2009 Audi e-tron Concept

Audi
Audi presents the highlight of the IAA 2009: the Audi e-tron Concept, a high-performance sports car with a purely electric drive system. Four motors – two each at the front and rear axles – drive the wheels, making the concept car a true quattro. Producing 230 kW (313 hp) and 4,500 Nm (3,319.03 lb-ft) of torque, the two-seater accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (0 – 62.14 mph) in 4.8 seconds, and from 60 to 120 km/h (37.28 – 74.56 mph) in 4.1 seconds. The lithium-ion battery provides a truly useable energy content of 42.4 kilowatt hours to enable a range of approximately 248 kilometers.

The performance figures are by no means the only evidence of the consistent and holistic strategy. The design makes it clear that the Audi e-tron Concept belongs in the major leagues of sports cars, and the package takes into account the specific realities of an electric vehicle. The battery is directly behind the passenger cabin for an optimal center of gravity and axle load distribution.

The Audi e-tron Concept is able to freely distribute the powerful torque of its four electric motors to the wheels as required. This so-called torque vectoring allows for dazzling dynamics and an undreamed-of level of agility and precision when cornering.

Audi has taken a new and in some cases revolutionary approach to many of the technical modules. A heat pump is used to efficiently warm up and heat the interior. The drive system, the power electronics and the battery are controlled by an innovative thermal management system that is a crucial component for achieving the car’s range without compromising its high level of interior comfort. Networking the vehicle electronics with the surroundings, which is referred to as car-to-x communication, opens new dimensions for the optimization of efficiency, safety and convenience.

The Concept

Electric drive systems are still very much outsiders. The first vehicles of this type took to the roads around 1900, yet in 2009 no volume car manufacturer has a car powered exclusively by batteries in its lineup. Fewer than 1,500 electric vehicles are currently registered in Germany, corresponding to only 0.035 percent of all registered vehicles.

Yet electric driving potentially offers numerous advantages. Electric cars reduce the dependence of transportation and the economy on the raw material petroleum. They produce no direct exhaust emissions and thus ease the local burden on the environment. Electric drive systems are also significantly more efficient than combustion engines, consequently making them easier on the customers’ wallets. Other strengths include sportiness and the fun they bring to driving. All of the torque is essentially available the moment the driver steps on the accelerator, allowing for breathtaking acceleration.

There is still a lot of work to do before electric cars are ready for volume production, however. The greatest challenge is the integration of the energy storage system. Acceptable range and performance requires a traction battery that is heavy and takes up a lot of space. Audi is taking a new approach to offset these disadvantages – a holistic approach with a specific vehicle package, a systematic lightweight construction concept and an optimal configuration of all components for the electric drive.

Audi e-tron Concept – The Holistic Approach

The most important development related to batteries for electric drives are lithium-ion cells. Numerous experts throughout the world are working on their further development for use in cars, with the primary objectives being to reduce weight and increase capacity and performance. Audi has also opted for this technology, both for use in a hybrid production vehicle, such as the upcoming Q5 hybrid, and in the e-tron test platform.

The requirement specification for the concept vehicle goes far beyond battery technology and the replacement of the combustion engine with an electric drive system, however. The Audi development engineers decided back in the concept phase to design practically every component and technology based on the new requirements of electric mobility. The interaction of all elements has a decisive influence on the factors efficiency, range and practicality.

The Audi team therefore focused its attention on the total vehicle, which is reflected in the comprehensive requirement specification.

  • The reduction of road resistances and the resulting increase in range plays a major role with electric vehicles. Lightweight construction was therefore a top priority for the Audi e-tron Concept car. The body, in particular, combines low weight with supreme strength and rigidity. An intelligent aerodynamics concept with active elements helps to reduce consumption.
  • The package ensures the safe integration of the electric drive system and the battery. Placing the battery in front of the rear axle ensures an optimal axle load distribution without compromising the compact overall design and the generous amount of interior space.
  • Advanced battery technology enables a practical range. The battery system is water-cooled for optimal performance and service life.
  • A needs-based energy management system controls all functions for the chassis, convenience equipment and other auxiliary consumers.
  • The innovative thermal management system with optimally matched cooling and heating components considers the cooling requirements of the battery and the drive system in addition to the interior temperature.
  • Driving dynamics and road comfort are what Audi customers have come to expect in the sports car segment.
  • Vehicle safety is on par with the best of today’s production vehicles.
  • The driver is provided with clear and comprehensive information.
  • The Audi e-tron Concept car uses car-to-x communication technology developed by Audi to improve the efficiency of conventionally powered vehicles. For example, information about traffic light cycle times and the flow of traffic – provided by the infrastructure and other vehicles – is used to compute an optimal driving strategy. Audi has already modeled such a solution in Ingolstadt as part of its “travolution” project.

Design and Package

The caliber of the car is apparent to the observer at first glance. The Audi e-tron Concept has a wide, powerful stance on the road. The car body seems almost monolithic; the closed rear end appears powerful and muscular. The trapeze of the single-frame grille dominates the front end and is flanked by two large air intakes. The top of the grille merges into the flat strips of the adaptive matrix beam headlamp modules with their clear glass covers. High-efficiency LED technology is used for all lighting units – a matter of honor for Audi as the worldwide pioneer in this field.

The headlamps are the core of a fully automatic light assistance system that reacts flexibly to any situation. The new technology recognizes weather conditions and adapts the illumination to rain or fog. The technology at the heart of the light assistance system is a camera that works together with a fast computer to detect oncoming traffic, recognize lanes and measure visibilities, such as in the event of fog.

If there is oncoming traffic, for example, the high beams are turned off in the corresponding section of the illumination field. The cornering light system analyzes data from the navigation system and illuminates corners before the driver steers into them. The Audi e-tron Concept does not have conventional fog lamps that consume additional power. It instead intelligently varies the low beams to widen the illumination field, thus significantly reducing the glare from the car’s own lights.

The variability of the headlamps is also reflected in their design. The LED elements change appearance and thus the character of the front end of the vehicle depending on the speed driven and the ambient conditions. The innovative lighting technology offers the Audi designers almost as much design freedom as the shape of the body does.

A new design element unique to the Audi e-tron Concept are the air intakes in the single-frame grille and in front of the rear wheel wells. They are closed flush under normal circumstances and opened by means of flaps when additional cooling air is required. Maximum efficiency is also the reason behind this measure. The concept car has a remarkably low drag coefficient, which gets even better when the flaps are closed.

The vehicle body is compact. The sweeping line of the front end and the flat curved roof immediately identify the two-seater as an Audi. The contours of the flanks are familiar. The tapering of the dynamic line above the sill and the shoulder line tie together the front end, the side and the rear, lend a plastic quality to the doors and the transition to the side air intake and sharply emphasize the Audi-typical round wheel wells with the large, 19-inch tires.

1.90 meters (74.80 in) wide, just 4.26 meters (167.72 in) long and 1.23 meters (48.43 in) tall – those are the proportions of a supercar. The wheelbase of 2.60 meters (102.36 in) leaves plenty of room between the axles for people and technology. Like with a mid-engined sports car, the cabin of the Audi e-tron Concept is shifted far forward toward the front axle, leaving room in front of the rear axle for the roughly 470 kilogram (1036.17 lb) battery unit, the inverter and the power electronics.

The two electric motors, which have their own cooling system, are mounted behind the rear axle. The front electric motors are mounted on the front axle, with their cooling system arranged in front of them. This special package, which features a 42:58 weight distribution, ensures perfect balance, which contributes to the driving dynamics of the Audi e-tron Concept.

Systematic lightweight construction is an even more important prerequisite for efficiency and range with electric vehicles than for conventionally powered automobiles. The Audi development engineers drew on the core competence of the company for the Audi e-tron Concept. The body structure is based on Audi Space Frame (ASF) technology and was realized as a hybrid construction. All add-on parts – doors, covers, sidewalls and roof – are made of a fiber-reinforced plastic.

The combination of aluminum and carbon fiber-reinforced composite material guarantees supreme rigidity coupled with low weight. Audi will soon use this technology in a similar form for production vehicles. Despite the complex drive system layout with four electric motors and a high-capacity battery system, the total weight of the Audi e-tron Concept is only around 1,600 kilograms (3527.40 lb).

Interior and Control Concept

Optical and functional references to the new drive concept characterize the interior design. They establish an advanced connection between proven Audi genes and new formal hallmarks. Typical for the Audi design language is the reduction of the architecture, controls and flow of information to the essential in favor of visible lightweight construction and a tidy overall impression.

The dash appears to float and has a curve that extends laterally into the door panels. With no need to allow for a transmission, shifter and cardan tunnel, the designers took advantage of the opportunity to create a particularly slim and lightweight center tunnel and center console. The flush gear selector, with which the driver chooses between the modes forward, reverse and neutral, emerges from the tunnel when the vehicle is started.

The cockpit of the Audi e-tron Concept is also oriented toward the driver – a further characteristic Audi trait. Instead of the classic instrument cluster, the concept car is the first Audi to be equipped with a large, fold-out central display with integrated MMI functions. It is flanked by two round dials.

The MMI is controlled via a scroll pad with a touch-sensitive surface on the steering wheel (“MMI touch”) – an element inspired by modern smartphones.

While an analog speedometer on the right provides speed information, the instrument on the left tells the driver how much power is being drawn. The central display shows the range in the status bar and presents all key information from the infotainment and navigation systems. It also provides the driver with relevant data from the vehicle’s communication with its surroundings. The instruments combine the analog and the digital worlds into a single unit.

Characteristic for the concept of the Audi e-tron Concept is the near total elimination of switches and small components such as the ignition. The climate control unit is located to the right above the steering wheel. The display provides temperature and ventilation information. Again drawing inspiration from a smartphone, the system is controlled by means of a touch-sensitive sliding control.

The racing-inspired lightweight bucket seats combine excellent lateral support with comfort. To contrasting colors – snow white and cognac – delineate the various zones of the interior. The colors and the high-quality materials combine elegance and sportiness.

Drive System and Energy Supply

Four asynchronous motors with a total output of 230 kilowatts (313 hp) give the Audi e-tron Concept the performance of a high-output sports car. The concept car can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (0 – 62.14 mph) in 4.8 seconds if necessary, and goes from 60 to 120 km/h (37.28 – 74.56 mph) in 4.1 seconds. The torque flows selectively to the wheels based on the driving situation and the condition of the road surface, resulting in outstanding traction and handling.

The top speed is limited to 200 km/h (124.27 mph), as the amount of energy required by the electric motors increases disproportionately to speed. The range in the NECD combined cycle is approximately 248 kilometers (154 miles). This good value is made possible by the integrated concept: technology specially configured for the electric drive system combined with state-of-the-art battery technology. The battery block has a total energy content of roughly 53 kilowatt hours, with the usable portion thereof restricted to 42.4 kWh in the interest of service life. Audi uses liquid cooling for the batteries.

The energy storage unit is charged with household current (230 volts, 16 amperes) via a cable and a plug. The socket is behind a cover at the back of the car. With the battery fully discharged, the charging time is between 6 and 8 hours. A high voltage (400 volts, 63 amperes) reduces this to just around 2.5 hours. The Audi engineers are working on a wireless solution to make charging more convenient. The inductive charging station, which can be placed in the garage at home or also in special parking garages, is activated automatically when the vehicle is docked. Such technology is already used today in a similar form to charge electric toothbrushes.

The battery is charged not only when the car is stationary, but also when it is in motion. The keyword here is recuperation. This form of energy recovery and return to the battery is already available today in a number of Audi production models. During braking, the alternator converts the kinetic energy into electrical energy, which it then feeds into the onboard electrical system.

The Audi e-tron Concept, which is slowed by four lightweight ceramic brake discs, takes the next large step into the future. An electronic brake system makes it possible to tap into the recuperation potential of the electric motors. A hydraulic fixed-caliper brake is mounted on the front axle, with two novel electrically-actuated floating-caliper brakes mounted on the rear axle. These floating calipers are actuated not by any mechanical or hydraulic transfer elements, but rather by wire (“brake by wire”). In addition, this eliminates frictional losses due to residual slip when the brakes are not being applied.

This decoupling of the brake pedal enables the Audi e-tron Concept’s electric motors to convert all of the braking energy into electricity and recover it. The electromechanical brake system is only activated if greater deceleration is required. These control actions are unnoticeable to the driver, who feels only a predictable and constant pedal feel as with a hydraulic brake system.

Making its Automotive Debut: The Heat Pump

The heat pump – used here for the first time ever in an automobile – also serves to increase efficiency and range. Unlike a combustion engine, the electric drive system may not produce enough waste heat under all operating conditions to effectively heat the interior. Other electric vehicles are equipped with electric supplemental heaters, which consume a relatively large amount of energy. The heat pump used by Audi – and commonly used in buildings – is a highly efficient machine that uses mechanical work to provide heat with a minimum input of energy.

A high-efficiency climate control system is used to cool the interior. It works together with the thermal management system to also control the temperature of the high-voltage battery. The battery, the power electronics and the electric motors must be kept at their respective ideal operating temperatures to achieve optimal performance and range.

As soon as the vehicle is connected to a charging station the vehicle is preconditioned as appropriate by the thermal management and other associated systems.

The drive system is heated if temperatures are cool, and cooled if hot. This preconditioning can also be extended to the interior, if necessary, so that the passengers can step into a cabin that has been heated or cooled as appropriate for their comfort.

Driving Dynamics

The normal distribution of the tractive power is clearly biased toward the rear axle in accordance with the weight distribution of the Audi e-tron Concept. Similarly to a mid-engined sports car, roughly 70 percent of the power goes the rear and 30 percent to the front. If an axle slips, this balance can be varied by means of the four centrally controlled electric motors. The electric vehicle from Audi thus enjoys all of the advantages of quattro technology.

The four individual motors, which in the interest of greater traction are installed behind the wheels as wheel drives, also enable the Audi e-tron Concept’s lateral dynamics to be intelligently controlled. Similar to what the sport differential does in conventional quattro vehicles, torque vectoring – the targeted acceleration of individual wheels – makes the Audi e-tron Concept even more dynamic while simultaneously enhancing driving safety. Understeer and oversteer can be corrected by not only targeted activation of the brakes, but also by precise increases in power lasting just a few milliseconds. The concept car remains extremely neutral even under great lateral acceleration and hustles through corners as if on the proverbial rails.

The chassis has triangular double wishbones at the front axle and trapezoidal wishbones made of forged aluminum components at the rear axle – a geometry that has proven in motorsports to be the optimal prerequisite for high agility, uncompromising precision and precisely defined self-steering behavior. A taut setup was chosen for the springs and shock absorbers, but it is still very comfortable.

The direct rack-and-pinion steering gives finely differentiated feedback. Its electromechanical steering boost varies with speed, so that the Audi e-tron Concept only has to provide energy while steering, and not while driving straight ahead.

As befitting its status, the Audi concept car rolls on 19-inch tires with a new blade design. 235/35 tires up front and 295/30 tires in the rear provide the necessary grip.

Car-to-x Communication

The electronics development engineers at Audi not only aimed to make the Audi e-tron Concept as efficient and fun to drive as possible, they were also very concerned with safety and traffic management. The technical concept car includes a prototype of an information processing system. Future generations of these systems will usher in a new era in the networking of road traffic, particularly in regions and countries with a high volume of traffic. This progress is made possible by the rapid advancements in computing power, software and communication technology.

The buzzword “car-to-x communication” refers to the direct exchange of information in flowing traffic and to the traffic environment. The letter “x” is a free variable that can refer just as easily to other vehicles as to fixed infrastructure such as traffic lights. In contrast to today’s telematic systems, car-to-x communication no longer requires a central service provider to quickly and effectively pool and process information. The participants themselves perform these tasks by spontaneously networking with one another.

The future car-to-x network still needs some time before it becomes reality on the roads. This obstacle is one that can be overcome, however, as nearly every carmaker in Europe, the U.S.A. and Japan has decided to develop a common standard for hardware and software. Once all new cars are equipped with this technology, a functional network of automotive transmitters will soon be available, at least in large population centers.

These transmitters can be used to open up many new practical applications. Below are just four examples showing the possibilities offered by car-to-x communication.

Example 1 – Efficiency and range: Numerous external factors influence energy consumption and thus the range of any vehicle. An intelligent vehicle equipped with car-to-x technology is aware of necessary braking or acceleration maneuvers in advance because it combines navigational data with information about the flow of traffic, for example. The central computer can prevent driver actions that would use energy unnecessarily or use targeted braking for recuperation of the battery.

Example 2 – Safety: A vehicle has spun out on a slippery road in a blind curve and is unable to free itself under its own power. At the same time, other vehicles are approaching quickly. The stuck vehicle uses car-to-x to send out a warning signal reporting the precise location of the hazardous location. A corresponding warning then appears on the navigation system display of the approaching cars.

Example 3 – Traffic flow: Many cars are traveling between traffic lights on an arterial road. Over and over again, they accelerate only to have to brake again when the traffic light changes to red. Car-to-x technology enables them to establish a network between themselves and receive information from the traffic light controller. The drivers can then make more judicious use of the gas pedal because they know what to expect. The same applies for imminent traffic jams: cars ahead provide information that results in adjustments to the posted speed limits, noticeably spreading out the traffic.

Example 4 – Convenience: The driver has entered a shopping center with a chronic shortage of parking spaces into his navigation system as the destination. With car-to-x, the mobile system networks with the parking space registration system at the destination. When the system in the parking garage reports that a convenient parking spot is available, the navigation system can register its location and also reserve the spot.

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2011 Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro

Audi-R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI Quattro

Audi-R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI Quattro

Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro – exceptional performance and breathtaking dynamism coupled with the intense sensations of open-top driving. Its lightweight cloth top opens and closes fully automatically; several body parts are made of a carbon fiber composite material.

The V10 engine produces 386 kW (525 hp) and launches the open-top two-seater to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.1 seconds on its way to a top speed of 313 km/h (194.49 mph). Featuring technologies such as the Audi Space Frame (ASF), quattro permanent all-wheel drive, full-LED headlights and with an innovative seatbelt microphone available as an option, the Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro is the new top-of-the-range Audi.

The Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro makes a powerful statement. The sculptured lines of the emotion-packed, high-performance sports car are a fascinating and unique interpretation of its dynamism. Unlike the Audi R8 Coupé, the Spyder does not have sideblades behind the doors. The side panels and the large cover over the storage compartment for the cloth top are made of a carbon fiber composite. Two arched cowls, which extend to the spoiler lip and include large, integrated air vents, give the rear of the open-top two-seater a powerful profile.

Like every open-top Audi, the Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro has a cloth top – an uncompromising solution for a high-performance sports car. The soft top’s approximate weight is a mere 30 kilograms (66.14 lb); it thus keeps the vehicle’s total weight and center of gravity low. The top takes up little space when open and is a harmonious design element when closed. It tapers off to two slim fins extending to the trailing edge of the car, emphasizing the elongated silhouette.

The electrohydraulic soft top opens and closes in 19 seconds, even while driving at speeds up to 50 km/h (31.07 mph). When opened, it folds like a Z into its storage compartment over the V10 engine. The compartment cover opens and closes automatically. The heated glass window, which is separate from the cloth top, is lowered into the bulkhead. It can be independently raised and lowered at the press of a switch, with the top up or down. An additional net-like wind deflector comes standard and can be latched into the bulkhead behind the seats in two easy steps.

The top, which comprises an outer skin of a leakproof textile fabric and the headliner, is fully compatible with high-speed driving. When driving at moderate speeds with the top up, interior noise levels in the Audi R8 Spyder are barely higher than in the Coupé. The bulkhead includes integrated rollover protection in the form of two strong, spring-tensioned plates. Head/thorax side bags in the backrests protect the passengers in the event of a side impact. Full-size airbags stand at the ready in the event of a head-on collision. In a rear-end collision, the integral head restraint system reduces the risk of whiplash injuries.

In the version with manual transmission, the Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro weighs only 1,720 kilograms thanks primarily to its aluminum Audi Space Frame (ASF) body. Despite reinforcements in the area of the sills, the center tunnel, the rear wall, the floor pan and the A- and B-pillars, the body weighs only 216 kilograms (476.2 lb) – just 6 kilograms (13.23 lb) more than that of the Audi R8 Coupé. The high stiffness of the ASF body, which includes an integrated engine frame of ultra-lightweight magnesium, provides the foundation for the car’s dynamic handling and superior safety.

Close attention to detail: the design

Numerous details demonstrate that the Audi designers put their hearts into the design of the Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro. The air inlets in the nose, which direct air across the three radiators, and the lip of the front skirt are painted high-gloss black. The struts in the broad, low, single-frame grille are finely coated with chrome. The standard full-LED headlights are technical works of art. Their reflectors resemble open mussel shells; the daytime running lights appear to be a homogeneous strip, but actually comprise 24 individual LEDs that form a curve at the lower edge of the headlight.

The full-LED headlights from Audi are unmatched by its international competitors. Light-emitting diodes are used for the low beams, the high beams, the daytime running lights and the turn signals. With a color temperature of 6,000 Kelvin, the LED light is very similar to daylight, making it easier on the eyes when driving at night. Additional strengths include excellent light distribution, long service life and extremely low energy consumption.

The side sills of the Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro are broad and angular. V10 badges on the flanks allude to the power of the engine. A dark surface between the rear lights emphasizes the car’s width. The chambers of the lights are colored dark red, with LEDs generating a three-dimensional light pattern. The exhaust system ends in two large, oval tailpipes, and the fully lined underbody ends in an upturned diffuser. The rear spoiler extends automatically at higher speeds.

Audi offers the Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro with a choice of three colors for the top. The body is available in eleven paint finishes, with metallic and pearl effect finishes standard. The windshield frame is coated with anodized aluminum.

Sporty luxury: the interior

The open-top two-seater from Audi features a generously spacious interior. The three-spoke leather multifunction sport steering wheel is flattened at the bottom as in a race car, and the low-mounted, electrically adjustable seats guide and support the body perfectly.

Quality of fit and finish is extraordinary and the controls are clear and logical. The standard driver information system includes a lap timer for recording lap times. The instruments and the gear lever knob feature red rings. The pedals, the footrests and the shift paddles of the optional R tronic are in aluminum look. Highlighting the list of standard equipment are a generous full-leather package featuring Fine Nappa leather, an excellent sound system from Bang & Olufsen, a deluxe automatic air conditioning system and heated seats. Six different interior colors are available.

Many additional fine features documents the top status of the Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro. The leather for the seats are colored with pigments that reflect the infrared component of sunlight, which keeps the seats up to 20 degrees Celsius cooler.

Door sill strips coated with aluminum and adorned with black satin finish applications impart an air of luxurious sportiness. Three storage compartments are integrated into the rear bulkhead, one of which contains the optional CD changer or Audi music interface, if desired. There is a front compartment for 100 liters (3.53 cu ft) of luggage.

The latest version of the navigation system plus with MMI operating logic is also standard in the Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro. It features higher resolution and particularly fast route calculation. The system’s most visible new feature is the high-resolution, 6.5-inch display. The topographic view can be scrolled in any direction. The system can be combined optionally with a rearview camera that serves as a parking aid.

Audi offers custom extras, such as exclusive leather packages and special inlays. A worldwide first is the optional seatbelt microphone for the hands-free unit, which makes it possible to talk on the phone even with the top down on the highway. Three small, flat microphones are integrated into both seatbelts. At least one of them is ideally positioned relative to the speaker when the belt is on. There is a fourth microphone in the windshield frame.

Uncompromising power: the engine

The Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro, which was developed in cooperation with quattro GmbH, dazzles with uncompromising performance. The V10 engine with the aluminum crankcase, much of which is hand-built, follows in the grand motorsports tradition at Audi. The normally aspirated engine produces 530 Nm (390.91 lb-ft) of torque at 6,500 rpm. Peak output of 386 kW (525 hp) is reached at 8,000 rpm, and the rev limit is not reached until 8,700 rpm. Specific power output is 100.9 hp per liter of displacement; each hp only needs to move 3.3 kilograms (7.28 lb) of weight.

Performance reflects this awesome potential: 0 – 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.1 seconds; 0 – 200 km/h (124.27 mph) in 12.7 seconds; top speed is 313 km/h (194.49 mph) with the six-speed manual transmission. As load and revs increase, the engine unfolds the rich, unmistakable Audi ten-cylinder sound – a powerful, throaty roar with musical undertones.

The 5.2-liter engine features FSI direct fuel injection. The high 12.5:1 compression ratio that this enables contributes to the high performance and good fuel efficiency. Equipped with a manual transmission, the Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro consumes an average of 14.9 liters of fuel per 100 km (15.79 US mpg) – a good figure given its power. With R tronic, this figure improves to 13.9 liters (16.92 US mpg). Dry sump lubrication, another motorsports technology, ensures that the supply of oil is maintained even at the maximum lateral acceleration of 1.2 g.

The Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI is also available with an optional automatic six-speed transmission. The R tronic offers a normal and a sport program as well as a fully automatic and a manual mode. The manual mode allows the driver to make lightning-fast gear changes using the joystick on the center tunnel or with the paddles on the steering wheel. The open-air sports car also comes with “Launch Control” – a program that manages engagement of the clutch perfectly to maximize acceleration at start.

The quattro permanent all-wheel drive features a central viscous coupling and distributes power to all four wheels with a heavy rear bias. It works together with the locking differential on the rear axle to provide significantly greater traction, stability, cornering speed and precision. It is the superior technology – in particular for a high-performance sports car.

Dazzling performance: the chassis

The Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro has a 2.65-meter (8.69-ft) wheelbase and a 43:57 axle load distribution. Like in a race car, there are double triangular wishbones made of aluminum at all four wheels. The hydraulic rack-and-pinion power steering conveys highly precise road contact.

The chassis is tuned for good comfort, thanks in part to standard Audi magnetic ride technology. This uses magnetic fields in the shock absorbers to adjust their response to road conditions within milliseconds and adapt to the driver’s style. The driver can choose between two base characteristics. A sports suspension with conventional shock absorbers is available as an option.

The Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro rolls on 19-inch wheels of 10-spoke Y design. The front rims are shod with 235/35 tires, with 295/30 tires at the back. 305/30 tires are optionally available. The brakes offer impressive performance: The four discs are internally ventilated and perforated, with eight-piston calipers up front and four-piston calipers at the back. Optionally available from Audi are oversized carbon fiber-ceramic discs that are extremely lightweight, robust and long-lived. The ESP stabilization system has a Sport mode and can also be completely deactivated. The brake system includes an assist function that facilitates starting on gradients.

The Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro is built by quattro GmbH at the Neckarsulm plant. The vehicle, including the ASF, is largely hand-built. The open-top two-seater will be launched in Germany in the first quarter of 2010. Its base price will be 156,400 euros.

2010 Audi A8 revealed

2010-audi-A8

This is the all new 2010 Audi A8. Ingolstadt’s answer to the 7-series of Bavaria and S-class of Munich. But maybe ‘all new’ is not the right term for describing it, ‘facelift’ is probably better. The new face of the A8 luxury saloon features a totally revised front-end with new LED headlights, new grille and bumpers. It is certainly sportier than the old gen, but is it good-looking?!
Well, that’s a matter of taste really. At the backside, A8 is now more sleek and elegant. There are new LED taillights here as well and new integrated tailpipes.  The car will be loaded with technology. Like the old A8 it’s built with an aluminum space frame for extra rigidity and lightness. It’ll be available with  a wide range of petrol and diesel engines, quit possibly a hybrid version in some years, and new eight speed gearbox. It will also get a new Multimedia/Navigation system with handwriting recognition!
2010 Audi A8 was expected to debut at this year’s Frankfurt Motorshow, but apparently its unveiling is now scheduled for Detroit Motor Show in January 2010.

This is the all new 2010 Audi A8. Ingolstadt’s answer to the 7-series of Bavaria and S-class of Munich. But maybe ‘all new’ is not the right term for describing it, ‘facelift’ is probably better. The new face of the A8 luxury saloon features a totally revised front-end with new LED headlights, new grille and bumpers. It is certainly sportier than the old gen, but is it good-looking?!

Well, that’s a matter of taste really. At the backside, A8 is now more sleek and elegant. There are new LED taillights here as well and new integrated tailpipes.  The car will be loaded with technology. Like the old A8 it’s built with an aluminum space frame for extra rigidity and lightness. It’ll be available with  a wide range of petrol and diesel engines, quit possibly a hybrid version in some years, and new eight speed gearbox. It will also get a new Multimedia/Navigation system with handwriting recognition!

2010 Audi A8 was expected to debut at this year’s Frankfurt Motorshow, but apparently its unveiling is now scheduled for Detroit Motor Show in January 2010.

Audi A4 Allroad Quattro

2010-audi-a4-allroad-quattro-in-genevaSpeculation about an Audi A4 Avant Allroad has been circulating for nearly a year now, fueled by spy shots of high-riding A4 sedans. Until now, the go-anywhere Allroad trim has been limited to the larger A6 Avant, and Audi has said little about plans to build a smaller model. Thanks to the latest spy pictures, though, it’s safe to say that the car exists and could be nearing production.

While wagons have long been popular in Europe, they’ve been a tough sell in the U.S. An Audi executive recently admitted to Motor Trend that the Avant line hasn’t done well in the U.S. and may be replaced with Audi’s new “Sportback” design language. Bolstering this possibility is the fact that an Avant model for the 2009 A4 has not yet been announced for the U.S. market, and the fact that the last Allroad model sold in the U.S. didn’t perform well.

As with the A6 Allroad, the A4 Allroad is certain to use Audi’s quattro all wheel-drive system and the Allroad package will likely be available only on the Avant model. Given this, it’s likely the next Allroad will not see U.S. shores, as the car would probably not sell enough models to justify the cost of bringing it here. It’s expected that the A4 Allroad will officially debut sometime later this year as a 2010 model for Europe.

At the moment, the A4 Allroad is wearing too much camouflage to determine whether or not it differs significantly from the A4 Avant in terms of looks, but judging by the A6 Allroad, it’s likely the most significant difference will be in the ride height. The A4 Allroad will likely be offered with a number of gasoline and diesel engines, though not as many as the standard A4. Engine choices will likely be limited to the larger, more powerful V-6s offered in the A4, not inline four-cylinders.

Audi’s smaller SUV makes downsizing appealing

Behind the Wheel 2009 Audi Q5Luxury sport utility owners looking to downsize and reduce their gasoline bills will find the move appealing in the new Audi Q5.

Built on a modified platform of the Audi A4 compact sedan, the crossover Q5 SUV is the smaller, lighter weight sibling of the Audi Q7 SUV. It’s $6,300 less in starting retail price than the Q7, has a smaller but still powerful V-6 under the hood and earned top, five-out-of-five-stars safety scores in government frontal and side crash tests.

And the Q5’s government fuel economy rating of 18 miles per gallon in city driving and 23 mpg on the highway means it has the best mileage rating of any non-hybrid, gasoline, luxury SUV sold in the United States by a European car company.

Best of all, the Q5 is a trendy vehicle that boasts Audi’s handsome styling inside and out, confident road manners and a luxury image.

Starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, for the five-seat Q5 is $38,025. This includes a 270-horsepower, 3.2-liter V-6, six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission and Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive as standard equipment.

In comparison, the 2009 BMW X3 with 260-horsepower, 3-liter, six-cylinder engine and manual transmission starts at $40,525, while the 2010 Mercedes-Benz GLK with four-wheel drive starts at $36,775 and has a 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 and automatic transmission.

Smaller SUVs are a busy segment among European carmakers, with the Mercedes GLK debuting as a 2010 model and the Audi Q5 arriving in the States just this past spring.

The test Q5 had good proportions outside, excellent fit and finish and a distinctive black-colored grille that set it apart from other SUVs that wear shiny, silver-colored grilles. The tester also came with optional 19-inch tires and wheels that fit well with the body.

While the Q5 positions its passengers well above the pavement for good views out, it doesn’t look like some bulked-up vehicle set atop a raised platform. Rather, the Q5 has a holistic appeal in a package that’s more than 3 inches narrower and 18 inches shorter, from bumper to bumper, than a Q7.

No one would likely guess the Q5 can tow 4,400 pounds, but it can.

There’s only one engine so far: Audi’s 3.2-liter, double overhead cam V-6 with direct injection of the gasoline into the engine cylinders. Working with a six-speed Tiptronic transmission, the engine provides smooth, satisfying response in both city traffic and on the highway.

Indeed, with a weight of 3,850 pounds, the Q5 feels gutsy, yet well-controlled, in acceleration. Torque peaks at 243 foot-pounds at 3,000 rpm.

There’s no need for a driver to manually turn on the all-wheel drive. It’s Audi’s well-known quattro system that’s on at all times.

In normal driving, 60 percent of the power goes to the rear wheels to provide a rear-wheel drive feel, but when road conditions get slick, up to 65 percent of the power can go to the front wheels.

The all-wheel drive here, given that it’s electronically controlled and doesn’t have a lot of heavy mechanicals, doesn’t impinge much on fuel economy. I managed just under the government’s 20-mpg rating for combined city/highway travel in the test vehicle, and that was without really trying to maximize fuel mileage.

Brakes were awesome, stopping the test vehicle quickly and in determined fashion.

The tester had Audi’s optional driver select package, which includes dynamic steering and adaptive suspension.

The latter worked to keep the Q5 body controlled in aggressive driving, while the former kept steering precise and changed the steering effort needed to move the wheel at different speeds.

There was no loosey-goosey steering feel in this vehicle, and I had a great time driving twisty mountain roads in this road-holding SUV.

There was a bit of road noise from the tires, but it wasn’t obtrusive.

I enjoyed the well-appointed interior that includes standard 12-way power front seats and three-zone climate control.

The black leather on the seats in the tester, the no-nonsense gauges and most controls evoked a serious environment not unlike that of a leather-appointed executive study. A friend who rode with me said he felt like the Q5 was “bullet-proof” because of the quality-sounding thud as the doors closed, the quiet interior and the sense of solidity of the vehicle.

But the optional and huge panorama roof added a light and airy feel, and the optional Bang & Olufsen audio system swelled the interior with crystal clear tunes.

Audi offers many features for the Q5, including a side blind spot alert system that flashes small lights on the outside mirrors to tell a driver when another car is alongside, in the blind spots.

There’s also a power tailgate, navigation system and stainless steel plates at the entrance to the cargo area and at the door sills — all optional.

The only problem is the Q5 price can rise quickly. There’s an $11,000 option package for this vehicle, and while it encompasses a lot of equipment, it’s a high price for an option package nonetheless.

The Q5 has the newest generation of Audi’s Multi Media Interface with its round dial in the center console to adjust nav system, audio, ventilation and other settings. It’s more intuitive than BMW’s i-Drive system, but it still takes some practice.

The Q5 comes standard with much safety equipment, including a full complement of air bags, electronic stability control and antilock brakes.

Audi Sportback A7 Concept at Detroit Show Sport Saloon

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Foreshadowing the production version of the A7 sports sedan that’s expected to make its arrival in late 2010 or early 2011, the Sportback Concept was unveiled at 2009 North American International Automobile Show. The large, five-door sport saloon with its coupe-like silhouette is slightly larger than the A6 measuring at 4.95 m long (16.24 ft), 1.93 m wide (6.33 ft) but only 1.40 m high (4.59 ft).
Audi says the Sportback Concept not only offers a glimpse at the Audi’s future design vocabulary, but it also signals the company’s determination not to limit fastback/ hatchback Sportback versions to the compact segment.
The Sportback’s exterior design is outright sexy with its low-slung, coupe-like roofline and the Lamborghini Estoque-inspired buttocks – though Audi unimaginatively tries to convince us that the tail of the show car is “evidently related to the A5 Coupe”. Inside, the Sportback gets a four-seat layout and a wide center console that stretches from the dashboard to the back. Passengers will be happy to know that the Sportback’s trunk has a volume of 500 liters (17.66 cubic feet).
Not surprisingly, Audi equipped the show car with a 3.0-liter V6 TDI clean diesel engine. As in the U.S. version of the Q7 3.0 TDI, the V6 also produces 165 kW (225 hp) and 550 Nm (405.66 lb-ft) of torque in the Sportback concept. Power is transferred to the wheels via Audi’s new 7-speed tiptronic transmission.
Weighing in at 1,800 kilograms (3,968.32 lb) and with a drag coefficient of 0.30, the coupe-like fastback saloon accelerates from 0 – 100 km/h (62mph) in less than seven seconds and reach a top speed of 245 km/h (152mph). According to Audi, the Sportback concept’s average fuel economy according to the European ECE standard is 5.9 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers (39.87 US mpg), and its CO2 emissions no more than 156 g/km (251.06 g/mile).
Foreshadowing the production version of the A7 sports sedan that’s expected to make its arrival in late 2010 or early 2011, the Sportback Concept was unveiled at 2009 North American International Automobile Show. The large, five-door sport saloon with its coupe-like silhouette is slightly larger than the A6 measuring at 4.95 m long (16.24 ft), 1.93 m wide (6.33 ft) but only 1.40 m high (4.59 ft).
Audi says the Sportback Concept not only offers a glimpse at the Audi’s future design vocabulary, but it also signals the company’s determination not to limit fastback/ hatchback Sportback versions to the compact segment.
The Sportback’s exterior design is outright sexy with its low-slung, coupe-like roofline and the Lamborghini Estoque-inspired buttocks – though Audi unimaginatively tries to convince us that the tail of the show car is “evidently related to the A5 Coupe”. Inside, the Sportback gets a four-seat layout and a wide center console that stretches from the dashboard to the back. Passengers will be happy to know that the Sportback’s trunk has a volume of 500 liters (17.66 cubic feet).
Not surprisingly, Audi equipped the show car with a 3.0-liter V6 TDI clean diesel engine. As in the U.S. version of the Q7 3.0 TDI, the V6 also produces 165 kW (225 hp) and 550 Nm (405.66 lb-ft) of torque in the Sportback concept. Power is transferred to the wheels via Audi’s new 7-speed tiptronic transmission.
Weighing in at 1,800 kilograms (3,968.32 lb) and with a drag coefficient of 0.30, the coupe-like fastback saloon accelerates from 0 – 100 km/h (62mph) in less than seven seconds and reach a top speed of 245 km/h (152mph). According to Audi, the Sportback concept’s average fuel economy according to the European ECE standard is 5.9 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers (39.87 US mpg), and its CO2 emissions no more than 156 g/km (251.06 g/mile).

2009 Audi Ad to Feature A6 and Jason Statham

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Audi aims to create as much on-screen excitement in its second Super Bowl ad as the players create on the field. Inspired by iconic Hollywood chase scenes, actor Jason Statham, known for his action-packed roles in the “Transporter” series, “Snatch” and “The Bank Job,” rushes from decade to decade to avoid capture, trying to find a vehicle to aid his getaway. He finds that several other luxury vehicles fail to get the job done. That is, until he finds the supercharged Audi A6, the company’s redesigned, mid-sized luxury sedan. This ad will mark Jason Statham’s first time doing a Super Bowl commercial.
In 2008, Audi placed old luxury on notice with its first Super Bowl ad in nearly 20 years. This year’s spot is a high-speed journey through luxury automobiles in American history, sending the message that some things are best left in the past. Audi chose this trip through history as the theme for its Super Bowl ad to send the message that, in the luxury automotive marketplace, Audi is the most progressive choice.
The new supercharged A6 is the latest in the line of successful new products Audi has introduced in recent years, including the stunning R8 sports car, the A5, the A4 and the TTS, as well as the upcoming Audi Q5 crossover, which will be introduced in the spring of 2009. These models combine to form one of the industry’s most complete and compelling product line-ups. Audi engineers its products to meet the needs of its consumers now and in the future, ensuring that while fads may come and go, Audi is here to stay.
“After an exceptional last two years, the Audi brand has experienced unprecedented growth, not just in sales, but in awareness and excitement,” said Scott Keogh, chief marketing officer, Audi of America. “Every new model we introduce is making more and more consumers stand up and take notice of the single best line-up in the market. Last year’s spot sent the message that Audi was truly redefining luxury. This year’s spot will ensure that everyone realizes that Audi is the best choice, period.”
“In addition to having had the opportunity to drive Audi models in several of my films, I drive one in my personal life, as well. I have always loved the mix of style and performance they offer,” said Statham. “I am thrilled to be affiliated with a company I so believe in on the biggest stage in American television.”
Audi’s advertising agency, San Francisco-based Venables Bell & Partners, created the ad, which was shot on-location in Los Angeles. The agency painstakingly recreated different eras in American history with costuming, lighting, film stock and period-specific automobiles to create a stunning depiction of the different eras explored in the ad.

Audi aims to create as much on-screen excitement in its second Super Bowl ad as the players create on the field. Inspired by iconic Hollywood chase scenes, actor Jason Statham, known for his action-packed roles in the “Transporter” series, “Snatch” and “The Bank Job,” rushes from decade to decade to avoid capture, trying to find a vehicle to aid his getaway. He finds that several other luxury vehicles fail to get the job done. That is, until he finds the supercharged Audi A6, the company’s redesigned, mid-sized luxury sedan. This ad will mark Jason Statham’s first time doing a Super Bowl commercial.

In 2008, Audi placed old luxury on notice with its first Super Bowl ad in nearly 20 years. This year’s spot is a high-speed journey through luxury automobiles in American history, sending the message that some things are best left in the past. Audi chose this trip through history as the theme for its Super Bowl ad to send the message that, in the luxury automotive marketplace, Audi is the most progressive choice.

The new supercharged A6 is the latest in the line of successful new products Audi has introduced in recent years, including the stunning R8 sports car, the A5, the A4 and the TTS, as well as the upcoming Audi Q5 crossover, which will be introduced in the spring of 2009. These models combine to form one of the industry’s most complete and compelling product line-ups. Audi engineers its products to meet the needs of its consumers now and in the future, ensuring that while fads may come and go, Audi is here to stay.

“After an exceptional last two years, the Audi brand has experienced unprecedented growth, not just in sales, but in awareness and excitement,” said Scott Keogh, chief marketing officer, Audi of America. “Every new model we introduce is making more and more consumers stand up and take notice of the single best line-up in the market. Last year’s spot sent the message that Audi was truly redefining luxury. This year’s spot will ensure that everyone realizes that Audi is the best choice, period.”

“In addition to having had the opportunity to drive Audi models in several of my films, I drive one in my personal life, as well. I have always loved the mix of style and performance they offer,” said Statham. “I am thrilled to be affiliated with a company I so believe in on the biggest stage in American television.”

Audi’s advertising agency, San Francisco-based Venables Bell & Partners, created the ad, which was shot on-location in Los Angeles. The agency painstakingly recreated different eras in American history with costuming, lighting, film stock and period-specific automobiles to create a stunning depiction of the different eras explored in the ad.