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Geneva 2010: Audi brings power, luxury, style, and hello...hybrids

Audi RS5
Audi RS5

Audi RS5

At the 2010 Geneva Auto Show, Audi has continued its steady stream of new model releases and concept cars.

POWER: Audi RS5 - Audi continues the evolution of arguably its most beautiful car, the A5, with the release of the RS5. The elegant coupe has come back from Audi's performance tuning skunkworks, quattro GmbH, with a high-revving 4.2 liter V8, producing 450 horsepower. That power is delivered to the ground through the latest version of Audi's AWD quattro system and a seven-speed flappy-paddle transmission, and should be good for a 0-60 mph time of around 4.5 seconds. The time spent in the quattro gym shows with the RS5 having broader shoulders in the form of UrQuattro-inspired fender flares, a deep front airdam with splitter, and a rear spoiler, which automatically extends at speeds over 75 mph. The RS5 rolls on 19-inch wheels, with optional 20-inch dubs available. The rest of the car meets Audi's current high standards: a beautiful interior sprinkled with bits of carbon fiber, LED Christmas lights up front, and excellent safety features in an elegant and powerful package. So, will this car be coming to the US? Audi hasn't said, but it is unlikely.

Audi A8 hybrid concept

LUXURY: Audi A8 hybrid - The newly redesigned, 2011 Audi A8 was revealed late last year at Design Week in Miami. Audi's flagship is better than ever, boasting more power, more gears, more fuel efficiency, and more technology than ever. Maybe Audi thought we couldn't handle any more news, so they kept one secret about the new A8. They were working on an A8 hybrid. The new car, which Audi calls a "near production concept car," is powered by the same 2.0 liter TFSI, four-cylinder engine found in the Audi A3 and A4, but also has an electric motor and lithium-ion battery, forming a full hybrid drive system. Despite its substantially greater size and weight, the A8 hybrid is faster and more fuel efficient than an A3 TDI (38 mpg vs. 34 mpg combined). So, will this car be coming to the US? Audi hasn't said, but it is unlikely. While there is a high demand for hybrid vehicles, most larger, upscale hybrids still have big engines. I don't think the idea of a four-banger flagship is ready for prime time in the US.

Audi A1

STYLE: Audi A1 and A1 e-tron - Audi's ambassador to the young and hip, Justin Timberlake, introduced the new Audi A1 to the crowd in Geneva, claiming to have reserved one of the first cars off the line. The new A1 is Audi's premium, compact, and stylish answer to the likes of BMW's Mini Cooper. Smaller and wittier than the buttoned-down A3, the A1 is targeting young, urban buyers as a fun, agile, and economical runabout that offers everyday utility. Much attention has been given to details that will appeal to the fashion forward set: LED lighting inside and out, unusual design cues (such as the contrasting-color roofline, A-pillars, and C-pillars), an interior design inspired by airplanes, and Audi's top-of-the-line multimedia system (MMI), which Audi un-ironically calls the "infotainment" system. The A1 has several engine options, both gasoline and diesel, that should provide reasonably quick acceleration, while returning impressive fuel mileage. Not far enough on the edge of the green bell curve for you? Fine. Audi also brought their A1 e-tron concept, which is an extended-range electric vehicle (ER-EV), much like the Chevrolet Volt. The A1 e-tron is a plug-in EV, but carries a small Wankel rotary engine to charge the battery, when power gets low. With the gasoline engine engaged, the A1 should return about 124 mpg. So, will this car be coming to the US? No. Audi didn't elaborate, but JT will have to drive his A1 elsewhere.

What do you think of Audi's new offerings? Are they moving in the right direction? Like me, were you looking forward to a Mini Cooper vs. Fiat 500 vs. Ford Fiesta vs. Aston Martin Cygnet vs. Audi A1 comparison? Sure, Top Gear can still do it, but what do you think about the possibility that none of these cars will make it to US shores? Let me know what you think in the comments. 

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  • Shawn 5 years ago

    Great write up. I have always been a bit sad about the lack of some of Audi's most interesting cars in the US market. I don't see it changing so I am not going to save up for this 450 hp RS5 quite yet.
    Audi is not the only manufacture who thinks the American taste in cars is vastly different from Europeans thus not sending some of the best and most interesting rides across the pond. Will this change any time soon? Time will tell!

  • Kevin 5 years ago

    I too am saddened by Audi withholding the best and most interesting cars from the US.

    The RS5 would sell out. The A8 hybrid is fascinating and I love the idea, but I think it would be a tough sell to a country that still loves to have the V8 badge on their lawnmowers.

    The A1 is just not a great car to have in much of the US in my opinion. I'm sure it will sell just fine but it's a pinball with all the large cars on the roads here. For urban use where space is premium, I can see it's value. But for many of us that live in wide open suburbia with kids and pile on the bulk crap from Sams and Costco every week...I don't see it. Now if we can get our large size, large power, and great efficiency (like the A8 hybrid), to me that is the magic bullet.

    In true US glutonous fashion, I want an A4 crammed with the 3.0TDI. But make it an Avant for those trips to buy 700 rolls of toilet paper and 200 Toni's pizzas.

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