Category: Audi

Souped up with the S3 Sedan

We spent time trying to figure out if the Audi S3 Sedan is as fast as a compact 4 door family hauler should be.

While Audi’s smaller RS derivatives have been renowned to include the shouty, all powerful 5 pot turbocharged motors, the more affordable boosted 4 cylinders shared with Volkswagen and paired to a quattro powertrain prove to be just as much fun for a more affordable price tag. Not only does the S3 bridge the gap between the mundane-to-drive A3 and the ludicrous RS3, but it’s less hardcore and therefore more usable.

While this may sound daft to read, not many people in the market for a purpose built supercar predator like the new RS3, made up predominantly of youngsters like me, have the finances to back up their preference. The 2021 model year RS3 is expected to cost north of R1,3 million while the S3 only starts at R810 000. 

That’s not to say that the S3 is not a performance capable machine, in fact it’s power of 228kW and torque of 400Nm propel it to 0-100km/h in a time of only 4.8 seconds which can still snap at the heels of the big boys. If you are well versed with Audi products you may think this is a typo since the above specs are exactly the same as the previous model but they are not. Improvements have been made in the mid range when accelerating which give the torque a more linear delivery than before and enable the new derivative to complete the quarter mile fractionally quicker than the outgoing model despite being a bit heavier tipping the scales at 1464kg.

Once you engage dynamic mode and feel the motor deliver its full performance, this becomes completely prominent with torque consistently propelling the car forward all the way up to the redline. It is a fun car to drive enthusiastically, with the quattro system instilling vast amounts of confidence when behind the wheel – sometimes a little bit too much… Not only is cornering at speed in the realm of possibility, but any heartstopping split-second of oversteer is immediately corrected by the clever programming of the Haldex system.

This brings me onto my next point; steering. The dynamics of turning and accelerating give this sedan immense cornering capabilities. While the steering can admittedly feel a bit light and disconnected in Comfort, flipping the drive mode switch to Dynamic immediately remedies this. The lighter front end of the 4 cylinder over the RS models also makes slow cornering and low speed maneuverability much easier to live with. 

For the majority of my duration with the S3, the drive mode was permanently engaged in Dynamic and despite this the suspension remained comfortable, compliments of damper control. The drivetrain was also smooth and the 7-speed S-Tronic gearbox produced prompt shifts without jerking the car along. The only downfall I found was the continually emptying petrol tank which can be expected when the addictive engine burbles on deceleration spur you on. The current exhaust setup is demure in comparison to the outgoing model, particularly with the soft limiter, but once going the induction noise resonates through the cabin and tingles the senses. 

It’s not all good news as Audi have infused sound actuation through the speakers in an attempt to boost the engine noise. The subtle, fake 5 cylinder exhaust note at the top of the rev range makes the model attempt to be something it is not, no matter how good it sounds.

The rear bumper is also scattered with fake vents while only one intercooler vent is functional on the front bumper of the car while the other side is blanked off. It isn’t all bad news for the purists as there are four real exhaust pipes below the diffuser.

Keeping with the exterior, the updated model has sharpened up the previous design extensively with more aggressive headlights and vents dominating the front end. Aside from that and a few tweaks to the rear, their silhouettes are almost identical. Subjectively, the S3 looks streaks better than the awkwardly proportioned BMW M235i Gran Coupe and is probably on par with the squat Mercedes-Benz A35 Sedan. Where the largest update has been implemented is the interior, which feels more modern as opposed to the already outdated previous gen center console.

Premium is the dominating theme in the cabin where comfortable, supportive seats host the driver and pleasant looking and feeling materials dominate everything in front of the eye. For the first time, the infotainment screen has been integrated into the dashboard while Lamborghini inspired aircon vents flank the drivers display.

Much like the previous generation of S3 sedan, the driver and passenger seats have sufficient room all around but the sharp rake of the C pillar has limited the headroom for taller passengers in the second row of seats. To appease their potentially less comfortable journey, the driver can bestow the entertainment responsibility to the passengers in the back seats as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto screen mirroring can be done wirelessly. 

The minimal center console features a minute extrusion which operates in a similar fashion to a traditional gearknob and is a hint to what we can expect in electric powered Audi’s in the near future. Despite looking foreign, it is easy to assimilate to although I found my hand would naturally reach much higher to engage with it from muscle memory. Despite some red stitching and an S logo, the interior still lacks the overall flair of a sporty sedan but not quite on the same level as being stuck in a Post Office in Berlin. 

Since the first S3 model was introduced over 20 years ago, Audi has mastered the sporty premium compact market segment. While the RS model has capabilities to compete with modern day purpose built supercars and with price tags equally as mouthwatering, the S3 might be the better buy when it comes to a well balanced car with good suspension and performance. Its not too hardcore but remains fun enough to put a smile on your face every time you go for a drive. 

Doing nothing in the Audi A4…

If someone were to ask me how I would sum up an Audi A4, I would use one word – sensible. The applies to all the generations of the vehicle, including the newest iteration that Audi South Africa loaned us for the December holidays. We at TheMotorist have been very fortunate to sample many of the Volkswagen Group’s vehicles over an extended period. Normally these periods include long drives to the coast, frequent excursions to popular areas and many selfies. 2020 however, proved to be very different as the world has been and still is going through a pandemic. As a result, our German steed had the fun task of parking at either my home, or my brother’s home five kilometres away. What would have been hundreds of kilometres on the road ended up being nearby shopping runs, dinner outings and the usual “staycation” activities that are involved when trying to avoid getting infected by a potentially deadly virus.

To call a spade a spade, it’s rather unfortunate that our 40TFSI A4 with all its bells and whistles didn’t get the attention it deserved. However this situation did allow us to put on our “consumer hat” and evaluate this vehicle from a consumers perspective. Often times us journalists make the mistake of judging a vehicle as a petrol-head, forgetting that for most, a vehicle needs to do the normal stuff very well too – something a number of performance vehicles struggle to do. Speed, style and flair often wow us to write sterling reviews of a vehicle. The reality is that majority of buyers need a vehicle that makes sense in many ways, something the new Audi A4 seems to have nailed on many counts. Let me tell you why…

Looking at the updated A4 will not evoke heart-racing emotion, unless you have a thing for understated sedans. The overall design of the car remains largely similar too, with the modernisation of the front and rear bumpers, as well as the headlights being the main changes. The vehicle remains good looking and in the specification we tested, the larger wheels make the design “pop” more. What stands out in the outward appearance of the vehicle is the LED lighting system, with the rear lights being my favourite. Audi have always had a strong lighting game and it’s great to see the A4 get the lighting design treatment you’d expect in an A6 or even the ever so rare Audi A8. So outwardly, the A4 is pretty enough to be admired briefly but it also blends in on the road, quietly going about its day, not drawing too much attention to the driver – something that can be appreciated by a number of motorists.

Where the new A4 comes into its own is on the inside. Finished in a light grey leather, the interior of this specific vehicle was top class. Minimalistic, vast and very modern are the words that one can use to describe the A4 on the inside. Oh and the build quality is great too. My wife, a non-petrol head kept commenting about how she enjoyed being inside this vehicle, with its comfort being the winning attribute for her, but we’ll touch on that shortly. At the virtual launch of the updated A4, Audi South Africa emphasised the new connected services, now on offer in the updated A4 through the myAudi app. The technology in this car is what they’re most proud of, which is interesting as face-lifts are usually about the exterior changes. This time around, Audi is talking directly to a tech-focused audience. The app is impressive as it allows you to lock the vehicle remotely, check how much fuel you have, find the vehicle in a car park and then some.

My favourite feature was the ability to search for a specific location on the app and then send the location to the vehicle, which lessens the time it takes sitting in the vehicle and setting up your next stop on apps such as Waze and Google Maps. Being in South Africa, you don’t want to be sitting in an idling vehicle, looking down on your phone, as that is when you can potentially be affected by crime. All in all the features of the app are useful, but I fear that other systems such as Apple CarPlay could steal the limelight from the myAudi app as nothing is more simpler than simply plugging in your phone and mirroring your smartphone – something our December A4 did as it was fitted with the Technology package. That meant that we had the awesome Virtual Cockpit, which fully digitises your instrument cluster, allowing you to mirror customised information onto your dashboard. A must in our opinion.

Another feature we felt was a must in the A4, was the upgraded sound system. Listen, R17 200 is not cheap but you’ll kick yourself if you don’t do it because the Bang & Olufsen setup is brilliant. Every dance song was a party, every vocal sounded like a concert and the bass on offer was perfect for any Amapiano song. Interestingly, if you switched the radio off, you’d be surprised at how quiet the A4 was. That is what Audi has done really well with this update. The A4 felt very refined behind the wheel. My wife’s praise was warranted as this was one comfortable sedan. Despite it riding on optional 19 inch wheels, it glided through the quiet streets of Joburg gracefully. Personally, I felt our model was riding a smidge too high. The clearance between the wheels and the wheel arches seemed to large. But obviously there’s reasoning as to why the vehicle is set up like this and judging by the ride quality, I can understand why.  

Our vehicle was equipped with the tried and tested 2.0 TFSI engine that has done the rounds at both Audi and Volkswagen for many years. This specific engine produced 140kW/320Nm and was good for a 0-100km/h sprint of 7.3 seconds. Truthfully, you don’t jump into an A4 with the mindset of racing around town. As a result, the power delivered by this vehicle is just enough for what most people will use it for. Consumers will be more enthralled by the 7-speed S tronic gearbox that changes gears quieter than a child stealing sweets from the pantry. The overall driving experience is what you would expect from a vehicle such as this, again there’s a strong feeling of sensibility in the way this car does things. It almost feels like the A4 is not looking to compete with the sporty characteristics of the likes of a BMW 3 Series or a Mercedes C-Class. The A4 feels like it’s doing its own thing.

After four weeks in this vehicle, myself and fellow motorist Richard understood why the A4 exists and why it is still seen on the road today, despite it not being the “star” of the segment. You see at standard price of R726 500, the A4 is not cheap. Our model came in at a whopping R920 200. This is a lot of money and one could justify that there are other Audi models that a customer could buy for the same amount of money, especially in the pre-owned market. But that’s the thing, the A4 is not for those looking for thrills, it’s not a vehicle aimed at die-hard petrol heads. It’s a vehicle for consumers who want to commute quietly, in style and luxury. It’s for a consumer who wants a vehicle that simply makes sense and for many, the Audi A4 is just that. Good sense. Spending our time in this model for a month doing “nothing” allowed us to take a break from being a journalist and rather look at things from a consumer perspective. Now each time I see an A4 on the road, I think to myself, that’s a well to do person who wanted a vehicle that simply makes sense. A vehicle that will most likely be kept for a long period of time, until a new A4 arrives. Question is, are you that consumer?

2020 Audi A3 Sedan: Specs, Interior & Release Date

New Audi A3 Sedan Rear

Specs, interior & release date for the new 2020 Audi A3 Sedan

With the March debut of the latest generation Audi A3 Sportback being forced online due to the cancellation of the Geneva Motorshow. Following the fierce competition from BMW’s freshly launched 2-Series Grand Coupe and the double-entry from Mercedes through A-Class sedan and CLA. The scheduled September launch may create some issues for the main German rivals if the same ‘New Era’ Audi DNA carries through.

2020 Audi A3 Sedan

The Audi A3 Sedan in its latest form grows in size (4.5metres) over its predecessor and gains 15cm over the latest Sportback model. While boot size remains the same as the model it replaces at 425Litres, the overall design is distinctly Audi with sharp angular lines that of its clear Ingolstadt origins.

2020 Audi A3 Sedan

2020 Audi A3 Sedan Interior

Internally the cabin makes use of a 10.1Inch version of Audi’s intuitive New-look MMI infotainment touch display with the 10.25Inch Digital Display instrument cluster. With the option to upgrade to the larger 12.3Inch display – dubbed Audi virtual cockpit plus. South African Spec has yet to be announced but the new A3 can feature Audi’s top of the range MMI Navigation Plus, which is 10 times more powerful than the previous model. This means features such as In-car wifi connectivity, Andriod Auto and Carplay connectivity, Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant, SmartKey integration, and Car-to-X services are all available.

Audi A3 Specs:

The 2020 Audi A3 Sedan Lineup at launch makes use of a 1.5Litre 4-Cylinder Turbocharged petrol and a 2.0Litre Turbodiesel. The former offered as the 35TFSI 110kWs and 250Nm, mated to either a 6-Speed Manual or a 7-Speed S-tronic automatic. The choice of the auto will feature a 48Volt Mild Hybrid system that provides 50Nm of Torque and engine off coast and operation. The 35TDI produces 110Kw and 360Nm and is paired with the 7-Speed S-tronic exclusively. The current A3 ’35’ range is claimed to accurate from 0-100 in 8.4 Seconds and have a 232Km/h Top Speed.

The suspension on the new A3 Sedan has been tuned to be slightly more precise than the previous model, and Audi’s central dynamic handling system is largely responsible for this by ensuring optimal interaction between all suspension components. As you may expect, sports suspension is available, along with an option that includes electronically controlled dampers which will be controlled by the Audi drive select dynamic handling system. This system won’t just adjust handling dynamics, but also throttle response and fuel efficiency depending on the mode.

2020 Audi A3 Sedan

2020 Audi A3 Sedan release date & Pricing for South Africa

Audi has yet to confirm launch dates and specifications but has confirmed an expected Q2 2021 local launch.

No pricing has been announced but with fellow German rivals BMW with its 218i Grand Coupe starting at R515 000 and Merc’s A200 Sedan at R 544 840, one can expect at least R550k before options.

Audi’s Q8 gets the much-deserved RS treatment

VW’s MLBeveo Brillant origins and cut and paste mantra make for a hell of a recipe for fast Luxury SUV. Sharing DNA with Bentley, Lamborghini, and Porsche, Audi cousin may upset the order somewhat with the brands largest and most powerful heart transplant candidate – the 4.0 litre V8 Biturbocharged 48V boosted is aided by a Hybrid-Electric system, good for 441kW and 800 Nm. The excessive propulsion results in 3.8 seconds zero to 100 km/h, 13.7 to 200 and 250 km/h German handshake gate shot after that. Keys to the said gate are explored through the optional Dynamic Pack, allowing the 305Km/h Top Speed to match the Bentuga Speed and Urus. Power is delivered to all four wheels via 8-speed automatic box. A centrally mounted centre diff is fitted standard with the option for a Quattro sport diff with torque split capabilities to the tune of 70% to the front and 85% rear. The 48V system is shared with Audi stablemates offers the same regeneration of energy and the engine off-coast up to 160km/h and cylinder deactivation. 

The facts are simply that the Q8 RS is monstrous, Ingolstadt’s RS divisions have now claimed fastest production SUV lap time on the Green hell, with an official time of 7 minutes and 42,2 seconds around the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Oliver Hoffman, Audi Sport Boss had high praise for tasteful creation the bespoke news the RS Q8 offers, calling it a “high-performance car”.

The delicate process of infusing the look of the large SUV and drizzling’s of the heritage the Brand beholds the RS Q8. The Audi Sport treatment has brought to the fold the typical need for larger frontal air takes and black single-frame grille. The track remains unchanged but width growing 10 mm and 5 mm in the rear through sudo-wide-body effect. The rear hosts the most striking part of the Q8, the infusion of the sharp angular lines ‘The hockey stick’ black panel as a node to the Original Quattro as the official Audi Sport cherry pop. The LED Light integration that makes the standard model so grasping fused with large diffuser and the quad exhaust and bumper placed air ducting hinting the extra girth. 

The fit and trim of the standard Q8 not forgotten with the treatment extension compromising the 23-inch optional alloy wheels, large composite disc brakes and optional carbon ceramics. Adaptive air suspension in combination with the live-link suspension front and rear with damping control standard. Ride height can rise 90nm during off-road conditions and all-wheel steer is standard.  

Inside the SUV the Audi simplicity is the best approach of digital display overload and button-less user interfaces, Virtual cockpit closes off the package stupendously. Given the RS nomenclature Alcantara sports seats, RS-leather wheel with RS 1 and 2 storable dynamic settings buttons, optional RS based heads-up display with lap and shift indicators. The vast dimensions mean around 1 755 litres of total load space. 8 Drive-select modes are available with 2 RS-specific. The drive select system features eight modes, including two RS performance modes and an off-road option.

With rivals like the new Mercedes-Benz GLE 63S, X6M, and Porsche Cayenne coupe it needs to be all that it promises to be to take the fight to the extensive list of rivals given the bullet train brisk. 
Launching in the latter half of 2020 in South Africa 

V8 4.0 TFSI: 441 kW / 800 Nm

Engine: 4.0-litre V8 Bi-turbo 48V-hybrid Belt-driven alternator system
Gearbox: 8-speed Torque Converter Auto
Fuel economy: 12.1L/100 km (claimed)
Power/Torque: 441 kW/800 Nm

The New Era of Audi Fastbacks – 2020Audi RS7

2020 Audi RS7

The new year brings with it the need to keep making fast wagons and Sportback’s, in response to pressure from 600hp Barnstormers such as the BMW M5 and Merc’s E63.

Audi has confirmed the dates for the launch of both S7 and the full cream RS7 Sportback. First seen internationally in October, it lent the brands 4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 offering 441kW and 800Nm driven through Quattro-AWD with sports differential and 8-speed Automatic, to a 48 Volt Mild-Hybrid Energy regeneration system from the rest of the A7 range.

The 48V belt-driven alternator starter brings forth the idea of the true performance attributes that a Biturbo V8 posses, off-set by the system that is set to combat fuel economy through cylinder deactivation and coasting with the engine switched off at up to 160Km/h.

The idea may be conceptually sound but only a drive of the car will express its effect. Typical of any serious version of a sports production car the overall width has expanded to the tune of 40mm. Sharing only the front doors, roof and the rear tailgate on fastback models. Optional 22-inch fill each corner accommodatingly seamlessly integrating the aerodynamic and cat-eye touching sleekness. The 20mm lowered ride height is key to the standard adaptive dynamic air suspension and all-wheel steering with up to 5 degrees opposite directional movement at low speed and same direction at speed.

Internally Premium RS-embossed leather sport seats with colour cross-stitching. Alcantara touches on the flat-bottom steering wheel and gear selector provide a clear explanation of the focus here. The Steering allows for the storage of RS1 and RS2 settings via buttons allowing dynamic configurations. Being a modern flagship Audi, the focus on Light, tech and dynamics is astonishingly impressive. The three displays serve to create an uncluttered environment, with endless integration of technology. MMI user interfaces, driver-assist systems, adaptivity, LTE connectivity, virtual cockpit, its all rather vast. 2+2 was offered in the Sportback at its initial debut but so too the typical 3-seater rear beach. The large oval exhausts, LED Matrix lights and a darker tint of Sportback rear lights, fit into the lines of the car and the darkened elements and touches through the entirety of the car in a way that makes it a terribly pretty car.


The most important aspect of this car is the powertrain, and the 4.0Litre V8 propels the RS7 to a 3.6 Second 0-100, which frankly is laughable given the rapidness offered among this and its peers in consideration to the 2065Kg weight. Quattro’s latest rendition offers the ability to spilt power in a 40:60 Front/Rear with a maximum of an 85% rear split is possible. The shove on offer will drive you to an optional extra Top Speed 304Km/h. To bring the massive car to order as standard ten piston breaks are fitted 440mm Carbon Ceramics are available as options.

The numbers suggest an impressive car and at this point and having sampled product few of The Audi Era, and the new A7 as a whole and the cabin is just a wholesome meal of technologic brilliance the way it comes together is very well executed. Audi is making some very good cars right now and the RS7 sounds like that magic is translated, I do fear what the true drives experience behind the 48V works in such a performance-focused machine but only next year will tell, but the duality offered by the frankly “Return on the great” M5 Competition and the equally action movie star E63 S with the large executive salon that they all pull off so well.

Audi RS7 Pricing

Pricing will follow its September 2020 Launch in Sportback trim with an Avant joining later.

  • Engine: 4.0-litre V8 Bi-turbo 48V-hybrid Belt-driven alternator system
  • Gearbox: 8-speed Torque Converter Auto
  • Fuel economy: 11.4L/100 km (claimed)
  • Power/Torque: 441 kW/800 Nm

New Audi A1 – Just a VW Polo that went to private school?

New Audi A1 South Africa

New Audi A1 Driven Review

We drive the all-new Audi A1 in South Africa

Let’s be honest, as much as Audi and Volkswagen are separate manufacturers, we all know they share the same DNA, with Audi being the more premium of the two, of course. Much like stepchildren sharing a single parent, similarities will be noticed between the kids. If the shared parent has a huge nose and strong genes, people won’t be bamboozled if the kids inherit the “shnoz” too. That’s just how life works.

So, as a consumer, driving the new Audi A1, you can’t help but wonder how similar it is the current Polo TSI? Thankfully for the VW/Audi progeny, the genes have been good looking for the most part. In the case of the new Audi A1, this vehicle lucked out as it inherited some charming features from older siblings such as the Q8 and the new Q3. 

Truthfully, the two cars shouldn’t really compete with one another, as the A1 is up against more premium marques, with its direct competitor being the MINI Cooper. It’s the family link that may make consumers who are “in the know” draw these comparisons between the Polo TSI and the A1. For that reason, we can’t avoid this conversation, even though it shouldn’t be happening. It all depends on the type of consumer that you are though. 

For some, perceived value for money is extremely important, for others, branding is everything. Judging by South African consumer behavior, brand strength will be a major factor for A1 buyers, because owning an Audi or any other premium brand, is considered an achievement. That alone is something you can’t take away from a car buyer. So yes, when stepping into the new A1, you may notice one or two switches that resemble or mirror those that you’d get in Volkswagen, but overall this new A1 does offer an impressive package both inside and out.  

What’s on offer: 

With the new Audi A1, a lot has changed. Looking at this car is a good time. Gone is the softer design, which has been replaced by aesthetics that can even make a “boet” want to drive one, provided it has the S Line package – which adds a sportier look. Those longing for something more basic can opt for the standard model, whereas those looking for something in between can do with the Advanced model. Think of your model choices like “trappe van vergelyking”, with the S Line being “die beste”.

Climbing inside the new A1, you’ll be presented with the latest Audi interior architecture. It’s quirky, it’s modern and it’s a great place to sit inside. Materials feel good on the hands and doors happily thud with weight when you close them. In modern hatchbacks, it’s not about having plastics in the interior, it’s how those plastics are presented and the quality of those plastics as well. In the new A1, it’s a job well done as you feel like you’re in a quality product, as opposed to the nasty shiny chrome used in other cars which generally age as badly as an over-tanned senior citizen. 

How does it drive? 

The new 1.5 TFSI engine in the 35 TFSI variant is on offer in the new Audi A1. This model gives you a power output of 110kW/250Nm, which when mated to the S tronic gearbox, works seamlessly. Without even getting into the more powerful 40 TFSI model, I can tell you that this model is the sweet spot in the range. It’s got enough shunt to tick all the boxes and save you some cash. The entry point into the model is the 30 TFSI which gives you 85kW/200Nm from a 1.0 turbocharged engine. All models available currently use the S tronic gearbox, so your left leg can rest assured that it won’t ever feel the wrath of South African city traffic again. The overall ride quality of the range is good, with impressive nimbleness and a good feeling of weight, meaning more confidence during windy times. I’ve personally seen a 6-foot man sit in the back of this new Audi A1. For my average height self, space is never an issue for me, but I’m told there’s enough of it by those taller than me. 

The naughty 40…

If power is your thing, you may consider the 40 TFSI, which is the most powerful A1 you can get. Producing 147kW/320Nm, it moves around swiftly whilst making some nice sounds on the upshifts and meaty burbles on the downshifts. The engine gives the A1 some extra character and sportiness. It feels like a Polo GTI wearing a more expensive suit, a good thing indeed. Despite this, my money would still go to the 35 TFSI to keep the costs down. That’s the tricky thing about the segment this car operates in, if you’re heavy handed on the options – you’ll pay the price…literally. 

Audi do offer specific packages to make choosing the right extras easier. For instance, if you fancy some extra gizmos you can have the Technology Package which gives you Virtual Cockpit, Smartphone interface and Audi Sound System all bundled in one package for R9 900. At a starting price of R359 900 for the 30 TFSI, the new A1 is not a “cheap” car. It’s for buyer that’s looking to break into the premium market, so there’s a different mindset about how much you spend in this market. 

Model for model, the A1 and MINI range are very similarly priced whilst offering a similar quirkiness. MINI relies heavily on the brand power they have to sell cars in SA, as well as the fact that their cars are good. MINI owners know that their vehicles represent a lifestyle, a way for its drivers to express who they are on four wheels. Perhaps the new A1 will make that clientele think twice? Where there are certain similarities between itself and a Polo TSI, the badge is the real decider. Saying I drive an Audi sends a different message compared to saying I drive a VW. Facts. That is why I’m insistent on the 35 TFSI, because that model has a different appeal because it’s not heavily performance-focused. 

However, when it comes to the hot hatch world, where the MINI Cooper S’s and the A1 40 TFSI’s come into play, driving a Polo GTI still wins the argument. The Polo GTI and the A1 40 TFSI are two very similar cars. The GTI brand power is so strong in South Africa, it will be a car that is considered by those looking for a hot hatch. Hence why I say this comparison is very buyer dependent. If you’re in the market for a great looking compact premium vehicle, the A1 is a good choice indeed. If you’re looking for a compact hot hatch, everything changes simply because the Polo GTI exists. Besides the brand power of that vehicle, it’s also locally built and the VW brand benefits from that when it comes to pricing, compared to its sister company Audi that is a full importer. Being that as it is, consumers don’t think too deeply about these things. It’s simply a matter of what the heart wants. We’re just here playing devil’s advocate. 

The long and the long of it is that the new Audi A1 looks the part, feels the part and even drives the part too. It’s not cheap, but it is appealing. It’s a very good answer to the guys at MINI, will it be the preferred choice? Time will tell. 

Audi A1 Pricing in South Africa

  • Audi A1 30 TFSI S tronic at R 359,900
  • Audi A1 30 TFSI Advanced S tronic at R 373,900
  • Audi A1 30 TFSI S line S tronic at R 388,900
  • Audi A1 35 TFSI S tronic at R 429,900
  • Audi A1 35 TFSI Advanced S tronic at R 443,900
  • Audi A1 35 TFSI S line S tronic at R 458,900
  • Audi A1 40 TFSI S line S tronic at R 488,000

Audi RS5 Sportback Driven Review

Audi RS5 Sportback

Our thoughts after spending a week with the Audi RS5 Sportback. 

There was a time in my life when I would love nothing more than to zip around in my hot hatch, rear seats removed and all, with coilover suspension that provided sharp handling and a terrible ride.  It wasn’t practical but I loved it. To this day those types of vehicles can be such a buzz to drive, just not every day. Emotive experiences along with daily practicality, its a balance many try to find and a goal brands constantly try to achieve. This is why we find many of our performance-orientated vehicles fitted with enough varying engine, drivetrain and suspension settings to match our every mood – nearly. 

One vehicle which recently added a little more practically to its offering is the Audi RS5 in the form of the Sportback. The RS5 Couple isn’t what I’d describe as impractical, but it doesn’ t have 4 doors and for many, that does not rate well on their (Partner’s) practicality list. 

How does the Audi RS5 Sportback look? 

While the RS5 Sportback is instantly recognised as an Audi RS5, keen car people will most likely notice a few changes.  Along with the obvious longer wheelbase, the RS5 Sportback is also 7mm’s lower to the ground and the rear arches are 15mm’s wider. There’s also some distinct styling differences, most notably on the front end with changes to the bumper and the grille.  Personally, it looks better than the RS5 Couple. While having the vehicle on test, I’d often find myself just starring at how sporty it looks just sitting in the car park. 

This seemed to be something everyone else on the road and on the pavement noticed too, the normally understated “ Audi” received quite a bit of attention as I went about my daily routine. Audi have seemed to make the RS5 Sportback more practical, yet even more sexy. Bravo! 

How does it drive? 

Most of the Audi RS5 Sportback changes are cosmetic, as you’ll find the same 2.9l V6 power plant is bolted in the front, along with the same output figures of 331kW and 600N.m. 

While you may think the Sportback would come across a little more sluggish than its Coupe counterpart, and while the figures on paper would say so, in real life this wasn’t the case.  The typical, blisteringly quick Audi RS straight line speed I’ve come to experience in more than one of their vehicles was ever-present. As expected, the Quattro system ensured I never at once felt like the situation was about to get a little hairy, or the vehicle was out of my control. This is something that Audi do very well – offering accessible, easy to drive, very fast vehicles. 

With the vehicle in its comfort settings, it can be very much enjoyed as a comfortable Audi suitable for your daily needs. The only hints you may receive to remind you that you’re driving an RS vehicle will be the slightly dulled but present hum pushed out of the rear, and the feeling of an irresistible, oncoming surge if you just dare to push the pedal a little bit too far into the floor. 

A big plus for me is the ability to drive the Audi RS5 Sportback easily in all weather conditions. The RS5 gives you feelings of confidence and control when the weather goes south. Would these feelings of confidence be betrayed in an M3 or C63s? Probably not. 


Due to this vehicle being based on the RS5 Coupe which arrived in South Africa in 2018, I found the infotainment system to be lacking compared to systems in competitor vehicles and the newer systems Audi are rolling out in their 2019 vehicles, such as the Q8. I think the RS5 arrived at an awkward time, just as the old systems were fading out, and the new ones fading in. 

The RS5 Sportback does feature the full digital cockpit which is great, but you won’t find dual screens located in the centre of the vehicle. This isn’t a major issue, as the current system does do the job required and this is something we could see upgraded in facelifted vehicles.  

How does it make me feel?

It’s worth noting that while the Audi RS5 Sportback will reach 100km/h in under 4 seconds and still not feel like it’s going to kill you, in my opinion, it still possesses an emotive and exciting driving experience.  The Benefit of the Quattro system is that corner speed and exit speed is impressive, and you’ll sooner find your face pulling to the side before the car even hints of getting out of shape. I touched on it earlier, but the power is very usable no matter the skill level. 

Personally, the noise produced when all the settings are turned up is wonderful. I also found that if the driver pushes the gearbox into Sport, and then over to the left into manual mode, even more overrun pops and bangs can be heard which is never a bad thing.


The RS5 Sportback very much provides a stealthy, superhero styled experience. Drive the RS5 Sportback and you’ll feel like you can own the day, that’s how it made me feel. From the streamlined cabin and fighter jet styled gear shifter, right through to the straight-line speed and understated yet sporty appearance – it hits the spot. I would never imagine Batman driving a BMW M3 or Mercedes-AMG C63s, but an RS5 Sportback….I don’t know, it works in my mind. 

What else could I buy for the same money?

In terms of direct competitors, you’re looking at the BMW M3 Competition Package, Mercedes-AMG C63s and Alfa Romeo Giulia QV. While all of which produce similar power and torque outputs, a big difference is that they are also all rear-wheel drive, compared to the RS5 Sportback’s Quattro all-wheel drive system. This makes the Audi much better suited for adverse weather, and it’s a lot more sensible. The M3 and the C63s particularly are considered the tyre screeching, smoke billowing hooligans of the segment. 

In the Audi brand, the Audi RS3 Sedan might be a great choice if you’re looking for similar performance but a smaller vehicle. The RS3 houses a 2.5L 5-Cylinder engine which is a fantastic engine and has the accolades to prove it. On the other side of the coin, if you’re looking for even more space, the brand-new Audi RS4 Avant could be what you’re looking for. The RS4 Avant features the same engine and drivetrain the RS5 and produces the same power. 

Is the RS5 worth it? 

The Audi RS5 Sportback starts at a price of R 1,314,784 and you’ll need to add on to this any optional extras you choose. From a monthly point of view you’ll most likely be looking at payments from R 25k – deposit depending.  If we look at RS5 Couple models currently for sale, we can see that 2018 models with roughly 8-12000 km’s on the clock are hovering around the R1 million mark. 

Does the RS5 provide value for money? For me, this is a personal question and really depends on the person. A road user who isn’t a petrol head and only views a vehicle as a means of transport from A to B would probably view the RS5 as a waste of money.  However, the opinion of one who appreciates this type of vehicle, along with the performance and experience it offers would vastly differ. If you want to reach 100km/h in under 4 seconds today, you’re going to pay for it. 

The Audi RS5 Sportback isn’t your standard run of the mill vehicle, therefore we can’t imagine demand is going to be that high when it comes to resale. It’s one of those vehicles that doesn’t always make sense to own, but in return provides an emotive, unique experience which many other vehicles simply can’t offer. If resale is something of high importance to you, the RS5 is probably not best suited to your situation and you could perhaps look at an S5 or even an A5 if you’re a fan of the model.

Meet the 2019 Audi TT RS

2019 Audi TT RS

The Audi TT RS was one of my favourite vehicles of 2018. A statement I didn’t think I’d be typing before I’d got behind the wheel. I mean, It’s just a fast Audi TT, right?

Maybe, but still. We drive many cars that can reach 100km/h as fast as some supercars, also cars that have grippy, unbelievable chassis’. There’s also some that have wonderfully focused driving positions and cockpits, as well as the ones that produce many many kW’s and make fantastic sounds. However, the TT RS covers all of these points pretty well, summed up with 1-2-4-5-3.  Yes, the quickly becoming iconic 5-cylinder 2.5 TFSI motor.

So, then, you can imagine how excited we were when we heard that a “ new” 2019 Audi TT RS model has been released. Sadly, The biggest changes to the 2019 model are simply cosmetic, but then again, why fix was isn’t broken.

While the changes aren’t huge, they do make a difference. From the front, you’ll notice wider air intakes either side which are integrated into a new front spoiler which rounds up at the sides. You’ll also notice vertical strips on the insides of each air vent, on the previous model, these were situated on the outside. The vents are bigger and wider, giving a more aggressive and wide stance, and I also like how these vents run almost to the end of the car with the bolstered edges running into the wheel arches.

Here’s a comparison image between the new and previous model.

Audi TT RS

LED Headlights are standard on the 2019 Audi TT RS, with matrix LED units available as an option. If you fancy, Matix OLED reversing lights are also an option, which are, well, better.  Apparently, they also give a great light show with the ignition turned on as well.

Talking about the rear, there have been changes here as well. A newly designed rear wing catches the eye, it’s more prominent and features side winglets. On top of this, there’s a new diffuser with vertical design elements on either side, finished off by the typically large, oval exhausts.

Included in the eight colour choices are Pulse orange and Turbo blue, which join the RS-Specific Kyalami green as new options. Performance from the 2019 Audi TT RS remains the same, with 294kW’s and 480Nm with a 0-100 km/h time of 3.7 seconds. We look forward to seeing the new model sometime later in the year!

Faster, Sharper and More Performance: 2019 Audi R8

2019 Audi R8

Updated 2019 Audi R8

It’s safe to say that the Audi R8 is one of the prettiest cars on the road. It’s only ever improved as every new model and facelift has been released to the world. This stands true with the 2019 Audi R8 released just today. The updated V10 R8 is also now much closer to its motorsport siblings,  the R8 LMS GT3 and R8 LMS GT4, as it shares over 50% of parts from these track-bred machines.

Updated Audi R8


One will instantly notice a much-improved design of the 2019 Audi R8, sharper lines and harsher edges give the updated R8 an even sportier and aggressive look. It looks nimble, fast and ruthless. In my personal opinion, it looks fantastic and is a great evolution from the previous model.

Updated Audi R8 front

Three exterior packages are available for customers of the new R8. These engine variant dependant packages add various highlights to the splitters and diffusers. If desired, the Audi badge can be specced in gloss black. There are also new paint colours in the range, Kemora Gray and Ascari Blue. 19″ wheels are standard, with ultralight 20″ rims available as an option.

Updated Audi R8 Interior


The 2019 Audi R8 still features the glorious 5.2-litre V10 motor, but now with more power. The standard model now produces 419kW and 550N.m, an increase of 22kW and 10Nm. The Audi R8 V10 performance model has a different tune, with 456kW and 580N.m on tap. This power increase results in a 0-100 km/h time of 3.1 seconds.

Updated Audi R8 Rear


The suspension on the 2019 R8 has also undergone updates. The electromechanical power steering and optional dynamic steering has been tuned to provide more stability and precision when cornering. Depending on engine choice, three additional drive programs have been added to the drive select system. These modes are dry, wet and snow.

Updated Audi R8 V10

2019Audi R8 Pricing and Availability in South Africa.

Overall,  the 2019 R8 offers a better all-round package. It looks better and produces more power, so what’s not to love? The new models will go on sale throughout Europe in early 2019, we don’t know when they will arrive in South Africa just yet. let’s hope for later next year.


Audi Brand Experience Singapore

Audi Brand Experience

Audi Brand Experience Singapore 

If you asked me to describe the future of motoring in just a few sentences, EV and Autonomous driving would be my words of choice. Incidentally, these are two areas in the automotive industry in which Audi are spending plenty of time, research and money.

Audi invited us to the Audi Brand Experience, hosted in the fantastic city of Singapore, to get a closer look at new Audi products coming in the near future and those a little further away. You may not have noticed it, but it’s been a quiet year for Audi South Africa with little in the way of new product to the SA market. This is due to a bottleneck at manufacturer plants caused by new WLTP testing (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure). Also the unfortunate fact is that SA is currently not a key market.

However, 2019 will bring a wide range of new Audi product with facelifted A1 and Q3 models on their way, along with A6, A7, A8, Q8 and the highly anticipated, e-tron – Audi’s first all-electric vehicle.

Audi Brand Experience


Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo

As we arrived at the Audi Brand Experience, a wide range of current and future Audi vehicle’s were on display, and before the live show and presentation, we had the chance to browse the selection.   As a bunch of petrol heads naturally would, we migrated to the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo. Originally created for the actual game, this futuristic beauty was brought to life. Featuring 3 electric motors and 1-speed drive, the e-tron Gran Turismo produces 600kW (815bhp) and 990 Nm of torque. This results in a 0-100km/h time of 2.5 seconds.

Audi e-tron vision gran turismo


Another eye-catcher was the Audi AICON. A level 5 autonomous, completely electric concept car. With futuristic front and rear lighting, as well as a smooth bubble design with large doors opening into a cabin that more resembles a German home. This was definitely one of those “distant future” kind of vehicles. Even so, it was remarkably striking and I found myself staring probably a little too much. Those lovely swivel seats were so inviting, however to make it into the cabin I would of needed to take on the very, let’s say strict, German lady who seemed to be playing the role of engineer and security – I didn’t fancy my chances.

Audi AICON Rear

Audi AICON Inside

2019 Vehicles

The live show presented to us vehicles throughout the Audi range. More importantly, new sedan models – A6, A7 ,A8 and then Q8, E-Tron and Elaine. Audi SA have not predicted too many sales for the new sedans, they have never been huge sellers in SA and many drivers are moving towards the SUV market. Still, the new models looked great from both inside and out.

The A7’s running day lights really caught my eye and I thought they looked pretty special. We also tested out the Magic Carpet Contol System in the A8. A system which scans the road ahead for bumps/ uneven surfaces and adjusts the suspension on each wheel independently. We tried and tested this out on a raised platform, this wasn’t just a gimmick, it really did work and the results were fantastic. The A8 is also level 3 semi-autonomous, which none of the A8’s direct competitors have yet managed.

Audi Q8

To really get a sense  of a vehicles size and presence, sometimes you need to get up close and personal. This was the case for me with regards to the Audi Q8. Strong, sporty and substantial are words I would use to describe Audi’s flagship SUV. I’ve seen plenty of images before, but it looked so much better in the flesh. Strong, sharp lines will really give it presence on the road, whilst the interior features Audi’s new tech with upper and lower screens located in the centre console for control of vehicle functions. There seemed to be plenty of space all round as well.

I have a feeling the Q8 will do extremely well in South Africa as it has been doing overseas. We can expect the Audi Q8 to arrive in South Africa around quarter 2.  There will be two engines available. The Q8 55, which is a 3.0 V6 TFSI and will produce 250 kW. Whilst the Q8 45  is the 3.0 TDI variant producing 183 kW.

Audi Q8

Time to get electric  

If you didn’t know, you probably wouldn’t notice the e-tron was an all electric vehicle.  Audi have decided to keep the design very similar to its current design language across the Q range. It’s much bigger and has more presence than I anticipated after seeing images. In terms of size, it’s bigger than the Q5 but smaller than the Q7.  The closed front grille emphasises it’s electric nature whilst the full-length rear light bar also gives it some uniqueness in the range.  A car like the e-tron justifies its own article, you can continue reading here:

Audi Elaine

If you asked to describe what Elaine is, I would say it’s the halfway point between the e-tron and the AICON. It’s Sports Activity Coupe’s nature and cool styling gives off a fun and funky ora. Elaine is also fully electric and focuses on adapting itself to the drivers’ behavioural patterns and reliving the driver of as many inputs as possible. She’s Level 4 autonomous which means unlike the AICON, it still has a steering wheel. I hope if or when Elaine makes it into production, Audi stick as closey as possible to the design and awesome use of LED lighting.

Audi Elaine



All in all, our Audi brand experience in Singapore was fantastic.  As petrol heads, it’s pretty difficult not to enjoy a car show, however it’s great to get up-close and personal and experience future product coming in 2019. The show also gave us a much deeper insight into how important Audi is taking EV, there statement after all is “ Electric has gone Audi”. While many brands are dabbling in electric and hybrid, Audi are committing to a future cause. They are not only looking at the near future, but also the distant future and are putting the work in now to be leaders in this field.