With sales of two door hatchbacks in a state of total collapse in both the U.S. and its home market in Europe. Volkswagen has admitted defeat, and revealed that it will be pulling the two door GTI and Golf hatchbacks from production for 2017.
The move was revealed in an interview Car & Driver magazine did with Volkswagen of America’s marketing chief Hendrick Muth. Muth went straight to the point with his remarks revealing ” The trend is clearly shifting towards four-door models.” Volkswagen’s decision follows on the heels of similar decisions in Europe by Ford, Renault, and Peugeot to axe their two door hatchback offerings.
While this decision will certainly ruffle the feathers of enthusiasts that lovingly embraced the model since it’s 1972 debut. The elimination of the slow selling two door can help Volkswagen save money on production costs, while also allowing the company to become more streamlined at the same time. Lastly the four door models would also help improve passenger access to the rear seats which can be a challenge in a two door layout.
This decision also comes on the heels of a prior report that suggested that the same fate is in store for the smaller two door Polo hatchback with Audi using slow sales as a reason to reevaluate the future of the two door A1 and A3 as well as the A3 convertible via alleged remarks made by Audi chief Rupert Stadler.
With the Paris Motor Show fast approaching, Audi has taken the wraps off of the updated 2017 A5 Sportback which will be coming to the U.S. market for the first time ever.
Fans hoping for a more radical change in its exterior styling will be suprised to see that Audi designers chose a subtle evolution of the current theme versus an outright revolution. The revamped front fascia helps the car fall in line with Audi’s current design language but the overall profile and silhouette carries over largely unchanged.
The interior of the A5 Sportback recieved many of the same updates that first made their debut
on the 2017 A4 sedan. This means that more luxury and enhancements in technology are the order of the day with occupants also benefiting from additional space. A dash mounted screen helps run the infotainment system while a digital instrument cluster (AKA Virtual Cockpit) is avalible as an optional extras.
The A5’s stylish suit of clothes is built on the same MLB Evo platform that also underpins the A4 and the Q7. Buyers in Europe will have access to five diffrent diesel and petrol engine choices including an all new 170 horsepower 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder that can run on gasoline, natural gas, as well as the brand exclusive e-gas that Audi produces. Dubbed the g-tron, this model is the first production application of Audi’s e-gas technology and could serve as a launch pad for future g-tron models.
As for U.S. customers, the Sportback will only be offered with a 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine that is good for 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. A dual clutch automatic transmission is the sole choice avalible and front wheel drive is standard. Buyers in snowier climates can opt for all-wheel drive to help the Sportback conquer snowy terrain.
The next model in the lineup is the S5 which spices up the overall driving experience with a 3.0 liter turbocharged V6 that is good for 354 horsepower and 368 lb-ft of torque. The S5 can also claw its way to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds when properly equipped.
It will be interesting to see whether the Sportback can make a case for itself in the U.S. where our country’s craving for CUVS and SUVS could serve as a formidable obstacle for the new variant. Pricing has not been released as of yet, but look for that to be revealed closer to its U.S. debut.
Following the launch of the Sportback, the A5 lineup will be joined by a convertible version as well as the range topping RS5. Nothing is official as of yet, but look for both of them to make their debut at a future auto show.
The Tesla S has certainly managed to conjure up quite a crowd of rivals during its production run, and according to a new report Audi is set to join that esteemed club with the brand rumored to be developing a range topping all-electric sedan that is scheduled to arrive before the end of the decade.
Tentatively dubbed the A9 e-tron, the sedan is expected to share the bulk of its powertrain as well as possibly much of its interior technology with the Q6 e-tron, a crossover that has been billed as Audi’s first full production offering. This means that the A9 e-tron will be powered by three asynchronous electric motors, and a potent drivetrain that is rumored to be capable of unleashing at least 425 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque in its base tune. Look for higher trims to go far beyond this figure and possibly surpass the 600 horsepower mark.
The A9 e-tron is also capable of driving at least 300 miles on a single charge while also sending power cords to the dustbin of history with futuristic inductive charging technology helping to keep the battery fully charged with juice. British publication AutoCarhas also revealed that the A9 will come equipped with its own response to Tesla’s Autopilot system and the suite of driver assistance technologies that pull its strings. Unlike Tesla’s current system, Audi’s system is reportedly going one step further and be certified as a level four autonomous vehicle which would allow the A9 e-tron to drive itself in varying conditions both on and off the freeway.
Look for Audi to potentially preview the A9 e-tron as a near production concept at a major auto show before eventually landing in dealer lots by 2020. The A9 e-tron as well as the Q6 e-tron could also form the foundations for a new electric vehicle sub-brand that would possibly have other vehicles to cover other vehicle segments including a Model 3 fighting sedan.
Audi has big ambitions for its newest crop of RS models, and has given the world a compelling taste of this future with the unveiling of the newly updated 2017 TT RS Coupe and Roadster.
The exterior styling of both models doesn’t stray too far from the standard TT, but Audi designers have given the car a much needed dose of aggression. This is thanks to a redesigned front fascia that features bigger lower air intakes and a slightly modified front grille, while the rear fascia incorporates all new OLED tailights. These new lights incorporate a 3D design, and will be making there production debut on the TT RS.
The driver-centric interior of the TT RS has also seen its fair share of updates with many cues being lifted from the brand’s racing program. This is especially true with the button happy steering wheel that incorporates satellite controls for the car’s handling settings as well as a race inspired start/stop button borrowed from the R8 supercar. The RS also features aluminum or carbon fiber accents as well as a special RS screen that allows drivers to access key information such as tire pressure, torque, and the amount of g-forces being exerted on the car.
Performance for the 2017 RS comes from an all new turbocharged 2.5 liter five cylinder engine that now pumps out a solid 400 horsepower and an equally stout 354 lb-ft of torque. This is sixty more horsepower than the old car, and should allow the RS to hold its own against rivals such as the CLA45 AMG, and even the BMW M2. All of this powered is channeled to all four wheels through a seven speed S tronic automatic which allows the RS Coupe to make the sprint to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds with the roadster posting a slightly higher 3.9 seconds time. Braking comes from ventilated and drilled discs up front and solid discs at the rear but Audi will offer carbon fiber ceramic disc brakes as above option. Handling has also been enhanced with Audi engineers equipping the car with electronically controlled adaptive dampers and several chassis tweaks to help eliminate body roll.
Look for the 2017 TT RS to make its way to European showrooms this fall with the coupe starting at 66,400 Euros and the roadster featuring a 69,200 euro price. It’s unclear if Audi will offer the model here in the U.S. but if it does look for it to cross the pond sometime next year.
In a move that will allow Audi to expand its crossover lineup, the company revealed that it obtained both the Q4 and Q2 trademarks via a swap with FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.)
The agreement was first brought up in an interview that Autoblog had with Audi chief executive Rupert Stadler during the 2016 North American International Auto Show. Stadler revealed that Audi was turned down by FCA once before in a prior attempt stating “We tried to get it years ago and they said ‘No never,’ but there is never ‘never’ in buisness.”
Stadler later added that the ice breaker moment between FCA and Audi came in the German firm’s most recent attempt to talk with FCA earlier this year, stating “This year I went back to them with a proposal and we talked and there were some negotiations and then we agreed to it.”
Prior to this arrangement, the Q4 designation was used to identify the all-wheel drive system that sees duty in the Maserati Ghibli and the bigger Maserati Quattroporte. As for the Q2 moniker, it was used to label limited slip differentials that were equipped to the fore-mentioned all-wheel drive system. Rather than buying the trademarks outright, it appears that both companies reached some form of agreement, especially with Stadler hinting that both automakers “found something we needed.” These recent comments appear to add credibility to a possible agreement though FCA’s terms and what the company gained in return are currently unknown.
Look for the Q2 moniker to be used on an all new member of Audi’s crossover lineup which could make its debut in two months at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. Meanwhile the bigger Q4 is expected to make its apperance in a few years with the model serving as a middle of the road bridge model between the Q3 and the Q5.
Looking to obtain an Audi S8 but don’t have quite the cash to do it? Audi has unveiled the solution to this problem with the 2016 A8 4.0T Sport
As its name suggests, the new model wields a variant of the same 4.0 Liter twin-turbocharged V8 that also sees duty in the Bentley Continental GT and the S8. However whereas the S8 makes 520 horsepower, the 4.0T Sport makes a slightly tamer 450 horsepower (a considerable gain from the old model’s 435 horsepower.) Some will argue that this figure is also less than the 500 horsepower W12 engine, but the V8 makes up for it by being lighter than the big twelve cylinder, which in turn helps increase fuel economy.
In addition to the new engine, the T Sport also features tweaked exterior styling with the lower front bumper incorporating larger air intakes to help improve air flow to the engine. Sculpted side sills also help improve its slick profile while 20-inch or optional 21-inch alloy wheels round out the profile quite nicely. Audi was also kind enough to equip the car with both the Executive and Luxury packages ensuring that occupants will also be coddled in luxury while cruising at triple digit speeds. An Alcantara swathed headliner adds to the performance theme while diamond quilt stitching for the leather seats enhances both style and comfort.
While its $90,500 MSRP ($925 destination fee included) is still a formidable chunk of change, the 4.0T is a considerable bargain when compared to the $114,900 wielded by the S8 as well as the $137,900 base price for the A8 L W12 variant. Audi has not released any performance data for this model as of yet, but look for the car to shed a tenth of a second off of the previous version’s 4.4 second 0 to 60 time. Buyers that would rather have more power and are willing to pay an even loftier premium can hold out for the S8 Plus and its 605 horsepower V8. Currently that variant is a Europe only exclusive, but it could make its way to our side of the pond if demand for it is strong enough.
In an announcement released earlier today, Volkswagen Group CEO Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn revealed that he has resigned from his post in the midst of Volkswagen’s ongoing and ever growing emissions scandal involving its TDI lineup of automobiles.
“As CEO I accept responsibility for the irregularities that have been found in diesel engines and have therefore requested to the Supervisory Board to agree on terminating my function as CEO of the Volkswagen Group. I am doing this in the interests of the company even though I am not aware of any wrongdoing on my part.”
Winterkorn elaborated further stating “I have always been driven by my desire to serve this company, especially our customers and employees. Volkswagen has been, is, and always will be a part of my life.”
Winterkorn’s successor has not been named as of yet, but he or she will have to help the company successfully navigate the rough seas generated by the emissions scandal a formidable task in and of itself. Speaking of those turbulent waters, the government revealed that it has expanded its probe into Volkswagen and Audi diesel vehicles and is now including the 3.0 liter TDI diesel engine in its list of affected engines. The power plant sees duty in the Audi Q3, A6, A7, A8, and the Volkswagen Touareg. The Porsche Cayenne is also involved despite the brand not being listed in the original probe. Audi however was already part of the original probe, so the inclusion of more Audi vehicles in this revised list is not surprising.
The EPA is also looking into all 2016 TDI model’s with notable mentions being the Beetle TDI, the recently unveiled 2016 Passat, Golf TDI, and the Jetta TDI. As a result, the agency banned Volkswagen from selling diesel powered automobiles until the Wolfsburg based firm can prove that it is fully compliant with U.S. emissions standards.
Meanwhile, the formal legal investigation into the scandal reached a new tempo when it was revealed that the U.S. Department of Justice plans to prosecute more executives for various white collar crimes. This decision rescinds the rather light handed method of dealing with the problem that was spearheaded by former Attorney General Eric Holder. As a result of these initial prosecutions, the government could bring even more indictments targeting executives as well as key low level workers if evidence suggests that they were involved in the illegal installation of the defeat devices.
Stay tuned to Autoinfoquest for the latest developments on Volkswagen’s emissions scandal as they become available.
In a bid to boost its appeal for the highest performing member of the A4 family, Audi has revealed that it plans to bring the RS4 variant back to the U.S. where it will compete with the BMW M3 as well as the Mercedes C-Class AMG when the next generation A4 is eventually unveiled according to a statement released by the publication Autocar.
At the moment, the RS4 is only available in the European market as an Avant (Audi lingo for wagon), and has not been seen on U.S. shores since the B7 era model, which was produced from 2007 to 2008. Traditionally station wagons have not sold well in this country which is why the current RS4 has not made the trip across the pond, but that will change when the next generation Audi A4 is unveiled. The return of this model is part of the German firm’s commitment to bolstering the growth of the RS brand which means bringing more sedans to the U.S. and Chinese markets to take advantage of strong sedan sales in both countries.
The European market will still have exclusive access to an Avant variant when all is said and done, with the next generation RS4 arriving there sometime next year. However, U.S. buyers will have to wait a bit longer for their chance to nab an RS4 sedan with the launch possibly taking place sometime in 2017. When it does formally arrive in the U.S. power is expected to come from a highly modified version of the company’s familiar 3.0 liter supercharged V6 which is expected to make about 500 horsepower and will come equipped with an electric compressor. This figure would surpass the 425 horsepower offered by the M3 and be within a hair of the projected 510 horsepower boasted by the recently unveiled Alfa Romeo Giula.
With the Audi S3 proving to be a popular performance bargain for Audi buyers, Audi has revealed a special treat for the U.S. market with an all new limited production model that will be capped at a mere 25 units but unlike other limited specials, it will arrive with an intriguing twist.
The twist comes in how each of the units will be allocated, with five units built for each of the five colors that will be available for buyers to choose from (which adds up to 25). According to the folks at Fourtitude, the limited edition model will be based off of the S3 Prestige package which is typically an $8,000 option on the base S3. This package brings goodies such as the Audi Connect touchscreen infotainment system, a 15 speaker Bang & Olufsen 15-speaker 705-watt sound system, as well as a whole suite of driver assistance and safety technology to the S3 experience. In addition, the car will also receive the equally pricey Fine Nappa Leather Package that slathers the gearshift, sport seats, and steering wheel with buttery soft quilted Nappa leather and even throws in the Performance Package’s 19-inch wheels as a figurative cherry on top. Performance hardware is unchanged from lesser S3s with the familiar 292 horsepower 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder still providing the awesome soundtrack and world class performance behavior that buyers have come to expect.
The visual calling card of this special edition is its five available exterior colors, and while two of them (Sepang Blue and Misaro Red) are available on lesser S3s. The remaining three hues (Viper Green, Glut Orange, and Vegas Yellow) are exclusive to this special edition model, and do remind us of life-sized Skittles candy when viewed in person. The color that is chosen also affects the pricing, with models in Sepang Blue and Misaro Red starting at $57,250 while the remaining three have a slightly higher base price of $59,900. It is currently unknown how Audi plans to make these cars available, or how they will be distributed within the dealer network. But we suspect that more information on those details will emerge closer to the model’s formal debut which will most likely take place at a future auto show.