Tag: Audi

The Performance Car Buyer’s Guide

Audi enters the arena with a whopping 15 new models! We see how they stack up

You’re thinking to yourself times are tough, right? Here we are giving you a buyer’s guide on vehicles that cost the equivalent of houses in upmarket areas. You must be thinking we’ve gone nuts? Well, no. In reality, it’s you that are the ones that have gone nuts!

South Africans have quite a sizeable appetite for performance cars – we often account for large percentages of manufacturers performance brands global sales. We have every M derivative from BMW; the same from Mercedes-AMG and now of course Audi Sport has joined the party.

They are a bit late to the party, to be quite honest. Some models mentioned below have been on sale in global markets for a few years now while others will only arrive later on in the year. Audi South Africa says homologation issues and a supply chain backlog caused by Covid-19 was the reason for this delay.

We are a unique market and other countries around the world don’t have the pleasure of experiencing the breadth of performance cars that we do. Imagine being a petrolhead in Sweden? Shame! So, let’s ignore their tardy entrance and focus on what’s on offer:

Audi RS Q3/ RS Q3 Sportback

Audi RS Q3, Static photo, Color: Tango red Audi RS Q3 Sportback, Static photo, Color: Kyalami green

The most affordable offering here and likely to be a top seller for the Ingolstadt brand. The RS Q3 comes in two body styles, including a Sportback version if less head room is your thing. Powered by the familiar 2.5-litre 5-cylinder engine producing 294kW and 480Nm with 100km/h sprint time of 4.5 seconds, the new RS Q3 should prove to be ferocious machine.

So, where else can you park your money? Well, Mercedes-AMG are yet to offer the GLA 45 to our market, so like-for-like competitors will be the BMW X2 M35i which serves up 225kW and 450Nm. Although it is down on power, it is also a bit cheaper retailing for R929 400 as opposed to the Audi’s base price R1 094, 000. Add another R30 000 to get into the Sportback version.

On the opposite end of the scale, you have the Porsche Macan S, which comes with a lovely V6 engine producing 260kW and 480Nm. But it does start at R1 250 000 so pound-for-pound, it seems the RS Q3 represents good value for money.

Audi TT RS Coupe and Roadster

Static photo Colour: Turbo blue

If you want all of that fire-breathing goodness of the RS Q3 but in a hunkered-down, coupe body style, then TT RS is the one for you!

Utilizing the exact same engine as the RS Q3, the TT RS can sprint to 100km/h in just a mere 3.7 seconds! It’s often referred to as the ‘Supercar Slayer’ and you can see why! Although, the convertible will achieve that same time 0.2 seconds slower.

The TT RS retails for roughly the same amount of money as the RS Q3 and produces identical power and torque figures. It is worth noting that the TT RS makes use of 7-speed-tiptronic gearbox while the RS Q3 gets a S tronic with the same number of gears.

This is a tough segment to be competing in. Enemy number one is the BMW M2 Competition which has a retail sticker of R1 139 464 and produces a whopping 302kW and 550Nm (8kw/70Nm more) and is rear wheel driven. Because of that, it can’t beat the Audi with its all-wheel drive system to 100km/h, coming in 0.5 seconds slower at 4.2 seconds.

You can also consider a Mercedes-AMG A45 S, which retails for R1 156 840 and has a mightily impressive 2.0-litre turbocharged engine. Figures are eye-watering at 310kW and 500Nm for such a small powerplant. But if you’re looking for the fastest sprinter, then TT RS is still quicker with the Mercedes getting across the line in a close 3.9 seconds.

Audi RS 5 Coupe and Sportback

Static photo; Colour: Glacier white

While we’re on the topic of coupes, the updated RS 5 Coupe and Sportback have finally touched down. These models are just mid-life refreshes (likewise for the TT RS), so don’t expect significant changes. You still have the familiar 3.0-litre V6 churning out 331kW and 600Nm with a highly respectable 100km/h dash in 3.9 seconds. Minor exterior changes have made the RS 5 more aggressive while you can also expect some tech updates on the inside.

The Coupe retails for just a smidge under the R1.4 million mark, while the 4-door Sportback is just slightly over that amount.

Audi’s chief rivals from Munich and Stuttgart come in at almost R2 million for their M3/M4 and C63 respectively, so they’re out of the equation. A left-field contender could be the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio which comes with almost the same sticker price but 44kw more power at 375kW and 600Nm. It is a tough sell considering their embattled reputation in the country but take nothing away from an outstanding product!

For another left-field contender, we can look to Porsche again and this time their 718 Cayman GTS 4.0. It is almost R100k more expensive and can’t compete in the power stakes, only offering up 294kW and 430Nm, but it does offer a completely different driving experience and you’re sure to get the same, if not more thrills than the Audi.

Audi RS 4 Avant

Static photo Color: Tango red

Let’s first start with thanking Audi for continuing to bring in these beloved but neglected cars. The steer towards SUVs will always mean that station wagons will remain a niche segment, but one that Audi has full control over.

The RS 4 Avant carries over the same engine as the RS 5, so power and torque figures are identical. The additional weight at the rear means that the sprint time has been cut down by 0.2 seconds to 4.1 seconds.

Again, this is just an updated model so there isn’t much to talk about in terms major changes – just small updates that bring it into line with other Audi models.

So then, where else should you park your R1.3 million? Well, nowhere else really because there are no natural competitors in our market for the RS 4 Avant. So instead, we’ll just amiably ask that you go out and buy one so Audi can make a business case to continue bringing them in. Please!

Audi RS 6 Avant

Static photo, Color: daytonagray matt

This is the big daddy station wagon, and rearing its head over the R2 million mark, it certainly should be. The RS 6 Avant ditches the V6 of its lesser sibling and upgrades to a mighty V8. 441kW and 800Nm is nothing to sneeze at, in fact this all-encompassing family runabout can get you to 100km/h in just 3.6 seconds. While 22-inch rims and the optional carbon ceramic brakes should do a good job in making sure you can stop equally as fast.

There is only one natural competitor to the RS 6 Avant and that’s the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo. However, in order to get into the V8 model, you’ll have to opt for the GTS which retails for a hefty R2.4 million and there’s quite a power shortage with 353kW and 620Nm on top. To get near the RS 6 Avant’s power figures, you’ll have to opt Turbo S model which is almost another R1 million on top of the price of the GTS.

Audi seems to win another round of value for money!

Audi RS 7 Sportback

Static photo, Colour: tango red

If you’re not a fan of station wagons, which it seems many of you sadly aren’t, then the swoopier, coupe-like RS 7 Sportback is for you. Identical to the RS 6 Avant in most aspects apart from looks but it will cost you an extra R100k, with a sum total of R2.17 million.

Regardless whether you prefer a sedan or station wagon, both are jaw-droppingly beautiful. This is probably Audi’s best effort yet in the styling department, and that’s a big statement seeming they’ve produced a few lookers in their current stable.

Buyers in this segment do have a few choices, you can look at Porsche again with their Panamera, but I think the RS 7’s biggest rival will be the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe. At almost the exact same starting price, the M850i is down on power in comparison to the Audi, with 390kW and 750Nm in comparison to 441kW and 800Nm. The more closely matched competitor in terms of power is the M8 Competition but that sits at a healthy R3.4 million. Ouch!

It’s the same story over at Mercedes-Benz. If you want a V8 model, then you have to opt for AMG GT63 S 4 Door, which has the same price as the BMW M8 Competition but it does produce a lot more power at 470kW and 900Nm. More in line with the RS 7’s pricing is the AMG GT53 4 Door, which utilizes a 3.0-litre 6-cylinder with electric support. Figures of 336kW and 520Nm are well short of the Audi.

In essence, V8 power for V6 money – good job, Audi!

Audi S8

This is Audi’s answer to the perennial Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series. The A8 does live in the shadows of the other two but Audi hopes to change that with a suite of systems that should rival the best. Dynamic all-wheel steering, predictive active suspension management and a Quattro system with a sport differential should mean the new S8 will be enjoyable and luxurious. This is another Audi packing V8 power and 420kW and 800Nm should be more than handy!

We mentioned the two chief rivals earlier to the S8 so let’s start with the one everybody seems to love. Mercedes-Benz have yet to officially launch the new S-Class that debuted internationally last year, but we do have some figures. For the time being, we will be getting the S400d and S500 with both models falling between the R2.4 million mark. You only have the choice of a 3.0-litre 6-cylinder producing 336kW and 520Nm for S500 and 243kW and 700Nm for the oil-burner.

BMW has a variety of options in their 7 Series range, from a 3.0-litre 6-cylinder all the way up to a 6.6-litre V12! Best snag one of those before they’re all gone!

The 750Li xDrive would be the Audi’s closest competitor in terms of price with a 4.4-litre V8 and costing R2.5 million, but there is a significant power difference (I sound like I’m stuck on repeat) with outputs of 390kW and 750Nm.

Audi SQ 7

Static photo, Colour:Daytona grey

The Q7 went under the knife last year which saw mild styling tweaks on the exterior and some welcomed goodies on the inside. The Q7 range is only offered in diesel derivatives and the SQ7 is no different – but now with Audi’s most powerful diesel engine! 310kW and 900Nm would’ve done the trick in freeing the Ever Given ship blocking the Suez Canal! And you would’ve had room to fit any stranded sailors with all 7 seats in place.

When it comes to powerful diesel powertrains, Audi has this corner of the market well covered as many manufacturers have opted against bringing in new diesel engines. Mercedes-Benz provides the SQ7 with its sternest challenge in form the GLE 400d but power figures can’t match the Audi with only 243kW and 700Nm available.

There is of course another competitor that I think is massively underrated and an equally brilliant, if not a better choice than the Audi and it comes from their own stable. The Volkswagen Touareg is hugely accomplished vehicle, and yes it can’t compete with the Audi in terms of power (nothing can, to be honest) but it rides on the Volkswagen Groups latest platform that underpins their newer models like the Q8 and even extending into brands like Porsche, Bentley and Lamborghini. The best bit? You save almost R170k with a retail sticker of R1.5 million.

Audi SQ 8 and RS Q8

Dynamic photo, Color: Florett silver

While the bonkers RS Q8 makes use of a monstrous petrol-powered V8, the SQ 8 follows the same path as the SQ 7 with its diesel engine. Power figures are identical to the latter but like we mentioned earlier, it does benefit from the Volkswagen Groups latest modular platform which comes with a raft of benefits over the previous iteration.

But the big talking point here is the RS Q8 which produces a phenomenal 441kW and 800Nm, while this large lump of metal can achieve 100km/h in just a mere 3.8 seconds. No wonder then that it claimed the title of the fastest SUV around the famed Nürburgring.

While the SQ 8 retails for around R1.8 million you will have to shell out a fair bit more to get into the RS Q8 with a price R2.3 million.

For around R300k more, the Range Rover Sport SVR offers a decent alternative to the RS Q8 with its absolutely raucous supercharged V8 churning out 423kW and 700Nm. Although, it is an ageing product, and the Audi will outperform it in many areas in terms of power, tech and refinement. And if a coupe-SUV is your thing, then the Range Rover doesn’t quite fit the bill.

The Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S Coupe is a more worthy alternative in the segment with figures of 466kW and 850Nm, plus it is provided with some electric assistance to achieve a 100km/h sprint in just 3.8 seconds – matching the Audi. Pricing is well north of the Audi, however, coming it at an extraordinary R2.9 million; and if you’re wondering, the BMW X6 M Competition is priced similarly.

Audi R8 Coupe and Spyder

Static photo, Colour: Ascari Blue metallic

We’ve saved the best for last and with a screaming mid-mounted naturally aspirated V10 and the fastest acceleration time of all with 3.2 seconds, you can see why!

With 449kW and 560Nm readily available, this is Audi’s performance halo car and comes with a price tag to match with the Coupe costing you R3.3 million and the Spyder going for R3.6 million. The latter does weigh slightly more thanks to the retractable roof so it’s 0.1 second down compared to its hardtop sibling.

While the near-identical Lamborghini Huracan would be a natural rival to the R8, its R5 million price tag blows it well out of the water!

So, let’s turn to Britain for an alternative in the form of their Aston Martin Vantage. Power figures from its AMG-sourced V8 are respectable at 375kW and 685Nm and it does cost a healthy sum less at R3 million.

One of the fastest accelerating cars that I have ever had the pleasure of driving is the Porsche 911 Turbo S and even though it’s quite a bit more expensive sitting at R3.8 million, it does break that 3.0 second barrier with 100km/h coming up in just 2.9 seconds. Power figures of 478kW and 800Nm outshine the Audi’s by quite some margin.

What are your favourites? Leave us a comment below!

Here’s why you should buy the Alfa Romeo Giulia

Alfa Romeo Giulia

Alfa Romeo Giulia 

I know what you are all thinking, how does the Italian stallion compare to the ever so popular BMW 3 series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class or the third German moustache – the Audi A4?. All giants of the same segment.

This article isn’t going to be a long-winded and unnecessary comparison, the seats are like this, the wing mirrors are like that…if that’s what you came for you can copy and paste the above paragraph into the mighty Google search. This article is simply going to give you the reason why one should consider the Giulia- summed it up in one word: Difference.

Alfa Romeo Giulia

Let me expand this over a few hundred words.

You see, a BMW 3 series is a great proven product, likewise a C-class, they sell in droves partly because of this, but also because these brands are huge in this fine country of South Africa. Consumers buy BMW/Mercedes/Audi products for the same reason they buy Apple- because of how it interprets them and how they are viewed by their friends. I have happened to fall for this clever marketing ploy, you don’t sell the product, you sell the experience, the lifestyle…

Alfa Romeo Giulia

The first Alfa Romeo Guila I drove happened to be the QV, its fast and nimble front end caught my attention, so did the faulty electronics, and then a day later it ended up in a tyre wall ( through no fault of my own) It’s safe to say I didn’t get to spend much time in that specific vehicle, but after spending a good amount of time in the “standard” model, the Giulia just happens to also be a very good motor vehicle – shock horror.

However, I can’t just leave you with that to break the mould. We can all see its beautiful, but above that, it drives very nicely from both a comfort and performance perspective, it’s darn comfortable, the interior is fairly splendid and features technology which belongs in 2018. The Giulia’s 2.0 Petrol with 147 kW 8-speed automatic transmission offers just a good if not a better driving experience than its direct competitors. So here is what you need to ask yourself, why not be different?

Alfa Romeo Giulia

You see, life isn’t always what your friends think. While on route to test drive the “you know whats”, break the stereotype and pull into your nearest Alfa dealer. You never know unless you try and let’s be honest, if I had a Rand for every 320 M-Sport I passed on the morning commute, I wouldn’t be making a morning commute…

BMW 440i vs Audi S5 – Decisions decisions.

BMW 440i Coupe South Africa

BMW 440i vs Audi S5

Do you have a R1million to spend on a coupe? Are you torn between a BMW 440i or an Audi S5? Well, you’re in good hands, TheMotorist is here to help you decide…

If only things worked like that. You read an article online. You make your mind up and off you go into either an Audi or BMW dealership and you drive away as the sales team cheers you off. Firstly, sales people don’t cheer you off, by the time you’ve driven off they’re just super glad they don’t have to talk about discounts with you anymore. I digress. The truth is, if you’re going to spend R1 million, you kind of know what you want. Right? Also, we all have preferences – so if you’re an Audi guy, get the S5 and if you like Beemers, give them a ring. What we want to do in this article is objectively compare the two models and see what comes out on top. So first and foremost, the looks.

BMW 440i Coupe South Africa

Who’s the fairest of them all?  

The 4 Series is a hit in SA. Everywhere you go people are driving these things. The problem we have with the 4 Series is that besides the amount of exhausts you have and the badge in the rear, they all look the same. Obviously, you have different model lines to choose from, but we wish the 440i had something about it that says, “I’m a 440i, not a 420i!!!”. Don’t tell me the two large exhausts are the differentiator because non-car people won’t even notice that. The S5 at least has different outside trimmings compared to the standard S Line models, so you can notice a slight difference. Again, it’s not huge because Audi loves to keep things low-key but you do have four exhaust pipes on the S5. So there’s that. The interiors on both cars are top notch, but the S5 has nicer seats and the BMW has a nicer dashboard. The S5 does have Apple CarPlay so that’s a big win, but BMW’s infotainment system also works really well. Whatever you do in both cars, you always need to go for the higher spec sound system. Audi calls it 3D surround and BMW has Harman Kardon.

The engines:

The only reason why you’d be buying either an S5 or a 440i is because your co-worker has a lesser model and you want to show them who’s boss, no? Either that or you’re a petrol head and fancy yourself some speed. This is the trickiest part between choosing between these two cars because both have SUCH nice engines. The Audi sounds nicer since it’s a 3.0 V6, but BMW’s new in-line 3.0 6 cylinder “B58” is the Greek yogurt of the range, so pure and creamy. Both cars feel just as fast and understandably so as you get 240kW in the 440i and 260kW in the S5. The BMW may have less power, but you’d have to be mad woke to notice a real difference. Where the difference comes in, is the drivetrain setup.

Quattro VS RWD:

The age-old debate between 4WD and RWD is a long standing one. We all love a good “slidey” RWD car but ask yourself, when am I going to do big slides in my car? If drifting is a concern, then the 440i is the obvious choice. But answer me this, do you attend many track days? Do you have access to an airfield? Do you have an endless budget for tyres? If you answered no to two of those questions, then RWD vs 4WD shouldn’t be your concern. “But don’t Quattro’s understeer?” You may wonder. Anything understeers if you come into a corner too quickly. The fact is that both the S5 and the 440i handle beautifully on regular roads and twisty ones, the average person will enjoy both cars at speed.

BMW 440i vs Audi S5

So, what’s the best then?

Again, both packages are very good indeed. The Audi wins when you’re sitting inside the car, but the BMW looks better on the outside. The Audi sounds better and has one hell of an engine, but the BMW’s engine is just as good. Money talks and this is where most decisions are made. The S5 will cost you R928 000 whereas the 440i will cost you R864 976. Both those prices don’t include options but an approximate difference of R60 000 between the two is interesting. If you’re financing, it’s not going to be a huge difference, either way you’re in for a big installment. What would we take home? I hate to say it but the BMW 440i is our top pick and before you scream “We knew it!”, the decision is based largely on the following: It’s all good and well to buy a new car but a time will come when you need to get rid of it. This is where the BMW wins because it’s biggest disadvantage is also its biggest advantage. There are many 4 Series models on the roads so you may lose out on the exclusivity you’ll have in the S5, but there is a bigger demand for the 4 Series in the used market. This means that when the time comes for you to trade in your 4 Series, you’ll get a better trade in value over an S5, purely because of the demand. For that reason, we’d drive away in the BMW. Besides that, both cars are a very good match for each other.

Audi Q2 2.0 TFSI Quattro released, but will it be available in South Africa?

Audi Q2 2.0 TFSI Quattro

Audi Q2 2.0 TFSI Quattro

Earlier this year, Audi released the Q2 in South Africa. It’s quite unique to the Audi range in terms of styling as it follows Audi’s new design language – a language which has not yet seemed to filter through entirely to other new models.

At launch, the Q2 was released with three engine choices, a 1.0-litre TFSI, 1.4-litre TFSI and the 2.0-litre TDI Quattro. These three variants were good options, unless you loved the Q2’s looks but yearned for something with a little more oomph in the drivetrain department.

If that is the case, then you will be pleased to know that Audi have announced the introduction of another drivetrain option for the Q2. This new variant will feature Audi’s well-known 2.0-litre TFSI motor, linked to the Quattro all wheel drive system. This new model will produce around 140 kW which results in a 0 – 100 km/h time of 6,5 seconds, making it the fastest Q2 model currently available.

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Audi Q2 2.0 TFSI Quattro

The 2.0 TFSI variant can be specced as either S-Line or Edition #1 but don’t let this worry you just yet as we are unsure if this model will be available in South Africa. Audi SA have confirmed that they are evaluating the decision but as of yet, no word. This could be for a variety of reasons with one of them being price. South Africa has a unique market and with this new model costing anything from £30,000 (R524,800) for the S-Line and £36,000 (R629,770) for the Edition #1, it may just prove to be too expensive for the South African market.

Audi Q2 2.0 TFSI Quattro

From our side, we think the Audi Q2 is a vehicle which boasts a great design and a really nice  driving experience, albeit a little expensive. We would love to see a sportier variant available as it would really emphasize the Q2’s fun and sporty nature. Time will tell, keep in touch on social media for the latest news.

Audi A5/S5 Convertible Launched.

Audi A5/S5 Convertible

The new Audi A5/S5 has been on sale in South Africa for a couple of months now and as is always the case, the convertible has now joined the Sportback and Coupé to complete the suave and swoopy A5/S5 range. Now featuring an “acoustic” roof that opens in a brisk 15 seconds and closes in a zippy 18 seconds up to 50 km/h, it features a single “one touch” operating which is great if you’re the kind of person who hates holding down a button for 15 seconds. 

Audi A5/S5 Convertible

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Carrying across the design cues of the Audi A5/S5 Coupé and Sportback, the Convertible also features the striking and bold ‘tornado line’ which featured on the previous generation A5/S5, but has now been accentuated create and even more striking side profile.

With an updated five-link suspension up front and a new five-link rear construction replacing the trapezoidal-link suspension used on the previous A5/S5, this new convertible promises to deliver handling in line with its dynamic looks.

Audi A5/S5 Convertible

The A5/S5 Convertible’s body is both lighter and torsionally stiffer than before, reducing scuttle shake and maximising other safety measures during an impact.

Two 2.0-litre petrol power units will be on offer initially, delivering 140 kW and 185 kW through the front wheels and all four wheels, respectively.  A 2.0-litre diesel motor will join the market at a later stage. 

With 260 kW and 500 N.m, the S5 convertible will hurtle itself towards the horizon with impressive pace, sprinting from 0-100 km/h in just 5.1 seconds. Thanks in part to the weight saving, quattro all-wheel drive and ZF’s sublime eight-speed automatic gearbox are also to thank here and are mated superbly to the S5’s silky smooth 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 engine.

Audi A5/S5 Convertible

Interestingly, microphones are now integrated into the front seatbelts which improves voice quality during phone call or when trying to use voice recognition, even with the roof down.

As one can expect from Audi, the usual array of safety aids come as standard across the range, including EBD and Audi pre sense City which monitors both pedestrians and other road users and initiates emergency braking if necessary.

Audi A5/S5 Convertible

Audi A5/S5 Convertible Pricing in South Africa

The Audi A5/S5 Convertible goes on sale in South Africa in July and pricing starts at R689 000 for the A5 Convertible 2.0 TFSI (140 kW) with the range-topping S5 Convertible costing R1 028 000 with Audi’s 5 year/100 000 km Freeway Plan featuring as standard across the board.

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The Future Is Electric: Audi E-Tron Sportback Revealed

Audi is starting to take electricity very seriously: Audi E-Tron Sportback revealed.

Manufacturers fascination with electricity was not just a phase, it’s happening and getting better and better. So much so Audi plans to launch five electric cars in the next five years. Yikes. The one everyone is talking about now is the Audi E-Tron Sportback, a sleek looking electric crossover of sorts. We know concept cars rarely look the same when going into production but Audi has surprised us before. The R8 for instance looks a great deal like the concept car it came from. If that’s going to be the case with the E-Tron Sportback, we’ll be in for a visual treat. The car looks very space age, almost like the it came out the movie Tron.

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It will be powered by a 95kWh battery with a predicted range of approximately 500km. So imagine being able to make it to Pietermaritzburg in your E-Tron Sportback? The trip won’t be a boring one too as the car will be able to do 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds. That’s properly quick for a car that’s going to be silent, or any car for that matter. Of course the main target market for a car like this in China, as electric cars are booming that side. For us South Africans however we may wait a while until this car comes our side. Thankfully the likes of BMW and Nissan have paved the way, so by the time fully electric Audi’s come this side we may have the infrastructure we need.  

 

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Chic and slick: Facelifted Audi A3 Sedan Driven.

A sedan version of a hatchback? The A3 Sedan seemed like a strange concept when it was first released. A few years later, consumers have come to enjoy the car as it makes sense for those not looking for the space an A4 offers. You wouldn’t be wrong to assume then that this car can be considered the “Young man’s A4”. The range recently went to the bathroom for a nose powdering session and has emerged sleeker and smarter.

Engines and technologies:

The most interesting addition the range has been the 1.0 litre turbocharged engine. This produces 85kW/211Nm which is a healthy number considering the size of the engine. Having driven this car we can confirm that any scepticism about the size of the engine can be laid to rest as it does a sterling job to get the car going. We however had the 2.0 TDI on test which has ample torque for the city and open road with a figure of 340Nm/105kW. The model we had on test also featured new technology for the A3 range, virtual cockpit. Let it be known that Audi and Volkswagen have some of the most intuitive digital dashboard systems, so it’s great that this option is now available in the A3. There is a catch though, in order to get the dashboard, the car needs to be specified with navigation. So a R7 250.00 option needs a R24 000 option to be selected, which can hike up the price quite a bit.

 

Silence is golden:

You would think a diesel would be noisy and clunky and that the noise would spill over into the cabin. This is not the case with this car, the noise levels are very low, creating a peaceful atmosphere. The overall ride quality is very good, despite the lack of an S-Line kit, which makes things firmer but nicer. This specific model did have optional Sports Suspension, but members of the youth would probably prefer the S-Line for aesthetic reasons. The elegance of a standard model fitted with a good set of wheels is also visually appealing. Is the 2.0 TDI the pick of the bunch? The engine delivers torque almost instantly and the S-Tronic happily obliges. The Drive Select option is a good thing to tick in the options list, because it allows you to give your car different “moods”. In Comfort the car ticks over as usual, in the Eco mode the car is less responsive but more fuel efficient (best for highways). Dynamic mode is for when you’re in a hurry and the car in my opinion is at its best here, simply because it’s always awake. When in Comfort the car tends to take things easier, I call it “Cape Town” mode but Dynamic is “Johannesburg” mode, which is good to go all the time.

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Same Same but different:    

The facelifted Audi A3 sedan is the same car we’ve come to know, only better.  New headlights and different bumper designs are what set the new car from the old one, as well as a nicer steering wheel. The subtle exterior changes aren’t enough for older specification owners to lose sleep over though. The additional engine compliment the range well and the option of Virtual Cockpit is awesome but expensive. Speaking of expensive, the 2.0 TDI starts at R499 000 which is tough pill to swallow. The model we drove retailed at R583 490 and it didn’t even have leather seats. It was quite a strangely specified car in fact, because the big ticket items were Navigation (R24 000), Adaptive Cruise Control (R15 300), Panoramic glass roof (R11 100), 17 inch wheels (R12 000) and Virtual Cockpit (R7 250). The smaller items such as Drive Select, Audi Sound System and Sport Suspension were all in the region of R3000.00 per option. The moral of the story is this, pick the necessary options and you’ll be okay or tick the wrong boxes and you’ll pay.  

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More Torque, More Tech and Fewer Cylinders – Audi’s New RS5

In my mind, Audi’s RS5 has always had a unique appeal in the very sporty small coupe segment. While BMW’s M3 has always been the nimble and dynamic youth in a hoody and Mercedes-AMG’s C63 the grandpa in All Stars, the last generation RS5 suffered from an identity crisis and was neither supremely comfortable nor tekkie squeaking fast, but it was one of those cars that you wanted and preferably without a roof.

The same could be said for each of the above’s fan bases with the Audi, again, sucking hind-teet while the C63 and M3’s were scooped up by young millionaires and old folk recapturing their youth. Every time I see an RS5, I struggle to place its driver into a category and be mean, but is this such a bad thing?

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Stereotyping aside, the RS5 was great when it launched 7 years ago, a time when the E92 M3 reigned supreme and grandpa sported a 6.2-litre masterpiece in his AMG All Stars. The RS5’s 4.2-litre V8 was a meaty and burbly unit and as a whole, the RS5 was the weapon of choice for those who preferred to be discreet, yet dashing. Unfortunately, on the performance front at least, the RS5 has been left behind in recent years by the turbocharged F82 and W205.


Fast forward to 2017 and the new RS5 has again befallen the recently tabooed fate of all engines – downsizing. Harkening back to the days of the B5 RS4, the all-new RS5 sports a 2.9 litre doubly force-fed V6, putting out an M3/4 Competition Package matching 331 kW and 170 N.m more than the old naturally aspirated V8 at 600 N.m. This should be good for a 3.9 second 0-100 km/h sprint, accompanied by one of motoring’s all-time favourite soundtracks, an Audi V6. The motor is in fact the same unit found in the new Porsche Panamera, and will undoubtedly blend performance and economy in a typically Germanic and clinical fashion.

While the engine is big news, the indistinguishable crowd of people who buy RS5’s will perhaps swoon over its blacked-out LED headlights, beefy bumpers and oval holes that house the exhausts. It’s actually 17 mm wider than the model it replaces yet 60 kg lighter which is about as much as a fat child. Accompanying the reduction in weight is a multi-link suspension set-up at the rear which replaces the trapezoidal-link from the previous model.

Consumption is also vastly better than before with a claimed combined average of 7.2 l/100km.

There’s no word yet on local availability or pricing but a good guess would be the first quarter of 2018 for a million and a bit.

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Audi A3 Facelift Driven Review

Audi recently facelifted the A3 and while the changes are only design based, I was still interested to get behind Audi’s entry level A3 with its 1.0-litre Turbo engine.

The updates to the A3 consist of updated designs for the headlights and taillights, with some slight bumper design adjustments which completes the changes to the exterior elements.

The overall improvements provide a sportier and more dynamic look, this can be improved further with the optional S-line kit, which I must say looked fantastic on the test vehicle I was driving.

In my opinion, the interior on the A3 has always been fairly simple. The dashboard provides a streamlined and clean design with the motorised digital screen as a central element. The controls for the Audi MMI system are all featured on the centre console between the front driver and passenger seats. The buttons and scroll dial which are situated here are very easy to access and also have a simple, non complicated layout.

Interior designs on some vehicles can seem very cluttered with buttons everywhere, and with technology inside cars increasing at a fast rate, it’s good to see that Audi have this all under control.

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The cabin is finished with metal, leather and alcantara. It has a very premium and well-built feel, which is a very important factor in a premium hatchback. The sport seats, which are an optional extra, are a great addition in terms of the visual appeal. They are wide and support the body well with good bolstering, but I feel that the only need for them on a 1.0 vehicle is purely for the visual element. I can’t see these cars being thrashed around the racetrack anytime soon.

Earlier, I touched on the fact that technology has become a big part of the automotive industry, and Audi has its fair share. Some buyers may choose one brand over the other, depending on what latest technology is available.

The Audi A3 features the full media system with  7”screen including MMI navigation. Audi’s system works well with many features of the A3 being controlled from the system interface, such as lighting and other vehicle settings.

Carplay/ AndroidAuto also features in this vehicle – simply connecting a phone will enable it automatically, with the mobile styled display popping up on the screen and giving the driver easy access to contacts, maps, music and more. With CarPlay, hitting the voice control button on the steering wheel will activate your best friend, Siri, and as always, you can ask her anything you like. If you are unsure on how Carplay works or what it does, you can read our article on it here:

Audi Pilot Assist has to be my favorite feature.The classic dash and dials are replaced with a full digital display. Speed, rpm, fuel, economy figures, media, navigation and so forth are all displayed in digital format.The driver can change what they see and how they see it.

I enjoyed the map view, with the speed and rpm displays retracting into smaller dials in the corner. The maps/navigation then fills the rest of the display which looks very futuristic, although you can lose track of speed, it happened to me once or twice. Zooming in and out and changing views and menus are all accessed of the steering wheel controls, which becomes natural once you have used it for a short while.

 

Behind the Wheel 

I was surprised by the 1.0l turbocharged motor, the 85kw it produced was used well and at times the car had a nippy kind of feel. The power is delivered through a six-speed manual gearbox and as you can expect from an audi vehicle, it was smooth and focused.

What stood out to me with this setup was the A3’s ability to pick up nicely and gain speed when cruising on the highway in 6th gear.  The small engine did not come across as if it was straining and it made overtaking easy, without changing down to 5th.

There are, however, a few drawbacks with this engine.When pulling off, the A3 needs revs to get going, and if you short change from 1st to 2nd at low rpm or on a slight incline, the car struggles for a few seconds, before picking up again. I had this issue mainly below 1800 rpm before the boost really kicks in.  This was really the only issue I had, and overall the 1.0l TFSI performed well from a driving perspective.

From an economic perspective, though, there is another side to the story. You may have read that some manufacturers are now looking at going back in the direction of higher cc engines. It has come to light that these small turbocharged motors do give really good fuel economy figures, but only in perfect, controlled environments. In day to day life, in environments that are beyond the manufacturer’s control, they are not that great.

During my time with the A3, the figures I produced were around 8.0-9.0 l/100km. I was mainly driving in an urban environment and was at times heavy on the throttle. With perfect economical driving the figure would definitely be lower, but how much lower is the question? Driving on South African roads brings its own challenges which doesn’t often lend to being more economical.

 

The Problem

My biggest issue with the Audi A3 is the price. The starting price for this model is R390,000. For this, one gets a lot of car, a well built, reliable German machine. The list price on the test vehicle I was driving was R520,000.

Thats a big difference, the reason being is this specific vehicle had a range of optional extras fitted.  Now, not all of those optional extras are actually needed. Items such as the sport seats and S-Line suspension are not of paramount importance, especially on a 85 kW car. Some of the other optional extras, though, you might actually want.

Options such as the Premium Audi Sound System, Navigation and CarPlay, Panoramic Sunroof, the S-line exterior kit which gives the car another dimension in terms of styling. Let’s also not forget the 20” alloy wheels and Audi Pilot Assist.
This means that a buyer will be paying around R500k for a 1.0L vehicle. Yes, its turbocharged and has a power output similar to that of a 1400 or 1600 cc Naturally aspirated engine, but it is still a 1.0L engine.

This is definitely a brand orientated car, and that is exactly what you will be paying for, the badge.Saying that, the Audi A3 is a great car and vehicles across the board are becoming more expensive. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it, it was lovely to drive and overall a really good experience. If you are happy to spend this kind of money, you will have a great car. Personally, though, it’s just too much for me.

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The New Audi Q2 : It Really Is Untaggable

You have probably seen the advertising campaign for the new Audi Q2 – #untaggable is what they call it and that is exactly what it is. The Audi Q2 is difficult to define, where does one place it? What do you compare it to? These were questions that all ran through my mind during the launch of the Q2 in Cape Town.

So what exactly is it?

Audi define the Q2 as a compact SUV, which fits into the premium A0 section of the market. It could easily be described as a crossover, or even a sporty hatchback. Audi South Africa don’t view this car as having a direct competitor and it’s easy to see why. Over the course of the launch, it started to become clear what this car is and the type of person it is aimed at.

The Audi Q2 has a very youthful feel about it, it’s hip, funky, extremely stylish and very “out there”- you could say.  This car is not aimed at the type of person who would buy a Q3 or Tiguan for example, those cars, although great, come across as vehicles suited for a small family, but more notably, they are not particularly exciting either.

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The Q2 is aimed at the younger market, an audience in their twenties who are designers, creators and are starting out in the business world – these are the kind of people who I envision would be interested in being untaggable, or at least sitting in it on the daily commute.  The interesting thing about the Q2 is that it is very similarly priced to the bigger Q3, but appeals to a totally different audience. So in effect, the Q2 is not a lesser car, (albeit a little smaller) when compared with the Q3, it just has a different purpose.

Styling

The Q2 is nothing like you have seen before, it has edgy design and sharp features. Prominent design features which you will notice are the concaving lines along the side – a unique feature to the Q2 which gives it a different look to anything you will currently find on the road. An Edition #1 version of the Audi Q2 is due for release later this year, this model will feature a unique Quantum Grey Colour, which looks very similar to Nardo Grey, with a little bit of sparkle.

The Q2 is the first of new Audi models to feature this design style, and we can expect future models to follow a similar pattern. Audi have a big 2018 planned with a host of new and updated models, including the Q8.

Step inside the new Audi Q2 and it will feel very similar to the interior of the Audi A3 and other Audi models, there is nothing that would strike you as new or majorly different – it looks and feels very Audi-ish with a clean design and classy feel. The optional sports seats are a nice option to have and were comfortable, they also filled the cabin nicely and added to its visual appearance.

The Audi Q2 will also be available with Pilot Assist, which is the fully digital dash display which allows different views for Car Information, Music and Navigation. This is paired with the 12” TFT screen on the Dashboard. For the record, the Pilot Assist is one of my personal favourites. The Q2 is the only vehicle in its segment to offer a TFT binnacle and it’s an option I’d certainly tick.

The interior is let down slightly by the door cards, They look and feel a little cheap as the lower portions are covered in hard, black plastic. It would have been nice to feature some Alcantara or leather like other areas of the interior. I do understand the reasons behind it though, cost being one of them.

In terms of space, the rear seating area was limited in this regard so if you are tall, unlike me, you may find it quite cramped. The boot space is adequate though with 405-litres on offer, which expands to 1050-litres with the rear seats folded.

How Does It Drive?

The Q2’s we had for the day featured Audi’s 1.4 TFSI engine, which produces 110kw and 250Nm. This is a proven engine in other cars, such as the A3 and it performed as expected. Power delivery is smooth through both the 7-Speed S-Tronic Automatic and the 6-Speed manual transmissions. I did feel that it lacked torque at low RPM, especially in second gear, which was something that I also noticed on the 1.0L variant. This could also have something to do with the COD (Cylinder On Demand) technology which is built into the 1.4 Engine. This feature disables Cylinders two and three at loads of up to 100Nm from 1400rpm with the S-Tronic, and from 2000rpm with the manual variant.

The Chassis and the suspension is where everything comes together and the Audi Q2 really impresses, because it has a high design, one may think that handling would not be one of the car’s best assets.

The Q2 was rigid and as we drove along the bumpy Bainskloof Pass, the car did not feel unsettled with the suspension absorbing the rough surface, even under braking and sharp bends, the Q2 performed well. It has a sharp and accurate turn-in and a very neutral feel, only getting out of shape and providing just a little understeer on one heated occasion. You can enter a corner at speed and trust that the little Q2 will handle it well.

The 110kW produced by the 1.4 TFSI coupled with the great handling and chassis of the Q2 makes for a fun car, which suits its overall persona down to the ground. A young buyer will not have to be worried about getting bored with the Audi Q2.

Driver Assists

Audi have given the Q2 some of their driver assist packages as optional extras. The first of these is Pre Sense which uses a front radar system to detect hazardous situations with other vehicles and pedestrians and will apply braking if necessary. Park Assist is also available, which does a little bit more than the name suggests and will basically park your Audi Q2 for you. Further to this, Cross Traffic Rear Assist helps when reversing from parking spaces, by sensing other cars which could potentially cross your path. Audi also offer Side Assist and Adaptive cruise control on the Q2 to finalize the driver assist packages.

Powertrains

The Q2 is currently only available as the 1.4 TFSI variant. The 1.0 TFSI and 2.0TDi will be available from May, producing 85kW and 200Nm and 105kW and 350Nm respectively. Unfortunately, a Quattro option will be not available in South Africa due to market placement and cost of the vehicle, however it will be available overseas.

Price

Here is where things get interesting, with a starting price of R434 500 for the 1.0L base model and rising to R565 000 for the 2.0 TDI model, the Q2 is not a cheap car. Yet, it is aimed at a young market.

Audi plan to solve this issue with attractive finance offers and a special guarantee buy-back specifically for the Q2. Audi have done their research and I am positive that the Q2 will work for them. The price is a big drawback for the younger market, especially with a well- specced vehicle. However, Audi do feel confident that it should not be too much of an issue – only time will tell.

  • Audi Q2 1.0T FSI manual: R 434,500
  • Audi Q2 1.0T FSI S tronic: R 453,000
  • Audi Q2 1.0T FSI Sport manual: R 464,500
  • Audi Q2 1.0T FSI Sport S tronic: R 483,000
  • Audi Q2 1.4T FSI Sport manual: R 511,000
  • Audi Q2 1.4T FSI Sport S tronic: R 529,500
  • Audi Q2 2.0 TDI Sport S tronic: R 565,000

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