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 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.