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.
Cadillac has just revealed the pricing for its 2013 Cadillac ATS sport sedan that is poised to take on the highly competitive segment. Available in three powertrains, and tested at various racetracks around the world, the ATS is looking to make a big splash in the sport sedan market.
At the 2012 Audi Annual Press Conference, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler confirmed that the German automaker will be manufacturing plug-in hybrid variants of their A3, A4, and Q7 models.
“While we are planning small-scale series production for this car, which is a vital element in our innovation and technology plans, the electric driving experience will become a reality for a growing clientele with our plug-in hybrids,” Stadler said.
The market launch for the A3 plug-in hybrid is set for 2014 while the next-generation A4 and Q7 will get plug-in hybrid variants starting in 2014 and in successive years. By 2020, Audi hopes to have an e-tron available in every segment to help achieve total sales in the six-figure range.
“Our pioneering vehicle in this field is the Audi A3, with the market launch of a plug-in version slated for 2014. This will be followed by the next-generation Audi A4 and Audi Q7 plug-in cars – starting in 2014 and in successive years. In 2020, we want to have an e-tron available in every segment and to achieve total sales in the six-figure range,” Stadler said.
Stadler also addressed Audi’s focus in optimizing their gas and diesel engines to help reduce CO2 emissions, spoke about the first Audi race car with a hybrid engine, and was clear that their goal for 2012 will be to “achieve stronger growth than the market as a whole.” It’s widely speculated that the automotive industry will experience a 4-percent increase in car sales this year, but Audi wants to best that average.
It will continue to target the Chinese market with hopes to achieve double-digit growth yet again. The German automaker plans to nearly double their dealer network in China by the end of 2013. The Q3 will also be introduced to China and a new generation of the popular A6L (long version) will be launched before 2012 ends.
GALLERY: Audi A3 Hatchback
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel estimates are out for BMW‘s new line of 3-Series cars and it looks like they’ve caught the competition with their pants down.
The 2012 328i scores an impressive 24 mpg city and 36 mpg highway, that’s a 28 percent improvement in fuel consumption over last year’s model. What’s even better is that the 328i actually gets more power than the model it replaced for a total of 240 horsepower compared to last year’s 230. The 300-horsepower 335i doesn’t get a boost in oomph but as you may expect, is less thirsty in 2012. In fact, the automatic-equipped version is downright efficient, bragging 23 mpg city and 33 highway.
Though it might seem like it, these jumps don’t happen overnight, or by some magic gasoline fairy waving a wand. BMW achieved such impressive improvements in the 328i through cleverly engineered turbocharging and by lobbing a whole liter off of last year’s engine. That’s right, there’s a 2.0-liter inline four where there used to be a 3.0-liter six cylinder.
So what of the competition? The Mercedes-Benz C 250 has 39 fewer ponies than the 328i and only gets 21 and 31 mpg in the city and highway despite having a 1.8-liter engine. Audi‘s A4 uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged powerplant and also only gets 22 mpg city and 30 on the highway when equipped with their gas-saving continuously variable transmission, not to mention falling 29 horsepower short.
The jig is up for this model year, but it should be interesting to watch Audi and Mercedes-Benz respond to their Bavarian neighbor’s conservative consumption. Perhaps this is why BMW remains the top dog in the bratwurst pile.
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 will continue its focus on weight savings when it rolls out the next generation A4, Q5 and Q7 models, making drastic reductions across the board.
At a recent technical presentation, Audi engineers focused on the use of aluminum in the next-generation of vehicles, following what’s been done on the new A8 and A6 sedans. Referring in particular to the next A4, one executive declared it would be, “significantly lighter,” than the current car, with engineers later commenting that the body alone would weigh 220-lb less than the 2011 model.
That weight savings, however, is insignificant compared to the next Q7, which they promised would be “up to 400 kilograms lighter” – or roughly 880-lbs. Along with a lighter frame, it’s also expected to use a version of the Porsche Cayenne’s new AWD system, which has been credited for cutting as much as 400 lbs from that SUV.
Audi’s next Q5 will also reduce weight, with engineers touring the “every gram counts” strategy when displaying new aluminum B-pillars that over 5 lbs less than the current steel unit.
Even small savings in weight will have big improvements, not just in acceleration, but in fuel economy and handling too as Audi looks to solidify itself as a serious rival to BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Over a decade has passed since the last time an Audi vehicle graced the presence of a BTCC race. Rob Austin Racing however is changing all of that in 2011, campaigning two Audi A4 in the famous racing series. Rob Austin Racing has already ordered two Audi A4 Next Generation Touring Cars (NGTC) from GPR Motorsport Ltd and they will be delivered in March of 2011.
Rob Austin Racing is still in talks for potential drivers and sponsors, with hopes of solidifying everything by January for a formal announcement. The photo above is just a rough render, but we’re just super excited that Audi will be represented out at BTCC.
[Source: Rob Austin Racing]
Audi owners will no longer have to worry about accidentally filling their diesel vehicles with gasoline. The company is introducing a mechanism that will have you pumping without a problem.
Right now, you can’t put diesel into a gasoline-powered vehicle because the diesel nozzles are large and won’t fit in the filler neck. On the flip side, gas nozzles are smaller and will fit in the diesel neck. Audi’s new system will feature a flap in the neck that prevents fuel flow. This flap will open if the nozzle hits contact points just below the cap. Since the smaller gasoline nozzle can’t hit all of the contacts at once, the flap ensures that improper fuel won’t be getting into the tank.
Audi’s new flap system is similar to the one used by BMW, who installed this mechanism in all of its diesel vehicles since early 2009. Available for the 2011 model year, Audi’s A4, A5 and Q5 TDI will feature the new system in Europe.
In recent years, more people have been encountering the issue of misfuelling, resulting inconvenient and potentially expensive consequences. This could be the result of the increased refinement of diesel models, which has seen them run nearly as smoothly and quietly as their petrol counterparts.
The Chinese auto market has a strange fascination with stretched versions of compact and mid-size sedans, the the stretched BMW 5-Series (pictured), the Audi A4L and the stretched Mercedes-Benz E-Class to name a few.
BMW wants a bigger piece of the action and is teaming of with Chinese automaker Brilliance (yes, that Brilliance) to build the long-wheelbase 3-Series as well as a new factory in the Chinese region of Shenyeng. The factory should have an ultimate capacity of 300,000 units, with 60 percent of the parts sourced within China. Capacity should be enough that BMW will be able to export cars from the plant, although it’s not likely that we’ll ever see a stretched 3-Series on our shores. Expect identical powertrain options in the stretched car, and a slightly higher price tag.
What if your car knew exactly when the traffic lights would change, letting you crawl slowly towards a light at a pace that would let you hit the gas upon a green light, never having to come to a full stop? Or made irrelevant that game of brinksmanship, where you and the car next to you slowly creep away while the light is still red, rocketing away from an intersection when it changes color? What if you could be warned upon an amber or red light with an audible and visual warning?
Audi is working on a system that can do this, and it’s called Travolution. Already in place on a test fleet of 25 cars, the system uses wireless LAN to interact with traffic signals, and then display the data on the in-car display coupled to Audi’s MMI system. Audi claims that Travolution has the potential to save nearly 185,000 gallons of fuel every year. We’d like to see the math behind that, and an assurance that this wouldn’t lead to some kind of Skynet autonomous driving program.
Hit the jump to read the official press release
With up to 70% of its sales volume expected to comprise of automatic transmission cars, Audi is hoping to get a leg up on the plebian 6-speed and 7-speed auto boxes offered by its German rivals by introducing an 8-speed automatic in the A4, A5 and Q5 equipped with the 2.0TFSI four-cylinder engine. The 8-speed is no bigger or heavier than the outgoing 6-speed tiptronic, but promises better fuel economy and quicker downshifts.
Gallery: Audi A5 Cabriolet
The current Audi A4 is one of the few cars on the market to have grown in size and decreased in weight, a smart philosophy in a world where performance and efficiency are now placed on a similar footing. The next-generation A4 is set to go on a crash diet, dropping 300 lbs through the use of composites, aluminum and proprietary engineering techniques.
The weight of a vehicle affects every aspect, from fuel consumption to handling to acceleration and braking. Audi is already experienced with using lightweight materials on cars like the R8 and A8. Hopefully by the time the next A4 is ready to be launched in 2015, the costs will have been sufficiently amortized so that they will be affordable to use on their bread and butter cars like the A4. A lightweight, efficient and sporty A4 would be a real threat to the dominance of Mercedes and BMW, while furthering Audi’s rise to the top of the luxury heap.
TT and A3 will also lose V6 powerplant
If you are looking at purchasing an Audi A4 (or A3 or TT for that matter) with the 3.2-liter V6 engine, now is the time to act. Come next year Audi has made the decision to cut the V6 engine from its lineup on those three models.
The move comes as Audi has noticed a serious drop in demand for the V6 engine. Apparently for every 3.2-liter V6 A4 sold, Audi sells nine of the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder units.
Audi Corporate Communications boss Bradley Stertz told Autoblog that the move has less to do with the drop in demand for that particular engine and more to do with other options that have been added to the Audi lineup recently.
Those looking for a more powerful A4 can always opt for the supercharged 3.0-liter V6 (offered at a serious premium in the S4). As for the A3, it will be offered with a TDI turbo-diesel powerplant soon, while the TTS gives TT owners a peppier version of the base 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, that produces 265hp and 258 ft-lbs of torque, matching the V6 in horsepower and beating it in the torque category.
We won’t particularly miss the V6 either, as mentioned in our review of the A4, especially as the turbo 2.0 is such a strong engine and delivers excellent performance with better fuel-economy for significantly less.
Audi did not comment on if the TTS’s engine might replace the V6 in the near future.
In the land of sauerkraut, lederhosen and cars that have kidney shaped grilles with propeller logos on them things have changed. For 2008 the Audi A4, not the BMW 3 Series, was the best selling premium car (based on vehicle registrations) in Germany.
Audi reclaims the top spot after the 3 Series sat atop the premium segment in 2007. The move may seem surprising at first but put of the A4′s success is no doubt linked to the fact that the 2009 model was all new.
In Germany in 2008 98,714 Audi A4′s were registered. Audi as a brand also made huge strides in 2008 with it’s share it the German marketplace increasing 0.8 percent for a total market share of 8.1 percent. In Western Europe Audi also saw an increase where the company’s market share increased by 0.4 percent to 4.8 percent.
In the U.S. Audi also made strides in market share despite overall sales loses. According to a report in The Boston Globe, Audi’s market share rose between 0-6 and 0.7 percent for a total of 6.1 percent. Audi sold 87,760units in the U.S. in 2008 compared to 93,506 units in 2007 a decrease of 6.1 percent.
What these numbers really convey is that while Audi is suffering, its competitors are suffering more.
For the record, the most popular vehicle in Germany (for as long as anyone can remember) is the VW Golf.
2009 Audi A4:
[Source: The Boston Globe]
Official release after the jump: