Audi to streamline worldwide engine range, confirms CEO

Audi cutting engines

Volkswagen Group’s battle with emissions regulations continues, as Audi moves to streamline its engine range in a bid to cut costs on the way into the second part of WLTP.

This, as revealed in an interview with newly-appointed Audi CEO Bram Schot, with German paper Handelsblatt.

Audi: streamline, simplify, save

Audi cutting engines

Speaking of the challenges that WLTP presented Audi, Schot said: “we learned something from it, that we are too complex”.

“We reduced complexity by around 30 percent,” Schot added, while emphasising that volume-selling variants were not to fall victim to the cuts, rather “engines and variants that were built specifically for a few markets”.

All told, the engine range should be more streamlined, with a minimal effect on sales volumes.

The engine cuts, along with a thinning-out of the numbers of managers and executives, will go some way towards delivering a €15 billion saving by 2022, hopes Schot. “We have too many executives on board today. One level – about ten percent of the line – we will be able to take out.”

Further savings are to be made on development. Audi is to forge a closer developmental relationship with its sister marques. “For all models, we want to increase synergies through closer cooperation”. Interestingly, Schot highlights Porsche as a desirable marque in the portfolio for Audi to snuggle up with.

Audi cutting engines

As for the future of the motorcar, Schot seems optimistic about electric car uptake. He reckons it’s easy to underestimate the speed at which electric motoring will catch on. Once the technology and infrastructure are at a viable standard.

Audi wants to sell one electric car for every four cars sold by 2025, but Schot says the company could be there by 2023. It’s electric car development and autonomous driving that Audi’s research and development workforce can thank for job security up to 2025.

The only hurdle Schot anticipates is cost, and whether the consumer will be willing to pay the price.

Has Audi given away a big Avengers: Endgame spoiler?

Avengers: Endgame spoilers Audi

Film buffs, listen up: Audi may have given away a big spoiler to the plot of the upcoming fourth Avengers instalment, Avengers: Endgame.

Spoiler alert: if you’re invested in Marvel’s ongoing cinematic tales of suspense, what follows might be breaking news of an entirely different nature to what you’d ordinarily find on a motoring website… read on with caution! 

During CES 2019 last week, Audi ran a VR installation with a programmed ‘experience’ for visitors to indulge in from the back of its new all-electric E-tron SUV. Spoiler herewith – the title of the experience? ‘Marvel’s Avengers: Rocket’s Rescue Run’.

Here’s the deal. As of the end of last year’s cliffhanger-riddled ‘Avengers: Inifinity War’, the armoured Avenger, Iron Man, AKA Tony Stark – regular on-screen driver of Audi cars – is stuck on a baron planet with no hope of getting back to Earth.

A great deal of speculation has surrounded how he is to be rescued and, indeed, who might rescue him. Given the title of Audi’s VR game at CES, Guardian of the Galaxy, Rocket Racoon, is now a solid front-runner. The game allowed participants to pilot a ship ‘playing’ Rocket, all within E-tron-powered Audi comfort.

Of course, Marvel’s writers and the directors of the latest Avengers movies are famous for their misdirection and blatant lies to protect plot secrets. This could well be yet another bit of misdirection. We wonder if they had to give ‘Rocket’s Rescue Run’ the sign-off…

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Avengers: Endgame will be Robert Downey Jr’s tenth appearance as Tony Stark and, you guessed it, he’ll be driving an Audi E-tron GT. The electric-powered concept is a preview of a future Tesla-fighter; a car entirely befitting Stark’s ‘futurist’ nickname from the comics.

Marvel’s super-powered cinematic universe launched over ten years ago, with the release of the first ‘Iron Man’ and is to date comprised of 20 films. Three more are due for release this year, including Avengers: Endgame.

Since the start of the franchise, the armoured Avenger and Audi have been almost inseparable. Tony Stark’s wheels of choice have almost always been Audis, with the first being the first-generation R8.

It’s surely a sign of the times that even Stark is now going electric with the E-tron. 

Avengers: Endgame spoilers Audi

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Audi A8 lights COME TO LIFE in crazy magazine advert

Audi Departures Magazine advert

Audi has worked with the high-end Departures magazine for a unique, interactive piece of print advertising in the U.S. featuring an A8… with working lights.

Yes, that’s right. The page comes alive. How? With the magic of OLED lighting and a ‘key’, you can unlock the A8 on the page. The same lighting signature on the real Audi A8 springs to life on the page. We genuinely have never seen anything like it.

Departures is an exclusive magazine that goes out to American Express platinum card members, of which 25,000 have been specially selected to receive this ad.

Audi A8 advert Departures

Alongside the special insert, Audi has provided a replica key fob, sent via mail, that can be used to activate the lights of, or ‘unlock’, the A8 (the 2018 World Luxury Car of the Year) on the page. The balletic lighting sequence that new high-level Audis feature – the ‘greeting’, as Audi calls it – then unfolds on the page. It also does it as you open the booklet – you use the key for a repeat performance.

How does it work? With an ultra-thin microprocessor sandwiched between the card of the insert that controls the rear light-imitating OLEDs.

The real cleverness of this advert is the fact that not only is the print-and-digital-merging ad itself amazing, but that the real car features similar boundary-pushing technology.

Audi has arguably led the automotive lighting arena since the gradual roll out of LED and Matrix LED headlights. The latest technology in car lighting, organic LEDs, now feature in the A8’s delectable lighting architecture and help this advert come to life.

Very clever stuff. We’d be prompted to go take a test drive based on the ad, that’s for sure. How many Departures readers will be similarly won over?

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Audi RSQ E-tron and Lance Sterling

Animated Audi to make movie debut in Spies in Disguise

Audi RSQ E-tron and Lance Sterling

A virtual Will Smith will get behind the wheel of a virtual Audi RSQ E-tron in the forthcoming animated film Spies in Disguise.

We can’t comment on the film, but the car looks great. To borrow a quote from the ‘Fresh Prince’ in Independence Day, “I have got to get me one of these.”

Only you can’t, because much like the cars created for the Gran Turismo racing franchise, the electric concept car is strictly virtual reality. For Audi, this is a chance to build awareness of its E-tron brand and it follows the debut of the all-electric Audi E-tron SUV.

By 2025, 1 in 3 new Audis will be fully electric, so the RSQ E-tron is part of the bigger picture for the German company. If an EV is good enough for Will Smith, it’s good enough for you, etc.

Smith is the voice actor for super-spy Lance Sterling who, according to a fan site, is “smooth, suave and debonair [and] handles the espionage with class and grace but he is not much of a people person”. We offer no comment about Audi drivers.

‘State-of-the-art digital’

Audi RSQ E-tron dashboard

The RSQ E-tron boasts a hologram speedometer, a fully automated driving mode and some Bond-style gadgets. Looking at the dashboard, there’s a button for the obligatory stealth mode, but is that a fuel switch we see? In an electric vehicle – hmmm.

Frank Rimili, head of Exterior Design Studio 3 at Audi, said: “Audi takes a digital, forward-looking approach to the design process, both in developing fictional content and in the producing modelling studio.

“At Audi Design, we combine state-of-the-art digital visualisation techniques with handmade precision.”

Erin Williams, vice president for marketing partnerships at Twentieth Century Fox Films added: Audi and Fox have been great collaborators over the years and we’re thrilled to evolve our relationship, bringing Audi into the world of animation for the first time.”

Audi will team up with Twentieth Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios to produce an additional custom animated content piece next year, before the film is released in cinemas in September 2019.


Opinion: Why the Audi PB18 E-tron heralds the mainstream EV supercar


The Audi R8 is this era’s original Honda NSX. It is the mainstream paint (and build) by numbers supercar, with total production from its 2006 debut to date at around 30,000 units. It does everything that is required for a price that, by supercar standards, is a bargain, with few frills and all the bombproof integrity those four rings atop its snout suggest.

The thing is, this era is fast becoming the last era, with upstart manufacturers like NIO and Rimac cropping up. They’re showing us what’s possible with new and alternative electric-centric technologies, and upsetting the supercar status quo.

The biggest paradigm shift in the history of motoring is underway, and now, with the debut of the PB18 concept at Pebble Beach, Audi is bang on it, too. Its preview shows how an EV-powered future could revolutionise one of the most exotic cars on the road.


In contrast to the archetypal supercar silhouette that is the R8, the PB18 concept is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. It sports a shooting-brake style body atop muscular haunches, and a changeable driving position. You can go from centre to the side as per your whim.

While the moving driver’s seat smacks more of concept car gimmick, the freedom an electric powertrain affords the design department, displayed by the PB18’s supercar shooting-brake style, is something we hope to see more of in the future.

There are performance benefits to be enjoyed beyond the obvious torque and mega acceleration, too. Rimac has for years been demonstrating the limitless torque-vectoring possibilities afforded by having individual power (and braking) units on each wheel. Instant torque, combined with a lower-than-ever centre of gravity and unlimited control over power distribution, is sure to make for some truly scintillating driving dynamics, without a whiff of 98 RON to be found.

Audi is optimistic for what electric power could mean for the driving enthusiast. This is evident from the fact that the ultra-futuristic PB18, with its full EV powertrain, comes with zero autonomous capability to take over management of that 671hp, 612Ib ft powertrain for you.

Also, the whole purpose of that movable cockpit is so that the driver can be front and centre when it comes down to the business of going for a drive.

The R8 is a wonderful thing as it is. That V10, along with so many other high-performance internal combustion engines at the moment, is evidence of how far we’ve come as creators and proprietors of exciting cars. It’s one of many cars at the moment that feel like an absolute refinement of the old-school exotic car formula.

It begs the question of whether it can possibly get any better. Even Audi has suggested the R8 won’t get a direct replacement. Whether that means Audi’s flagship is to be no more at all, or if what is to come next differs such that it isn’t really a replacement, remains to be seen.

These are transitional moments in the history of the motor car . How we let burgeoning technologies change and evolve what we already love will decide how we enjoy cars for years to come. Given that change is inevitable, concepts like the PB18, which explore the outer fringes of what the next-next R8 could look like, are absolutely essential.

From what we’ve seen so far from Audi here, along with Porsche and those market disruptors like Tesla, NIO and Rimac, the future of the performance car is still exciting. If a fair bit quieter.

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Audi RS6 Avant

Prince Harry’s Audi RS6 Avant for sale on Auto Trader

Audi RS6 Avant

Like mother, like son. Princess Diana caused quite a stir when she ditched her British wheels for something German – most famously an Audi 80 Cabriolet – and her youngest son has certainly followed in his mother’s footsteps.

Scan the gossip columns and you’ll spot Prince Harry behind the wheel of a number of Audi models, including this: a 2017 RS6 Avant. It was used by Harry and Meghan Markle on the way to Pippa Middleton’s wedding reception last year, and now, it could be yours.

For sale on Auto Trader for a not unreasonable £71,900, the superfast wagon comes with £11,330 worth of options and 4,464 royal miles on the clock. Factory-fitted accessories include a panoramic sunroof, privacy glass, night vision and – because Harry is a lad – a speed limiter removal.

Well, you need to get a wiggle on if you’re being hunted by the paparazzi.

Refreshingly, the dealer doesn’t appear to be charging a premium for the connection to the Duke of Sussex, and is offering “excellent funding solutions to suit your needs.” Needless to say, Harry wouldn’t have struggled for funding when he took delivery of the Audi, even if he was saving for a rather lavish wedding.

A ‘roaring exhaust’

Erin Baker, Auto Trader’s editorial director, said: “This is a smashing car perfectly suited to any aspiring Royal. The Audi RS6 Avant is one of the fastest estate cars on the market doing 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds, and it has a roaring exhaust to excite any petrol head.”

“The car boasts a 17 reg and low mileage, so it begs the questions why is the Prince selling so soon?”

While you spend all of four seconds pondering that question, we’ll leave you with a warning against buying the RS6 in the hope of making a quick dollar. In 2014, independent dealer Baron Cole paid over the odds for Harry’s old Audi RS3, before selling it to another dealer without making a profit.

We suspect Baron was royally flushed with embarrassment and he won’t be going anywhere near this RS6. You, on the other hand, can view the advert on Auto Trader here.