December 11, 2005

2005 Essen Motorshow
Text & Photos by Chris Ostberg

Although there were no major surprises seen at this year’s Essen motor show, Audi certainly did not disappoint with an impressive showing of their newest vehicles. The most notable models in attendance were the new S8, Q7 SUV, and B7 RS4 models. Also shown for pure eye-candy pleasure were the R8 race car (directly from Le Mans . . . car was still dirty!) and an A4 DTM racecar.

One of the most attention grabbing vehicles on the Audi stage was the new V-10 powered Audi S8. This stunning sedan incorporates a level of sportiness never seen before at the top of Audi’s luxury range. At the heart of this aluminum space-framed beast lies a 450 horsepower/398 ft-lb 5.2 liter FSI V-10 engine based on the Lamborghini Gallardo 5.0 liter V-10. The most obvious difference between the two powerplants is the larger (by 2 mm) bore of the S8 mill to give a better low end toque characteristic. When mated to the standard (and only available) 6 speed automatic Tiptronic transmission and 40/60 asymmetrical quattro AWD system, the S8 will reach 100 km/h (62 mph) from a standstill in only 5.1 seconds. Rest assured you’ll be stopped in half that time with the floating 2-piece rotor ceramic disc brakes.

During the Essen Motor Show was the first time I have seen the new Audi Q7 SUV in real life. It’s everything you’ve come to expect from an Audi embodied in a Rugged SUV form. From sitting behind the wheel, there is nothing to tell you that you’re not in a luxury A6 other than the elevated ride height. Under the hood is a torque turned version of the corporate 4.2 liter FSI V-8 churning out 350 horsepower running though a standard 40/60 asymmetrical quattro AWD system. Unlike the platform sharing VW Touareg, the Q7 is not available with any sort of low range showing its street biased performance intentions.

The B7 RS4 displayed was particularly attention getting due to the unique interior treatment from quattro GmbH and anthracite colored “Titanium” rims. I must admit that the Misano Red/Titanium wheel option looked extremely sharp. Other touches included two tone red/black Recaro “shell” seats, alcantara covered flat bottom steering wheel (with red stitching) and shift knob, 255/35/19 Pzero Corsa track oriented tires, RS4 floor mats, and a blacked out grille surround. “Audi Exclusive” badges confirm the special interior combination.

Outside the official Audi area, there was no shortage of Audi representation. Some of the noteworthy vehicles included:

-O.CT’s S3 with a 550 hp RS4 engine transplant. This car was truly a wolf in sheep’s clothing dawning a very stocklike appearance (even down to the exhaust tips) other than a mild widebody kit and a braking system to match the more than double stock power ratings.

-Gumpert Apollo powered by a warmed over 650 hp version of the RS6’s 4.2 liter twin turbo V-8 motor. This 224 mph, 2,161 lbs supercar is a project developed by Roland Gumpert and MTM owner Roland Mayer. The special carbon fiber body shape and aerodynamics package allow the car to produce more than its weight in downforce at top speed.

-MTM’s wild bimoto (twin 1.8T engines) TT capable of 374 km.h (232 mph)

-Uwe Bleck’s 500 hp B5 RS4 race car.

-1936 era Auto Union C Grand Prix racecar powered by a 6.0 liter 520 horsepower 16 cylinder engine. This car won at the Nürburgring with Bernd Rosemeyer at the helm.

-1938 Horch 853A Sport Cabriolet

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