Electric Audi E-Tron SUV joins London taxi fleet

Audi E-Tron Addison Lee

Taxi company Addison Lee is adding five all-electric Audi E-Tron SUVs to its fleet from today, as part of a six-month trial in London.

The cars will join Addison Lee’s existing, fully-ULEZ-compliant fleet. Both Audi and Addison Lee have invested heavily in future mobility, including zero-emissions and autonomous driving tech.

Carrying passengers, gathering data

Audi E-Tron Addison Lee

The trial allows Addison Lee to acquire data about the viability of electric cars. The plus side for Audi, and indeed the electric car cause as a whole, is that it will expose a wide variety of people to EVs, specifically the E-Tron.

“Our partnership with Audi combines two premium brands in making a significant step towards next-generation, sustainable mobility solutions, and continues to position Addison Lee Group at the forefront of innovation in ground transportation services,” said Andy Boland, CEO of Addison Lee.

‘Ideally suited to chauffeuring duties’

Audi E-Tron Addison Lee

As for the cars themselves, they’re in a classic Addison Lee spec – that’s black, black and more black. In the E-Tron’s case, Mythos Black, with acoustic privacy glass, soft-closing doors and four-zone climate control. All with a view to delivering ‘the most luxurious experience for passengers, with a host of touches that optimise comfort and convenience’.

The E-Tron is well equipped for taxi duties from the off. Audi cites its ‘class-leading luggage capacity and capacious rear legroom’, too.

Audi Addison Lee

“The E-tron is the perfect catalyst for the transition into electrification for a global ground transportation business like Addison Lee Group,” said Andrew Doyle, director of Audi UK.

“Its incredible refinement and performance suggest that it is something out of the ordinary, but in terms of usability, quality, design and engineering it will be a home-from-home for anyone familiar with a modern-day Audi.”

Audi drivers may never stop at a red traffic light again

Audi traffic light information Europe

Audi drivers may never stop at a set of traffic lights again thanks to new technology being rolled out in Europe.

From July, Audi will network new models with the traffic lights in Ingolstadt, Germany, with drivers told what speed is required to catch the next set of lights on green. In theory, it should mean no more red lights and a smoother flow of traffic… assuming you drive an Audi.

Audi traffic light information Europe

Audi says further European cities will follow from next year, although drivers in the U.S. have been using the service since late 2016. The ‘Traffic Light Information’ is available at more than 5,000 American intersections, including 1,000 in the U.S. capital alone.

The system uses Audi’s ‘virtual cockpit’ to relay information to the driver. If they will reach the lights on red, a countdown will count the seconds to the next green phase. Used correctly, an Audi driver could travel through an entire city without seeing a red light.

Audi traffic light service

All European A4, A6, A7, A8, Q3, Q7, Q8 and e-tron models produced from mid-July will feature the function, but customers must opt for the required navigation and infotainment package, along with the camera-based traffic sign recognition.

Greater challenges in Europe

Audi traffic light information Europe

Commenting on why the service is arriving in Europe two years later than in North America, Andre Hainzlmaier, head of development of apps, connected services and smart city at Audi, said: “The challenges for the serial introduction of the service are much greater here than, for example, in the USA, where urban traffic light systems were planned over a large area and uniformly.

“In Europe, by contrast, the traffic infrastructure has developed more locally and decentrally – with a great variety of traffic technology.

Audi traffic light information Europe

“How quickly other cities are connected to this technology depends above all on whether data standards and interfaces get established and cities digitalize their traffic lights.”

Audi says the so-called ‘green wave’ technology might be incorporated into the sat-nav to plot the smoothest and most efficient route through an urban area, while it’s conceivable that e-tron models could make increased use of braking energy to charge the batteries.

For non-Audi drivers, the message is simple: follow a suitably-equipped Audi through an urban area if you’re hoping to avoid delays.

Audi S8 long-term review: life with a classic super saloon

Audi S8 long-term review

It’s the tail end of 2001. The Millennium Bug has buggered off and the Millennium Dome will soon be sold on. Meanwhile, the coolest super saloon on the block is the original (D2) Audi S8.

Despite starring in one of Hollywood’s most epic car chases (in 1998’s Ronin), the subtle S8 flew under the radar. It’s a bit of a unicorn these days, garnering respectful nods from the sort of car geeks you’d avoid at a dinner party. We absolutely loved it.

Übermacht: meeting the Audi S8

Audi long-term review

In the over-styled, over-sized, and obese automotive world of 2019, the S8 looks modest: perfectly proportioned and effortlessly tasteful. It’s a collector of double-takes, as onlookers realise this low-slung saloon isn’t a typical old Audi. Watching it trundle into the office car park was enough to eke an ‘Ooohh’ out of several MR staffers.

The first S8 was launched in 1996, some 10 years before the R8 supercar arrived to drag Audi’s music-video appeal up by the scruff of the neck. Big wheels and those signature alloy mirror covers complement flashes of chrome on the grilles and window trims. Today, that sounds like a paint-by-numbers Audi S model. Back then, it was über-cool.

Our S8 – on loan from Audi UK’s extensive heritage fleet – is no spring chicken. In our month-long stewardship, its mileage ticked over the 157,000 mark. As such, some of the paint is a bit faded and the leather a touch tired. No matter, we love a bit of patina and it is, after all, a mile-munching luxo-barge.

Read our long-term review of the classic Audi A4 DTM

Littler than large luxo-barge

Audi long-term review

Getting inside, it couldn’t be more ‘2001’ if Ricky Martin was blaring out of the stereo. The leather chairs – yes these are chairs, not seats – absorb you. The tiny infotainment screen is dim in daylight, and outdone in the dark by quintessential Audi red backlighting. The plentiful wood shows even this most modern premium marque was chasing old-school luxury tropes back then and there’s no sign of the stylish sloping centre console of subsequent generations just yet.

The electric rear blind is perfect for shielding back-seat passengers from the sun, or hiding Justin Timberlake from prying paparazzi lenses (possibly).

For its comparatively slight proportions – it’s not much larger than a current A4 – the S8 is nicely spacious inside. The control weights are heavy, the buttons make a satisfying click and the shifter for the automatic gearbox has a hefty clunk that today’s drive buttons could never hope to replicate. Once your seat and mirrors are adjusted, it’s one of those cars that feels so right – an effect amplified once you hit the road.

Driving the S8 – a proper super saloon

Audi S8 long-term review

No starter buttons, no keyless go: the key goes in the column, kids. Turn it, and a nondescript hum fills the cabin as the 4.2-litre 40-valve V8 coughs into life. Yes, this engine would inform the unit that found its way into the middle of the R8.

Here, it’s no 420hp screamer, putting out 355hp, which goes to ground via a five-speed automatic transmission.

Engage drive, release the manual handbrake and the waft-tastic regression session begins. At the risk of outing myself for bad driving habits, the S8 is a car that inspires a spot of ‘palming’. That is, flat-handing the top of the wheel and guiding it round as you slither around urban streets.

Gear changes are a bit lurchy, exacerbated by the eager-to-rev engine. Make the V8 sing, however, and a reputation forged by Ronin is quickly justified. This is perfect early-2000s car chase fodder, as evidenced by the fact that Jason Statham swapped his BMW 7 Series for an A8 in sequels to The Transporter. What Ultimate Driving Machine?

Audi S8 long-term review

Beemer-beater, the S8 isn’t, though. The Quattro all-wheel drive is faithfully grippy and the chassis feels balanced if not pushed too hard. Its damping is compliant, but there’s just a bit more body roll than you’d want. If the driving gets any more exciting than a swift hustle, the fact that the engine sits almost completely beyond the front wheels becomes obvious. It’s definitely a super saloon rather than a sports saloon.

What the S8 has in spades (and which we sorely miss in modern cars), is a bit of tyre sidewall. It rides beautifully when pressing on, making light work of rutted British roads.

Big distances, big fuel bills

What the S8 is most good at is chewing miles. Sorry, chewing fuel. Sorry, both at once. The beautifully refined cabin, with its double-glazed windows, is the perfect place to forget that you’re doing, at best, 24mpg. If you’re exercising that V8 at all, it’s more like 15mpg.

The S8 on a long run is absolutely delightful, as reported by all at team MR. Tim took a family trip to Norfolk in it, Richard did some commuting and I ran it for miles in-between. Just as soon as you fall in love with the delicious bubble the S8 provides for a long journey, so too do you worry about its voracious appetite.

Audi S8 long-term review

The Audi S8, like the Millenium Dome, is of its time. Both represent the era from which they originate giving itself a hearty pat on the back. And both live on in 2019, with equally strong arguments for and against their suitability. You love it from afar, you enjoy it up close, but sooner or later, the novelty wears off. Almost.

You hand back the keys, quietly nursing your superleggera wallet, then you immediately have second thoughts. You’d take 10mpg if it meant you could go for one last waft. Boy, do we miss it now it’s gone.

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Watch an artist EXPLODE an Audi R8 down to its V10

Audi R8 exploded view

Artist Fabian Oefner has created an artwork with the Audi R8, ‘exploding’ it into its component parts in a freeze-frame profile image. It’s part of Audi USA’s celebration of 10 years of the R8 V10 engine.

This isn’t Oefner’s first piece of this kind. Recently, he worked with Lamborghini to create a similar piece with the iconic Miura. Before that, he did the Porsche 956 Group C prototype.

To create the image was a long and labour-intensive process. None of which involved detonating explosives within the bowels of an R8…

Multiple photographs, multiple angles, multiple components – all are combined and digitally stitched together. 

As you can see from the video, while the image itself is a digital creation, the disassembly of a real R8 actually occurred. And modern cars have far more individual components than those of years gone by

10 years of the V10-powered R8

The V10-engined R8 turns 10 this year, and Audi has also celebrated with 222 R8 ‘Decennium’ editions. 

Nothing encapsulates ‘halo model’ quite like this V10-amidships screamer sharing showroom space with hatchbacks, executive saloons and crossovers.

However, it’s rumoured the next R8 could be all-electric and wear an ‘E-tron’ badge. We’ll miss it when it’s gone, that’s for sure.

You can buy print of this image for $24.95 from Audi USA’s website. It’s likely to cost a little more for those of us on the European side of the pond, after postage and currency exchange.

Oil-burning S6: The latest fast Audi is a diesel

Audi S6

The latest Audi S6, S6 Avant and S7 models are ditching the old 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine in favour of, believe it or not, diesel power. They will join the SQ7 and SQ5 along with the Volkswagen Touareg V8 TDI in the Volkswagen Group’s fast (and clever) diesel range. It’s Europe-only, though. For those in the USA and Asia, you’ll be getting the 2.9-litre 450hp 442 ib-ft V6 from the RS4.

S6 engine: Old-school torque, next-generation boost

Audi S6

As you might imagine, the 3.0-litre V6 TDI engine is a bit cleverer than your average clatter box. It comes equipped with an electric compressor, much like the SQ7’s V8, to deliver instant boost until the conventional turbochargers are raring to go, responding in as little as 250 milliseconds. The electrically powered compressor effectively fills in where exhaust gasses aren’t quite up to it. It’s not all that complicated, though Audi has done its best to confuse matters by calling it ‘dual supercharging’.

So what’s the result of this clever tech? All in, you get 349hp – not an earth-shattering figure by any measure. Indeed, the old S6 managed a sturdy 420hp. However, when it comes to torque, 516lb-ft smashes the old car’s 405lb-ft. Still, we worry that a BMW M550d could make short work of it. It’ll crack 62mph in 5.0 seconds, on the way to a limtied top speed of 155mph.

Audi S7

The new car, like the SQ7, is also a mild hybrid with a 48v system. This allows for stop-start function up to 14mph which will allegedly save 0.4-litre per 100km of fuel in the real world. It can also recover energy that would otherwise be wasted from the brakes for storage in the battery.

All in, you can expect between 43mpg and 45mpg from your S6 or S7, while producing between 167g/km and 171g/km of CO2. Those are incredible figures in comparison to previous generations wearing the same badge…

Audi S6

Speaking of which, this seems like a good time to mention that this diesel hybrid’s grandad had a 5.2-litre petrol V10, not unlike those found in Lamborghinis of the day. Will the next Huracan be a diesel hybrid? We digress…

The diesel is Europe-only. For those in the USA and Asia, you’ll be getting the 2.9-litre 450hp 442 ib-ft V6 from the RS4, also complete with the mild hybrid system.

Other performance bits

Audi S6

Putting that diesel hybrid power down is the ubiquitous Quattro all-wheel-drive system, complete with a sports diff. As much as 85 percent of the car’s power is sent rearward. Suspension wise, you can have the standard 20mm-lower spring and damper setup or, new for an S-badged model, adaptive air suspension.

Not so much low and slow, as it is comfortable and capable, Audi hopes. New too for the S6 is all-wheel steering. Optional are punchier carbon-ceramic brakes to haul it to a stop.

S6 and S7 styling – sporty yet restrained

Audi S7

Looks wise, it’s standard Audi ’S’ procedure. You’d be hard pressed to tell it from an S-line A6, if not for the badging, big wheels and quad exhausts. Still, it sits well and we’re getting used to the slightly fussier styling by comparison to its predecessor. Crucially, the sharp looks don’t write any cheques the performance can’t cash.

This is a do-it-all sleeper, just as an S-badged Audi should be. Inside, it’ll be same as usual. Plenty of S badging and maybe some carbon bits and fancy stitching if you’re feeling flush.

Audi S7

An RS6 will be along in a while and you can bank on it sporting over 600hp. No, don’t worry, the diesel won’t leak into the RS6. Register your interest in the new S6 now and you can expect deliveries to begin at the end of the summer, if not before.

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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