Article and Photos by Matt Daniels.

The New York International Auto Show
Wednesday, March 30 1999

The day started early at the Oldsmobile press conference and breakfast. While I personally am not interested in the Oldsmobile automobile, I did have a good time at their presentation. While most people were eating breakfast waiting for the show to start I stood quietly by the sidelines. The presentation started with the playing of one of Oldsmobiles recent commercials (one that I think is very cool and would probably get me into one of their dealers if I didn't know any better). After some speeches their press conference concluded with a musical number by the cast of the Broadway show Chicago and the unveiling of the 2001 Aurora.

The European spec S4 on display
As luck would have it, Audi was the next press conference of the day. I made my way up to their booth. The first thing I noticed was the Imola Yellow S4 on a turntable. The Imola yellow is very bright yellow like you have seen in the brochure. With all the spotlights it was very hard to get a decent photo that showed off the color. My digital camera would over expose the images that would result in the color being washed out and look like a light yellow. I have tried to color correct my photos to show the color better, but these images do not do the Imola Yellow justice. This S4 that was on display was a European model, as a result they would not let the press get inside it for fear of them reporting on features that are not going to be available in North America (interior colors, trim options, etc.).

After a few moments of wandering around the Audi booth, it was time for the press conference. It started with the introduction of Audi of America Vice-President Len Hunt.

The A6 4.2 V8. After seeing this in person, I think I'll start saving my pennies now.
In Mr. Hunt's speech, he announced the introduction of the S4 and the Audi A6 4.2. The S4 he said would have 250 hp, 258 lb. of torque and a 0-60 time of about 5.9 seconds. He went on to mention that Audi sales are up approximately 20% this year over last, and to date over 70,000 A4 have been sold in North America. Mr. Hunt concluded his speech by showing three television commercials for the Audi TT. The TT he said should be in show rooms in May, with the 180-hp quattro version arriving in late summer. The Roadster and 225 hp versions should be available in the spring of 2000.

Also announced was that the bi-turbo 2.7-liter A6 would be arriving in the US this fall. One person asked why it wasn't going to be labeled an S6 and it was explained that the S models are usually the top-of-the-line model and the bi-turbo was going to be an engine option for the A6, not a totally different model.

A question was asked about the S4 Avant and if it would be coming to North America. Len Hunt confirmed that AoA has no plans to bring the S4 Avant to America any time soon.

The last question of the day was asked by myself. I asked what the difference was between the North American and European S4's that resulted in the lower power rating. He referred the question to the Product Planning Manager, Marc Trahan. Mr. Trahan explained that the U.S. had more restrictive emissions laws and after a lot of technical explanations, that went completely over my head, said that after converting the data into U.S. spec the hp rating would actually drop in number. Len Hunt then added "I have driven both the North American and the European models and I can assure you that there is no difference in the way they drive."

The BMW booth

Modified Cadillac Caterra

I had the opportunity to talk in more detail with Marc Trahan later in the day. Again he explained the hp conversion to me (and once again it went completely over my head), he summed it by saying that a 200-hp engine in Europe would equal about 193 hp in America after the conversion and emissions. When asked about the 0-60 times of 6.5 seconds that had been reported earlier and that were in the S4 brochure, Mr. Trahan told me that at the time of publication, those were the most recent test numbers available. Since the brochures publication, changes have been made to the design which has resulted in the new, lower 0-60 times.

After the Audi Press Conference it was time to check out the rest of the exhibits. Since it was a press day and number of days before the show actually opened, a number of booths were still being set up and were not all that impressive in their current disassembled state. The BMW booth seemed to be complete and was very impressive, it had 5 cars mounted vertically on a back wall. Another exhibit that caught my eye was a turntable with a black Plymouth Prowler on it. The turntable had a control panel that would let you control the speed, tilt, and rotation of the car. It even had a fog machine! It was the ultimate gadget to play with. Other cars that caught my attention: a bright orange modified Cadillac Caterra, the new 2000 Ford Taurus (much improved, IMHO), and two crashed Saab's.

Editors Note:This article was updated on 5/13/99 to reflect to correct spelling and title for Marc Trahan, the Product Planning Manager at Audi of America.

Copyright (c) 1999 AudiWorld