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 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 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.
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
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
You’ve probably heard about the Audi e-tron, if you haven’t, it’s not the name of a spaceship, or your best friends dog. Rather it’s Audi’s production ready, first EV vehicle. There has been big press around this vehicle over the past few weeks, with international press already driving the vehicle. We headed with Audi South Africa to Singapore for the Audi Brand Experience. Here we had a chance to get up close and personal with many of the new vehicles coming to SA in 2019- Including the e-tron.
Design and size
Surprisingly to many, the e-tron’s design doesn’t fledge far away from the design language of current Q models. It’s bold, features sharp lines and a new rear light setup similar to that of the Q8. One will instantly notice the closed-off grille, which is one of a few unique design features which allow you to recognise it as an electric Audi. e-tron is a meaty SUV and is similar in size when compared to the Q8, whilst being slightly smaller than the Q7. There is no mistaking that in the flesh this is one pretty vehicle.
Times are changing, and soon, we will live in a time when you will no longer ask the guy next to you at the traffic lights how much power his vehicles produces but rather, “ How’s your range?” Yes the most asked and debated question when it comes to electric vehicles. Range, range, range.
Picture this, your heading to Durban from the concrete jungle for a long weekend of sun, surf and sand. You jump in your vehicle, setup the perfect playlist, buy snacks for bae, or the kids, or both, and head off down the N3 in wake of the coast. After an early start to beat the traffic, you’re now ready for the classic South African road trip meal – Wimpy. After a short but satisfying 30-minute stop in Harrismith, you jump back into your vehicle and finish off an easy run to Durban. Sound like a dream? Not at all, this is a trip many have completed. Now imagine doing that in an electric vehicle, no I’m not delusional, e-tron makes it possible.
The e-tron’s range is impressive, 425km’s to be exact. Whilst you may be doing quick math and realising that roughly 200km’s less than you’d need for a trip like the above, you’re missing one very important factor- a 150kW fast charge system. In just 30 minutes or the amount of time it takes you to finish a Dagwood sandwich and supreme size chocolate milkshake, your Audi e-tron will be charged to at least 80% capacity. Range anxiety will no longer become a factor. Furthermore, these charging facilities are due to be installed in Harrismith, and eventually all around the country. Making trips like this a reality.
Normal but not so normal
There is a stereotype when it comes to EV vehicles because various concept cars have shown them to be these futuristic tech-laden machines. In reality, the e-tron is very normal. For the most part, it follows Audi’s design language and looks like an Audi. It features Audi’s new cockpit which features an upper and lower screen in the centre console. This is much like the Q8 and other new models going forward. It also has more space in the rear thanks to the removal of the transmission tunnel. All in all, it’s very normal, and I really like that about the Audi e-tron.
Having said this, when you look closely it may be less normal than you think. There are some very cool pieces of tech in this vehicle and one of them is Audi’s side mirrors or lack of them. The Audi e-tron doesn’t feature standard wing mirrors. Rather virtual mirrors in the form of a slim bar which features a live camera. This image is then displayed on the inside of each door. It’s a world first and helps massively with efficiency and well, looks damn cool. There are other world firsts as well, such as the electrohydraulic brake control system which in conjunction with the electric motors, provides braking while also regenerating the electric battery. So while from the exterior it looks pretty normal, there is plenty of fancy tech working hard under the body.
Audi e-tron pricing in South Africa and Arrival
Audi e-tron is planned for arrival in South Africa during Q3 of 2019. We have no pricing at this stage, however, the vehicle will retail for 80,000 euros in Germany. We don’t know what the currency will be doing next year, but this does give us a rough estimation.
When a launch comprises of three different vehicles, all of which produce over 290kW and reach 100km/h just over 4 seconds, one tends to give off a childlike giggle. As car enthusiasts, these type of days don’t come around often – contrary to popular belief, but when they do, we get excited.
The Audi Sport launch in Cape Town put us behind the wheel of three Audi RS models. The facelifted RS3 Sportback and sedan, the aggressive TTRS and a car which many have been waiting for – the new Audi RS5.
Starting a Monday morning on a red-eye flight out of Durban is something I dread, but even with just a few hours of sleep the night before, my mind was buzzing because of what lay ahead. Upon arriving, a beautiful array of vehicles were set before us, like a lovely high-performance buffet. I must say, Audi’s RS colour pallet is something I’m fond of. While many may be put off by a bright yellow or a bold green, 0-100 km/h in three point something seconds just doesn’t justify black or white in my opinion.
Nothing gets grown men worked up like a gymkhana challenge and that’s exactly what we were going to do in all these RS’s. Before that, a quick chat and interview with Audi Sport racing driver Kelvin van der Linde and DTM driver Mattias Ekstrom kept us entertained as war stories were told. Hearing these stories inspired most of us, as we prepared to tame the gymkhana styled time trial and the 200m drag race. Cue the childlike giggles once again.
First in order for us was the drag races and after having our fun with like for like models, we decided to pitch the Audi RS3 up against the new Audi RS5. What happened next caught our attention. The RS5 simply had better off the line traction each time and won most of the time, This didn’t stop the underdog RS3 from sticking to its coattails however and at times even closing the gap.
There is no doubt about it, the new Audi RS3 is an absolute weapon. It features a power increase of 24kW over the previous model, bringing the total output to 294kW from a new 2.5l five-cylinder engine. This now makes it the most powerful production five-cylinder engine on the market. It’s also transversely mounted, weighs 24 kg less and sounds as good as ever thanks to the unique 1-2-4-5-3 firing order.
Next, we each had the chance to set a time in each of the vehicles around the Gymkhana styled time trial. This consisted of slaloms, hairpins, a chicane, all ending with a high-speed breaking challenge, which required us to stop in a box. As much fun as this was, this allowed us to experience the dynamic ability of each car and quite frankly, the TTRS took the cake here. Stepping inside the racing styled cockpit was enough to make you go faster, but its lightweight agile chassis and ridiculous power from the same five-cylinder engine featured in the RS3, definitely helped. I was never a huge fan of the TT, perhaps due to my “younger” days when the previous generation was known as a “hairdressers” car. I now look at the new TTRS with newly found respect. One would need to be a bloody good hairdresser to afford one of these.
After our fun and games at the track, we headed out to drive the cars where most would experience them, the road. It’s pretty obvious to all that these cars are pretty quick, but the realisation of how fast they really are becomes a reality when driving them on tight roads instead of wide open spaces. All three vehicles feature 0-100 km/h times of just under or just over 4 seconds. The RS3 has an official time from Audi of 4.1 seconds, but it’s broken the 4 second barrier in local other tests. These aren’t supercars either and it raises the question of how much faster are cars going to get? Due to advances in technology and smart all-wheel drive systems, these cars can all be enjoyed and experienced fairly safely, by drivers who probably aren’t highly skilled. A great deal of self-control is needed to not to boot it on every journey, because the sheer acceleration and noise from these cars is pure delight. This is especially the case in the RS5, which gives you the right blend of comfort and speed. If you’re not careful you find yourself aimlessly chasing the next gear, the next engine blip and the next corner. in terms of everyday performance, these are fantastic drivers cars.
The RS3 exudes a young, hooligan, supercar disrupter type of feel. This would be my pick of the bunch, in Sportback guise. Each RS model offers something unique and exciting. Audi Sport have really done well with these new models. It’s evident that Audi are on a mission to break stereotypes and we are excited to see what comes of the next 12 months.