Friday Video | Five cylinders of fun from Audi Sport USA

Even if you’ve only got twenty minutes for lunch today, this is probably the best way you can spend it. We promise.

1987 Audi Sport quattro S1

It’s now officially September, the holidays are over, the nights are closing in, and the world is still just as big a mess as it was at the start of the year.

But forget all that, as Audi USA has shared this video documenting the history of the five-cylinder engine. From the Ur-quattro, though to the awesome 90 IMSA GTO, and eventually the insane assault on Pikes Peak by Walter Röhrl – it’s all here in full competition glory. Add to that on-track action with the new RS3 Sedan Saloon and TT RS and you’ve got the perfect lunchtime entertainment.

1989 Audi 90 IMSA GTO

Just make sure you have your speakers turned up to appreciate the offbeat sound of the five-cylinder motor:


Motorsport | Audi ditches Le Mans for Formula E

After almost two whole decades of dominance, one of the biggest names in endurance racing has called time on participation. 

2015 Audi R18 e-tron quattro #7

Audi Sport officially announced yesterday that, at the end of 2016, the Audi brand will no longer compete in the World Endurance Championship. That means 18 years of Le Mans competition will also come to an end, as Audi Sport elects to pursue Formula E instead.

2015 Audi R18 e-tron quattro #7

This decision is hardly surprising, and had been rumoured in the previous weeks as a very real possibility. Since the introduction of the R10 TDI, Audi’s LMP strategy for the past decade has been built around the use of diesel engines. Following last year’s dieselgate furore, diesel power has become immediately unfashionable across the Volkswagen Group.

Whilst the motoring world was already pushing towards the greater use and integration of electric power, dieselgate has made this even more important for brands like Audi and Volkswagen. Audi Sport already has a partnership with Team ABT Schaeffler Motorsport in Formula E, meaning the barriers to entry are low. Throw in the fact that Formula E now allows for the development of bespoke powertrain elements, and it becomes a fairly easy decision. (more…)

Friday Photo – BTCC Audi A4 quattro Super Tourer with Frank Biela

Twenty years ago the British Touring Car Championship was reaching peak popularity with global motorsport fans. On track, the 1996 season was being dominated by an all-conquering silver machine.1996 BTCC Audi A4 quattroFull disclosure – the Audi A4 quattro Super Tourer is, without doubt, the favourite BTCC machine of ESM‘s Editor. Ever. He even has the t-shirt, although it’s a little tight after nearly two decades… So the news that Audi Sport legend Frank Biela is going to be reunited with the A4 quattro this weekend is a big deal.1996 BTCC Audi A4 quattroIn 1996 the BTCC was one of the most competitive championships on the planet. To turn up and take both Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ titles at the first time of asking, was a huge achievement for Audi Sport, and a massive marketing boon for the Audi brand. Using all-wheel-drive gave the A4 a big advantage over two-wheel-drive rivals, resulting in Biela winning eight races in addition to taking another twelve podiums. Weight penalties in 1997 meant Biela could only fight to second in the championship, whilst for 1998 all-wheel-drive was banned from Super Touring.

Although the technical ability of the A4 quattro was immense, Frank Biela’s own personal talent cannot be understated. Along with the BTCC title, his career highlights include: five outright Le Mans wins (2000-2002, 2006, 2007), two American Le Mans Series wins (2003, 2005), 1991 DTM champion, 1993 French Touring Car champion, and 1995 Touring Car World Cup winner. For many racing drivers, winning one of the above would be immense, but to do all of them is off the chart. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, all those titles were taken behind the wheel of an Audi. Cut Biela open and you’ll probably find his veins arranged in the shape of the Audi badge, such is his association with the brand.

So it’s fitting that he’ll be driving the A4 quattro BTCC racer this weekend at Knockhill, doing parade laps as part of the David Leslie Super Touring Car Festival. It probably wouldn’t have been fair on everyone else to let him actually race, we imagine. To celebrate, Audi UK have shared a host of photos from that successful 1996 season. Enjoy:

Friday Video: 2016 Audi Sport R8 Advert ‘Spin’

We never really feel the need to justify posting anything to do with the Audi R8 here at ESM, and we just can’t escape the mesmerising attraction of the latest advert.Audi R8 V10 plus

Whilst previous R8 adverts have concentrated on the epic power and glorious sounds of the R8’s V10 engine, the latest video is apparently all about control. Perhaps Audi are rather sick of people complaining about their adverts and trying to get them banned, hence the “speed isn’t everything tagline’ from the new ‘Spin’ commercial. Clearly it isn’t glamourising speed – that R8 appears to be moving very slowly round and round in a circle. Plus it does have a soundtrack featuring Dusty Springfield which is hardly the music for some crazy driving antics. Perhaps Dusty Spinfield would be a more appropriate name. Anyway, decide for yourself here:

We’re fans, but it’ll never top our favourite R8 advert, which somebody did try to have banned in the UK would you believe? We’re glad they failed. No doubt there’ll be complaints to the ASA about ‘Spin’ also, so enjoy whilst you can.

2015 Le Mans Gallery – Porsche takes historic 17th win with 1-2 finish

Ok, we’ll hold our hands up. We didn’t predict this in our Friday Photo Gallery. Nope, we overlooked the pace of the Porsches in qualifying and, instead, went for another Audi victory. We were wrong, even if we had predicted it a year ago. But congratulations to Porsche for surprising us with a rather impressive 1-2 win!

2015 Le Mans Porsche 919 Race 001In what has been billed as the closest Le Mans LMP1 battle for a generation, Porsche and Audi duked it out for most of the entire 24 hours. After coming so close last year, the Stuttgart outfit were obviously determined to take a record 17th outright Le Mans victory. Oh, and they also seemed to have luck on their side, with Audi beset with multiple bizarre incidents and uncharacteristic reliability problems.

2015 Le Mans Porsche 919 Race 002

Still, that takes nothing away from the efforts of Nico Hülkenberg, Earl Bamber, and Nick Tandy and their error-free drive to the finish. For both Hülkenberg and New Zealander Bamber, this was their first ever Le Mans experience, whilst Brit Tandy had only previously raced in GT classes at La Sarthe. Despite their limited history at the 24 hour race, they drove the #19 car superbly to victory.


New Audi R8 LMS wins 2015 Nürburgring 24 Hours

With all the road car testing that goes on there, it’s sometimes easy to forget that the Nürburgring is still a real – and dangerous – race track. The Nürburgring 24 Hours remains one of the biggest challenges in motorsport, but Audi took victory last weekend.

Audi R8 LMS 2015 24h NürburgringTo say the new Audi R8 LMS was box-fresh at its Nürburgring debut was perhaps something of an understatement. In fact, Audi Motorsport had only unveiled the car some ten weeks ago, meaning the GT3 competitor was somewhat wet behind the ears. However, given Audi’s prodigious talent for winning day-long races, only a fool would underestimate their chances at an event like the N24h.

Audi 2015 24h Nürburgring

Suffice to say Audi came prepared

With four of the new cars qualifying in the top ten, although not on pole, Audi certainly had strength in numbers with the new R8 LMS. Yet qualifying meant little in a challenging, dramatic, race that saw the lead change a record 35 times. (more…)

Audi TT clubsport turbo concept – News and photos

Another Wörthersee show car, but this time with crazy turbocharging and orange detailing? Consider our interest piqued! 

Audi TT clubsport turbo concept 00

We’ve already mentioned Skoda’s concept efforts in advance of the annual Wörthersee festival which kicks off today, but Audi has gone decidedly all out with this mental TT clubsport turbo concept. However, there’s more than just mental bodywork – much of the technology featured is set to debut on production Audi models in the near future.

Audi TT clubsport turbo concept 02

Most interesting is the use of an electric turbocharger, in addition to the regular turbo, attached to the 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine. Through using electric power to spin the compressor, boost can be generated almost immediately, eliminating the dreaded turbo-lag which is usually found on high output forced induction engines. At higher engine speeds, the conventional exhaust gas driven turbo is there to produce peak power, meaning this TT can have instant throttle response and a lot of power. A lot is 592bhp and 479lb-ft of torque to be precise! Good enough for 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 192mph.

Audi TT clubsport turbo concept 05

Solving the problem of eliminating turbo-lag whilst retaining big power is something the VW Group has battled with for a while. The 1.4TSI Twincharger engine, used in the previous generation Polo GTI amongst others, used a supercharger and turbocharger to try to overcome this challenge. However, the complexity of such a setup, and issues with reliability, hampered the success of that idea. Perhaps the e-turbo is the answer? Although the need for a 48-volt lithium-ion battery, housed in the boot, to power the e-turbo means there is some compromise. (more…)

Friday Video – Audi RS 3 ‘Birth’

Audi has a habit of producing some rather decent adverts. There was the epic sounding R8 V10 plus one from a couple of years ago, and further back there’s the Audi 100 quattro driving up a ski jump. However, this latest one is rather bold, even by Ingolstadt’s usual standards. Take a look for yourself – our comments are below:


Friday Photo – Audi Prologue Allroad Concept Car

The growing importance of the Chinese market for upmarket brands cannot be ignored. Which is probably why Audi has decided to show off the third “Prologue” concept car at the Shanghai Auto Show this weekend.

Audi prologue allroad

Make no mistake, this is a seriously big Audi. At 5.13 metres long, this is a car of rather epic proportions, something emphasised by the fact the 22″ alloy wheels look relatively normal on it! Being an Allroad car, the idea is of course to take a regular estate Avant model, and jack the suspension up for mild off-road potential. Here the suspension is raised by 77 mm, meaning there’s not much scope for extreme off-tarmac action – an overgrown lawn or high kerb might be the limits here.

Audi prologue allroad

Underneath the lengthy bodywork, which features touch-sensitive window trim to unlock the doors (yes, really), hides some rather interesting technology. A twin-turbocharged 4.0 litre V8 TFSI petrol engine is mated to an electric motor which, when combined, offer up a staggering 724 bhp and 664 lb-ft of torque! That’s more horsepower than a Lamborghini Aventador – but in an estate with raised suspension.

Audi prologue allroad

Naturally for an Audi, this power is sent to all four wheels via a quattro drivetrain, using an eight-speed tiptronic gearbox. Performance is suitably shocking, with 0-62 mph in just 3.5 seconds! 20″ carbon-ceramic brake discs are there to help keep things under control, whilst the air suspension offers a range of damping options. (more…)

Geneva 2015 News and Photos – The All New Audi R8

Finally, we can bring you photos of the new Audi R8 in full, rather than peeping out from beneath a cover. It’s also another car which won’t be a surprise in Geneva next week! But, anyway, here’s the brand new second generation of Audi’s supercar available in a range of V10 flavours from the off. 

2015 New Audi R8 V10 PlusOk, it’s a lot like we expected – but that’s not a bad thing! Despite being several years old, the original outgoing R8 hardly looked dated, so why would Audi mess with something that works? The new car is more taut and chiselled, with angles where there were once curves, but the overall shape is very familiar.

Like we pointed out when seeing the recent teaser photo, the prominent front grille is taken from the new TT, with the vertical ‘gills’ beneath the headlights borrowed from the Sport quattro Concept. Most noticeable in profile is that the R8 defining ‘sideblade’ is now cut in two. It changes one of the original R8’s most obvious, and awkward, features for the better in our eyes. In addition, the roofline is elongated, reaching almost to the very tip of the rear deck. 19″ alloy wheels comes as standard on both versions.

2015 New Audi R8 V10 Plus

Note fixed rear wing and black exhausts of the V10 Plus.

At the back, things are again more squared and flatter – almost reminiscent of the Lexus LFA in parts – with a substantial diffuser completing the transformation. (more…)