AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Audi is bringing an all-electric A3 to the U.S. Exciting as that may be, only 17 of them will make their way across the ocean.
At the annual TED conference in Long Beach, Calif., Audi CEO Johan DeNysschen revealed plans to bring 17 A3 e-trons Stateside as a trial to see what type of reaction the car would garner from the public.
The pure battery vehicle uses a 26 kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery that provides a range of 90 miles on a full charge at speeds of up to 90 mph. A similar A1 e-tron is undergoing the same testing in Europe, except that the A1 has a range-extending gasloine mated to its electric drivetrain.
Based on these initial tests, Audi will decide between the pure EV or range extended EV as the best option. “We will integrate the data generated from this program into the launch of a range of Audi e-tron models for American drivers,” said Jeff Curry, head of Audi of America’s e-mobility program.
While it’s intriguing to see Audi sending new technology to the American market, it’s also easy to wonder how much data 17 cars can really glean.
[Source: The Detroit Bureau]
America might not be blessed with the current-generation Audi A1 anytime soon, but Europeans may be getting a convertible variant with a retractable roof.
The A1 Convertible wouldn’t exactly be a full blown convertible, but a semi-convertible could be in the works sporting a retractable cloth top similar to what’s seen on the Fiat 500C. The German automaker has already tossed out the idea of a full convertible version due to high development costs.
The report comes courtesy of comments made by Audi head Rupert Stadler. The cloth top that could make its way onto the A1 body would cover about 80-percent of the roof, but unlike the 500C from Fiat, the roof wouldn’t incorporate the vehicle’s hatch section.
There’s no confirmation as to when this A1 variant would be available for purchase, but it’s believed that the model has already become an Audi road prototype, proving that it may have already received the nod for production.
Audi has dropped a nice surprise, releasing details and photos of a limited edition A1 quattro set to go on sale beginning in the second half of 2012. Only 333 units of the hot hatch will be produced and of course, North America will never even get close to sniffing it.
Essentially an S1 in everything but its model name, the Audi A1 quattro is powered by a 2.0L turbocharged TFSI powerplant with 256-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Even more impressive is that Audi estimates the A1 quattro will get around 27-28 mpg. Mated to the 2.0L is a six-speed transmission and Audi’s famous all-wheel-drive system.
On the outside, unique Glacier White-finished wheels are seen in an 18×8-inch sizing wrapped with 225/35 rubber. And for those wondering, the A1 quattro will only be available with a Glacier White exterior paint shade while the roof is finished in a contrasting high-gloss black. Accents in the headlights and wings are done in red, a clearly race-inspired look.
We’re absolutely in love with the aggressive styling of the A1 quattro in the front and the rear, while the interior is covered in luxurious black Silk Nappa leather. The gauge cluster features white needles, a red tachometer and the quattro logo while the steering wheel is wrapped in leather with contrasting red stitching.
Trust us, we’re as bummed out as you guys are after reading the press release that the A1 quattro won’t be making its way to American soil.
GALLERY: Audi A1 Quattro
A unique Audi A1 got shown off at the Tokyo Motor Show today, garnering not only the attention of the media but also that of the locals. At first glance the Samurai Blue Audi A1 just looks like a car that can’t make up its mind as to what color it wants to be, but to the Japanese it sports the look of their national soccer team.
The A1 was built by Audi to show respect for the Japanese national soccer team and is a one-off model that will be sold and a part of its profit will be donated to charity. The Japan’s national soccer team is nicknamed Blue Samurai, with blue and white as the colors of the men and women’s soccer jerseys. (If you recall, the Japanese women’s team recently won the World Soccer Cup in Germany).
For the A1 Samurai Blue, Audi accented the blue and white with the red from the Japanese flag. It also features 18-inch wheels sporting an exclusive polygonal design that have also been painted red. We took a peek inside the A1 and saw that the black interior got contrast blue stitching while other pieces such as the air vent nozzles, inlays, center console and floor mats all got colorful blue accents.
It appears that the 1.4L TFSI engine remains untouched with 122-hp. Audi did mention that they’re planning on a limited edition A1, with its design based on the Samurai Blue, to go on sale in 2012.
In addition to this one-off model, Audi also officially unveiled the new 5-door A1 Sportback model in Tokyo.
GALLERY: Audi A1 Samurai Blue
GALLERY: Audi A1 Sportback
Even though this generation’s Audi A1 won’t be making it to North America, Audi has admitted that they’re considering launching the next-generation to us Americans. Nonetheless we have another variation to maybe look forward to, a five-door Sportback version of the Audi A1.
Priced at a little under $23,000 based on today’s conversion rates, the A1 Sportback will initially be offered with four different engine options, three TFSI gasolines and one TDI diesel engine with horsepower ranging from 86-hp to 185-hp. Most of the powerplants are mated to Audi’s standard six-speed manual or automatic but some can be paired up with a seven-speed S tronic with dual clutch.
The 1.2L TFSI packs 86-hp while the 1.4L TFSI has 122-hp and the top-of-the-line 1.4L twin-charged TFSI sports 185-hp. The first diesel offering will be a 1.6L TDI with 105-hp, but will later be joined by a 2.0L TDI with 143-hp. The supercharged and turbocharged 1.4L can be paired with Audi’s seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch gearbox helping it hit 62-mph in just 7-seconds.
Despite looking similar to the three-door A1, the Sportback is actually 0.24-inch taller and wider, offering slightly more head room and shoulder room for its five passengers.
Ordering for the A1 Sportback in the UK will start at the end of this month with deliveries coming by next spring.
GALLERY: Audi A1 Sportback
Audi has once again won the Silvretta Electric Car Rally in Austria’s Montafon region. Last year, the R8 e-tron won the competition, and this year, a Q5 also competed finishing sixth place out of 32 vehicles.
The A1 e-tron bearing the number 206 covered 307 kilometers in three days, winning the car rally. The event was held from July 7th to July 9th on “highly taxing mountain roads” with inclines up to 15 percent. Franciscus van Meel, the driver of the A1 e-tron said, “Sending an electric car into the Alps is one of the toughest challenges you can present it with. The fact that the A1 e-tron proved so impressive here is especially gratifying to me and it proves we’re on the right track with our electric mobility approach of combining an electric motor with a combustion engine”.
The A1 is fitted with a 75-kilowatt electric motor, 12-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and single-disc, and a 254-cc rotary engine. This car had enough power to propel the range-extended electric into the lead.
Gallery: Audi A1 E-tron
Rotaries may seem like a thing of the past these days, especially with Mazda preparing to retire the RX-8. But the Wankel-powered sports car won’t be the last Mazda to get the odd powerplant, thanks in part to a recent breakthrough.
A recently big step forward for Mazda’s engineers is a newly developed laser ignition system that can remove spark plugs from the equation. This has made sealing the Wankel’s combustion chamber easier, resulting in better efficiency and, more importantly, lower hydrocarbon emissions.
This breakthrough could prove to be the catalyst Mazda needs to rejuvenate the RX-7 model, but it all comes down to finding the proper funding.
That influx of cash could come from a partnership with Audi. The two automakers are reportedly in talks and Audi’s A1 e-tron concept did use a 254cc Wankel range-extender underneath the trunk floor. The light weight, smooth and quiet rotary technology could prove the perfect pairing for a future production hybrid drivetrain for Audi.
[Source: Inside Line]
Oh Audi A1, where art thou? While we Americans sit around and wait for the second generation A1 to launch, the fortunate ones in Europe are already getting their hands quite dirty with the MINI competitor. Senner Tuning has been fast out of the gate with their version and we’re just fuming with jealousy that we can’t get our hands on one ourselves.
The 1.6-liter TDI engine produces a pedestrian 104-hp and 184 ft-lbs of torque from the factory, but with Senner Tuning’s ECU retune one can expect 138-hp and 220 ft-lbs of torque. It may not seem like much, but we’re guessing in this tiny little 3-door package it packs quite the punch. The ECU retune is available for $1,140.
For their demo car, Senner Tuning opted for a set of KW coilovers to lower the vehicle while bolting on a set of 18×8-inch Barracuda Voltec T6 wheels with 225/35/18 Hankook S1 Evo tires. Senner Tuning states that the wheel and tire package starts at around $2,025 depending on what sort of rubber you want on the wheels. Lastly, an exhaust system is available for the same price as the ECU retune, $1,140. No power gains are disclosed from the exhaust, but we’re guessing it a few horses.
It looks as if Senner Tuning is prepared to sell completely built Audi A1s to the market much like their demo car. From what we can gather, you can get an A1 identical to the one seen in the photos for around $34,400. Probably a little spendy for a vehicle that’s supposed to be a MINI competitor, but you are getting some goods with it.
GALLERY: Senner Tuning Audi A1
Official press release available after the break.
Justin Timberlake as an IT specialist: worst idea ever? Audi apparently doesn’t feel the same way we do. We feel that nothing can come close to BMW’s The Hire series of Internet films, the other German luxury car maker seems to think that putting an ex-N’Sync member behind the wheel of an A1 to “save a life” will sell more cars. The series is called The Next Big Thing.
Here’s the synopsis, straight from Audi:
“Justin Timberlake is John Frank, a straight-laced IT specialist. He meets the mysterious Toni, played by Dania Ramirez. John can save her life. More is revealed in steps – that’s the idea. The tension builds until the finale – the final episode. There’s never a dull moment between episodes on the Internet, either. Interactive elements provide secrets, details and background about each episode: users get to know the characters, see the film from unusual perspectives, and flashbacks fill in the plot.”
Right. If you’re so inclined, you can view each episode here. And the reasoning behind the films?
“The timing for the film was not chosen at random, as you will be able to order the A1 soon,” said Peter Schwarzenbauer, Audi Board Member for Marketing and Sales. “The film is action-packed and entertaining, perfectly suited to the young target group of our A1. At the same time the movie provides kind of a virtual test drive: it shows skillful handling, technical refinement and presents the self-assured design of the A1.”
It could be worse: they could try and promote the car using an iPhone app. Oh. Wait. That totally happened. My bad.
See part 1 of 6 after the jump. And just a reminder, you can’t buy an A1 if you live in North America – because we’re not getting it.
In the interest of fairness, we do think it’s incredibly difficult to market a new car. After all, how are you supposed to get attention from prospective buyers — especially when your latest city car is geared toward the youngest demographic possible?
Audi is trying to coax a few more eyeballs onto their A1 city car by releasing Beat Driver (iTunes link), an iPhone / iPod Touch / iPad game. The purpose? Steer through a fictional landscape (think F-Zero or Wipeout), drive into pulsating blocks, get powerups, and avoid the dreaded black “X” block.
As an avid iPhone users, we immediately downloaded and fired up the game — and were pleasantly surprised to find a track by Canadian band Metric (“Gold Guns Girls”) as one of the in-game songs. Torpedo, Tommy Sparks, The Music, White Lies, The Rakes, La Roux, The Fall, and Lo-F-Fnk also contribute tracks.
After a quick test drive, here’s the verdict: the music is good, but the game is awful. It’s a tired concept that doesn’t make use of any features of the iPhone / iPod Touch / iPad platform, and was clearly cranked out for some middle manager at a marketing firm to tout its success through numbers of downloads.
And despite an “international high score list,” Facebook, and Twitter integration, it comes off as a desperate attempt to pander to the “cool kids” that Audi so desperately wants in the A1.