Posts from ‘Audi’
There was a long period where the words sexy and sedan simply didn’t belong in the same sentence. Some might argue that the pair can describe classic-era Cords and Duesenbergs, but wouldn’t you still rather have the 2-door version?
Today, there are any number of sedans, even popularly priced ones, whose styling can be considered “sexy”—popping instantly to mind is the current Kia Optima. But that’s been a relatively recent transformation, and following are some of the cars that strike me as having paved the way.
If you weren’t car cognizant in the mid-1980s, you may not understand the revelation that was the Ford Taurus. Splashing into a sea of squared-off sedans, it introduced the “jellybean” profile quickly adopted by almost every other manufacturer. Although it was nice-looking and certainly trendsetting, “sexy” it wasn’t—at least not in base form. But that accolade could be given to the first high-performance SHO version, which, like the BMW 5-Series of a decade earlier, helped realign people’s stance on sedans.
One of the advantages of having been a Consumer Guide test driver for 22 years is that several cars that were hopelessly out of reach when new are now within the realm of possibility . . . the financial realm, that is.
Furthermore, there’s the added benefit of having the test of time on your side. Some cars just don’t wear well. Others you’ll see still going strong at 200,000 miles, so if you find one with 120,000, there’s a good chance you can get a lot more use out of it. You might also get an idea of how much work they might require in order to do that.
One other stipulation for this list—which would otherwise be much longer—is that fuel economy counts. With gas “down” to about $3.90 a gallon at the time of this writing, cars that swill the stuff in sub-20-mpg gulps just didn’t make the cut.
At the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, Audi pulled the wraps off the souped-up version of its A7 premium-midsize liftback sedan.
The 2014 Audi RS 7 Sportback employs a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine that pumps out a massive 560 horsepower. Contrary to recent convention, the intake and exhaust sides of the cylinder have been reversed, and the turbos and intercooler sit on top of the engine in the valley between the V of the cylinders instead of elsewhere in the engine compartment. This creates a very short path that spent exhaust gases must travel to spin the turbos. What does this mean? Very little turbo lag when the driver tromps on the loud pedal. The exhaust system has flaps that open either under acceleration or at the push of a button to release a full exhaust note. Audi says that a sport exhaust is optional.
The engine is linked to an 8-speed automatic transmission that has been tuned to deal with the engine’s increased power. It has an “S” mode and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters to deliver best performance. The “standard” top speed is about 155 mph, but the optional Dynamic Package increases it to about 174, and the Dynamic Package Plus tops out at about 190 mph.
Audi launched five new “clean diesel” vehicles at the 2012 LA Auto Show. The products range from the brand’s entry-level SUV all the way up to its flagship sedan.
All models will share the same 50-state-legal turbodiesel engine: a 3.0-liter V6 with 240 horsepower and a massive 406 pound-feet of torque. Included are an 8-speed automatic transmission and the brand’s trademark quattro all-wheel drive.
The first vehicle is on sale right now. The $52,000 2013 Audi Q7 TDI gets an estimated 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway, according to the EPA, making this one of the most efficient premium-large SUVs on the market. Audi claims a driving range of more than 700 miles per tank.
All the other new Audi TDIs arrive as 2014 models. Coming in spring 2013 is the flagship A8 TDI. With its all-aluminum construction, Audi predicts this will be the most efficient premium-large car. They estimate that the 2014 A8 TDI will achieve 24 mpg city/36 mpg highway while being able to go from 0-60 mph in 6.4 seconds.
Consumer Guide Automotive editors are a discerning bunch. When rating vehicles in the category of Acceleration, they have to be blown away—almost literally—before they will bestow a perfect score of 10. Horsepower is not enough; editors look for a car that’s quick from a stop and delivers smooth, linear power.
For model-year 2012, CGA editors lauded 18 cars with perfect 10s for acceleration. (Unfortunately, we did not get the chance to test many exotics, including Ferraris and Lamborghinis.)
Perfect 10s for Acceleration
Powertrain: 510-hp 6.0-liter V12, 6-speed automatic transmission w/manual-shift capability
CG Says: “The exhaust note is intoxicating, and it accelerates with the ferocity you’d expect from a 12-cylinder sports car.”
Powertrain: 510-hp 5.9-liter V12, 6-speed manual transmission
CG Says: “Accelerates as well as you would expect from a supercar with 510 horsepower. Throttle response is outstanding in any situation. The manual transmission is a joy to use.”
Powertrain: 420-hp 4.2-liter V8, 6-speed manual transmission; 525-hp 5.2-liter V10, 6-speed manual transmission
You probably already know all the big stuff: The Dart gives Dodge its first competitive small car in a couple of generations, the Honda Accord is all new, and the redesigned Nissan Altima gets an EPA-estimated 38 mpg highway. So, I won’t bother rehashing the news that’s making headlines. Instead, here are a few things that may have slipped through the media cracks on the way to your inbox—you know, little stuff that’s still worth knowing.
1) Chrysler products get OnStar-style telematics system
Available first on the 2013 Dodge Ram and SRT Viper, Chrysler’s new Access Assist system will offer drivers OnStar-like safety and convenience services. The system will be part of the company’s Uconnect suite of connectivity features.
2) A big diesel
As in 2012, the 2013 Volkswagen Passat remains the largest sedan offered in the U.S. with the combination of a diesel engine and a manual transmission.
3) 6-cylinder über-sedan party
For 2013, all three large luxury sedans from Germany can be had with a 6-cylinder engine. The BMW 7-Series can be purchased with a turbocharged inline six, and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class can be had with either a hybrid-assisted or diesel V6. As for the Audi A8, it now comes standard with a 3.0-liter supercharged V6.
Inspired by esteemed Consumer Guide Publisher Tom Appel’s entries about what cars Star Trek characters would drive, I figured I would take my own passion for video games and do something similar.
My plan is to split this among the major video game companies: Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony. Today we start with “The Big N,” one of the granddaddies of the business. I’ll largely keep within the same framework as the Star Trek entries. Production vehicles only, but I would like to keep the costs to less than $100,000.
Though I didn’t grow up on Mario (ours was a Commodore 64 household), I’ve spent plenty of time with this iconic Italian plumber since his title debut on the original Nintendo Entertainment System. When he’s not flying off to the Mushroom Kingdom to save Princess Peach from the evil Bowser (and company), I envision Mario nipping around the tightly packed streets of Turin. What better car for him to do that in than a Fiat 500 Abarth? Its raw exhaust note will draw the attention of every Goomba (the enemy mushrooms) in the area, and its zippy acceleration will easily get him away from danger.
Apple recently announced that its voice-recognition application for iPhone, known as Siri, will be integrated into the cars of at least seven major manufacturers.
Siri lets a user control many of the iPhone’s functions simply by speaking the request into the phone in normal, colloquial language. Such functions include making calls, playing music, hearing and writing text messages, finding directions, and various other features, including the ability to ask a question and receive a relevant answer.
So far, BMW, Chrysler, GM, Honda, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Mercedes-Benz have confirmed that they’ll incorporate Siri into their infotainment systems, and Audi and Toyota are said to be working with Apple, as well. According to an article in trade publication Automotive News, the 2013 Chevrolet Spark and Sonic will have this feature.
A new Apple iPhone application called Eyes Free makes it possible. Eyes Free will link the iPhone to a compatible car’s voice-recognition system. It will use the existing voice button on the car’s steering wheel and the car’s built-in microphone to access the Siri app. The user won’t have to handle the phone while driving, which is considered distracting. Additionally, the iPhone’s screen will remain off during the interaction to curb visual distractions. Eyes Free will debut as part of the company’s reveal of iOS 6, the new operating system for Apple mobile devices, including iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
The all-new 2013 Audi Allroad replaces the Audi A4 Avant wagon. Allroad builds on the Avant’s design; it is taller, wider, and has more ground clearance. It seats 5 and comes standard with all-wheel drive.
See what Consumer Guide Automotive has to say in its thorough review of the 2013 Audi Allroad.