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.
When Size Matters
Large and in charge. Big is beautiful. Size matters. Yes, there are endless clichés to support the notion that the bigger something is, the better it is. In the automotive kingdom, some vehicles not only adhere to this philosophy, but redefine it. We aren’t talking the puny realm of offerings like the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry or even Dodge Charger. No, this is for the serious four wheeled hippos. The cars where it is more fun to be in the backseat than the front seat.
If you have more money to burn than the average NFL Quarterback, then there are some serious vehicles you can buy that are seriously long. How about the 220.9-inch Phantom Coupe? Not long enough for you? You could upsize to the 239.8-inch Phantom extended-wheelbase sedan, or maybe the 242.7-inch Maybach 62?
But for the rest of us mere mortals, there are some sizable vehicles out there under $100,000. Heck, two of the top ten are even under $30,000. So we will now present to you the top ten vehicles that are longer than The Hobbit.
Audi is introducing their new line of bi-turbo diesel engines that will make their way into several A6 cars and the A7 Sportback.
Those included in the list are the A6 sedan, A6 Avant, Allroad Quattro and A7 Sportbacks. Next spring U.K. customers can look forward to those cars sporting the option of Audi’s most powerful V6 diesel to date. The 3.0-liter bi-turbo oil burner will have 309 horsepower and 479 ft-lb of torque. That will be enough to propel the A6 Quattro from 0-60 mph in just 5.1 seconds, while the A6 Avant and A7 will get there in 5.3.
There isn’t any news on those cars making their way across the ocean just yet, but Audi did well in the U.K. last year, selling 14 percent more vehicles than they did the previous year. Audi says part of their plan to continue that upward trend is to invest more money in new products for what looks like a hungry market.
While this is little more than speculation, it doesn’t seem that outlandish that Audi might decide to bring those products to market in North America. An A6 diesel has long been rumored for the US, but the date keeps scooting out of sight.
Hopefully the new engine will sell well in the U.K. and encourage Audi to expand its distribution. That said, we won’t be surprised if it takes a long time or just doesn’t happen at all. Afterall, we’re still staring at the A1 with envy as the clock ticks by. There’s also already a diesel engine being sold in the US, albeit one with only 225 horsepower, sold in the Q7, and soon to be available in the Q5 CUV and A8 sedan.
In between moments of fun, spirited, and recreational driving, there are some boring moments spent queuing behind crawling traffic. At this year’s CES (Consumer Electronics Show), Audi introduced a new system that can alleviate this inconvenience with the push of a button, using a device known simply as the Traffic Jam Assistant.
Audi’s Traffic Jam Assistant aids the driver to help steer, accelerate and brake autonomously at speeds up to 37 mph. Based on adaptive cruise control, the system relies on two radar sensors monitoring fan-shaped fields at a 21-degree scan angle, each sensor reaching as far as 820 feet. A wide-angle video camera is also installed to identify lane markings as well as other vehicles, pedestrians, and guard rails. This range enables the system to not only detect the vehicle ahead, but other vehicles ahead of it as well.
Audi says that this technology will, “relieve the driver at times when driving is not much fun, such as in congested traffic.”
While Audi has not announced when the technology will be available for mass production or how much this system will cost, expect to see it first in a future Audi A8 luxury sedan.
Audi has plenty to celebrate this year, having eclipsed their previous annual sales record of 101,629 (set in 2010) with a month to go in 2011. Sales through the Thanksgiving weekend stood at 102,055 vehicles, giving Audi an amazing year to go along with having record-setting months in each of the first 10 months of the year.
To go along with new car sales, Audi also set a new record with their Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicles, besting their 2008 record of 32,108. CPO sales up to Thanksgiving weekend totaled in at 33,102 which was also a 32-percent increase over the previous year’s tally.
This is the second time Audi has exceeded 100,000 in sales since it established its brand in America over 41 years ago. They expect to have a record November month as well, and figures to close the year off with a 12th record setting month.
Audi has just released official details on a new hybrid version of its A8 luxury flagship sedan, powered by a 4-cylinder engine. The 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder (what else?) is mated to an electric motor and makes a total of 245-hp with 345 lb-ft of torque while achieving an average fuel consumption of 36.75-mpg (on the European test cycle). Even more impressive is that the luxury sedan can travel up to 62-mph on the electric motor alone and can cover 1.86-miles at a speed of 37-mph with zero local emissions.
Separately, the 2.0L TFSI produces 211-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, while the electric motor puts out 54-hp and 155 lb-ft of torque. Combined, this helps power the A8 hybrid to a 0-62 mph time of 7.7 seconds – a reasonable though hardly impressive time. Three driving modes are available to the A8 hybrid driver, an EV mode that gives priority to the electric drive, a “D” mode that efficiently controls both the electric and gas engine and an “S” mode can be combined with the tiptronic gate to provide a sporty driving experience.
On the outside, the hybrid version sports subtle differences than its gas-only counterpart. The 10-spoke wheels are unique and come in an 18-inch sizing as standard, with a 19-inch upgrade available as an option. Hybrid badges adorn the body while Arctic Silver is an exclusive paint finish to the hybrid model. Standard to the model are metallic paint, three-zone automatic air conditioning, LED headlights and a Bose sound system.
No pricing was announced for the A8 hybrid.
GALLERY: Audi A8 Hybrid
Specifically designed for VIPs with good taste, Audi has announced an armored version of their lengthened luxury sedan. Dubbed the Audi A8 L Security, the strengthened sedan offers state-of-the-art modifications to protect against virtually any attack.
The A8 L Security is powered by a 6.3L W12 powerplant, pushing out 494-hp and 461 ft-lbs of torque which helps just a tad to combat against the added weight of the armoring. On the outside, the Security has received hot-formed armored steel, multilayer glass that has been polycarbonate-coated, reinforced side sills and tons of aramide fabric. All the interior armoring adds an additional 1,587 lbs while the window modifications bring on another 1,455 lbs. But hey, it’s a small price to pay to protect yourself against AK-47s and hand grenades.
Options to the A8 L Security range from the obvious to the ridiculous. An emergency exit system can be added, using pyrotechnic charges to blast open the doors, while fire protection system can be aimed the wheels, underbody, fuel tank and engine if needed. While those seem to be fairly acceptable precautions, an emergency fresh-air system is a bit startling. The system utilizes pressurized oxygen to ensure passengers can save themselves during chemical or gas attacks.
Not enough for you? Well, an LED signaling system, a siren and two-way communication (to talk to people outside the vehicle without lowering the windows) will also be available.
Naturally the A8 L sedan is still a luxury vehicle, so its interior options are plentiful ranging from a refrigerator to a relaxation seat equipped with heating, massage and power-adjustable footrest.
No pricing has been announced for the A8 L Security yet, but honestly can you put a price tag on peace of mind?
Official press release available after the break.