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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.
The Internet loves videos, and car enthusiasts love AutoGuide‘s videos.
The 2014 MINI Cooper S Hardtop is capturing the attention of our readers and car shoppers worldwide, with our review of the compact topping this week’s most watched videos list. Following that, luxury sedan shoppers are curious to see which diesel model stacks up from BMW and Audi while our first drive of our 2014 Car of the Year, the Mazda3, garnered plenty of attention too.
Watch the videos below and subscribe to the AutoGuide YouTube channel here.
Time stands still for no one, especially automakers. Today’s hot new vehicle is tomorrow’s also-ran product. Constant updates, tweaks and changes are mandatory in the car business. To keep up with ever-tougher competition Audi is giving its A6 range a facelift as our spy photographers have found.
In addition, diesel shoppers are curious to see how the Audi A6 TDI stacks up against the BMW 535d while off-roaders are interested in Toyota’s TRD Pro offering.
Watch the videos below and subscribe to the AutoGuide YouTube channel here.
The 2012 Women’s World Car of the Year short list has just been announced, and women motoring writers from around the world will begin voting for their top picks.
Cutting a list of contenders from 300 down to 32, judges will now allocate points to the nominated cars that fall into four categories: Family Car, Luxury Car, Sports Car and Economy Car. Just one of the 10 criteria that cars are allotting points for is Child Friendliness, which is something vehicles aren’t usually judged on in a competition.
Winners of the 2012 Women’s World Car of the Year will be announced before the end of March, and awards will be presented at the Paris Motor Show in September. You can check out the complete short list after below.
Audi has completed their A6 series with the announcement of their new A6 allroad quattro wagon featuring four different engines to choose from, one TFSI gasoline powerplant and three TDI diesel options.
All four powerplants are 3.0L turbocharged engines and incorporate Audi’s start-stop system. Fuel consumption across the board has been reduced approximately 20-percent compared to the previous model. The 3.0L TFSI has 310-hp and 325 lb-ft of torque while the three variants of the TDI powerplant produce 204-hp, 245-hp and 313-hp. Their torque figures are 332 lb-ft, 428 lb-ft and 479 lb-ft of torque, respectively.
The A6 allroad quattro also benefits from Audi’s ultra lightweight construction by incorporating aluminum components on roughly 20-percent of its body. The result is a new-generation allroad that’s 154-lbs lighter than the previous model. On the outside, the fender edges, bumpers and side skirts are finished in a contrasting color while the color Java Braun will be exclusive to the allroad quattro model.
Audi’s drive select system is also found in the allroad quattro model, allowing the driver to change the function of the steering, air suspension, gas pedal, automatic transmission, sport differential, automatic air conditioning, lighting and adaptive cruise control. The adaptive air suspension can lower the vehicle 0.59-inch at high speed and can raise it 1.38-inch at the push of a button. Owners can also engage a lift mode at low speeds, raising the vehicle by 0.39-inch to avoid major flaws on the road surface.
The allroad quattro will come with 18-inch wheels while Audi will be offering 19- and 20-inch wheels as an option. It will be made available in Germany starting from spring 2012 and the 3.0L TDI model with 204-hp will start at $69,580 (€54,600).
GALLERY: Audi A6 Allroad Quattro
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.
Consumer Reports recently compared four luxury sedans in the January issue of the magazine, pitting the Audi A6 against the Infiniti M35h, Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec and Saab 9-5, with the refreshed A6 receiving an overall test score of 93, tying Infiniti’s M37 at the top of the charts. The previous generation A6 had scored a disappointing 79.
For the A6, Consumer Reports raved about how agile, comfortable, quiet and quick the vehicle was. The model tested was a 3.0T Quattro Premium Plus with a supercharged 3.0L powerplant with 310-hp. Consumer Reports was able to get 22-mpg out of the sedan, enjoyed the eight-speed transmission and found braking performance to be very good.
Mercedes-Benz’s E350 BlueTec received top honors for fuel efficiency with 26-mpg, while the M35h received an excellent road test score despite reporting that its power delivery tend to be jerky and abrupt. Consumer Reports also reported that the M35h’s handling and braking wasn’t as brilliant as the M37′s.
Lastly, and probably to no one’s surprise, Saab’s 9-5 was deemed disappointing and seen as a poor value.
BMW and Mercedes-Benz have always been the German luxury brands for the well-to-do set in the United States, but in China, the two companies have been considered cars for the new money and retirees respectively.
Audi and Buick continue their dominance over the hearts and minds of Chinese consumers. Buick has historically been a hot brand in China, thanks to their long tie-up with the Chinese emperors of yore, but according to the New York Times, Audi’s prestige was cemented in the post-1949 era.
“Audi is still the de facto car for government officials,” said Wang Zhi, a Beijing taxi driver who spoke to the paper. “It’s always best to yield to an Audi — you never know who you’re messing with, but chances are it’s someone self-important.”
Audi has produced cars in China since 1988, 15 years ahead of BMW, and Audi cemented itself as the car of choice for government officials. The A6, in particular, has been especially popular, while BMW has become the car of choice for the country’s entrepreneurial class.
Meanwhile, Buick, which is seen as the car of choice for the 65+ set, sold 550,000 cars in China in 2010, triple what it sells in the United States. Mercedes-Benz, on the other hand, is viewed as the car for the geriatric set in China.
[Source: The New York Times]
Audi has unveiled their latest iteration of the S6 and S6 Avant, and the mid-size sports sedans look to continue the engine downsizing trend, moving from a 5.2L V10 to a 4.0L V8 with twin turbochargers making 420 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque.
The new S6 will sprint to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds (while the Avant does it in 4.9) while consuming only 24 mpg (a figure we assume is on the highway). Power is transmitted to all four wheels via Audi’s S-tronic dual clutch ratio with seven cogs, and the active sport differential will also be an optional, similar to the S4.
An air suspension, 19″ wheels and a noise cancelling system (to keep the cabin silent) are all standard. No word on pricing, or North American availability, but we’d assume that the sedan is a shoo-in, while the Avant will sit this one out.
Check back for more updates when AutoGuide covers the Frankfurt Auto Show live on September 13th.
Gallery: Audi S6 and S6 Avant
Now that we know the mid 1990s Honda Civic and Accord hold the top two spots amongst car thieves, what cars do thieves avoid most?
Well, aside from the BMW 5-Series, the common denominator on this list is that these cars are all pretty dull. Interestingly, midsize SUVs and German sedans are among what the Highway Loss Data Institute deems to be undesirable to car thieves. These vehicles are likely on the list because they have proper anti-theft mechanisms that go beyond a mere alarm system. On the other hand, the Chevrolet Aveo is a rolling anti-theft system in itself.
Here’s the Top 10 car that thieves dislike:
- Audi A6 all-wheel-drive, large luxury car
- Mercury Mariner (2009-10) small SUV
- Chevrolet Equinox (2010) midsize SUV
- Volkswagen CC (2009-10), midsize car
- Chevrolet Equinox four-wheel-drive (2010) midsize SUV
- Lexus RX 350 (2010) midsize luxury SUV
- Saturn Vue midsize SUV
- Chevrolet Aveo (2009-10) mini station wagon
- BMW 5 series all-wheel-drive large luxury car
- Mini Cooper Clubman 2-door car
[Source: USA Today]
The Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Program) has just released its latest crash test results of 10 2011 models, and nine vehicles take top spots by earning five star ratings.
Coming out on top are the Audi A6, the BMW X3, the Chevrolet Aveo and Chevrolet Orlando, the Citroën DS5, the Hyundai i40, the Opel Ampera, the VW Golf Cabriolet and Jetta. Coming in with four stars is the Kia Picanto, which does not come with standard Electronic Stability Control.
In the plug-in and electric category, the Opel/Vauxhall Ampera earned top marks, and for child occupant protection, the Hyundai i40 and VW Jetta and Golf Cabriolet scored 86 percent. The Chevrolet Aveo and Chevrolet Orlando came out with good whiplash and adult occupant protection scores.
However, the Opel Ampera, Audi A6 and Citroën DS5 just met Euro NCAP’s 2011 pedestrian requirements for a five star rating. More stringent five star requirements will be put into place in 2012.
For can view all the test result scores on Euro NCAP’s website.
Audi has finally released the full specs to its upcoming A6 Hybrid model, but didn’t announce any official plans of bringing the model to the United States. A subtle hint however was the inclusion of its fuel-economy converted to the US-friendly mpg, stating that the A6 Hybrid does get an impressive 37-mpg combined. Thanks to a 211-hp 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder combined with a 54-hp electric motor, the total power output of 245-hp comes to the front wheels through an eight-speed transmission.
Torque is impressive with the A6 packing 354 lb-ft, bringing the hybrid model to 60-mph in just 7.3 seconds. On the electric motor alone, the A6 could act as an EV up to 62-mph or travel up to 1.9 miles at less than 40-mph. Three different driving modes are available with electricity-prioritizing “EV”, normal “D” and a sporty “S”. All of the A6 Hybrid’s power output can only be enjoyed in the “S” mode – where we’re guessing plenty of its mpg gets sucked up.
Aesthetically, not much gives away that the A6 is a hybrid besides the badging on the trunk, fenders and door sills. Audi will pair the model up with its own unique 17- or 18-inch wheels. We’re fairly certain that Audi will be savvy enough to bring the model to the United States, it’s just a matter of when and how much.
GALLERY: Audi A6 Hybrid
[Source: Car & Driver Blog]
Audi is set to abandon its Q7 V12 TDI due to slow sales and rapidly advancing diesel technology in their smaller displacement motors. The current V12 TDI makes 500 horsepower and 738 lb-ft, and is widely considered to be one of the most impressive SUVs on the market.
But with Audi’s V6 TDI making a more-than-adequate 313 horsepower (compared to the 4.2L V8s 340 horsepower), Audi is moving to drop both the V12 and V8 TDI motors in favor of the newer, more efficient V6. Mercedes-Benz and BMW abandoned large displacement diesels long ago, so such a move wouldn’t be out of character for Germany’s third luxury brand.
[Source: Car and Driver]
The wagon version of the Audi A6 has been released in Europe, with a sleek new roof and six engines (though not in the same car).
The new A6 Avant’s engines are split between two gasoline and four diesel units, with the standard outfit of direct-injection and efficient turbo technologies. Power ranges from a 177-horsepower 2.0-liter TDI to a super-quick 313-horsepower in the twin-turbo 3.0-liter diesel; the two gasoline engines are a 2.8-liter FSI at 204 horsepower and a supercharged 3.0-liter at 300 horsepower. And thanks to composite construction, the Audi A6 Avant is approximately 66lbs lighter than the outgoing model with a curb weight of 3,615 lbs.
Neither pricing nor a U.S. release date have been announced for the A6 longroof, but if anything it will be a few grand north of the A6 sedan’s base price of $45,200. Europeans will be able to load skimpy bathing suits and coolers of Bitburger in the 19.95 cu. ft. of trunk space beginning in late summer.
Of course, if Audi stuffs a Lamborghini V10 in there like they did with the last one, all bets are off.