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Audi Motorsport has revealed the designs for its eight A5 DTM race cars scheduled to compete at the Hockenheimring season opener on April 29th.
“Without the support of our partners it wouldn’t be possible to field a total of eight cars under a factory commitment in such a high-caliber racing series. In addition, they are adding color. I think that our designers in collaboration with our partners have managed to get very beautiful cars off the ground,” said Dr. Wolfgang Ulrich, Head of Audi Motorsport. ”I’m convinced that the fans will feel similarly and that the sporty elegance of the Audi A5 and the unique shape of the coupe will impress in the DTM as well.”
At the first official DTM test days at Valencia, four of the new Audi A5 DTM race cars ran the track sporting their new livery. The other four A5s will debut at the Hockenheim track test days on April 2nd to April 5th.
Two-time DTM Champion Mattias Ekström and Spanish driver Miguel Molina will be sporting the infamous Red Bull graphics on their A5s that you may have already seen. Timo Scheider, DTM Champ in 2009 and 2010, is once again sporting AUTO TEST livery on his vehicle. Rahel Frey gets yellow on his car for E-POSTBRIEF while 2010 Le Mans winner, Mike Rockenfeller, will represent the Schaeffler Group.
2011 rookie of the year, Edoardo Mortara will compete in a black A5 for men’s magazine Playboy. Driver Filipe Albuquerque’s A5 will be a nice blue to advertise sponsor TV Movie magazine. The last A5′s livery is Adrien Tambay’s car is a silver/white mix and represents Audi’s aim to communicate its new ultra-lightweight technology.
GALLERY: Audi A5 DTM Race Cars
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.
Lexus has dropped a few serious hints that it is planning a coupe version of its all-new GS350. While attending the launch of the luxury sedan (we’ll have driving impressions once the embargo lifts November 23rd) we spoke to Lexus Corporate Manager of Product Planning Ben Mitchell, pushing him for details on a possible GS-F to sit as a rival to the BMW M5.
To our dismay Mitchell responded that there was “nothing to announce”, but then surprised us with a shred of info, disguised as a question. Speaking to a group of assembled journalists he asked our impression of the Audi A5/S5.
Response to the car was unanimously positive. The two-door Audi models are roundly considered to be some of the most beautiful vehicles on sale today, and we enjoyed our time with the S5 immensely.
As though Mitchell’s question didn’t reveal enough about Lexus’ intentions, he also commented that with the demise of the SC430, there is now a space in the automaker’s lineup that needs filling.
Of course, this isn’t an official confirmation, but considering the legendary silence that greets most questions regarding future products, this is a very strong hint that there will be another two-door Lexus joining the lineup beyond the current IS250C and IS350C models. And judging by our time spent behind the wheel of the new GS, this is one to wait for.
Like most DTM cars, the A5 DTM has nothing in common with its road car sibling. The A5 DTM uses a carbon-fiber monocoque chassis and a 455 horsepower V8 as well as a 6-speed sequential gearbox. No other details were released, but given the competitive nature of DTM and the fairly limited wiggle room in the rules and regulations, we’d expect the specifications to be a fairly closely guarded secret.
Prototypes are apparently undergoing testing at Audi facilities in Germany, and should be ready to go in time for the upcoming DTM season.
Gallery: Audi A5 DTM
Audi is exploring the possibility of bringing more RS models to the American market, after years of on-and-off importation of select vehicles like the RS4 and RS6.
Both the TT-RS and RS5 are slated to be introduced for the 2012 model year, and the vehicles will be priced well above even the most expensive TT and A5 models. Like BMW’s M cars, the the RS models are sold in low volumes but are relatively high margin vehicles for Audi. The average transaction price for Audi vehicles has risen steadily since January of 2010, while rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW have seen theirs fall (though their transaction prices are still higher overall)
Peter Scwarzenbauer, Audi’s U.S. sales head, suggested that future RS products could make their way to America, but declined to specify what was in the pipeline.
[Source: Left Lane News]
BMW has already made the 2012 DTM season interesting, and now Audi is joining in on the fun by releasing several renderings of its upcoming A5 DTM race car. The two-door coupe will be the successor to Audi’s highly successful A4 DTM racer and will utilize the upcoming 2012 A5 refresh as its foundation.
Similar to all of the 2012 DTM race cars that will be campaigning the season, Audi’s A5 will feature a high-strength, carbon fiber monocoque combined with a steel tube cage. Audi is also putting a lot of focus into the safety of their vehicle, clearly knowing that accidents do happen in racing.
The first prototype of the Audi A5 DTM – internally named R17 – is currently being built at Audi Sport Ingolstadt with its debut just around the corner at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt in September. It will be powered by a V8 engine with around 460-hp, adopted from their successful A4 race program.
GALLERY: Audi A5 DTM Concept Renders
That online consumer car resource, Edmunds.com has labeled Audi automobiles the top choice in no fewer than four different categories when it comes to new vehicles.
Audi took home awards for best coupe in the $35-$45k category (A5), best coupe over $45K (S5), best wagon $35-$45k (Audi A4 Avant) and best SUV in the same price category (Q5).
“It’s clear that owners of Audi’s 2011 lineup of vehicles are very satisfied with their purchases,” declared Edmunds’ editor-in-chief Scott Oldham. He also said that visitors to the site continue to rate European and Japanese brand vehicles higher than their American counterparts. Must be the interiors.
As a bachelor, Prince William was noted for his Audi S4 sedan, equipped with a 4.2L V8 and a stealthy grey paint job. But now that William is a married man, it might be time for something a bit tamer, and the Royal Family’s relationship with Audi means that the future King of England has his pick of the Audi lineup.
William seems to have opted for a sleek A5 Sportback, finished in the same grey as his S4. While the A5 may be more stylish than the car it replaces (especially with the S-Line appearance kit), it likely lacks the performance chops to keep pace with William’s S4.
[Source: The Daily Mail]
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