Latest concept vehicle debuted at Los Angeles Auto Show
The debut of a new Audi show car at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show is hardly surprising—after all, the brand has excelled in claiming its own unique place in the luxury class with a succession of exciting releases. But the latest vehicle does have something that sets it apart from all other Audi vehicles to date: it is the first vehicle bearing the signature of new Head of Design Marc Lichte.
For his first show car, Lichte went back to the basics of the Audi brand: “sportiness, lightweight design and quattro drive.” Design and technology find a new harmony in the vehicle, which bears Lichte’s distinctive touch both inside and out.
While this is Lichte’s first vehicle for Audi, he is no stranger to innovative vehicle design. During his time as a student of transportation design at Pforzheim University, he started his career at Volkswagen AG. He worked as an exterior designer and eventually Head of the Exterior Design Studio, making his mark on models including the Golf 5, 6, and 7 and the Passat 6, 7, and 8.
The Los Angeles Auto Show held plenty of other great surprises for Audi fans, including the debut of the limited-edition Audi R8 Competition. For a look at the latest in today’s automotive design, visit our dealership today.
New for 2015
While no sweeping changes for the 2015 A8, the full-size luxury sedan does get a revised front and rear design with LED lights now standard, as well as more power for the 4.0T model. A lane-keeping assist and head-up display (HUD) are also available.
In Pursuit of Perfection
Being top among a contingent of impressive vehicles is never an easy task, but that’s exactly what Audi’s flagship A8 sedan was built to do. With rivals like the S-Class and 7 Series nipping at its heels, the 2015 A8’s task of staying one step ahead of the competition continues to test the brilliance of Audi’s engineers.
Thankfully, Audi know a thing or two about luxury cars, and the 2015 A8 was designed from the ground up not just to perform, but to amaze and awe drivers with its sleek design, potent powertrains, and copious amounts of luxury features.
Powertrains and Performance
The palatial 2015 Audi A8 is available with two powertrains, both of which put plenty of pedal to the metal. Also worth noting is Audi’s patented quattro® all-wheel drive which is standard across the entire lineup, adding extra comfort and peace of mind regardless of road conditions.
The A8 3.0T features a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 333 horsepower and 325 pound feet of torque. Mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission, it can sprint to 60 mph in a lightning-quick 5.3-second burst. Despite its size and penchant for thrills, the V6 returns an impressive EPA-estimated 22 mpg combined (19 city/29 highway).*
Of course, if it’s fuel efficiency you’re after then look no further than the diesel-powered A8 TDI. As its name suggests, the TDI utilizes a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that generates 240 horsepower and 428 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to the same seven-speed automatic and returns 28 mpg combined (24 city/36 highway),* making it the fuel-sipping champ of the A8 family.
But perhaps you’re willing to compromise on fuel efficiency for more power and excitement? If that’s the case then you will be instantly pleased with the A8 4.0T. It sports a 4.0-liter V8 engine that pumps out 435 horsepower and 444 pound-feet of torque. Once again power is sent to all four wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy suffers ever so slightly, returning 22 mpg combined (18 city/30 highway).*
If all out performance is what you crave then Audi has a model just for you. The range-topping A8 W12 churns out 500 horsepower and 463 pound-feet of torque from a 6.3-liter naturally aspirated (no turbocharging here) W12 engine. A mad dash to 60 mph from a standstill is achieved in just 4.4 seconds, while fuel economy drops to 17 mpg combined (14 city/22 highway).* But at this point does it really even matter?
Features and Trims
The 2015 Audi A8 is versatile model that comes in normal and long-wheelbase versions for the six- and eight-cylinder gasoline-powered models. Diesel-powered TDI models and the monstrous W12 are available only as long-wheelbase models. Pricing starts at $77,400.**
This being an Audi even the base A8 3.0T is well-appointed. It includes much-desired features such as 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, heated and power-folding exterior mirrors, and front and rear parking sensors.
Audi has earned a reputation for pushing the limits of in-vehicle technology, and the 2015 A8 is a perfect example of when engineering and cutting-edge technology combine to deliver something more than the sum of their parts. In addition to in-car Wi-Fi, “base” modes feature an eight-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth®, and Audi’s MMI infotainment interface, complete with navigation, voice controls, and a rearview camera.
Stepping up to the eight-cylinder 4.0T includes many of the above features but adds active noise cancellation.
Outfitting your Audi with even more luxury and refinement is as easy as checking off any number of available packages. These range from a Warm Weather package to an Extended Leather package, which adds leather-upholstered door armrests, center console, and airbag cover.
Naturally, stepping up to W12 adds more of everything. Those 19-inch wheels become 20-inch versions, while other comfort, cosmetic, and performance features, like premium leather, a head-up (HUD) display, and variable-ratio steering, are adding to the mix.
Like so many Audi’s before it, the exterior styling of the 2015 A8 is understated yet full of passion and excitement. It’s taught and angular lines exude a more subdued confidence; one that doesn’t resort to excessive curves or superfluous flourishes to get its point across.
Of course underneath that freshly-pressed metal suit lays a desire to thrill, which is highlighted by the imposing trapezoidal front grille and signature LED strips underneath the headlights. There is also a fair bit of sculpting on the hood, but overall the A8’s approach to design is appealing even if it appears outwardly restrained.
The interior is equally appealing. The driver is greeted by a four-spoke steering wheel, and held in place by heavily-bolstered seats. The sweeping center console with its dual flat vents is nicely done, and the slope makes controls easy to reach.
Models equipped with navigation also come with a dashboard-topping display screen and Audi’s intuitive controller, which combines a sleek touchpad for climate, audio, and navigation functions. The cabin’s attention to detail borders on obsessive, with rich leather and wood trim adorning almost every inch of the interior.
The 2015 A8 is available with a litany of standard safety features that include antilock brakes, stability and traction control, a comprehensive array of airbags (front and rear side, front knee, and full-length curtain), a rearview camera, and Audi Pre-Sense, which automatically readies the cabin and occupants for an imminent collision by closing windows and sunroof, as well as tightening seatbelts.
Even more safety features are available for drivers seeking even more peace of mind. Audi’s available safety technologies are impressive and range from Pre-Sense Plus, which alerts the driver to imminent frontal collisions and intervenes with maximum braking, to Pre-Sense Rear, which reacts to imminent rear-end collisions by tensioning seatbelts, closing windows, and adjusting seats for maximum protection.
Other standard and optional equipment depending on trim level include a surround-view camera system, a night-vision system, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping, and a blind-spot monitoring system.
The 2015 Audi A8 is truly a remarkable full-size luxury sedan. Its potent blend of power, poise, and luxury position it as the top choice for drivers searching for the very best that German engineering has to offer. The A8 is the type of vehicle that requires little in the way of compromises. And we believe that’s the way it should be.
Visit or contact our dealership today to schedule a test drive of this or any other remarkable Audi vehicle.
*EPA estimates. Your mileage may vary depending on driving habits and conditions.
** Price listed is the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price for the vehicle and do not include transportation, taxes, title, other options, dealer installation costs, or other dealer charges.
Most recent month marks the 4th highest sales result for Audi in the U.S. and the best November on record
Audi in the U.S. has now established annual sales records in each of the past five years. The previous annual record was set in 2013 with full-year sales of 158,061 vehicles. The brand has maintained steady momentum throughout 2014, including the best-ever November results for the month.
“A fifth-consecutive year of record sales reflects the results of steady investment in products and technologies alongside enthusiastic dealer partners expanding the brand profile across America,” said Mark Del Rosso, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Audi of America. “We are confident that Audi momentum will continue to be evident through the end of 2014 and into 2015.”
Through the end of next year, Audi U.S. dealers are on course to spend $920 million on new or expanded facilities to keep pace with growth.
November results were bolstered by sales of Audi luxury SUVs, with the Audi Q7 posting a 14.6% gain on 1,746 units sold for the month, and the Q5 posting a 16.8% gain on 4,184 units sold for the month. Year-to-date sales for the Audi Q7 increased 21.1%, while YTD sales for the Audi Q5 increased 6.5%. Sales of the all-new Audi Q3 were strong with 2,753 vehicles sold YTD.
November sales of the top-of-the-range Audi models maintained pace, constituting one-third of all Audi sales, including the Audi A8 with a 15.7% sales increase for the month.
Steady demand for the all-new Audi A3 continued with 2,511 sales for the month and 19,560 sold YTD, solidifying the A3 as one of top sellers for the brand YTD. The A3 model line was expanded earlier this year with the addition of the A3 cabriolet, A3 TDI sedan and S3 performance sedan.
November is the 16th consecutive month of record sales for Audi Certified pre-owned vehicles, also establishing a new annual sales record. The month marked an increase of 15.4% and a total of 4,168 CPO vehicles sold; CPO sales year-to-date have increased 18% to 42,674 vehicles.
•The 2015 Audi A3 models, including new sedan, Cabriolet and TDI variants, have generated sales of 19,560 units since the first of the family line models reached the U.S. in the spring.
•Sales of Audi premium category vehicles (Audi A6, Audi A7, Audi A8, and Audi Q7) increased 8% year-to-date, representing 30.9% of total Audi sales year-to-date and 18% of the Audi year-to-date sales gain.
•Sales mix for Audi S performance variants finished the month at 10.3% for the S3 sedan; 15.8% for the S4 sedan; 38.3% for the S5/ RS 5; 3.3% for the S6; 27.2% for the S7 / RS 7; 15.5% for the S8; 50% for the TTS Coupe and TTS Roadster, and 5.5% for the SQ5 crossover.
•November sales mix for Audi TDI models: Audi A3 TDI at 7.4%; Audi A6 TDI at 8.1%; Audi A7 TDI at 12.6%; A8 TDI at 9.5%; Audi Q5 TDI at 14.3%, Audi Q7 TDI at 19.1%, with an overall mix of 12.2% on 1,394 total TDI sales for November.
•Audi holds the longest running monthly record sales streak in the premium car market according to a competitive sales report from MotorIntelligence.com.
Through late November, Audi surpassed the previous full-year sales record of 158,061 vehicles set in 2013
The new milestone set with one month remaining means that 2014 is the fifth-consecutive record year for the premium brand. By the end of December, Audi expects to register 48 consecutive monthly sales records, the longest-running streak in the U.S. auto industry.
Audi Certified pre-owned vehicles also established a new annual record in November with more than 42,000 vehicles sold to date. The previous record set in 2013 was 40,190 CPO vehicles sold.
"Audi is making consistent progress in the upper echelon of America’s premium automobile segment," said Mark Del Rosso, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Audi of America. "These gains reflect the benefits of a brand strategy built on sustainable sales growth, a network of passionate dealers, balanced pricing and, of course, compelling new models."
Audi of America has established both new vehicle and Certified pre-owned vehicle sales records in all ten months and expect to do so in November as well. A steady pace of sales records is just one indicator of Audi’s brand health in America. Throughout 2014, Audi has enjoyed sustained gains in customer awareness along with higher average transaction prices, reflecting the sustained appeal at top end of the U.S. luxury market.
Audi shows the benchmark of future design language in Los Angeles
“When he moved to Audi, Marc Lichte launched a design offensive,” says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Board Member for Development, who brought him to Ingolstadt in 2014. “His clear philosophy and precise understanding of Audi DNA let him develop a design strategy that is opening up entirely new perspectives for us. It is progressive and highly emotional; it expresses the technological competence and quality claim of the brand perfectly. The Audi prologue is its first proponent – it is a ‘signature car’ for Audi.”
Marc Lichte himself describes the character of the show car in this way: “Audi stands for sportiness, lightweight design and the quattro permanent all-wheel drive. In the Audi prologue, we are expressing this know-how in a new form – we have put the sportiest car in the luxury segment on wheels. Our team took new approaches in both exterior and interior design.”
Audi design is now expressing progressive technology even more powerfully. The two-door coupe has a flowing, elegant shape in a sporty and taut design. Its forms and lines are unmistakable and introduce many new ideas. In the clear and unobstructed interior, the architecture melds with the display and operating concept to create a new type of unit. The entire front of the instrument panel is a large touch display, and a portion of the user interface operates with a new type of OLED display made of organic LEDs.
The show car’s technology combines power, comfort and efficiency. The 4.0 TFSI produces up to 445 kW (605 hp) of power and 750 Nm (553.2 lb-ft) of torque; it accelerates the Audi prologue from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 3.7 seconds. Its dynamic all-wheel steering, in which the rear wheels can turn up to five degrees, makes the large couple extremely responsive and stable while driving.
Harmonious proportions: exterior
The Audi prologue is somewhat shorter and flatter than today’s production A8* with a length of 5.10 meters (16.7 ft), wheelbase of 2.94 meters (9.6 ft), width of 1.95 meters (6.4 ft) and height of 1.39 meters (4.6 ft). A dominant feature at its low front end is a Singleframe displaying the four rings that is integrated into the automobile architecture. The large radiator grille has been widened much more, and it is positioned lower than on today’s production models. Its strong horizontal effect expresses an image of powerful dynamics. The cross bars have a finely structured diamond pattern, and their ends are split.
The headlights – shaped like wide, flat wedges – are located with their tips above the Singleframe. They present high-resolution Matrix laser technology: an innovation from Audi which opens up new approaches to headlight design and enables completely new functionalities. The pupils of the headlights are formed by a projection lens with a laser light source – they generate a matrix that illuminates the entire street in high resolution. Hovering beneath this element are five plastic lenses that are supplied with light via a glass fiber bundle, which are mounted to a lightweight structure and further extend the high-beam light. The new laser technology lets lighting designers create an extremely lightweight, compact and elegant eye-shaped form.
Audi quattro DNA visualized
Also new is the sculptural form of the air intakes under the headlights – the distinctive air intakes have diamond pattern screens in their interiors. A dynamically contoured blade, which is clearly separated from the bumper by a gap, elicits associations to motor sport. Mounted to it are two additional spoilers in glossy black, which give the show car an even stronger and wider stance on the road.
In side profile, its flowing silhouette expresses the character of forward motion in the Audi prologue. Balanced proportions put equal emphasis on the front and rear wheels – a clear reference to the quattro DNA of Audi. The powerful 22-inch wheels are set in widely flared wheel arches. They are fitted with tires of size 285/30. Each wheel’s ten intertwining Y spokes project a filigreed, three-dimensional and powerful image.
Edges above the wheel arches refer back to the Ur-quattro
A characteristic feature of the Audi prologue are the flared shoulders above the wheels, front and rear. Like the blisters of the original Audi Ur-quattro of the 1980s, they visualize the quattro drive – but they are no longer just added on, rather they are worked into the flow of the base architecture. In a side view, the shoulders form two gentle arcs above the wheels, which break up the somewhat lower shoulder line between the wheels.
The fenders, doors and rear side panels show curved muscular surfaces. The lower door area has a low concave shape that runs upwards to the rear – a motif that links to the design theme of air inlets. The side sills are drawn inward; glossy black aprons form a continuation of the front spoiler. All lines and surfaces on the Audi prologue show car are logically interrelated, which is typical Audi.
Aluminum components in hand-finished quality
The door mirrors are small aluminum sculptures: The mirror housings in the form of a shell create a flowing transition to the window slot trim. They also integrate the open-door sensor surfaces. The doors have no handles, and they are opened electromechanically when the illuminated sensor surfaces are touched.
Vast areas of the stiff multimaterial body of the Audi prologue consist of aluminum and ultra-high-strength steel. The windows are framed by matt and polished aluminum trim strips. At the end of the low roof dome, the window framing transitions into a solid surface of aluminum; its workmanship illustrates the handcraft-like manufacturing quality of Audi, and it enables lowering of the windows despite the C-pillars. This area integrates the fuel tank lid on the right side of the show car. It has an electric opening mechanism and can be lowered completely into the C-pillar by pressing a button in the interior. For enhanced convenience in refueling, the tank closure does not have a cap. The paint is a light diva gray, a new type of pearl effect paint, which has a warm and elegant appearance.
Rear section drives the whole car forward
The rear section of the Audi prologue also breaks with conventions. It is angled in the driving direction and is reminiscent of the side and rear views of a luxurious yacht; the sickle-shaped seam between the side panel and the bumper emphasizes this dynamism. The edge of the trunk lid, which is executed as a discreet spoiler, picks up on the blister line coming from the side panel. Between the C-pillars, the rear window has a concave inward curve – it closes off the passenger compartment while enabling convenient cargo loading with the separate trunk lid. The Audi prologue unites the positive aspects of a saloon with the aesthetic highlights of a coupe.
The unconventional design of the LED rear lights with their 3D glass gives the tail lights all of the benefits of the new design: the new, long tail lights run across the entire width of the car. At its termination point, the light illuminates the frame of the embossed 3D form. Fine lines in the 3D glass appear to hover in the middle of the light. The brake light is located deep inside the lighting unit. When braking, the bottom of the 3D imprint is also illuminated, which makes the light appear to move towards the observer. This configuration on different levels, and the alternation between 2D and 3D lighting functions lets the observer experience the tail lights in an entirely new dynamic way.
Beneath the bumper, there is a diffuser made of glossy black aluminum; like the front blade, it extends over the full width of the car as a separate, significantly recessed element. The diffuser integrates two trapezoid-shaped inlets which visually coordinate with the embossed tail lights and house the exhaust system tailpipes.
Luxurious and innovative: interior and operating concept
The spacious interior of the Audi prologue is like a luxurious lounge. It is based on Gran Turismo design, and it enables both very sporty driving and relaxed touring. The interface visually adapts to the specific driving style. The interior marks the beginning of a new design era at Audi, in which the architecture merges with the operating concept to form one unit. The surfaces for displays and controls are innovatively integrated into the instrument panel and console of the center tunnel, and the infotainment system brings driver and passenger into dialog with one another.
When entering the vehicle, the four-seat coupe receives its passengers with polite hospitality. The “butler” – an innovative intelligent software program – identifies them based on their smartphones and adjusts the seats and climate control system according to their preferences. The system also makes recommendations for music and route planning that are oriented towards the owner’s preferences. The Easy Slot system, an advanced development of the Audi phone box, is located under lids in the center console. A special mechanism networks the smartphones of passengers to the vehicle infotainment system and charges them.
Generous open interior space
Tautly stretched lines and lean geometric forms give the interior a light and clear ambience. The instrument panel has a light and elegant appearance with its strictly horizontal layout that is not interrupted anywhere, and it emphasizes the generous interior width. It lowers itself towards the interior on two levels. The upper level is positioned, like a roof, above the Audi virtual cockpit future – an advanced development of the Audi virtual cockpit – and above the line of air vents. It is part of the wrap-around – a large arc that encircles the driver and front passenger.
A second wrap-around joins the front and rear sections of the interior and is already quite visible from the exterior. The center console with its pass-through also appears to hover, as do the front seats, whose rails are mounted on the tunnel and side sills. The head restraints of the two rear bucket seats are lowered when not in use; they automatically extend when a passenger enters the rear seating area with the electric easy entry function.
When the sound system is activated, a new type of sound spoiler extends from the rear shelf; it optimally produces a premium sound in the car that is typical of Audi.
Entire front of instrument panel becomes a display
A radically new type of display and operating concept is embedded in the elegant architecture. Across its full width, the front of the instrument panel is designed to be a display surface which integrates three touch displays. The driver-oriented display to the left of the steering wheel is used to control functions for lighting and assistance systems. The driver-oriented operating unit to the right contains media controls. The front passenger faces a widescreen display that is integrated into the full surface of the instrument panel; it is used to individually and conveniently control entertainment features.
The new type of front passenger display enables digital interaction between the driver and front passenger for the first time. A wiping movement by the passenger is all it takes to send pre-configured routes to the driver’s display and input them into the Audi virtual cockpit future.
On the console of the center tunnel, there is a fourth flexible touch display that is ergonomically adapted to the driver; it is used for climate control, handwriting input and other vehicle settings. This display consists primarily of an extremely thin, bendable OLED film (OLED: organic light emitting diodes), and it displays extremely sharp images that are rich in contrast. When not in use, the OLED display is integrated flush to the center console and is nearly invisible. When the car is started, the flexible display stands up. The fact that it bends ensures a constant distance to the hand which makes for better ergonomics. When operating the display, the wrist rests on the low-positioned gear selector lever of the eight-speed tiptronic.
Designers have also redesigned the shift-by-wire lever. It is now integrated seamlessly into the center console. Cupholders and smartphone slots are installed under lids on the center console, to the left and right of the console support element.
Audi virtual cockpit future shows images on three levels
The Audi virtual cockpit future offers a glimpse into the future of the digital cockpit: High-resolution displays and three mirrors generate a virtual stage on three levels – a fascinating view with visual depth. In the navigation view, the first level presents information that is important for driving; levels two and three generate the depth effect in the cockpit. Structuring the information on different levels makes it better organized and easier for the driver to comprehend. The content and colors of the Audi virtual cockpit future change as a function of driving style – in sporty driving, the display switches over to Sport mode with special presentation of the relevant information such as engine rpm, temperatures and charge pressure.
Inside the Audi prologue, every detail clearly illustrates its exclusive character. A finely crafted perforated panel covers the air vents. If the driver sets the blower to a higher stage, the panel retracts downwards.
White LED light conductors trace the distinctive lines of the interior, starting at the doors. A large aluminum brace forms the steering wheel spokes; it harmonizes with the bars on the displays and the door pull handles. All aluminum accents show perfection in craftsmanship: Their surfaces have matt finishes, and the edges are polished – a fine interplay of gloss levels.
Natural materials communicate a new luxury
For Audi designers from the Color & Trim area, natural materials are the new luxury; all of the materials in the show car fascinate with their authenticity. The surfaces of the seats and seat backs, the dashboard, the console on the center tunnel and the armrests are covered in light-colored “passion” leather – a new soft grade of leather that emphasizes the natural characteristics of the animal hide.
Soft nubuck leather, also in a light color, covers the backs of the seats and the side panel trim of the rear seating area. On the instrument panel, the gray-brown trim of the lower section provides another strong accent. The wrap-around is upholstered in dark “passion” leather; here, and in many other areas, aluminum trim strips contrast with panels of open-grained silver-gray elm wood veneer.
Sporty yet convenient: the technology
The technology of the Audi prologue is as sophisticated as its interior is emotion-evoking. The 4.0 TFSI, which is installed in the engine compartment like a technical masterpiece, produces 445 kW (605 hp) and 700 Nm (516.3 lb-t) of torque; in overboost mode, which the driver can call up for around 15 seconds, a boosted torque of 750 Nm (553.2 lb-ft) is available. The sonorous biturbo V8 accelerates the twoâÂ€Â‘door coupe, which has an unladen weight of 1,980 kilograms (4,365.2 lb) from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 3.7 seconds.
The show car’s combined fuel consumption is just 8.6 liters per 100 kilometers (27.4 US mpg), which equates to CO2 emissions of 199 grams per kilometer (320.3 g/mile). One contributor to this high efficiency is a new 48-volt subsystem of the vehicle electrical system – this is a technology that will soon be introduced to production cars at Audi. The 48-volt system is supplied by a powerful belt starter generator, which turns the powertrain into a mild hybrid and has an energy recovery output of up to 12 kW during braking. An eight-speed tiptronic directs engine power to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive, which works closely with torque vectoring.
New five-link wheel suspensions
In the chassis, the adaptive air suspension sport – an air suspension with controlled damping – offers a large adjustment range between smooth rolling and very tight handling; it also varies the show car’s ground clearance over several levels. The front and rear suspensions are engineered as lightweight five-link designs. The large carbon-fiber ceramic brake discs decelerate the show car powerfully. On the 20-inch front brakes, they are gripped by six-piston fixed calipers.
A technology highlight of the Audi prologue is its dynamic all-wheel steering – it boosts driving dynamics and ride comfort by an intelligent combination of dynamic and all-wheel steering. The driver therefore can enjoy an automobile with extremely good handling. In the lower speed range, this is made evident by better agility and turning ability. In the higher speed range, developers improved the car’s responsiveness which leads to greater vehicle stability.
Overall, dynamic all-wheel steering – with rear wheel steering angles of up to five degrees – makes it easy to maneuver when parking and offers precise and sporty steering on country roads and impressively comfortable steering on freeways.
Fuel consumption of the models named above:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 11.3 – 5.9 (20.8 – 39.9 US mpg)**;
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 264 – 144 (424.9 – 231.7 g/mi)**
**The fuel consumption and the CO2 emissions of a vehicle vary due to the choice of wheels and tires. They not only depend on the efficient utilization of the fuel by the vehicle, but are also influenced by driving behavior and other non-technical factors.
Expertise in fuel cell technology – A7 Sportback h-tron quattro technology demonstrator ready for real-life traffic
To coincide with the Los Angeles Auto Show 2014, Audi is inviting international motoring journalists to drive their first few test kilometers on public roads with the technology demonstrator.
“The A7 Sportback hâ€‘tron quattro is a genuine Audi – at once sporty and efficient. Conceived as an eâ€‘quattro, its two electric motors drive all four wheels,” explained Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development at Audi. “The hâ€‘tron concept car shows that we have also mastered fuel cell technology. We are in a position to launch the production process as soon as the market and infrastructure are ready.”
In the fuel cell mode, the A7 Sportback hâ€‘tron quattro needs only about one kilogram (2.2 lb) of hydrogen to cover 100 kilometers (62.1 mi) – its energy content is equivalent to that of 3.7 liters (1.0 US gal) of gasoline. The tank capacity means it is capable of a range of more than 500 kilometers (310.7 mi).
Like a car with combustion engine, refueling takes no more than around three minutes. The range is boosted by up to 50 kilometers (31.1 mi) by a battery with a capacity of 8.8 kilowattâ€‘hours, which is recharged by recuperation or alternatively from a power socket. As a plug-in hybrid, the A7 Sportback hâ€‘tron quattro will thus have crucial extra range in reserve.
The Audi A7 Sportback h-tron quattro
It sprints from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mi) in 7.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 180 km/h (111.8 mph). It covers over 500 kilometers (310.7 mi) on one tank of fuel – and its exhaust emits nothing more than a few drops of water: The A7 Sportback h-tron quattro, which Audi is unveiling at the Los Angeles Auto Show 2014, uses a powerful, sporty electric drive with a fuel cell as its energy source that operates in combination with a hybrid battery and an additional electric motor in the rear. The overall electrical system power of 170 kW is transferred to both the front and the rear wheels. This drive configuration makes the emission-free Audi A7 Sportback* a quattro through and through – a new departure in fuel cell cars.
“The A7 Sportback hâ€‘tron quattro is a genuine Audi – at once sporty and efficient. Conceived as an eâ€‘quattro, its two electric motors drive all four wheels,” explained Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development at Audi. “The hâ€‘tron concept car shows that we have mastered fuel cell technology. We are in a position to launch the production process as soon as the market and infrastructure are ready.”
The “h” in the name hâ€‘tron denotes the chemical element hydrogen. In visual terms the technology demonstrators that Audi has brought along to the Los Angeles Auto Show basically resemble the production models. As the label with the hâ€‘tron signet reveals, this concept car now takes its place alongside the other Audi models with alternative drive principles, the eâ€‘tron and gâ€‘tron. Externally, there is no other evidence of the fuel cell that converts hydrogen into electrical power on board the vehicle.
The fuel cell
The crucial differences are beneath the hood of the A7 Sportback: The fuel cell in the Audi technology demonstrator is installed at the front, mirroring the conventional A7 Sportback with combustion engine. Because the exhaust system only has to handle water vapor, it is made of weightâ€‘saving plastic.
The fuel cell itself comprises over 300 individual cells that together form a stack. The core of each of these individual cells is a polymer membrane. There is a platinum-based catalyst on both sides of the membrane.
This is how the fuel cell works: Hydrogen is supplied to the anode, where it is broken down into protons and electrons. The protons migrate through the membrane to the cathode, where they react with the oxygen present in air to form water vapor. Meanwhile, outside the stack the electrons supply the electrical power – depending on load point, the individual cell voltage is 0.6 to 0.8 volts.
The entire fuel cell operates in the voltage range of 230 to 360 volts. The main auxiliary assemblies include
- a turbocharger that forces the air into the cells,
- the so-called recirculation fan – it returns unused hydrogen to the anode, thus increasing efficiency, and
- a coolant pump.
There is a separate cooling circuit for the essential cooling of the fuel cell. A heat exchanger and a thermoelectric, self-regulating auxiliary heating element maintain pleasant temperatures in the cabin.
The fuel cell, which operates across a temperature range of 80 degrees Celsius, places higher demands on the vehicle cooling than an equivalent combustion engine but achieves superior efficiency of as high as 60 percent – almost double that of a conventional combustion engine. Its cold-starting performance is guaranteed down to -28 degrees Celsius.
A special feature of the A7 Sportback hâ€‘tron quattro is its plugâ€‘in hybrid concept – this represents a logical evolution from the Audi A2 H2 and Q5 HFC test cars. It has a lithiumâ€‘ion battery on board that can be recharged from the power socket by lead; with an 8.8 kWh energy capacity, it has been adopted from the A3 Sportback eâ€‘tron*. It is located beneath the trunk and has a separate cooling circuit for thermal management.
This highâ€‘performance battery makes the ideal partner to the fuel cell. It can store energy recovered from brake applications and supply considerable power for fullâ€‘load boosting. This paves the way for impressive acceleration, making the A7 Sportback hâ€‘tron quattro truly live up to quattro standards. Both the front and rear axles have no mechanical connections for the transmission of power. In the event of slip, the torque for both driven axles can be controlled electronically and adjusted continuously.
On battery power, the Audi A7 Sportback hâ€‘tron quattro covers as much as 50 kilometers (31.1 mi). The battery in the rear of the plugâ€‘in hybrid can be recharged by lead. Depending on the voltage and current rating, a full recharge takes between two hours (industrial power socket/360 volts) and four hours (domestic power socket at 230 volts).
The battery operates at a different voltage level to the fuel cell. For that reason, there is a DC converter (DC/AC) between the two components. This triâ€‘port converter is located behind the stack. In many operating statuses it equalizes the voltage, enabling the electric motors to operate at their maximum efficiency of 95 percent.
The power electronics in the front and rear of the vehicle convert the direct current from the fuel cell and battery into alternating current for the electric motors to drive the front and rear axles separately.
The two electric motors, which are cooled by a low-temperature circuit together with the voltage converters, are permanently excited synchronous machines. Each of them has an output of 85 kW, or even 114 kW if the voltage is temporarily raised. The peak torque is 270 Newtonmeters (199.1 lbâ€‘ft) per electric motor.
The electric motors’ housings incorporate planetary gear trains with a single transmission ratio of 7.6:1. A mechanical parking lock and a differential function round off the system.
The appeal of e-quattro
Driving in the Audi A7 Sportback hâ€‘tron quattro offers the full appeal of electric drive in conjunction with the new eâ€‘quattro. The silent propulsion is fully available from the off, and the fuel cell reaches its maximum output within one second at full load – a more dynamic response than a combustion engine because the entire drive system involves only a few mechanical components.
With 540 Nm (398.3 lbâ€‘ft) of propulsive power at its disposal the Audi A7 Sportback hâ€‘tron quattro, which tips the scales at only around 1,950 kilograms (4,299.0 lb), races from a standstill to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 7.9 seconds. Its top speed is 180 km/h (111.8 mph) – a top figure for its field of competitors. The eâ€‘quattro concept requires precise coordination of the electric motors – the technology demonstrator offers a sporty, stable and high-traction drive that is comparable to a production car with mechanical quattro drive.
A power meter – in the place of the revolution counter in the instrument cluster – informs the driver of the momentary power flow. The outer sections show the fuel level in the hydrogen tank and the level of battery charge. Graphics on the MMI monitor visualize the energy flow. When the driver presses the EV button, the technology demonstrator drives solely on battery power.
Switching from automatic transmission mode D to S increases the level of energy recovery when braking, so that the battery is charged up effectively during sporty driving. Brake applications, too, are almost always accomplished fully electrically: The electric motors then act as alternators and convert the car’s kinetic energy into electrical energy that is stored in the battery. The four disk brakes only become involved if more forceful or emergency braking is required.
The tank flap is in the right side section of the five-door coupé, concealing a filler connector for the hydrogen. Fully refueling with H2 takes around three minutes, roughly as the same as a conventional automobile. The tanks communicate with the refueling system by infrared interface and equalize the pressure and temperature levels.
The four hydrogen tanks of the Audi A7 Sportback hâ€‘tron quattro are located beneath the base of the trunk, in front of the rear axle, in the center tunnel. An outer skin made from carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) encases the inner aluminum shell. The tanks can store around five kilograms of hydrogen at a pressure of 700 bar – enough to drive over 500 kilometers (310.7 mi). According to the NEDC cycle, fuel consumption is roughly one kilogram (2.2 lb) of hydrogen per 100 kilometers (62.1 mi) – an amount with an energy content equivalent to 3.7 liters (1.0 US gal) of gasoline.
It is already the case that the A7 Sportback hâ€‘tron quattro always travels with zero local emissions. By using the renewable fuel hydrogen, it can also be used globally as a zero emissions vehicle: Since 2013 Audi has been operating a pilot plant in which renewable wind power is used to produce hydrogen by electrolysis. At present, this hydrogen is still used in an additional production process to obtain synthetic methane (Audi eâ€‘gas). A future move to feed this hydrogen into a hydrogen supply and filling station network would make it available for refueling fuel-cell vehicles. This is a sound option for sustainable mobility with no emissions.
Fuel consumption of the models named above:
Audi A7 Sportback:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 9.5 – 4.7 (24.8 – 50.0 US mpg)**;
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 221 – 122 (355.7 – 196.3 g/mi)**
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron:Fuel consumption according to ECE standard in l/100 km: 1.7 – 1.5 (138.4 – 156.8 US mpg)**;
Combined electrical consumption in kWh/100 km (62.1 mi): 12.4 – 11.4**
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 39 – 35 (62.8 – 56.3 g/mi)**
**The fuel consumption and the CO2 emissions of a vehicle vary due to the choice of wheels and tires. They not only depend on the efficient utilization of the fuel by the vehicle, but are also influenced by driving behavior and other non-technical factors.
Incentives up to $5,000 towards the purchase or lease of a new Audi
Contact Fathers & Sons Audi for more information on these special loyalty offers, or to schedule a test drive.
Model Year 2014 Audi Owner Loyalty Program
|Eligible MY||Eligible Model||Incentive|
|2014||A4 & S4 Sedan||$1,000*|
|2014||A5, S5 & RS5 Coupe||$1,000*|
|2014||A5, S5 & RS5 Cabriolet||$1,000*|
|2014||A6 & S6||$1,500*|
|2014||A7, S7 & RS7||$1,500*|
|2014||A8 (including TDI) & S8||$5,000*|
|2014||TT & TTS Coupe||$1,000*|
|2014||TT & TTS Roadster||$1,000*|
|2014||Q5 & SQ5||$1,000*|
Model Year 2015 Audi Owner Loyalty Programs
|Eligible MY||Eligible Model||Incentive||Enhanced Incentive for Audi Financial Services Customers|
|2015||TT & TTS Coupe||$750**||$1000***|
|2015||TT & TTS Roadster||$750**||$1,000***|
*For an individual, member of an individual's household, or business customer who currently owns or leases a MY2001 or newer Audi model (proof of ownership/registration is required). Limit one incentive per eligible VIN. Audi of America, Inc. will pay between $1,000 and $5,000, depending upon model, towards the lease or purchase of a new, unused 2014 A4/S4 Sedan, A5/S5/RS 5 Coupe, A5/S5/RS 5 Cabriolet, allroad, TT/TTS, TT/TTS Roadster, Q5 & SQ5, A6, S6, A7, S7, RS 7, Q7, A8, and S8 models. Offer excludes R8 models. No trade-in required. Offers are non-transferable. Not redeemable for cash. Incentive paid to dealer and requires dealer participation. May not be combined with Conquest, Dealer Small Fleet Incentive, or Courtesy Vehicle Lease Programs. Fleet leasing, fleet management or dealer-affiliated fleet companies are not eligible. Offer ends October 2, 2014. See Fathers & Sons Audi for incentive and financing details or call 1-800-FOR-AUDI. Audi of America Bulletin 14-N-0068 ©2014 Audi of America, Inc.
**For an individual, member of an individual's household, or business customer who currently owns or leases a MY2001 or newer Audi model (proof of ownership/registration is required). Limit one incentive per eligible VIN. Audi of America, Inc. will pay between $500 and $750, depending upon model towards the lease or purchase of a new, unused 2015 A3 Sedan, TT/TTS, and TT/TTS Roadster.
No trade-in required. Offers are non-transferable. Not redeemable for cash. Incentive paid to dealer and requires dealer participation. May not be combined with Conquest, Dealer Small Fleet Incentive, or Courtesy Vehicle Lease Programs. Fleet leasing, fleet management or dealer-affiliated fleet companies are not eligible. Offer ends January 2, 2015. See Fathers & Sons Audifor incentive and financing details or call 1-800-FOR-AUDI. Audi of America Bulletin 14-N-0036 ©2014 Audi of America, Inc.
***For an individual, member of an individual's household, or business customer who currently owns or leases a MY2001 or newer Audi model. Limit one incentive per eligible VIN. Audi of America, Inc. will pay between $750 and $1000, depending upon model, towards the lease or purchase of a new, unused 2015 A3 Sedan, TT/TT-S, and TT/TT-S Roadster when you finance your lease or purchase through Audi Financial Services. Not all customers will qualify for financing through Audi Financial Services. No trade-in required. Offers are non-transferable. Not redeemable for cash. Incentive paid to dealer and requires dealer participation. May not be combined with Conquest, Dealer Small Fleet Incentive, or Courtesy Vehicle Lease Programs. Fleet leasing, fleet management or dealer-affiliated fleet companies are not eligible. Offer ends January 2, 2015. See Fathers & Sons Audi for incentive and financing details or call 1-800-FOR-AUDI. Audi of America Bulletin 14-N-0036; ©2014 Audi of America, Inc.
Q: What are the most important things to do to maintain a new car?
A: It’s often said that a car is the second most expensive thing you will ever own, apart from your house, so it makes plenty of sense to make sure you take care of it. This is especially true if and when it becomes time to sell the car. At this point, its condition and history will largely determine the selling price. Here are a couple of suggestions on how to get the most out of your car – with reliability while you own it and good resale value when you sell it.
Dealer service history
Every car comes with a service book that details when or at what mileage your car is due for a service. Some higher-end cars have automatic countdowns on the instrument panel to make it even clearer. Many car brands these days have free service plans built into the sale price, which certainly makes dealer servicing very attractive.
A full and authentic service history tells the next owner that you have taken care of the car properly. It also ensures that not only will the car remain as reliable as possible, but it will also be fixed for free in the event of a car recall for a specific problem. Once you move out of the dealer’s network, the auto company can lose track of you and may not be able to alert you to recalls.
Use correct fuel
Cars can use different grades of fuel, so read the manual and find out which grade your car takes. You might save money by buying lower grade fuel, but it can mean lower engine performance and possible damage to the engine. Fuel with an ethanol mix might also not be compatible with your car, as it can degrade seals in the car’s fuel and engine systems.
You car’s wheels are designed to be aligned in an exact direction when on the road, and even a soft bump on a curb can cause the settings to get out of spec. Getting a regular wheel alignment means that your tires will last longer, you will use less fuel, and your car will drive much better.
Car paint these days is pretty tough – it consists of several layers of paint, topped off by a clearcoat that protects the paint and gives the car its shine. It’s the clearcoat that you have to care for, so keeping your car as clean as possible is important.
When you clean your car, use a reputable brand of car care products. Use them following the instructions exactly, and remember the secret to taking care of paint is to use the gentlest means possible to apply each product (no hard brushes, for example). Follow these simple measures and your car will thank you for it.
Many car drivers use their vehicle every day, but from time to time it's necessary to consider long-term storage. Some people don't use their car over the winter months or need to leave the country for a while, and this means that it's time to store away the family auto. If you need to put your car into long-term storage, use the following tips to make sure that your vehicle remains in excellent working order.
Find a good place to store the car
You probably won't want to leave your car exposed to the elements if you're not going to use it. Find a sheltered place to keep the car like a garage, shed, or outhouse that can protect the vehicle from the rain. Search local ads for reasonably priced accommodation if you don't have your own garage. If there's nothing available, invest in a high-quality weatherproof car cover which will at least protect your car from the weather.
Thoroughly clean the car
Dirt and debris on your car may cause damage, so give the car a thorough clean before storing it. Remove bird droppings or tree sap, which can both damage paint work, and get rid of mud or oil from the wheels and fenders. Apply a good quality wax or sealant to the exterior, as this will protect the paint from any dirt or dust that accumulates in storage.
Fill up your gas tank
Some drivers make the mistake of emptying the gas tank when they put their cars into storage. Topping off your gas tank stops moisture from accumulating inside the tank, and will also make sure the seals don't dry out. Consider adding a fuel stabilizer, which will protect the engine from rust and ensure the fuel doesn't deteriorate.
Charge the battery
Even though you aren't going to drive the car for a while, it's a good idea to make sure the battery charge doesn't run out. If you can't get somebody to come and visit the car, charge and disconnect the battery completely. Otherwise, you can buy a trickle charger that plugs into the electricity supply and continuously gently charges the battery.
Inflate your tires
It's always a good idea to inflate your tires to the manufacturer's recommended pressure. While the car is stationary, the weight of the vehicle pressing on the tires can cause damage, particularly in cold temperatures. Another solution to consider is removing all four wheels and jacking the car up on all four corners. This is hard work, but it’s worth it for cars that will be stored for a month or more.
Protect the car from pests
Cars give rats and mice lots of places to hide and keep warm and these creatures can cause damage if they gnaw at wires. Plug obvious places (like the exhaust pipe) where rodents could get in, and consider laying traps or poison. Make sure you close all the car windows tightly and remove any food or trash from the car that may attract pests.
Don't cancel your insurance
Your car is a valuable asset. Even though it's not on the road, it could still suffer damage in storage. If you cancel your insurance, you may have to pay more when you decide to start driving it again. Talk to your insurance company about the options available to you.
It's important to prepare your car properly for long-term storage. Your vehicle is probably worth a lot of money, so protect your investment and make sure your car is just the way you left it when you come back.
Long holiday car journeys can not only be uncomfortable, but also are likely to give rise to passenger boredom, which can make everyone grumpy and irritable. This is especially the case with children, whose threshold for suffering long journeys is much shorter than adults. Where an adult might consider any journey over two hours in duration to be long, for a child, the definition of long is probably no more than a third of that time.
Therefore, as a means of stopping the continual stream of questions, such as, “How much longer?” and “Are we there yet?” here are a few ideas that are likely to make holiday road trips more entertaining.
Plan and break
The art of keeping holiday road trips entertaining, particularly for children is, as advised by Traveling Mom, in the planning. Journeys that are likely to last for more than two hours need to be planned to incorporate at least one break every hour for children, especially those of a young age. These breaks do not all have to be associated with food and refreshments, although with longer journeys this does have to be taken into account.
The breaks in between meal times should be organized in a manner that just allows passengers to stretch their legs for a matter of 15-20 minutes. Dependent upon the age of the passengers, these could take the form of retail therapy for adults, or for children, simply park visits where they can stretch their legs and be entertained by something new. Such stops may also have the added advantage of helping to tire them out, which with long journeys means they are likely to spend less time complaining and more time dreaming sweet dreams.
Boredom can soon set in on long journeys, especially if most of the time is spent traveling long distances along bland highways with little changes in views available to break the monotony. To combat the onset of this boredom threshold, no matter the age of the passenger, items that create entertainment and distraction should be included for the journey. These could consist of mobile entertainment systems, and even tablets and other hand held devices. Such devices are likely to keep passengers and young children engrossed and amused for hours, therefore reducing their frustrations with the length of the journey. Of course, to avoid irritation and arguments, it will be important to provide individual sets of headphones for those using these entertainment facilities.
A much cheaper way of providing entertainment and interest can be met by turning the journey itself into a voyage of discovery and interest. To achieve this requires, again, careful planning before you start the holiday road trip. All you need to do in this respect is to identify key places of interest likely to be passed during the trip. Then children can be provided with a list of the places and can discuss them as those places are passed by.
The key to keeping long holiday road trips entertaining relies upon careful planning, ensuring there are sufficient interesting breaks during the journey, and adding that extra level of fun and entertainment by treating it as an adventure. Combining these three elements will serve to make the journey an integral part of the holiday experience.
When the weather is hot, it’s easy to remember to eat right and exercise. The results of your fitness program are on display almost every day. But when the weather turns cold and you are bundled up in layers, the evidence can stay buried while you keep warm on the couch. Don’t lose your momentum and pack on the winter weight; there are plenty of tricks for staying fit in the colder months.
Go easy on the comfort foods
Our natural instincts still tell us to eat heavier foods to add an insulating layer of fat when it gets cold, even though we have plenty of modern ways to stay warm. Denying your cravings completely is difficult and can backfire, so if you crave macaroni and cheese or a hearty stew, have some. Just watch your portion size and consider it a treat. You can also find recipes for healthier versions of your favorite winter dishes, and a lot of produce is available now year-round to help keep your meals light.
Gear up for the cold outside
Cold weather doesn’t have to keep you from enjoying a winter workout, but heading out in freezing weather can be dangerous without the proper equipment. Dress in layers, protect your extremities with a hat, gloves, and heavy socks, and know the warning signs of frostbite (numbness or stinging on your fingers, toes, nose, cheeks, or ears). If you are walking or running in snowy or icy conditions, consider buying shoes specifically for those conditions.
Pop in a DVD
Instead of slacking off and watching the latest movie release with a bowl of buttered popcorn, get on your feet and workout with one of the hundreds of workout DVDs available. Whether you enjoy cardio or strength training, dance or boxing, fashionable equipment or old-school technique, there is a workout video for you. For far less than the cost of a gym membership, you can stock up a library of DVDs for whenever the weather keeps you inside.
Go old school
Is your budget too tight to even buy a few DVDs? You can still stay fit indoors by thinking back in time to gym class. Pull on your old sweats and sneakers, and power through alternating sets of jumping jacks, push-ups, sit ups, lunges, and burpees. Find the jump rope buried in the junk drawer and some heavy bags or cans from the pantry to use as weights. Even jogging and marching in place in front of the TV can help you burn calories.
The light at the end of the tunnel
It can be difficult to find the motivation to stay fit when it’s dark and cold, and no one will see your jiggly arms, anyway. But it can be hard losing weight you gain over the winter as you get older. So remind yourself that in a few short months your bad habits will come back to bite you. Keep your bathing suit hanging in plain sight all winter. Stick pictures of your favorite beach or park on the refrigerator. Start a contest at work or amongst your family so there are other people you are accountable to.
Staying fit in the colder months is a worthwhile challenge for anyone trying to attain a healthy lifestyle. Don’t let your good habits and hard work disappear with the nice weather. A year-round fitness plan is possible with these tips and a little motivation.
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