March 7, 2009
By: Jim McCraw
The Audi stand at this week’s Geneva Auto Show was graced with the presence of five great Audis, including the replica V-16 Grand Prix car, the new V-10-powered R8 supercar, and three brand new members of the Audi product range, the TT-RS coupe, the A5/S5 convertible and the new A4 allroad crossover SUV.
The three newest Audi models, all of which are headed to the U.S. market this year, were introduced by Audi chairman Rupert Stadler and head of sales Peter Schwarzenbauer to mark the 100th anniversary of the brand (a huge 100 sign was the backdrop on the stand). In addition to the new cars, Schwarzenbauer introduced the four teams that will play in the brand new Audi Cup soccer competition this summer, starting at the end of July, and welcomed all-time Le Mans-winning Audi racer Tom Kristensen, who drove the convertible onto the stage.
A4 allroad quattro
The Audi A4 allroad quattro recalls the A4 Avant, with a new coupe-like silhouette. The radiator grille has vertical chrome strips, a big bumper and large air inlets. Chrome rings encircle the fog lights. On the optional xenon plus headlights, light-emitting diodes are used for the daytime running lights and taillights. Underneath the front end and tail end, the A4 allroad has a stainless-steel underbody guard.
The allroad has flared wheel arches, angular sills (available with stainless-steel insert strips), and 17-inch wheels with 7-spoke design. The roof is capped by an offset rail with two high crosspieces. On the 2.0 TDI, the two exhaust tailpipes appear side by side; on the 2.0 TFSI and 3.0 TDI, they are split normally.
The body consists primarily of high-strength and ultra-strength steel panels which reduce the car’s weight while enhancing its rigidity, reducing vibration, and increasing impact safety. In addition to the two front airbags, there are side air bags in the front and, optional in the rear. A head-protection airbag is standard.
The allroad’s rear hatch is exactly one meter wide. The luggage compartment cover and safety netting are stored in separate compartments; one touch triggers the cover to retract upward. Additional standard equipment includes fastening rings and bag hooks and a shelf on one side with an adjustable net. Every Audi A4 allroad quattro also has a reversible loadliner, the underside of which is a dirt-resistant tray. Optional equipment includes a reversible mat, a 12-volt outlet, a power tailgate, and a load-securing set with a telescopic rod and strap retainer. The load-securing set’s two rails in the floor allow the luggage compartment to be divided easily.
Among the control unit’s highlights: the standard electromechanical handbrake has replaced the lever on the center console with a button. A color display complements the concert or symphony sound system, and the MMI navigation system.
There are several different trim materials: an exclusive allroad fabric, two types of leather, or an Alcantara/leather combination. The fabrics are available in two colors and the leather trim in seven colors, two of which feature contrasting stitching.
Audi offers a seat-heating system, power seats, a sporty version with pronounced side sections, and climate-controlled comfort seats. The latter not only can be heated, but also cooled.
The 2-liter TFSI, voted “Engine of the Year” on four consecutive occasions, incorporates three high-end technologies: FSI direct gasoline injection, the turbocharger, and the Audi variable valvelift system. Between 1,500 and 4,200 rpm, it delivers 350 Nm of torque to the crankshaft. Peak output is 211 horsepower. The 2-liter TFSI propels the Audi A4 allroad quattro to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 6.9 seconds, and to a top speed of 143 mph. On average, it consumes 8.1 liters of fuel per 100 km (29 mpg).
The two-liter diesel engine delivers 350 Nm between 1,750 and 2.500 rpm and 170 horsepower, yet requires just 6.4 liters of fuel per 100 km (36.75 mpg). The Audi A4 allroad quattro 2.0 TDI reaches 100 km/h in 8.9 seconds and a top speed of 132 mph.
The 3.0 TDI V6 diesel produces 240 horsepower and transmits 500 Nm of torque to the crankshaft at 1,500 to 3,000 rpm. The 3.0 TDI in conjunction with S tronic propels the Audi A4 allroad quattro to 100 km/h in 6.4 seconds, and tops out at 147 mph. On average, the three-liter engine uses 7.1 liters of fuel per 100 km or 33.13 mpg. Like the other two engines, it already meets the EU’s Euro 5 emission standard.
The 2.0 TDI transmits its power to a six-speed manual transmission.
The 3.0 TDI and 2.0 TFSI feature the next generation S tronic. This innovative dual-clutch transmission shifts among its seven gears in a few hundredths of a second. The driver can shift via shift paddles on the steering wheel.
In the Audi A4 allroad quattro drivetrain, the differential is in front of the clutch and immediately behind the engine. This made it possible to reposition the front axle much closer to the front end, allowing for a long wheelbase and a better distribution of the axle loads.
The Audi A4 allroad quattro features quattro permanent all-wheel drive as standard equipment, distributing power at a 40:60 ratio to the front and rear axle. If necessary, quattro can route up to 65 percent to the front or as much as 85 percent toward the tail end.
The car’s track is 62.32 inches at the front and 61.97 inches at the rear, or 0.79 inches wider, respectively, than the A4 Avant. The body is higher on account of a
new chassis with longer springs. The standard 17-inch lightweight alloy wheels are fitted with 225/55 tires. Audi is also offering 18-inch wheels.
The five-link front suspension and the self-tracking trapezoidal-link rear suspension are mostly aluminum to reduce unsprung weight, with16-inch brakes. On rough terrain, the A4 allroad quattro relies on a high-tech feature of its Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP). The Offroad Detection (ORD) technology automatically identifies the type of driving surface and adjusts the ESP’s control parameters accordingly. When the driver depresses the gas pedal, ESP increases power by allowing more wheelspin.
On paved roads, Audi drive select automatically adapts the Audi A4 allroad quattro to the driver’s preferences. Audi drive select evaluates the engine’s throttle response, the Servotronic power steering, and S tronic’s shift points in automatic mode. The driver can switch among three different engine maps: comfort, standard, and sporty.
Audi drive select can be paired with Audi dynamic steering. It consists of a superimposed gear system, and varies the steering ratio as well as steering assistance in a continuously variable manner. Audi drive select functions directly at low speeds and indirectly at high speeds. At the cornering limit, the dynamic steering keeps the A4 allroad quattro on course via split-second corrective actions.
Optional equipment also includes the high-beam assistant that automatically switches between high beams and low beams. The two-part panoramic glass roof comes with an electrically operated interior shade. And the electromechanical tailgate, the ingenious three-zone climate-control system, the xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights and LED reverse lights, and the climate-controlled comfort seats are all luxurious options.
Audi lane assist helps the driver to remain in a given lane, while Audi side assist makes it safer to change lanes. Adaptive cruise control detects vehicles ahead and maintains the proper following distance by braking and accelerating on its own. Should the rate of deceleration change, the system alerts the driver via one of two alarms.
Audi also offers allroad with multimedia options. The MMI navigation plus system integrates a color display with three-dimensional maps, a DVD player, a voice-activated unit facilitating whole-word commands, and a large hard disk drive that stores data for navigation, music, and phoning. MMI navigation plus can be ordered with tuner modules that enable digital TV/radio reception. Last, a Bang & Olufsen sound system with 14 speakers delivers 505 watts.
Audi TT RS
The second new car to be introduced at Geneva was the long-awaited TT RS. Arriving at dealerships this summer, the TT RS has a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine with direct gasoline injection, 340 horsepower and 332 foot-pounds of torque in conjunction with quattro permanent all-wheel drive. The TT RS will be available as a coupe or roadster.
Designed from scratch, the five-cylinder engine combines a turbocharger with FSI direct gasoline injection to elevate the TT RS to a specific output of 137 horsepower per liter. The maximum torque of 332 foot-pounds is available between 1,600 and 5,300 rpm.
In the case of the coupe, which weighs in at 3,197 pounds, the power-to-weight ratio is just 9.5 pounds per horsepower. The roadster has a weight of 3,329 pounds and a power-to-weight ratio of 9.8 pounds per horsepower, thanks to its lightweight aluminum body constructed with the Audi Space Frame principle.
The TT RS coupe goes from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds; the Roadster needs just a tenth of a second longer. The limited top speed is 250 km/h (155 mph) with an option to increase it to 280 km/h (173 mph).
Switchable flaps in the intake manifold mix the incoming air. Injected at a pressure as high as 120 bar by the common-rail system, the gasoline swirls in the combustion chamber, which in turn cools the walls. The engine uses a compression ratio of 10:1, very high for a turbocharged engine. The large turbocharger generates up to 1.2 bar of boost pressure. The intercooler, fed air by the lower segment of the single frame radiator grille, reduces the temperature of compressed air by over 80 percent at full load.
When the driver pushes the Sport button on the center tunnel, a flap installed in the left exhaust tailpipe increases the exhaust sound even more while boosting engine response. An optional Sport exhaust system is available with matte black tailpipe tips and sound flap.
A new six-speed manual transmission carries a specially designed shift lever with short shift throws and a narrow spread of gear ratios. The TT RS features quattro permanent all-wheel drive as standard equipment.
The TT RS has four-link rear suspension, which handles longitudinal and lateral forces separately. The electromechanical steering is highly efficient and adjusts continuously to the vehicle’s speed. With aluminum in the front and sheet steel in the back, the body materials result in a well-balanced axle-load distribution, excellent crash safety, and high rigidity.
The standard sports chassis, which lowers the body by 10 millimeters, features tightly tuned springs and shock absorbers. The optional Audi magnetic ride adaptive damping system allows the driver to select one of two modes for the shock absorbers by pushing the Sport button.
The sportiest version in the TT has 18-inch wheels fitted with 245/45 tires and ventilated disc brakes measuring 370 millimeters in diameter at the front and 310 millimeters at the rear. The front discs are perforated and connected by hollow pins to the aluminum brake discs, encircled by black four-piston brake calipers made of aluminum and wearing RS logos.
The Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP) can be switched off partially or entirely. In Sport mode, the engine does not intervene to monitor traction and the brakes engage later. In the second mode, the ESP is fully deactivated.
The entire interior is black. Heated sports seats feature an Alcantara/leather combination with silver contrasting stitching and embossed TT RS logos in the front backrests, on the steering wheel, in the tachometer, and on the door sills. The inlays are made from brushed aluminum. Floor mats feature silver piping trim, with footrests and pedals in aluminum.
The multifunction sports steering wheel has a thick rim, flat-bottomed, and is covered with perforated leather. Integrated in the instrument panel, the driver information system can display boost pressure and oil temperature as well as a lap timer for the racetrack. An automatic climate-control system and the concert sound system are standard, as are an electrohydraulic soft top and an electric wind deflector for the Roadster.
Audi offers TT RS customers a diverse range of options including styled wheels measuring 18, 19 or 20 inches in diameter; bucket seats with folding backrests; seat upholstery in silk Nappa leather with perforations or fine Nappa leather with special TT perforations; inlays with Ibis White or Phantom Black paint finish as well as matte aluminum-look inlays for the exterior. In addition, there are high-tech navigation and multimedia systems available.
Audi A5 and S5 Cabriolet
Last of the big three to be introduced by Mr. Schwarzenbauer was the new A5/S5 Cabriolet. Crowning the new model series is the S5 Cabriolet with a newly developed, supercharged three-liter V6 that pumps out 333 horsepower.
The fully automatic top opens in just 15 seconds. Audi also offers an optional acoustic top with an intermediate layer of insulating foam that reduces wind noise almost to the sedan level.
When opened, the Audi A5 Cabriolet top folds down to leave 11.3 cubic feet of storage volume. The soft-top compartment lowers automatically when the top is opened. The fold-down rear seat backrest and the pass-through between the luggage compartment and the interior increases the storage volume to 26.5 cubic feet.
The four-seater interior has automatic seatbelt extenders for the front seats and the optional head-level heating. A special coating on the optional leather seats reduces solar heating.
The A5 Cabriolet is being launched with three gasoline engines and two diesel engines ranging between 180 and 265 horsepower. All five power plants are fueled via direct fuel injection; four of them use turbocharging. Available powertrains include a six-speed manual, the continuously variable multitronic and the new seven-speed S tronic. In addition to front-wheel drive, Audi also offers quattro permanent all-wheel drive for the higher-power engines. The sport differential, which variably distributes power between the rear wheels, is optional.
The Audi drive select vehicle dynamics system enables the driver to chose among three different engine maps controlling the characteristics of the fuel feed, the shift points of the seven-speed S tronic or the multitronic, and the boost provided to the servotronic steering system. If the car is equipped with the MMI operating interface, a fourth, freely programmable map is available. Additional technologies available include adaptive shock absorbers and variable-ratio dynamic steering.
The new Audi A5 Cabriolet features in addition to the fully automatic top, including an automatic climate-control system and a CD audio system. Options include the driver assist systems and the latest generation MMI operating interface.
The top-of-the-line model, the S5 Cabriolet, occupies a very special position. Its three-liter TFSI V6 with mechanical supercharger produces 333 horsepower and 325 foot-pounds of coupled to the quattro drivetrain, a sport suspension with 18-inch wheels and a number of special equipment details that underscore the athletic character of the Audi S5 Cabriolet.
- Press Release: The Audi TT RS: A Pure Driving Machine Developing 340 bhp
- Press Release: Audi A5 and S5 Cabriolet: Joy of Open-Top Driving
- Press Release: The Audi A4 allroad quattro: A Vehicle that Knows No Boundaries
- Previous Geneva Show Coverage