Friday, July 3, 2009

Next Audi A8 Pushed Back, Plus Audi Plans for 2010 and Beyond - Car News

In a bid to better enable itself to overtake Mercedes-Benz and BMW and become the leading international premium brand, Audi has adjusted the timing of a number of future products, including the next generation of its A8 flagship. The 2010 A8 is being pushed back from a September debut at the Frankfurt auto show, where the launch was originally intended to take place. The car instead will be unveiled some time after December’s Los Angeles auto show; we’ve heard it may happen at an exclusive event in Florida. The Detroit auto show will be the first to host the new A8.

Launching the new A8 away from an auto show will make sure the new car isn't buried among a flurry of international unveilings. Audi wants to play up the design theme, and the aluminum-structured A8 will be another large step forward for the brand, particularly inside the cabin. It will boast, for example, the next-generation MMI system, which will then trickle down to other models.

Audi also doesn't want to kill sales of the current model. The A8 is still selling well in several markets, and a Frankfurt launch might bring orders to a halt before the new A8 arrives in dealerships in the spring of 2010. The A8 is one of the most significant cars for the brand; in Europe and China, the current model is a legitimate alternative to the S-class and the 7-series. Positioned as the sportiest luxury sedan, it was quickly seen as a welcome alternative to former BMW customers alienated by that brand’s polarizing styling and iDrive system.

Keep Reading: Next Audi A8 Pushed Back, Plus Audi Plans for 2010 and Beyond - Car News

2011 Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 V10

Audi is getting ready to launch the R8 Spyder at the Frankfurt auto show this September. But the company told us that no teaser shots will be provided in advance, so these spy shots likely are the closest we’ll get to the real thing before then.

Like its cousin, the Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder, the Audi R8 Spyder will have a fabric top. Audi executives like to point out that every one of the company’s convertibles has a cloth roof rather than a folding metal one, unlike some BMW and Mercedes offerings. Today's state-of-the-art fabric tops are so well-isolated that they have virtually no disadvantages in the areas of noise, interior comfort and temperature, or high-speed driving.

Keep Reading: 2011 Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 V10 - Spied

2011 Audi A5 Sportback Not for U.S. Sale - Car News

A few months back, our spy shooters nabbed a few pics of the saucy A5 Sportback. Admittedly, we got a little giddy at the thought of the sexy slant-back scouting our streets. Alas, Audi has officially stated that it has no current plans to sell the new model in the U.S.

Along with an official teaser image, the German automaker released a short statement discussing its record worldwide sales and profitability and record levels of U.S. market share, and reiterated its goal to become the leading premium brand by 2015. It sees the U.S. market as “vital” to the success of the company, but is content with its current and planned future offerings. The larger A7 Sportback concept, which debuted at the 2009 Detroit auto show, is expected to be a strong candidate to arrive in the U.S. market, where it would compete against the Mercedes-Benz CLS.

Keep Reading: 2011 Audi A5 Sportback Not for U.S. Sale - Car News

2009 Audi TTS Roadster

In the past, it was more than a stretch for us to call Audi’s TT a sports car. Fun? Yes. Stylish? Absolutely. But it wasn’t until our recent experiences with the 2009 TTS that we began to consider the little coupe/roadster a willing partner for back-road shenanigans.

Our tests have shown the TTS coupe capable of hitting 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, covering the quarter-mile in 13.5 at 104 mph, and clawing around the skidpad at 0.95 g. The droptop TTS flexed its sporting mettle in our recent $50K roadster comparison test, finishing a very close third behind the more expensive and more powerful Porsche Boxster S and BMW Z4 sDrive35i. (A distant fourth went to the Chevrolet Corvette convertible.)

Noted in that test were the TTS roadster’s unflappable composure and excellent ride-and-handling balance, but the little Audi was way,waaaay short of the other competitors in a straight line. Sixty mph came in 5.6 seconds and the quarter-mile took 14.2 seconds at 99 mph; the next slowest car in the comparo, the Z4, hit 60 in 4.8 seconds and ran the quarter in 13.5 @ 106. You’ll notice the TTS’s numbers also seriously lag behind its fixed-roof sibling. A coupe outperforming its convertible variant is not unusual, but we thought the comparo TTS might have been a little lame, and so we scheduled a retest on our home turf.

Keep Reading: 2009 Audi TTS Roadster - Short Take Road Test

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