From the Grp B Quattro, to the latest virtual cockpit equipped R8 V10 Plus – Audi has a lot of great things to answer for and we get to grips with the latest models.
We were brought along to Rushton Hall, near Kettering – to drive and review the current Audi line-up for 2018, along with a sniff around some of their classics which are normally kept under wraps at a secret location, somewhere in Englandshire.
There’s a lot to take in: Audi have diversified their range so much in the last few years but here’s a rundown of some of the more exciting news.
The perfectly proportioned RS3 saloon, with that peach of a 2.5 TFSI five cylinder, now has 400PS – the latest engine being some 26kg lighter than the outgoing version, making it the world’s most powerful series production 5-cylinder engine.
Also available in hatchback or ‘Sportback’ as it’s known [read our thoughts here] – your circa £45,000 will get you a pocket Audi that can do 0-60 in 4.1sec with an optional 174mph top end and features the wider track and flared arches you will expect from an RS model.
The latest TTRS of course still has the 2.5TFSi power plant in similar tune, but a 0-62 time not far off the brands flagship R8 of a staggering 3.7sec and starting at less than half the price of the R8, at just £52,450 – I am a big fan of the TTRS [read full review here].
With 19-inch wheels and full LED lighting as standard – heated sports nappa leather seats, virtual cockpit with navigation and a plethora of safety functions feature on the TTRS with an abundance of options available.
Tuners will no doubt be rubbing their hands at the sound of forced induction. Both the RS3 and 4 come with the stunning virtual cockpit system, first seen a few years ago in the TT.
The much loved RS4 Avant [read our full review here] sadly loses two cylinders – now using a 2.9 bi-turbo V6, producing 450PS with a similar overall performance to the RS3 and with it, a much faster feel than the previous V8’s offered.
The RS4 Avant starts from just over £62,000 and comes as standard with Quattro drive including sport differential, the full audio visual package inside as well as massaging front sports seating.
An all-new Coupé has been added to the range – named the RS5, it too is equipped with the 2.9 bi-turbo V6 engine that features in the RS4 Avant and costs from just over £63,500. Featuring state-of-the-art driver assistance, the RS5 boasts a claimed, combined economy of 32.5mpg and a 0-62 sprint in a staggering 3.9sec.
Autonomous driving makes its debut in the all-new A8, the fourth incarnation of this chauffeur favourite from the German maker – with parking, traffic jam and “garage pilot” being rolled out throughout 2018.
I get the feeling here that full autonomy is just a software update away.
The large saloon, costing in excess of £69,000 – also features “mild hybrid” technology, including coasting with the engine off and an energy recovery system in the aid to improve fuel economy.
If you need to get the kids to school quickly – the all-new SQ5, equipped with a 354PS, 3.0 TFSI engine, doing the 0-62 dash in 5.4sec sits perfectly poised, and although overall demand for diesel is slowly dwindling, we do hope they offer the excellent bi-turbo diesel down the line.
This family-friendly SUV features S-specific styling enhancements and all the gear you would need including 20-inch alloy wheels and variable drive-modes – starting at just shy of £52,000 it would need to be well kitted.
Speaking of SUV’s, the SQ7 – aka the daddy of the range, costing close to £74,000 is a coal burner, fitted with the spectacular V8 bi-turbo TDi, producing 435PS and a colossal 900nm of torque. 0-62 comes in 4.9 seconds which is an impressive feat in a two tonne plus vehicle, helped via an electrical unit that acts like a third turbo.
Last, but certainly not least, the success of the R8 continues with the 610PS ‘V10 Plus’ dominating the fastest of the fast Audi’s line-up and now featuring a proper ‘box for the first time, in the form of a 7-speed dual-clutch unit – it is a vast improvement!
With such haste and luxury, Audi’s Supercar ranges from £112,450 to £141,130 and is one of the last surviving, high-revving, naturally aspirated performance cars on the market – just how long it will be until they start to downsize the capacity and add turbochargers is unknown.
Words and Photos: Graham Curry
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