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  Audi cars news, reviews, concept cars, Specifications, safety rating and recalls

Over the course of a few days at last week’s Frankfurt Motor Show, Audi managed to release its entire S line-up, breaking cover on the new S6, S7 Sportback, and top-of-the-line S8.

The middle of that pack is the S7 Sportback, which is the sports version of the A7 Sportback released only a year ago. With the onus on improved performance compared to its A7 counterpart, the S7 Sportback offers an entirely new engine that can also be found on the new Bentley Continental .

Aesthetic changes made on the S7 Sportback compared to the A7 are minimal, but with a new 4.0-liter TFSI engine that produces 420 horsepower - a noticeable increase from the 296-horsepower output of the top-end A7 Sportback - that hardly seems to matter. There are enough added horses on the S7 Sportback to take the A7’s performance capabilities to a whole new level. After all, that’s what Audi’s ’S-program’ is all about: take the whole line-up and ratchet up the power to havoc-wreaking circumstances.

Updated 05/02/2012: Audi has unveiled a new promo video for the S7 Sportback presenting the car in action on the streets of Munich for the first time.

Find out more about the Audi S7 Sportback after the jump.

After Ferrari revealed a video showing the 458 Italia doing burnouts in order to celebrate its 8 million Facebook fans, Audi is trying to steal their thunder by unveiling a similar video. The German company is celebrating their 500,000 German Facebook fans with a video showing the Audi R8 drifting in the hands of Dindo Capello somewhere in Barcelona, Spain

Make sure you check out the video and remember, not to try any of this at home. Capello is a professional and more than likely, this was performed on a closed course.

As a reminder, the Audi R8 is powered by a 5.2 liter V10 engine that delivers 518 HP and 391 lb-ft of torque. The future R8 will be even more impressive with a retuned V10 that will produce 533 HP. This engine will be mated with a new seven-speed dual clutch S-tronic gearbox.

Audi R8 E-Tron

Usually, when an auto maker wants to rev their car’s engine as loud as possible when pushing it to its limit, they take it to the Nurburgring race track. This time, however, our spy photographers had a few problems hearing the prototype testing at the famous race track and almost skipped it entirely. That’s because the prototype is the Audi R8 e-tron test mule.

The R8 e-tron is not a secret anymore and every car addict knows that a production version will arrive sometime next year, but this prototype still shows that Audi is meaning business with their e-tron projects.

As you can see from the spy shots and may already know, the future R8 e-tron will look almost the same as the standard R8 sports car, except for the lack of exhaust pipes due to the fact that this a zero-emissions model. Then there’s the change in the rear window where fans can typically check out the V8 or V10 engines. That’s been covered up now that the engines are non-existent and there is also a big hole for the cooling of the batteries.

A production version of the Audi R8 e-tron will arrive in 2013, built in limited numbers.

Audi started updating its line-up with the A5 and will continue to do so with every other model in the line-up throughout the next year. This even includes models that are still relatively young, like the Q5 SUV. The facelift version of the Q5 has now officially been announced and will go on sale later this summer. Prices on the European market will start from 39,900 euro - or about $52,500 at the current exchange rates.

Unlike the current Q5 that is only being offered with a choice of one gasoline engine and two TDI units, the new Q5 offers five engine options: three TDI and two TFSI engines with power ranging from 143 HP to 272 HP.

Just like with all the other facelifted models, the new Q5’s exterior updates include a modified grille, bumper and fog lights, but also modified headlights with LED lamps and xenon plus units. At the rear the model has received modified diffuser and tailpipes, while for the interior gets additional strides in refined styling.

UPDATE 04/25/2012: This review has been updated with the official details, images and specs. Hit the jump to read more about the facelift Audi Q5.

Audi is further expanding its e-Tron line-up with a new A6 L e-Tron concept at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show. This decision really shouldn’t surprise anyone considering people in the Chinese market love their large cars, but want efficiency in their models as well. The new A6 L e-Tron Concept serves up the perfect combination the luxury and the practicality of an A6, and a range of 49.71 miles on pure electric power.

Like all the other e-Tron models, the new A6 L e-Tron concept combines a 211 HP 2.0 TFSI engine with a 95 HP electric motor. The electric motor takes its power from a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery located in a collision-protected space at the rear of the vehicle.

The concept was built on an ultra lightweight principle that combines 10% aluminum with carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP). The interior is almost similar to a standard A6 , except that the power-meter replaces the tachometer that offers the driver the info he needs.

Hit the jump to read more about the new Audi A6 L e-Tron concept.

The Chinese phrase Jinlong Yufeng, when translated into English means "Golden Dragon in the Wing".

Appropriately, that’s what Audi named this special edition Q3 concept to commemorate the SUV’s launch in the Chinese market.

The Q3 Jinlong Yufeng, which is making its debut at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show , comes finished in a special Liuli Yellow luminous monochrome paint and comes with plenty of add-on components that have been finished in matte quartz. In addition, Audi also added flared arches on the Q3, as well as steel side steps, a new radiator grille, and two carbon fiber-reinforced polymer kite boards that have been mounted on the roof of the SUV.

Inside, Audi went with a more luxurious design on the interior, complete with a titanium gray Alcantara roof liner, an instrument panel upholstered in black Fine Nappa Leather with matching yellow seams. The seats have been dressed in velvet leather while the dashboard comes with plenty of aluminum accents, steel decorative inlays, and gloss black trims.

As for the engine, the Q3 Jinlong Yufeng Concept is powered by a 2.5-liter five-cylinder TFSI engine that produces 310 horsepower and is capable of hitting 0-62 mph in just 5.5 seconds with a top speed of 155 mph.

Audi officially buys Ducati

The ink on the $1 billion deal that sent Ducati motoring over to Audi’s ownership is still not quite dry yet, and AMG, Mercedes-Benz’s performance group, has officially ended its “marketing relationship” with Ducati.

Ducati and Benz officially announced the shared marketing deal back at the 2010 LA Auto Show, but AMG just couldn’t keep the deal moving now that Audi, a direct competitor, owns the brand. First off is the awkward timing of the announcement, as the Diavel AMG – a Ducati and AMG collaboration bike – just hit showrooms. Audi hasn’t made an announcement regarding the AMG collaboration bike, but it’s likely to remain until all of the units are sold.

Honestly though, this looks almost like AMG is dropping the shared marketing plan out of spite by saying “The company takeover by a rival car manufacturer has understandably resulted in the end of any further collaboration.” Maybe we’re reading too much into it, but this is reminiscent of a teenage argument over whom is whose best friend and you can be friends with her because I don’t like her.

Honestly, with all of the mergers and collaborations that go on in the automotive and motorcycle realm, why would AMG really car if its rival car manufacturer bought a bike manufacturer that it shares advertising with. There has to be a little more to the story that will surely come out at some point.

Safety and parenting issues notwithstanding, this video is about as cute as it gets. We all remember Cris Ostberg as the dude who once put his then 18-month old daughter in the front passenger seat of his Audi R8 V10 Spyder while she gleefully shouted "turbo!" every chance she got.

Fast forward to 2012 and the little sweetheart is now three years old. But while she’s gotten bigger, her love for the Audi R8 V10 Spyder doesn’t appear to have waned in the least. In this new video, Ostberg was careful to follow all the safety precautions to ensure that his daughter wouldn’t be hurt, including switching off the passenger airbags.

Understandably, some folks might have a problem with Ostberg’s rather loose interpretation of responsible parenting, but if you can put that aside, the sight of his daughter continuing in her "turbo!!!" exaltation is just too cute to ignore.

Let’s just hope that dear old Cris doesn’t get any genius ideas and let his daughter drive the R8 V10 Spyder on her 4th birthday.

China’s ever-growing automotive market has became such a boon for a lot of automakers that concept vehicles that would otherwise be introduced in auto shows like Frankfurt or Geneva are already making their way to either Beijing or Shanghai.

For their part, Audi is bringing one of these concepts to the 2012 Beijing Auto Show: the 2013 Audi RS Q3 Concept. This concept serves as a response to some Audi drivers that just needed a little more “umph.”

The RS Q3 Concept is a fresh look at what an RS-badged Q3 crossover could look like and since Audi has just released the Q3 , it appears that we won’t have to wait long to see a production model soon.

As for the concept itself, the RS Q3 Concept looks hot in its blue-and-black color scheme. As an RS model, Audi also added several RS elements to the concept’s overall look, including a black honeycomb grille, tinted headlights, a new bumper with graping air intakes, and a new set of 20" aluminum wheels. The RS Q3 is planned to borrow the same 2.5-liter engine from the Audi TT RS , so getting that little extra something should be simple for Audi lovers.

Unfortunately, the Q3 will not arrive in the U.S. until later in 2012, and the RS Q3 has yet to be mentioned in the same breath as the U.S. With the growing love for crossovers here, it may become a possibility. Also the fact that the TT RS finally made its way here greatly increases the chances of us U.S. buyers seeing the RS Q3. So let’s have a look at the upcoming RS Q3’s information, courtesy of Audi’s latest press release.

Find out more about the Audi RS Q3 Concept after the jump.

After months of rumors and speculation, Audi has officially confirmed the acquisition of the Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. The acquisition was approved today in Hamburg and will be completed as quickly as possible once authorized by the competition authorities.

While it hasn’t been confirmed just yet, rumors say that Audi paid approximately €860 million, or $1.13 billion at the current rates, in order to buy Ducati. This is a fabulous deal considering Ducati sold around 42,000 motorcycles and generated revenue of some €480 million (about $631 million at the current rates), employing around 1,100 people.

Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, declared: "Ducati is known worldwide as a premium brand among motorcycle manufacturers and has a long tradition of building sporty motorcycles. It has great expertise in high-performance engines and lightweight construction, and is one of the world’s most profitable motorcycle manufacturers. That makes Ducati an excellent fit for Audi."


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