Wednesday December 7th, 2011 08:00 German Car Manufacturers – In a League of Their Own

There are a number of countries that have a prominent motor manufacturer market but few are able to compete with Germany. The cars that Germany produces are second to none, and they compete fiercely with each other for very similar markets. They don’t just compete in Germany either, as they have thriving demand throughout the rest of mainland Europe, the UK and the US too.

As the economies of India and China also develop there is an increase in demand for luxury cars where the Germans are also sitting comfortably at number one. The Americans have tried their hands at luxury cars such as Cadillac, but they have never hit the mark of quality and driving experience on the same level as their German counterparts.

The French have got a strong market share in the more affordable car sector with brands such as Peugeot, Renault and Citroen competing for affordable small, mid-sized and family cars across Europe. Citroen leasing offers remain some of the most popular in the industry. The Japanese market is also strong with brands like Toyota, Honda, Mazda and Nissan all holding their own, targeting the Asian markets and mid-priced industries with their well-built and reliable cars. When it comes to luxury and premium marques however, it always falls back to Germany. They have 5 major brands that compete in similar markets and make some of the most desirable cars on sale today. Here they are:

BMW– One of the most recognised car manufacturers in the world. BMW make a range of premium executive saloons, 4x4s, and sports cars with great avail. They brand their cars as the ultimate driving machine as they only allow the power to be delivered through the rear wheels. The balance of their vehicles is always spot on, and they have a huge following all around the world.

Audi – Audi make a number of cars in the same category as BMW and although have a smaller market share, they are constantly growing. With the success of their Quattro rally car, they have built a reputation for attractive and well-handing models that have been inspired by this heritage. The R8 supercar has further increased their profile.

Mercedes-Benz – One of the world’s most powerful and recognised brands. There is a huge range of Mercedes models on the market, and they range from small, to executive and luxurious. They also produce a number of fast and powerful cars with their AMG tuning division and McLaren partnership. The recent retro-modern adaptation of the classic SLS has reminded us what Mercedes are capable of.

Volkswagen – VW are slightly more affordable than BMW, Mercedes and Audi, but are parallel in terms of respect and quality. The ‘car for the people’ brand image has created some highly desirable family cars and their success with the Golf GTi throughout the years has brought them much acclaim.

Porsche – The legendary cars created by Porsche have gone down as some of the greatest sports cars in history. Although not as big as their German brothers, the desirability of their models and strength of their brand has led them to become one of the most profitable car manufacturers in the world. Their racing heritage has even inspired ranges of clothes, luxury watches and baggage.

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Sunday October 30th, 2011 18:00 Audi Release First Official Details of New A4

Audi has released the first official details of the latest version of the A4 saloon car. Set for release in February of next year, the new A4 has not been given a radical redesign, but it has been given a few stylistic and mechanical tweaks which should keep it competitive.

At the front of the car, changes include a tapered grille, sharper air-intakes and reshaped LED headlights. The new A4 model will feature twin-exhaust as standard across the range. The fact that the car is wider and lower than previous versions would suggest that their will be increased space inside the car.

All cars in the A4 range will have new engines, and these engines will come with stop-start, brake energy regeneration and electronic power steering as standard. Audi expects these features to reduce fuel consumption by around 10%, something that should entice buyers worried about the amount of money they are spending on fuel.

One of the versions of the A4 which should appeal to company car buyers is the 134bhp, 2.0-litre TDI. The saloon version is expected to have an emissions rate of just 112g/km of CO2.

Inside, the new version of the A4 will feature chrome and gloss inlays on the steering wheel and door panels, a flat-bottomed sports steering wheel and a starter button that is brushed aluminium. It will also have a new MMI infotainment system.

Perhaps more importantly for families, the A4′s boot space remains at 480 litres – a level that is similar to the rival BMW 3 Series.

Although there is no official price for the new Audi A4 yet, expect it to be only marginally more expensive than the current A4. A February 2012 release for the car means that it will be going up against BMW’s new 3 Series, also released that month.

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Monday August 29th, 2011 11:52 Audi shows the World its New Urban Concept

Audi E-tron Sypder

Audi is all set to take the lid off of its newest offspring, the Urban Concept Spyder. The convertible borrows liberally from various other established brands in its segment including the exteriors styling of the MX-5 model from Mazda, Nissan Leaf’s electric powertrain and Toyota iQ’s intelligent seating. The German manufacturer will debut the urban concept car at the upcoming Frankfurt Auto Show that is to begin in less than three weeks’ time.

Audi retains some of the more popular features from the original Urban Concept in the Spyder with basic styling like the body shell crafted out of sturdy yet lightweight CFRP (carbon fiber-reinforced plastic), mesmeric and widely-appreciated 21” alloys and the adaptable 1+1 seating setup that has the passenger sitting behind the driver, maximizing elbow space for both the driver as well as the passenger.

The exterior of the Spyder remains more or less the same as its predecessor with R8-inspired side wings, strip-like running lights and headlamps fitted with LEDs. Rear-opening scissor doors with the corporate finish make the car a true German delight.

The visionary concept car is run on the lithium-ion battery pack-run electric motors that produce roughly the same power as its fixed-roof variant. Though no performance specs were released for the Spyder, the concept is expected to house the same powertrain as the original with a more powerful acceleration.

The multi-genre drop-top features a concentrated visage that makes the concept truly future city-worthy in the greenest possible sense. Stylistically, the Urban Concept Spyder does not differ from the Urban Concept coupe by a whole lot. However, the ultra-light car still reflects the traditional design language of Audi.

The cockpit and integrated undercarriage of the Urban Concept Spyder are done in carbon fiber-reinforced polymer. The compact electric drive has elaborating suspension which allows it to make the most of the two E-Tron electric motors. Gorgeous free-standing 21-inch alloy wheels surrounded by protective plates, and forward-urging lines marked by blinking LED strips make the concept appear as competitive in its segment as it possibly can be. The vehicle’s performance capabilities are not marred by a huge carbon footprint either with the lithium-ion battery giving it all the green hearts it needs.

The Frankfurt-bound two-seater lower curb measurement is matched with a customizable pedal and steering wheel that can be refitted to mimic the dimensions of the driver. Although the concept is as city-chic as a hatchback can be, the sporty design conveys a much more sensory driving experience to the user. Extensive use of sports-specific elements like the slide-back roof, and imaginative tailgate entry highlight the car’s futuristic outlook. An innovative cabin design and the use of lightweight materials for the body and controls further emphasize the sportiness of the design, making the Urban Concept Spyder a definite showstopper for the coming Frankfurt show.

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About the Author: Amanda Kidd is a blogger who also happens to be gadgets lover. She is very fascinated by the luxury world and hence, is planning to write an article on the most expensive gadget in the world.

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Sunday August 28th, 2011 14:46 Audi Reveals the Hybrid A8 Saloon

 

With the Frankfurt Motor Show just weeks away, Audi has revealed its hybrid A8 Saloon car. The Hybrid A8, set to debut in Frankfurt, runs on a four cylinder 2.0-litre TFSI petrol engine and a lithium-ion battery.

While the petrol engine produces 207bhp and 350Nm of torque, when coupled with the 40kw battery, the total output of the A8 hybrid is raised to 241bhp along with 427Nm of torque.

In terms of its green credentials, the hybrid A8 can claim CO2 emissions of 148g/km. One thing Audi will undoubtedly be looking to improve upon in future hybrid models will be the fuel economy of such models. As it stands, the A8 has a fuel economy of 44mpg. That falls a fair distance short of Audi’s alternative diesel offerings and will perhaps give potential buyers some pause for thought.

On electric power alone, the A8 is capable of reaching up to 62mph, taking 7.7 seconds to reach this speed. With the petrol engine in use, its total top speed stands at 146mph.

Drivers have the option of three different driving modes: The ‘EV’ mode prioritises the electric motor, while the ‘D’ option offers up an efficient combination of both the engine and the electric motor. In addition to these two modes comes the ‘S’ mode, which places an emphasis on greater acceleration.

The Audi A8 hybrid saloon has been given an exclusive Arctic Silver paint finish, and comes with three-zone automatic air conditioning, LED headlights and a BOSE sound system as standard.

Series production of the hybrid A8 will begin next year, and models should be expected to reach the UK by late 2012. If you want to take a closer look at it before then, then you will have to take a trip along to the Frankfurt Motor Show, which is open to the public from the 15th of September.

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Friday July 15th, 2011 13:09 Audi reveal latest updates to the A5 range

Audi has revealed details of its latest update to the A5 range. The German firm announced that the Coupe, Carbriolet and Sportback models would all be revised and updated.

Only minor changes have been made to the A5′s exterior, although it now has a new grille as well as narrower headlamp units. These units also happen to be stepped. On top of this, the A5 now features revised LED light clusters. You might need a magnifying glass and a measuring tape to notice, but Audi have also grown the exterior dimension of each model by a massive one millimetre.

In order to improve the handling of the A5, updates have also been made to the rear suspension bearings and the damper tuning.

Audi has also provided the A5 with a number of different engine options. Tweaks to the entry-level 1.8-litre engine now enable it to produce 168bhp and 320Nm of torque. As for the top of the range S5 Coupe, just as it did with the Sportback and Convertible, Audi has ditched the 350bhp 4.2-litre V8 engine. The S5 Coupe now has a much cleaner 3.0-litre V6 engine that is capable of producing 333bhp. This allows it to go from 0-62mph in just 4.9 seconds, while reaching a top speed of 155mph.

There will also be a range of diesel engines available for the A5, including two differently tuned versions of the same V6 diesel engine. Audi has promised to follow these up with “a particularly low-emissions clean diesel model” of the A5, making it the first coupe to meet the Euro 6 diesel standard.

Audi enthusiasts in the UK will be able to order the new Audi A5 from September. These cars are expected to reach the UK before the end of 2011. Although no official prices for the A5 have been revealed, it is expected to cost in the range of £25,500.

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Thursday June 23rd, 2011 17:11 MINI officially reveal the two-seater Coupé

 

MINI has announced details of its latest model, the highly-anticipated two-seater Coupé. Set for release in October, MINI hope that the new Coupé will provide a stern challenge to the Audi TT. Described by MINI as having “unrivalled handling agility,” the Coupé is the first “three-box” two-seater MINI. Sitting 52 millimetres lower than the standard MINI, and with a unique “helmet roof” design, the Coupé will certainly stick out from its rivals in the field.

There are four variants in the Coupé range, starting with the base model MINI Cooper Coupé and ending with the flagship John Cooper Works Coupé (JCW).

The Cooper, with its 120bhp, 1.6-litre engine, goes from 0-62mph in 9.0 seconds and has a pretty nifty top speed of 127mph. The JCW Coupé has a top speed of 149mph and roars from 0-62mph in an impressive 6.4 seconds. Its four-cylinder, 1.6-litre petrol engine boasts a twin-scroll turbocharger and direct injection, and has a maximum output of 211bhp at 6,000rpm.

In between these two models come the MINI Cooper S Coupé and the MINI Cooper SD Coupé. The SD Coupé has a four-cylinder, 2-litre turbo-diesel engine with an aluminium crankcase.

The “three-box” shape enables the MINI to have room for a 280-litre load bay. This is 120 litres more than the standard MINI. The impressive storage space doesn’t end there, however, as there are extra storage bins behind the seats in addition to a hatch for any long objects. Loading objects is also made easier by the Coupé’s wide and high-opening tailgate.

Prices for the Coupé begin at £16,640 for the Cooper Coupé and rise up to £23,795 for the flagship John Cooper Works Coupé. MINI describe the car as a “faithful expression of the hallmark MINI design language” and they will certainly hope that the car can gain MINI some new followers when it is released in October.

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Saturday June 4th, 2011 19:17 Audi Unveils the R8 GT Spyder

 

Yesterday, Audi unveiled its latest limited edition, high-performance sports car: The R8 GT Spyder. Audi will produce just 333 copies of the left-hand drive, open-topped Spyder, and each of these will have their build number stamped into the top of the aluminium gear level.

Based on the V10 version of the R8 Spyder, the GT version boasts an increase in power from 525bhp to 552bhp. With its 5.2-litre V10 engine, the GT Spyder produces 540Nm of torque at 6,500 rpm.

This increase in power, coupled with Audi’s significant efforts to lighten the car, has resulted in a marked increase in speed for the GT Spyder. Audi claim that the new sports car can go from 0-62mph in just 3.8 seconds, and has a top speed of just under 197mph. Even though it has less horsepower, these statistics match those of the Mercedes SLS Roadster.

Audi has managed to reduce 85kg from the weight of the car, meaning its weight now stands at 1640kg. Manufacturing the car’s body panels, front and rear spoilers and rear bumper from carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) has enabled Audi to do this. In addition to using lighter brakes, wheels and transmission, the German car manufacturer has also fitted the GT Spyder with special bucket seats that manage to save 31.5kg in weight on their own.

The R8 GT Spyder’s soft-top roof can be brought up or down in 19 seconds, and can function at speeds up to 31mph. Its glass rear window is separate from the soft top, and is nestled in the bulkhead of the car.

As far as standard equipment goes, the GT Spyder comes with LED headlights and tail lights, an automatic air conditioning system, an alarm system and a driver information system with a built-in lap timer.

Although there is no official release date for the Audi R8 GT Spyder, it is expected to be available before the end of this year, and at a cost of around £176,000.

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Wednesday May 18th, 2011 19:42 Audi Announce Production of A1 and A3 Green Cars

 

Audi has announced that from 2013, it will produce the all-electric A1 e-tron, and a gas-powered A3. These models will form the centrepiece of the German car manufacturer’s plans for a new environmentally friendly ‘balanced mobility’ initiative.

For now, Audi plans to build only 1,500 e-gas A3s, and these will all run on synthetic methane gas. Forming part of Audi’s wider green energy plans, this gas will come from purpose built off-shore wind farms. One of the clear advantages of using synthetic gas to power a car is that it removes the extra weight and performance limitations that battery-based electric cars face.

The four-seater A1 e-tron runs exclusively on the power of its electric motor, and draws its energy from a package of lithium-ion batteries. Storing 12 kWh of energy, the battery should be sufficient for around 31 miles of driving. With a peak torque of 240Nm, Audi’s electric car sprints from 0-62mph in 10.2 seconds and has a top speed of greater than 80mph.

The A3 e-gas uses a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine in conjunction with two fuel tanks, one for gas and one for petrol. With gas tanks that store the e-gas at a pressure of 200 bar, the A3 should, in theory, have enough capacity to cope with drives of over 250 miles. In the event that the natural-gas tanks run empty and there is no CNG station nearby, the Audi A3 can run on conventional gas with no drop in performance.

In addition to developing and producing the A1 and A3 models, Audi is building a new synthetic e-gas plant. Audi believes that by taking this approach, well-to-wheel emissions will be reduced by up to 85% over the latest crop of gas-powered vehicles.

With Audi’s A1 and A3 models on the horizon, the next few years should be an exciting time in terms of the continuing development of environmentally friendly green cars.

 

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Tuesday November 2nd, 2010 11:01 The new Audi TT RS has finally arrived

The new Audi TT RS DTM has the looks to kill with its five-cylinder TFSI engine, coupled with a aerodynamic racing body,and suspension giving it a head start at the finish line. This monster of a machine packs a punch taking on some of the Audi R8 LMS features, making the TT RS DTM one hot item. Intimidation, I think was the key factor when coming up with this concept racer. Audi set the model for all racing cars to follow in its foot steps when designing the TT RS DTM. Everything was thought of, to make this car out preform the rest in a bold, but luring way. You just want to sit behind the wheel, turn the key, and hear the 340bhp come to life.

For all the gear heads out there. This is one car you hope pass the test, against the SP 4T Class, in the last two rounds of the Nurburgring endurance championship, to see if you can get this souped up racer for your own to drive down the road. To watch the heads turn as you pull up to the stop light. Looking over at the person next to you, giving them a little half smile, as you step on the gas leaving them with a dumb founded look on their face. As you burn rubber leaving them with the smell to remember you by. As far as racing cars go this prototype does not look like the last you will see of this well built dream.

Car lovers every where will be keeping their eyes peeled, and wallets open to get one of the TT RS DTM’s right off the assembly line. The car manufacturers, designers, and the whole team out done themselves with this rebel with wheels, and its trademark style.

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