You've gotta hand it to the Audi A8. Last year, Mercedes-Benz launched the truly stunning S-Class, putting the rest of the high-dollar luxury flagship class on notice. With the brand-new S-Class turning heads and garnering all sorts of praise from the automotive press, classmates like the BMW 7 Series, Jaguar XJ and Audi A8 started to look, well, old. But Audi didn't see fit to just let its big sedan carry on and let the Mercedes take the cake.
It may be obvious at this point, but here in the United States, European manufacturers routinely give us the short end of the stick. Now, I'm not talking about models or brands that don't come here, like the Mercedes-Benz A-Class or the entire Renault line. No, instead, I'm referring to cars that are sold right here in the Land of the Free in one bodystyle, while Europe enjoys the same vehicle with a wider variety of configurations.
The Four-Ring Brand's First Production E-Tron Has Us Pretty Amped
Over the years, we've had a chance to test a lot of Audi E-Tron vehicles, from very early all-electric prototypes (back then we only got to sit in the passenger seat) to the A6 L E-Tron PHEV and the A1 E-Tron plug-in hybrid. All of them were concepts and promises, merely whispers of what was possible, even as the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt and two Tesla models were making waves in the marketplace.
If you're a frequent reader of car reviews (my money says you are), you've no doubt come across prose about how a car "checks all the right boxes." It's a common phrase – I'm guilty of using it myself. And I'm about to use it again.
Subtracting Roof And Adding Style Equals A Pleasant, Pricey Diversion
Drivers are either droptop people or they're not. As most usually aren't – at least as far as the willingness to buy one is concerned – all convertibles tend to remain strictly niche cars. Thus, automakers must ask a noticeably higher price for them.
Audi may only now be fully committing to the US compact car market with a range of A3 models, but it's got far more small car expertise than most Americans realize, and its offerings get even tinier, too. Back in 2010, Audi leapt into the subcompact premium fray – in all markets but the United States, Canada and China – with its A1. The A1 family has sold all right, but not quite as well as was expected, likely due to its price when optioned up. (It also doesn't help that the Volkswa
Sings To An Enthusiast Crowd, But Misses A Few Key Notes
The five-door Audi A3 hatchback, on sale in the States since the 2006 model year, never earned the respect it deserved. Despite possessing the automaker's well-regarded build quality and a range of strong powerplants (including an excellent diesel option), the entry-level model always played second fiddle to the rest of the Audi lineup, suffering from less innovative technologies and fewer premium options on its list. Many buyers considered it inferior to the rest of the models in the company's
The year 1994 was a really good year for German performance fans, because it was that year when Audi released its very first official RS model (for "RennSport," or racing sport), the RS2 Avant. Recently, I was invited to participate in a three-day leg of the Audi Land of Quattro Alpen Tour, a blatant flaunting over hill and dale of the company's current lineup of RS models. We hit Austria, Switzerland and Italy – the roads were epic and the weather held for this exquisite boondoggle.
A little more than a year ago, I drove an Audi A3 E-Tron prototype – an early concept electric vehicle built on the outgoing second-generation A3 platform. While I was impressed with the technology, its 3,800-pound weight, 10-second 0-60 time and 90-mile range will likely put it only mid-pack, at best, among its future competitive set. But Audi promised bigger and better things would come.
I've struggled with diesel technology. It's not that I have a problem with it or dislike it, but rather that I don't particularly understand what stops its wider-spread adoption. Sure, memories of rust-prone, smoky, sluggish and uneconomical Oldsmobile diesels aren't exactly easy to erase from the collective memory of the North American motoring public, but I'd think that a few years into the latest crop of clean diesels, there'd be wider adoption – or at least consumer consideration &ndas
For the last few years, Audi has been publicly toying with building a successor to its Ur-Quattro, a model still glowing in a gritty patina of motorsports glory decades after it left the scene. If anything, the rally car's halo has burned brighter as Audi has matured into a world luxury superpower. Since 2010, the German automaker has shown two different concept cars that attempted to re-bottle the legend's lightning, and it's still trying to figure out whether to market a production model. Desp
There I was, standing next to this 1984 Audi Sport Quattro painted Malachite Green – one of only 15 units ever delivered in said color – in the northern Italian mountain town of Merano. I was about to be encouraged to tear-ass over a few famous high altitude passes in this short-wheelbase iconic machine.
With the exception of a handful of markets (including the US), the Audi SQ5 was a pioneer for the company's S/RS performance line as it was the first model to wear the badge and also get diesel power. Our general "everything is better with a diesel" mentality was put to the test when we first heard we would be getting a non-diesel SQ5 in the US (despite the availability of the diesel-powered Q5 TDI here already), but as usual we can only blame our federal emissions standards. As Audi tells it, t
Ignore the naysayers who say the Audi R8 is too refined to be a proper supercar, or that it has begun to show its age - after a few tweaks for the 2014 model year, the automaker's flagship remains one of my favorite exotics.
We're going to skip the joke – because this isn't one – and get straight to the punchline: If the forthcoming 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class looks like it will lead the segment in interiors, the 3.0-liter turbodiesel in the 2014 Audi A8 L TDI takes the head of the table when it comes to engines.