- 2012 Audi A7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Prestige Review & Test Drive
- Video: The Pusherman of Modified RWB Porsches
- VW Halts Sales Of Jetta And Golf TDI Models
- The Autopocalypse Cometh: Ferrari Enzo Successor To Be A Hybrid?
Posted: 07 Oct 2011 05:51 AM PDT
Audi continues to inject the automotive market with fresh products redefining their ultimate goal to dominate the luxury segment. With the introduction of an all-new 2012 A7, Audi cleverly introduces a vehicle to fit into both the wagon and luxury sports-sedan market and they do it well.
I had the chance to spend a full week in the new 2012 Audi A7 getting a true feel for what Audi pits against other coupe-like styled sedans such as the Benz CLS. Having the latest generation of Audi's powerplants and proven Quattro all-wheel-drive technology, the new A7 drives like a vehicle much smaller and more powerful than the stats would represent on paper.
For its first year, the new 2012 Audi A7 bridges a gap between the A6 and full-size A8 incorporating a functional opening rear hatch. The low roofline and doors without a window frame give the A7 more or a stylish coupe aesthetic without compromising the interior space expected from a mid-sized luxury sedan.
The interior is truly laced with luxury all around. It features a special film on the windshield, microfiber trimmed panels, hydraulic damping elements on the axles, and a 0.30 coefficient of drag which all aid to provide a serene and quite cabin.
The copious use of aluminum throughout the new A7 contributes to weight savings without sacrificing rigidity. The doors, front fenders, hood and rear hatch are all composed of aluminum. Together, with a hybrid aluminum metal and high-end steel construction for the body, the A7's body weighs 15% less than a comparable all-steel body would.
The front and rear seating areas are comfortable enough for tall adults where the rear passengers get to enjoy their own climate setting via the A7's 3-zone automatic climate control system (two zones up front and one in the rear). The ambiance of the interior is taken a step further with adjustable white LED interior lighting and an optional Bang & Olufsen sound system. My test vehicle was equipped with the 14-speaker Bose sound system which sounds well enough to please the middle-weight audiophile.
Techies will love the gadgetry in the all-new Audi A7 from the hard-drive based navigation system utilizing Google mapping technology to the Wi-Fi hotspot integration using 3G cellular data speeds. The Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity allows up to 8 devices enabling users to surf the web, check emails or even view/download videos.
The Google Earth mapping technology is simply astonishing giving the driver and passenger a true satellite ground representation of your position or destinations. This comes quite in handy in the event that you are referencing areas or points of interests in an unfamiliar place. Even the Google Local search integration (light internet connectivity) via the 8-inch high-resolution pop-up LCD screen gives the driver or passenger updates for news, traffic, weather and gas prices.
Audi's MMI (Multimedia Interface) system is truly state-of-the-art leading the competition in vehicle integration of entertainment, accessibility and vehicle controls. Most vehicle controls and functions are within a touch of a single button and turn of the scroll wheel. Even an integrated touchpad allows you to navigate functions dependent on the specific menu or mode you are in. When compared to vehicle user interfaces found in other luxury brands, the Audi's MMI system is comparable with a slight edge on user friendliness. Some may agree that the Audi MMI is much easier to use than any of BMW's iDrive iterations.
Audi's trademark LED daytime running lights glow in the day and night making the front of the new A7 unmistakably an Audi. A total of 18 LED lights make up the signature running lights while another set of 11 amber colored LEDs blink for the turn signals and 2 separate units makeup the optional LED headlights. Directional side LED lights illuminate depending on the steering wheel's angle on A7's equipped with the adaptive lighting system. Taillights get full LED illumination with integrated rear fog lights.
Powering the all-new A7 is Audi's all-aluminum 3.0-liter TFSI turbocharged V6 engine pumping out 310 horsepower and 325 pounds-feet of torque between 2900 and 4500 rpm. Despite tipping the scale at just over 4,200 pounds, the new A7 is no slouch making a dash to 60mph from a standstill in just 5.4 seconds. Much of the A7's performance abilities are due to the turbocharged V6 engine working in perfect harmony with the advanced 8-speed automatic transmission and Quattro all-wheel-drive. It is almost a match made in heaven especially when you are able to get an EPA estimated 18mpg city and 28mpg highway.
Driving the all-new 2012 Audi A7 gives the driver assurance at virtually any legal speed. Putting your right-foot down outside of the realm of legal speeds hardly ever constitutes any additional worry on the drivers part because the A7 is always surefooted and well dampened. Most of the my A7 test vehicle's added agility was due to the optional sport tuned suspension lowering the vehicle about 0.39in from standard height and a larger wheel/tire combination. My A7 test vehicle was optioned out with the larger and rather stylish 20×9 inch wheels wrapped in 20-inch summer performance tires. The A7 gets 18×8 inch cast aluminum seven-spoke wheels as standard.
An integrated power rear spoiler is not just for show but acts as a functional mechanism automatically rising at speeds of 80mph or more for added stability. You may also manually raise the rear spoiler via a dashboard button.
Storage in the all-new Audi A7 is ample allowing you haul large objects just like you would in a mid-sized SUV. The power rear hatch comes in handy during those times that you have your hands full. I was able to fit an 8-foot tall wood 4×4 into the A7, which frankly took me by surprise. The A7 could easily be an excellent replacement for a gas-guzzling SUV. Not to mention, the added posh styling of the A7 would be another reason to leave your SUV in the garage or on the lot.
Safety has always been a primary focus for Audi and the all-new A7 continues to converge on several safety aspects for their passenger vehicles and pedestrians. An adaptive restraint system acts in conjunction with the Audi pre-sense safety system to manage airbags and seatbelt force limiters based on the height of the drive and front passenger. Optional night vision, knee airbags, outside rear seat airbags, adaptive cruise control with collision warning and Audi side assist (blind spot monitoring) all add to the over-all safety of the new A7.
My test 2012 Audi A7 came with the Prestige package, which includes 20 inch wheels/tires, front/rear parking sensors w/ rearview camera, 4-zone climate control, rear heated seats, front heated/cooled seats and Audi's navigation plus with MMI touch. Loaded up in this configuration ads to the Base A7's $59,250 price bringing it to $68,630.
Copyright: 2011 AutomotiveAddicts.com
Posted: 06 Oct 2011 11:48 AM PDT
Luke Huxham and Aaron Mai from Maiham Media bring us complete awesomeness in filming one of the legendary RAUH-Welt BEGRIFF (RWB) tuned Porsche 964′s. Nakai-san’s RWB garage in Japan is known for building countless modified-widebody Porsches. This one, owned by Sinji, is one of the latest 964′s featuring a ridiculously wide stance and a huge rear wing. Somehow they manage to pull it off well for what would otherwise be riced-out status for your typical Honda. Check out a recent video featuring Shinji cruising around in one of his astonishing creations with the ‘Pusherman’ song playing in the background. (Video has some NSFW language) Enjoy!
Posted: 06 Oct 2011 09:30 AM PDT
Volkswagen has issued a stop-sale on 2009 – 2012 VW Jetta, Jetta SportWagen and Golf models equipped with the diesel-powered TDI engine. At issue is a fuel leak from the number two fuel injector, which ties back to vibrations in the fuel injection system, made worse by a manufacturing defect in fuel tubes from a single supplier. Corresponding with this stop-sale, VW has also issued a voluntary safety recall for existing owners. The recall is expected to begin in November, as soon as replacement parts can be sent to dealerships.
Vehicles will be inspected and repaired as necessary, and VW will fit vibration dampers to all affected Jetta and Golf models. Volkswagen is unaware of any fires, accidents or injuries related to the defect, which manifests as an obvious fuel leak from the number two injector. Owners will be notified of the recall via first class mail, but those experiencing a strong smell of diesel from the engine bay should contact dealers for repairs ahead of the recall. As of now, a limited number of replacement parts are in VW dealer inventory, and each dealer will prioritize repairs until more parts are available.
Per Left Lane News, Volkswagen dealerships were advised of the stop-sale order on Monday.
Posted: 06 Oct 2011 06:30 AM PDT
The original Ferrari Enzo, built from 2002 until 2004, was a no-compromise hypercar that borrowed heavily from Ferrari's Formula One experience. It used a carbon-fiber monocoque, a carbon-fiber body, an electrohydraulic shift transmission and carbon-ceramic brakes. Power came from a mid-rear mounted 6.0-liter V-12 engine, good for 651 horsepower, and the handling was refined by none other than Michael Schumacher.
In the day, you couldn't even walk into a Ferrari dealer and buy one, regardless of your bank account. Purchase was by invitation only, and the right to buy the Enzo was extended to F40 and F50 owners first. Performance was the only concern of the Enzo, and such trivial matters as fuel consumption and carbon emissions never impacted the car's design.
Those days are, apparently, over. A Ferrari Enzo successor has been discussed for quite some time, and Inside Line caught some inside info at the release of the Ferrari 458 Italia Spider. Per Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa, the Enzo replacement will also use a carbon-fiber monocoque and will still be powered by a V-12 engine, but Ferrari is testing hybrid prototypes for possible inclusion in its new supercar.
If Ferrari were going the route of a performance hybrid, this could make sense. After all, the characteristics of electric motors (peak torque at zero rpm) make them ideal to supplement internal combustion performance. Design a light enough hybrid system, and you'd have a car that out-performs a conventional, combustion engine equivalent.
Sadly, that's not the path that Ferrari's going down. Instead, Felisa advised that any future Ferrari hybrid system, "must focus on improving efficiency and not just be about performance."
It's a sad day when the world's premier manufacturer of performance automobiles is concerned with the fuel economy of its upcoming halo car. Building the California, or even the 458 Italia, in a hybrid version is one thing, but building an Enzo replacement with anything other than performance in mind is a sin, and it doesn't bode well for the future of performance cars and motorsports. Maybe Jeremy Clarkson was right after all.
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