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Audi doesn’t mind pushing the envelope a little further than most people would and has proven that with the release of a new Le Mans race car. The racer is called the R18 e-Tron hybrid quattro, a four-wheel driven diesel hybrid race car that’s set to compete at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans in France on June 16 and 17, 2012.

Working under the same principles as that of the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid , the R18 e-Tron hybrid quattro uses kinetic energy that’s recovered whenever the car brakes, storing that energy in the flywheel accumulator as electricity before being sent back to the electric motors on the front wheels. The motors take car of the front of the vehicle, while the rear wheels get their power from the car’s 510-horsepower V6 TDI engine. The only difference between the aforementioned Porsche and the R18 e-Tron hybrid quattro is that the latter is considered a mild hybrid, using a petrol engine along with electricity.

Since the car uses a heavy hybrid system, Audi went and designed the race car’s gearbox using carbon fiber composite housing, alleviating some of the weight brought about by the complicated drivetrain.

Before it struts its wares in Le Mans, the car will be put through the paces on May 5th at the 6-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium where it will be raced by Allan McNish, Dindo Capello Tom Kristensen and Benoît Tréluyer, André Lotterer and Marcel Fässler.

UPDATE 06/07/2012: Audi has unveiled a cool promo video for their brand new R18 e-Tron that will compete at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans race on Saturday, June 16th-17th 2012. The video presents Audi Audi ’s racing evolution, going from turbocharged direct injection (TFSI) up to turbo diesel (TDI) engines and the new e-tron.

Audi A1 e-tron Concept

Audi has been experimenting with the electric-car market for a few years and officially unveiled plans for the A1 e-tron and an electric-powered A2 recently. It does not look like either one is going to happen any time soon, according to a report from Car.

The A2 electric was slated to be released in Europe, where high-efficiency diesel and gasoline engines that get upwards of 60 mpg reign supreme. These markets are tough enough to crowbar in an electric model, but add in the fact that the A2 was expected to carry a €40,000 ($50,000) price tag, and you get a model that was bound to fail in the European marketplace. Combine that price point with the fact that the Nissan Leaf , with its far lower €25,990 ($32,500) price tag, only saw 3,000 units leave showroom floors in 2011, and Audi wisely saw this as a fruitless journey.

The entire A2 line will likely continue as expected, sans the electric model. This leaves a gasoline and diesel model as the only drivetrain options.

The A1 e-tron reportedly is meeting a similar fate, but for different reasons. The A1 e-tron is being axed due to extravagantly high production costs. This car was planned to be similar to the Chevy Volt , as it was going to have a gasoline engine to extend the range of its electric motor by charging the batteries via a Wankel (rotary) engine.

Though this is a tragic way to abruptly cease the development phase for an electric lineup, we cannot blame Audi for its choice. Electric cars just are not selling well in the European markets and having one priced nearly double its closest competitor and another one with climbing production costs just isn’t smart business.

Source: CAR

A report indicates that there are some major shakeups coming in Volkswagen Automotive Group in 2018 and it appears as if those changes are already beginning. Audi North America’s CEO, Johan De Nysschen, a man who once reportedly called the Chevy Volt a “car for idiots,” has resigned from the company that he has worked at for the past 20 years, 7 of which were in the CEO role.

It is unknown as to whether this move was forced, mutual, or if De Nysschen resigned on his own accord, but a company spokesperson is quoted saying “He is moving to another job, we believe it’s in the industry.” By that statement, we would assume the move was initiated by De Nysschen. Also, given the growth that Audi has seen during his reign would lead us to believe that Volkswagen AG would have kept him on board as long as he wanted.

Then again, the automotive industry is a weird one where one minor difference in opinion can ultimately cost you a job. In the meantime, Audi’s COO, Mark Del Rosso, will be the interim CEO while the company searches for a replacement to help reach Audi’s goal of competing more closely with BMW and Mercedes-Benz .

Interestingly enough, Audi wasted absolutely no time taking De Nysschen’s CEO profile down from its site, leaving a “Page Not Found” message where his proud image once sat.

Audi’s statement that De Nysschen would be heading to another company in the industry was 100 percent accurate, as we received word that he has signed up with Nissan . His new title is Senior Vice President of Nissan Motor Company in charge of the Infiniti division. His first task at hand is one he is rather familiar with, sharply increasing sales and guiding the luxury automaker deeper into developing markets, starting in China.

Best of luck to Mr. De Nysschen and we have a feeling that VW and Audi will be missing him in the coming years.

One feature that automakers have teased us with and even installed on concept cars is an LED screen and camera in the place of the old-style rearview mirror. With all of the cameras placed all around cars these days, like Subaru Subaru ’s EyeSight system and the various backup cameras, we are surprised this hasn’t become a reality. The assumed reasons for rearview screens not taking the place of rearview mirrors are NHTSA and DOT regulations.

Honestly, we don’t see why the NHTSA and DOT would think a hunk of glass glued to the windshield is safer than a crisp LED image from an HD camera. Then again those two government offices – as with all government offices – make strange regulations. Apparently an LED screen and camera are plenty for Audi’s future Le Mans cars, as the automaker has just announced, via a press release, that its closed LMP prototype will run with an AMOLED screen in place of the mirror and a rear-mounted camera feeding the images to the screen.

The main reasoning behind this is that the LMP prototype’s cabin is fully closed, with exception of the front windshield, so a rearview mirror would display nothing but the rear wall of the cabin. So, if this technology is good enough for racecars, why are we not seeing it installed in street cars yet? Well, we just very well might, as you likely do not remember, but the rearview mirror was not used on motor cars until Ray Harroun’s Marmon “Wasp” used one in the first Indianapolis 500, in 1911. It later became standard per NHTSA regulations for all cars to come with this item, thanks to its overwhelming success in racing.

Odds are that if this system is successful in racing that the NHTSA will adopt it, especially given the fact that rearview cameras are soon to become mandatory on all vehicle.

Click past the jump to read the full press release.

Audi only built 666 units (strange number, no?) for their Audi R8 GT Coupe and Spyder versions, so the chance of seeing one on the street is pretty rare. The chance of seeing a parade of them is even slimmer, if not impossible.

Then again, if you went to the Nurburgring 24 Hours race where Audi pushed its way to incredible results, you would have seen this aforementioned parade before the race even took place. Talk about some positive energy fueling the racers!

As a reminder, both versions are powered by the same 5.2 liter V10 engine that delivers a total of 560 HP and 398 lbs-ft of torque. The R8 GT Spyder will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, while the R8 GT Coupe makes the sprint in 3.6 seconds. Top speeds are 196.97 mph and 198.8 mph, respectively.

Posted on by Brad Anderson

Most racetracks are constructed so well that they last for decades after use has discontinued and unless they are made into housing developments, they will often stand the test of time and the Autódromo de Sitges-Terramar is no exception to that rule.

Constructed way back in 1922 after just 300 days of work, the Terramar circuit was only used for 3 years before it was abandoned and has never been used since, until now. Professional racing drivers Carlos Sainz and Miguel Molina recently took a Red Bull-sponsored Audi R8 LMS racer to the 60 degree banked circuit to put on what can only be described as a true work of art.

In addition to the eight minute long video accompanying the article, a selection of incredible pictures were also shot during the occasion. Despite the track being broken, bruised, and battered, it would have been an incredible experience for the two-time WRC champion and DTM racers.

Audi just had a successful weekend despite terrible weather clouding the day; the company managed to record its first overall victory in the Nurburgring 24 Hours with the new Audi R8 LMS ultra . The car was driven by German driver quartet Marc Basseng/Christopher Haase/Frank Stippler/Markus Winkelhock, while Christian Abt/Michael Ammermüller/Armin Hahne/Christian Mamerow from Team Mamerow Racing completed the one-two success.

This latest win adds to the overall success acquired by Audi in this particular event. In June 2011, the brand celebrated its tenth victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the R18 TDI LMP sports prototype. In July 2011, the customer racing R8 LMS race car also won the 24 hour classic at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium for the first time.

"We are absolutely delighted about this long desired victory," explained Dieter Gass, Head of Racing Commitments at Audi Sport. "For three years the Audi R8 LMS was always the best GT3 car at the Nürburgring. Now we have taken overall victory in the fight with seven other brands. Over the last 24 hours nothing whatsoever was handed to us on a plate. Our victorious drivers and teams produced a fantastic, consistent and error free performance. My sincerest congratulations go to our winners. This victory in a race car closely related to the production based car once again proves that Audi Sport customer racing provides its customers with a well refined, versatile and successful race car."

Audi R8 V8 Coupe

Back in March, Audi unveiled the first teaser video announcing "the new R8 is coming!" Well, it’s been a couple of months and there’s been no sign of the R8...until now. Our spy photographers have come across an R8 prototype as it was finishing up some of its testing. Guess, we’ll be waiting a lot longer than we would like to see the car in full production garbs.

The R8 facelift prototype in these images is heavily camouflaged - dizzyingly so - but we can still make out the new hexagon shaped grille that is similar to the one seen on the Audi R8 e-Tron prototype , the new headlights with LED technology, and the new rear lights. At the rear, the new R8 has also received new exhaust pipes similar to the ones on the R8 GT .

While the exterior will only see minor changes, the biggest change will be made under the hood. Audi will offer the same choice of V8 and V10 engines, but with an increased output of 444 HP (V8) and 533 HP (V10).

Expect to see the new Audi R8 facelift launched in September at the 2012 Paris Auto Show.

UPDATE 05/22/2012: It’s been less than an hour since we published images of a highly camouflaged Audi R8 facelift, and now our photographers have sent us new images with the next R8, but this time completely naked! Enjoy!!

Audi Q7

About two weeks ago, Audi trademarked a series of new names , providing a glimpse of their future lineup. One of the names trademarked was the Q8, which logically speaking, will be a new SUV placed above the current Q7 . Now, British magazine CAR is offering up the first details on the upcoming SUV.

The future Q8 will be built on the company’s new MLB platform and will benefit from all the technologies that will help the future Q7 be lighter than the current model. This means, the future Q8 will consist of 60% steel and 40% lightweight materials like aluminum.

As for the engine, the upcoming Q8 will see the same engines found in the Q7, except for the car’s new four-cylinder base engine. This means that the Audi Q8 will use two petrol V6 engines with 230 and 300 HP, a V6 TDI engine with 250 HP, and a 4.2 V8 engine with 400 HP. An S version will get a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 with an impressive output of 550 HP. Audi will also be offering a hybrid version that will combine a V6 TDI engine with a pair of electric motors.

Expect to see the new Audi Q8 launched sometime in 2015.

Note: Future Audi Q7 pictured.

Source: CAR
Audi A9

A few days ago, Audi trademarked an impressive amount of names that we hope will join the lineup sooner rather than later. One of the most anticipated names from that list is the S9, which has brought out a new hope that the previously rumored Audi A9 will be launched sometime in the upcoming years. And, of course, whenever there is hope for a production version of a model, we automatically create a rendering that embodies our vision for it.

The Audi A9 has been churning up the rumor mill for a long time, but Audi hasn’t really confirmed or denied anything about it, leaving the general public with an empty feeling in regards to the vehicle. The S9 should evoke better feelings, as long as Audi doesn’t drag its feet through the mud with its details. As for the A9, rumors have lead us to believe that it will be a large sedan to be placed above the current Audi A8, and ready to take on models like the Porsche Panamera Turbo . In its base version. it will get a 3.0 TFSI engine with around 300 HP, while the top version will get a V8 with 500 HP.

The Audi A9 will go on sale around 2015 with a price tag of about $150K.

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