4 Performance Sedan Test Drive
Ben Lewis on

You may not have noticed it, but we’re standing on a precipice in the performance world. With the concerns for the cost of fuel and environment-friendly machines, large, normally aspirated powerplants are giving way to smaller turbocharged and supercharged engines.

"We pulled around a gravel-strewn corner and the S4 just dug in and took off with impressive ease."

One of the first out of the gate is the new 2011 Audi S4. Replacing the previous S4’s lovely 340-hp, 4.2-liter V8 is a new supercharged 3.0-liter V6 producing a quite-similar 333 horsepower.  So while the numbers have remained similar, we wondered if that lovely feeling of something refined yet unbridled and raw would be lost to the high-tech world.

Well, the looks will still get your synapses firing. The S4 looks very similar to the A4 sedan—which we have no problem with, as it is handsome, refined and beautifully put together.  Our tester was the essence of cool in its Sprint Blue Pearl paint.

Giving the Audi S4 the extra menace it needs is the Titanium Sport Package, with gorgeous 19-inch titanium-finish 5-spoke alloy wheels, black Singleframe grille, black exterior trim and the LED-accented headlights that are pure Audi. Yes, other manufacturers have hopped on the LED bandwagon, but Audi was there first and, for our money, does it best. more

Automotive PR 101: How to Screw Up a Great Opportunity
Mac Demere on

David Roth couldn’t be in Omaha in 2010 when his son Michael helped the University of South Carolina win the NCAA College World Series. When the Gamecocks made the big show for the second year in a row, Roth asked for additional time off from his employer, Steve White VW/Audi of Greenville, South Carolina. “Nope,” said Steve White VW/Audi. “You’ve already taken off too much time.”

“Well, then I quit,” said David Roth. And he headed to Omaha to see his son play.

It became a national story. On the day the story broke, Google News said there were more than 1,000 articles on it. Fortunately for Steve White VW/Audi of Greenville, the dealer’s name isn't mentioned in most of them. 

As a father who used to skip out early (and replace it by working nights and weekends) to see (and coach) his son and daughter play youth baseball and soccer, I applaud David Roth. (And I apologize to my son for not attending more tennis matches. I twice missed seeing him finish runner-up in the state singles championships.) more

Quick Drive: 2011 Audi A8 Full-Size Luxury Performance Sedan
Ben Lewis on

If you haven’t noticed lately, Audi is on the move. From their bread-and-butter A4 sedan, to the Q5 and Q7 SUVs to the TT sports car, each new model brings a high level of desirability and class-leading innovation, design and performance.

This is actually a huge step forward for the brand as just a few years ago Audi seemed more like the discount premium German brand rather than a true competitor. But that has changed massively. While Audi still marches to a slightly different drummer, they are dead-on competitors for the very best in every segment they compete.

A perfect example is the 2011 A8 sedan we just tested. Let’s face it; if you’re going to be a premium automaker, you’re going to have to play in the big leagues, and that means taking on the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 Series über sedans.

The previous A8 was a lovely car, but didn’t really compete in the stratified air of the big Mercedes and BMW. But the all-new model not only competes, it also gives us some insight into the Audi brand itself.

The looks are sleek and inspiring, with the A8 featuring crisp, clean lines. Much like BMW, Audi likes to keep the family resemblance in their sedans. In this case that’s fine, as the current A4 is one of the most handsome sedans. Like it, but need more room? Just march up the sedan ladder to the A6 (due for its own refresh soon) or the A8. more

Video: 2011 Super Bowl XLV Ad – Audi Schools Audience In Luxury And Kenny G
Jeff Prescott on

Audi isn’t waiting for game day to kick off its Super Bowl ad campaign. The German automaker has launched a multimedia, social media marketing effort  to redefine luxury.

Audi has two parallel contests running on Facebook and Twitter “aimed at saying goodbye to old luxury and hello to Progressive Luxury.”

The Twitter contest challenges users to come up with the most creative definition of Progress Luxury, using the hashtag #ProgressIs and the URL in their tweets. The 10 best tweets will earn an old school luxury item, that can be traded up for something more contemporary. The grand prize is a weekend driving the R8 at the Audi sportscar experience in Sonoma, California. more

Why We Crave Luxury Cars
James M. Flammang on

Way back in the olden days when Cadillac declared itself the “Standard of the World,” everyone knew which cars were owned by the rich, and which ones sought middle-class customers. Packard, Cadillac, Pierce-Arrow, Lincoln. Those were the motorcars that promised prestige and luxurious driving.

In the 1950s and '60s, luxury cars were easy to spot. Many were laden with chrome, exhibiting what might today be dubbed "bling." Nowadays, luxury is a lot more subtle. So, how does a person who relies on his or her automobile to flaunt status make sure onlookers know the car is costly and, better yet, exclusive.

Acura, for one, has found that the reasons for purchasing a luxury model have changed lately. At the end of 2007, nearly half of surveyed respondents said a luxury car would “help me feel privileged.” Almost two-thirds expected it would “help me feel successful,” and just over half believed it would communicate that success. Three out of five expected to “feel I own something rare,” while 70 percent said a luxury car would “help me feel different and unique.”

Viewing higher-end cars as status symbols hasn’t disappeared, of course; but the number of people who seek each of those presumed benefits declined by around 15 percentage points in just over a year. In a comparable survey at the beginning of 2009, barely more than one-third of respondents expected a luxury car to help them “feel privileged.” The number who saw such an automobile as a communicator of success dropped from 51 to 34 percent. more

Quick Take Test Drive: 2011 Audi A8
Gary Witzenburg on

Audi’s new third-generation 2011 A8 flagship luxury performance sedan offers up a supremely capable adaptive air suspension, standard Audi quattro all-wheel drive, a more powerful and a more efficient 4.2-liter direct-injected V8 and a syrupy-smooth 8-speed automatic transmission. Its familiar Audi shape has subtly refined lines, a deeper horse-collar grille, more muscular wheel arches and industry-first full-LED (high and low beam) headlamps.

Inside the 2011 A8’s beautifully crafted cabin is an array of rich wood inlays, aluminum accents, leather instrument panel covering and premium plastics. The leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel has an automatic tilt-away function, the 18-way front seats are wrapped in premium leather, and the gearshift lever (its design inspired by yacht throttles) provides a handy hand rest for using the multi-function MMI interface.

The standard 4.2-liter FSI (Fuel Straight Injection) V8 is substantially upgraded with peak power is up to 372 hp vs. the previous 350 and torque to 328 lb.-ft. vs. 325. The long-wheelbase A8L’s remarkably compact available W12 generates a muscular 500 hp and 460 lb.-ft. of torque vs. the previous version’s 450 and 428—enough to rocket from rest to 60 mph in less than five seconds, yet it’s 12 percent more fuel efficient than the outgoing model. more

10 Best Engines For 2011
Jeff Prescott on

 Efficiency was the theme with the 2011 Ward’s Auto “10 Best Engines” awards selected from 38 vehicles with new or significantly improved engines for the 2011 model year. Turbochargers were common on the list, as were double-overhead cam designs. Technically not powered by an engine, the Nissan Leaf made the cut, along with its green nemesis, the extended-range, multi-award-winning Chevrolet Volt.

Among the miserly powerplants are several choices that a clear nods to performance, such as the Audi S4, BMW 335i, Dodge Avenber, and Ford Mustang GT engines.

“The one thing they have in common is they all are stand-out performers in their own way and sell the value proposition of the vehicles they power,” said Drew Winter, editor-in-chief of Ward’s AutoWorld magazine.

The staff made the selections based on driving the contenders around metro Detroit this October and November, scoring them on their power, technology, observed fuel economy and noise, vibration harshness. No instrumented testing was conducted.

This year’s winners and the applications tested: more

Notes from L.A. Auto Show: Automakers Rethink and Re-Plan Their Futures
James M. Flammang on

While most automakers brought the customary array of new and redesigned models to the Los Angeles Auto Show, several companies—some of them recently ailing—used the November event to outline bold new moves for the months ahead.

Chrysler, which fell into the doldrums of bankruptcy and despair not long ago, scheduled three news conferences to claim—and demonstrate—that its entire line is undergoing a radical change. In addition to reworking its existing model lineup, Chrysler is preparing to unleash a U.S. version of the Fiat 500 minicar, a product of its corporate connection with the Italian automaker. Fiats have been out of the American import scene since the early 1980s.

Lotus, the legendary sports car maker, hauled five concept cars to the West Coast, to prove that the British firm is alive and well, and ready for a new chapter. Seeking to rekindle interest in its products, Audi is relying on such models as the new A7 Sportback—a body style reminiscent of BMW’s 5 Series GT hatchback.

Hyundai debuted the latest version of its compact Elantra, emphasizing price and improved residual value. What’s different for the South Korean automaker is American president/CEO John Krafcik’s hope to have four models in 2011 that achieve better than 40 miles per gallon. more

Show Car: Audi e-tron Spyder Plug-In Hybrid Open Sports Car
Debbie Murphy on

In typical German understatement, Audi maintains that its e-tron Spyder achieves “respectable performance.” Here’s how the company defines “respectable:” 0 to 62 mph in 4.4 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph. Keep in mind that Germany is the land of the Porsche and the Autobahn, but give me that respectability on L.A. freeways and I’d be a happy camper.            

The open sports car, introduced at the Paris Auto Show, is powered by a mid-mounted 300-hp, twin-turbo V6 TDI (clean diesel) at the rear axle matched to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and two electric motors at the front axle. It’s low (3.64 feet), long (13.32 feet) and relatively wide (5.94 feet). The diesel generates 479 lb.-ft. of torque. The two electric motors combine for 259 lb.-ft. All of which is immediately available at acceleration. That translates into a sensation known only to those having been shot out of a cannon. Yes, that’s pretty respectable. more

Attention Bargain Shoppers: 16 Cars, SUVs, Trucks With Best Cost Of Ownership
Jeff Prescott on

Most car buyers focus on the purchase price of a new car, but there is much more to the cost of owning a car. Depreciation, taxes, registration fees, insurance costs, fuel, maintenance, and repairs all add up to significant costs, and there can be significant variation from model to model. The National Automotive Dealers Association (NADA) tracks these combined costs, and their consumer site has just released its picks for the cars with the best cost of ownership.

"Far too many consumers get into a vehicle that is beyond their means.  Not because they are unable to afford the monthly payments, but because they are unable to financially keep up with the ongoing costs associated with a vehicle – insurance, repairs, oil changes, etc.," says Don Christy, Jr., president of NADAguides.  

For this analysis, NADA made its calculations based on an with more than six years experience behind the wheel that drives an average of 15,000 miles a year.

The list below includes links to research by car category and review new car reviews. As you look through the list, note that it includes many enthusiast-pleasing and all-around good models. This best-car list proves you can have your cake and eat it too, provided you do your research. more