The Audi A3 is conclusive proof that green vehicles need not be boring or uninvolving transportation. Frankly, it’s amazing that it has taken as long as it has to get fun yet extremely frugal vehicles into the marketplace. Years of having to maneuver around hybrids like Prius driven by hypermilers have led so many people to simply assume that fuel sipping vehicles are incapable of possessing any excitement.
Fortunately, our European friends across the pond have never felt that way. Much higher fuel taxes have resulted in fuel economy being a big priority in Europe, but that has never justified boring cars there. Quite the opposite, actually.
I have a confession to make. I was cautiously optimistic with the idea of the A7 when I first heard that Audi had green lighted the program. Yes, I am fond of hatchbacks but one image was burned into my brain: Accord Crosstour. The Crosstour was a great idea on paper and a gave people who worship at the church of hatchback another option. Sadly, the final product hasn’t been much of a sales success as Americans shun hatchbacks. I won’t mention the fact that many crossovers today are actually hatchbacks but calling them that would be a marketing faux pas. The Crosstour is looking like another nail in the coffin of slow selling hatchback designs for the US market. Could the company that brought us the R8 strike out [...]
Think Audi A3, BMW 1-Series and Volvo C30 and you can better understand the competitive set Lexus is targeting with its all new CT200h 5-door hatchback to be launched in February 2011. Also think of the CT200h as a product really designed for the European market where it is right-sized and right-styled.
The competitive set in the USA sells less than 1,500 units per month now - or about 18,000 per year - small potatoes in a 12,000,000 unit industry. Lexus is going after 1,000 units per month - immediately intending capturing 40% of this small segment. Can they do it?
The Q7 TDi is a nicely styled, outstandingly crafted vehicle, powered by what we consider its best powertrain - the 3.0L V6 turbo diesel with 225-horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. Unfortunately, in the Q7, this engine has to pull 5,512 pounds (5,512 !!!!!!!!!!!!!). Off the line at part throttle the Q7 TDi feels stuck in the sand. Once you are rolling, if you go pedal to the metal, the torque kicks in and the Q7 feels great.
Capping Audi's Centennial Anniversary, the launch of the A8 is very significant to the company. The A8 is being introduced in Europe and China earlier in 2010 with the USA getting A8 in Winter 2010 or Spring 2010.
Let's call it a shindig. A Hollywood premiere. Audi introduced its all new A8 premium luxury sedan to the world on Monday night in Miami Beach at the renowned Founainbleau Hotel. As a sponsor of Art Basel Miami Beach, Audi has provided transportation to various venues and display space for contemporary art.