2011 Frankfurt International Auto Show (IAA)
By: Kris Hansen
Audi kicked out all of the stops for this yearís Frankfurt motor show, and put on one incredible display at their stand, which itself was a huge spectacle. Never ones to do things the boring way, Audi invested what has to be a large sum of money to erect a rather futuristically shaped temporary building on the grounds of the Frankfurt show. As if the exterior of the building wasnít exotic enough, the interior was made up of many curved walls, and as usual, black and white glass floors and extremely bright lights.
The best part of the Audi stand though was the test track. You read that correctly. The audi stand had a test track which weaved itís way through the walls of the stand, briefly poking out of the exterior walls, and, through the INTERIOR walls. Quite honestly, the sight of the various cars driving through the rather tight and off camber turn inside the stand was spectacular! Audi was offering test drives of a variety of their cars for media and general public on this special track. Several of the vehicles were Hybrid and E-tron variants, and on the other end of the spectrum, an R8 GT was giving rides to folks as well.
Audi had a very nice variety of their current models on static display. From the TTRS through an RS3, all the way up to an A8L W12, the model range was fully represented. They also had a few concepts on hand, both inside and outside the Audi Stand.
Starting with the small display on the outside of the main stand, Audi had on display a small an early Quattro, parked next to the stunning Quattro Concept, as well the Audi Urban Concept Coupe, the A3 TCNG E-gas concept, and 2 racing cars Ė The R8 LMS, and the gorgeous A5 DTM. Audi was keen to show off this new racer, and it was a key part of their spiel at the previous nightís VW Group media event. As racers go, itís pretty hot looking.
Moving to the inside of the Audi Stand, we discovered Audi eye candy as far as we could see. R8 GT Spyder? Check. A8L W12? Check. R8 E-Tron? Check. For an Audi enthusiast, this was a spectacular display of their awesome hardware. We also had the first chance to crawl over and through the all new and very cool Q3, drool on the A6 Avant (which as of this writing we still arenít going to be getting in the USA) and check out various other static display vehicles.
As if all of the beautiful line of current production Audis isnít enough, Audi also had on hand some of their new concept cars. Indoors Audi was displaying their all new Audi Urban Concept open top car. This thing is pretty cool. It has formula car type suspension, a 2 seat cockpit, and the very latest in Audiís E-tron electronic propulsion. Read more here: http://www.audiworld.com/news/11/audi-urban-concept/ .
Not only were the concept cars on display, Audi was showing off their latest iteration of the MMI control panel, which incorporates the touchpad onto the top of the main dial, which frees up lots of real estate and allows the MMI controls to fit into a much smaller area. An example of this would be the R8 E-tron, which is fitted with just this system.
Before we knew it, it was time for the press conference. Audi executives were very excited to show off some of their new cars, both actual production models, and another cool concept. First to be shown was the killer trio of new S models Ė The S6, S7 and S8. Certainly no coincidence, the cars were driven onto the stage within the Audi stand by the Le Mans 24 hours winning trio of drivers Marcel Fassler, Benoit Treluyer, and Andre Lotterer. These three S models arenít radically different on the exterior, but under the hood, they pack an all new twin turbocharged 4 liter V8, which you can read about here. We canít wait for some seat time!
The last car Audi unveiled to the throng of journalists was the A2 concept. This car combines a lot of existing E-tron tech (plus some new items), into a small 2 door car not at all dissimilar looking to the A1. Onto that already enticing package, Audi adds a ton of really interesting features, not the least of which is the full wrap multi-purpose beltline LED lights. These lights function as marker lights, brake lights, signal lights, and ďrepeaterĒ lights (which is what the little turn signal lights on the side of the car are called). An example of their use in this case, when the 4 way flashers are on, the LED strip blinks amber all around the car. Another use, through different light intensity levels, the car can signal to other drivers around it how much braking force is being applied, and other drivers can react accordingly.
We saw a lot of great new Audi models and technology concepts which weíre really looking forward to getting our hands on. Audi has been enjoying good growth in the USA, and with all of the new models coming our way, things are looking great for them long into the future.