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Video: 2015 Audi RS3 Sportback Laps Nurburgring

Video: 2015 Audi RS3 Sportback Laps Nurburgring

Audi looks to be putting the finishing touches on is upcoming 2015 RS 3 Sportback as this test mule runs ‘round the Ring. Spotted thanks to its larger, more aggressive front lower fascia, lowered suspension, and the aggressive note spewing from the four oval exhaust tips, this Audi means business.

Under the hood, we expect the Audi to have a turbocharged, 2.5-liter, inline five-cylinder engine and Quattro all-wheel drive. This updated version of the same I-5 mill found in the previous RS 3 will likely find a home in the new TT RS as well. Rumors suggest the engine could produce more than 360 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque. Backing the five-banger would likely be the seven-speed, S-tronic dual-clutch found elsewhere in the Audi lineup.

What’s more important is the U.S. has an actual shot at getting the RS 3 Sportback on its shores. If you’ll recall, Audi set a goal back in 2011 of doubling sales of its sporty RS-branded cars in the United States by 2015. Well, the time has come, and the RS 3 Sportback is a likely candidate. The likelihood increases further considering Audi needs a competitor to the Mercedes CLA45 AMG and BMW M2.

We expect to see the 2015 Audi RS 3 Sportback officially unveiled at the 2014 Paris Motor Show. If not, expect it at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. Until then, enjoy this spy video of Audi’s meanest hot hatch tearing up the Nürburgring.

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TopSpeed Podcast Episode 027 LIVE

TopSpeed Podcast Episode 027 LIVE

Well that was a blast, I hope everyone enjoyed it. It was filled with lots of Miata talk so if you are a big fan of fun to drive roadsters, this may be your favorite. If you aren’t a fan of the new 4-th generation Miata, no worries. We have lots of cool stuff for you too.

We start the show with a look in our driveways for the Weekly Wheels. Mark talks about the very large Lexus GX460 and I spend some time talking about towing a horse trailer with the 2014 Toyota Tundra. Oh, you also get the chance to see a cool new Lego Mini Cooper.

For main news stories we talk about the recent sighting of the new Audi TTaround the Nurburgring, a pretty blue Dodge Viper, the all-new Land Rover Discovery Sport announcement and we finish things with the upcoming Kia Optima we just spied in camo.

If you did come for the Miata, well then we have lots for you. We cover all the information we know about the machine from overall size to wheel and tire dimensions. We discuss the design, potential drivetrains, what the weight savings really means and more. We also talk about some of the fun stuff that Keith Tanner from Flyin’ Miata was able to glean from a talk with one of the chassis engineers.

After the Miata madness and the news, we move as always to the Q/A portion of the show. We spend some time discussing winter tires, why you need them, and what you should look for when buying. We also take a few minutes to answer a question about the most recognizable cars in the world.

We wrap things with an Own, Drive, Burn that sees us trying to pick the lesser of three evils; it’s a trio of family-hauling crossovers.

As always, a huge thanks goes out to everyone who listens and watches, with an extra special little thanks to our live viewers. We hope you all have a great weekend and we will see everyone next week.

Don’t forget to leave us questions and Own, Drive, Burn suggestions for later eipsodes!

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Audi Working on Power-Generating Suspension System

Audi Working on Power-Generating Suspension System

Audi has apparently been working on an innovative way to harness lost energy in the form of heat within conventional shock absorbers. The news comes by way of a conversation AutoExpress had with Audi’s Research and Development chief Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg. This means by replacing the standard shock absorber units with generator systems, the car will generate electricity as it bumps down the road.

“When working hard over a bumpy road, the dampers are perhaps 100 to 125 degrees.,” Hackenberg tells AutoExpress. “This energy is wasted as heat into the atmosphere.” Though specific details of the technology are still unknown, capturing that energy is likely to happen with a rotating generator unit inside the suspension dampers. When the suspension is compressed, the generator produces electricity.

That power can then be sent into a hybrid car’s battery systems for powering the vehicle. Conversely, the power could be used more immediately to power ancillary systems like electronics and HVAC controls.

What’s more, Hackenberg hinted at the system’s implementation into performance cars as well. “Because we can send energy back into the damper, you will have an independently variable suspension.” This will be able to counter act body roll through tight corners.

Click past the jump to read more about Audi’s power-generating suspension system.

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Audi may be Unveiling an A6 Sportback e-tron Concept

Audi may be Unveiling an A6 Sportback e-tron Concept

A 48-hour-long stretch of back and forth on the R8 e-tron was enough to make our heads spin. One side was saying that the e-tron may see production in limited units and the other flat out said no way, just a day later. Now, we have even more e-tron news to confuse us all.

According to a report from AutoBlog.nl, rumors are circulating that Audi is working on a Sportback version of the A6 that will feature the same e-tron technology that the recently axed R8 e-tron featured, on a less massive scale, of course.

This hot hatchback is rumored to make its debut at the 2013 IAA in Frankfurt and will feature a 300-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-banger with 100 ponies worth of electric motor added to it. This would give the A6 e-tron a total of 400 horsepower, just 20 horsepower short of the mighty 2013 S6… not too shabby.

For now, these are just rumors that we take with a healthy serving of salt, given the on-and-off R8 e-tron. Regardless, this sounds like one bad-ass concept to say the least.

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Report: Audi Cans Electric A2 and A1 e-tron

Report: Audi Cans Electric A2 and A1 e-tron

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.

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Leak Alert: Are you the next generation Audi TT?

Leak Alert: Are you the next generation Audi TT?

We don’t usually get caught up in the overtaking of roles in the auto industry - for example, this Design Chief now working for rival company - but it looks like we may have to pay a bit closer attention from now on. In the new image of Audi ’s new Brand Design Chief, Wolfgang Egger, there appears to be a blurry front end of what may be the future generation Audi TT.

We know Audi is hard at work providing facelifts for all of their major models before cranking out the new generations of all in a couple of years’ time, but we never thought we may be able to get a quick glance at the future through an employee photo. The 2014 Audi TT was rumored to appear in concept form first at the Tokyo Auto Show, but it is now believed that the vehicle will show its face in Geneva. The blurry front end in this image looks to have the current TT’s nose, but the sloping headlights look to be a bit more elongated and the detailing of the lower fascia was altered.

Look, this may be a model of the current TT that is so blurry, it’s causing us to see things that aren’t there, but we’re betting on the fact that we’re looking at a work in progress. A work that may turn into the Audi TT Concept on the 2012 Geneva Auto Show floor. Only time will tell.

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2015 Audi Q6

2015 Audi Q6

There’s been talk about an Audi Q6 as far back as 2006 when it was reported that the company had registered the name in Europe. Nothing much was said until two years later when it was reported that its underpinnings would be shared with the Porsche Cayenne to get it ready to do battle with the BMW X6. The Q6 went back into news hibernation for a few more years and now we’ve come across more information to prep us for the coupe-like SUV’s entrance into the market around 2014.

As far as we can tell, the Audi Q6 will be slotted between the Q5 and the Q7, and will share its underpinnings with the Q7 and Porsche Cayenne. It will be offered with a variation of gas and diesel engines, plus a hybrid option as seen in the Cayenne. The top of the line model is rumored to be called the Q6 RS and may share the turbocharged 4.0L V8 engine as seen on the new generation RS6 is based off the Audi Q5

UPDATE 08/17/2011: A test mule for the future Audi Q6 has been captured, proving that the rumors circulating about its production are indeed true. This particular mule is based on the Audi Q5, but is slightly longer and wider for a more sporty appearance. Audi plans to slide in the Q6 between the Q5 and Q7, but with a sportier body, just like the BMW X6.

UPDATE 12/09/2011: Up until now, we’ve only heard rumors about possible Audi Q6 and Q4 SUVs, but now its official. Walter de’ Silva, Design Boss at Audi’s parent Volkswagen Group, has confirmed that the company has started to work on a BMW X6 competitor, while plans for a smaller SUV are still under consideration.

The X6 competitor is known as the Q6 and will be placed between Audi’s Q7 premium large SUV and the Q5 premium medium SUV: "We will definitely launch a sportier crossover in between the Q7 and Q5." The new model will be built on the Q7 platform and is expected to arrive sometime in 2015.

That’s all we have at this point, but we’ll pass along more details on the future Q6 as soon as we get them.

UPDATE 03/20/2012: The upcoming Audi Q6 has been caught testing one more time during cold weather testing in Northern Scandinavia.

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Audi To Bring A3 Sedan To U.S

Audi To Bring A3 Sedan To U.S

It’s taken a while for Americans to smarten up, but it seems they are taking to the versatility of the hatchback more and more. The new Ford Fiesta, the Honda Fit, and the Nissan Versa are just a few examples of hot selling hatches in the United States. Yet, even we aren’t sure if the Audi A3 is worth the expense, when you can just get a GTI.

To try and solve this sales issue, Audi might be bringing the A3 sedan to the U.S. That would give the German automaker an entry-level sedan below the A4. We don’t have any details on the A3 sedan yet, but there should be some coming soon.

If these rumors are true, an A3 sedan would compete with the BMW 1-Series and possibly the Mercedes-Benz B-Class. That is, if it comes stateside. We should expect to see the A3 sedan around 2013 if not later.

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Preview Comparison: Audi RS3 vs. BMW M1

Preview Comparison: Audi RS3 vs. BMW M1

What’s better than a small, fast, and fun to drive car? Maybe riding in the space shuttle, but that’s about it. When one thinks of fast performance cars that are small and fun around the bends, one thinks of Germany, and when you think of Germany, you think of BMW and Audi.

BMW’s M-Division is one of the best, if not the best performance tuning company in the world. They have created so many masterpieces, such as the M3, M5, and M6. Each one of those cars are a thrill to take for a drive and they have the ability to make the most dull daily commute exciting.

Now, the M-Division is at it again with the 1-Series. We have never been huge fans of the 1-Series, as it has never looked that great to us and it’s very cramped inside. Not to mention the car is pretty pricey. Yet, slap an M badge on it and it doesn’t matter how ugly it is, it’s going to be a great little vehicle.

The same can be said with theAudi A3. It’s better looking than the 1-Series, but it’s still not a car that we would recommend. That being said, the RS3 is something that we would go out and buy tomorrow.

Nether one of these has been released to the public yet, but that won’t stop us from doing a small comparison test now will it.

Hit the jump to read one.

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Audi considering A1 AllRoad

Audi considering A1 AllRoad

Audi has a grudge against Mini. The German company isn’t going to let the BMW-run small car manufacturer hog the premium crossover segment with its new Countryman. Audi is fighting back with a vehicle of their own.

Audi is reportedly working on an Allroad version of the A1. The A1 three-door hatchback goes on sale this year with the five-door coming in 2011. The crossover variant could be here as early as 2013 and it could even get Audi’s all-wheel drive system. Granted, this is all just speculation.

Volkswagen is reportedly working on an all-wheel drive system for the CrossPolo and, considering the two little vehicles share platforms, it would be easy to assume that the A1 will get that system as well. Not to mention Audi’s love for the all-wheel drive Quattro system.

We shouldn’t expect to see the A1 Allroad anytime soon, but we can expect that both two-wheel and all-wheel drive versions will be made. We look forward to testing the base A1 and should have a review some time this year.

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Audi R4 in the pipeline for 2013 production?

Audi R4 in the pipeline for 2013 production?

If we’re to believe this particular rumor, and we’re more inclined to be hopeful on this one particularly because it’s pretty juicy, then according to Auto Motor und Sport, Audi’s continued efforts in developing and slotting an entry-level sports car just may come to fruition with what is rumored to be the R4 that’s scheduled to be out on the market in 2013.

What’s more, the rumored R4 is also looking to be based on what is now one of Audi’s most talked about concept cars in recent years, the E-Tron concept that we all laid our eyes on at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year.

As far as what tech specs will come with the car, it’s expected to weigh in at nothing more than 2,500 pounds and will have either a 1.4-liter TSI engine that produces 180 horsepower or an engine similar to the ones being used in the Audi TT, that is, a 2.0-liter TDI inline-four that produces 170 horsepower. No word yet on how much the R4 is going to command in the market, but the rumor is that it will be slotted just below the TT with it’s price tag of $27,000.

Yes, we know we’ve had a few back and forths on this one, but an entry-level Audi sports car for under $27,000 that will be based on the E-Tron concept? Pinch us, please. We must be dreaming.

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2013 Audi A2

2013 Audi A2

According to Autocar, the forthcoming Audi A2 will be prepared as an all-electric vehicle when it hits the streets in the next few years.

The second incarnation of the Audi A2 will be starkly different from its predecessor, which bombed in sales because of the expensive spaceframe construction that it came with. This time around, Audi is being more prudent and will instead use a steel monocoque for the A2, similar to what is being used for the A1, the company’s new premium hatchback.

Likewise, the report that the A2 will solely be an electric car is indicative of what Audi chairman Rupert Stadler mentioned as one of the company’s main priorities, that being the company’s stance in pushing for electric vehicles. With the new all-electric A2 already in the oven, it wouldn’t surprise us the least bit if the car is pegged as the competitor for the BMW Megacity, which is scheduled to hit dealerships in 2013.

UPDATE 06/05/2012: 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 entire A2 line will likely continue as expected, sans the electric model. This leaves a gasoline and diesel model as the only drivetrain options.

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2012 Audi R2

2012 Audi R2

Alright, time to travel back into the murky waters that is the Volkswagen Group’s lineup mash-up. Here’s what we do know: Audi will get a version of the Volkswagen BlueSport concept. How it fits into Audi’s family is the debate.

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First U.S. Audi R8 V10 5.2 FSI sells for about $500,000

First U.S. Audi R8 V10 5.2 FSI sells for about $500,000

The rumormill is floating a big one here. Last night the first Audi R8 V10 5.2 FSI quattro that will arrive in the U.S. went to auction at the Boca Raton Concours d’ Elegance. Although the exact price cannot be confirmed, it sold for around $500,000.

The R8 V10 will be powered by the same 5.2 liter V10 as the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. The engine is rated at 525 hp, which is 105 more than the V8 version but about 27 less than the Gallardo.

The first 2010 Ferrari California for the U.S. market was also auctioned during this event (the first 2009 car was auctioned in September) , and the combined price of the two cars is rumored to be about $1 million. All proceeds of the event will go to support the Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward County, Florida.

We should get final pricing early this week. Once we know more, we’ll pass it along.

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