Category Archive:

Motorist Choice Awards Reveal Vehicles That Please Both Hearts And Minds


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(August 11, 2009) — Right brain, left brain; the practical versus the emotional — an age-old dilemma often at the center of decision making when buying a new car or truck. The 2009 Motorist Choice Awards recognize new cars and trucks that give their owners both economic and emotional satisfaction, helping new-car buyers find vehicles that best satisfy all of their personal-transportation needs. The fourth annual Motorist Choice Awards survey, announced today, scores 196 cars, trucks, crossovers and SUVs. With the top overall scores in both owner satisfaction and value, the Lexus LS placed highest of any 2009 model year vehicle.
Large and luxury vehicles dominated this year’s results. The top 34 ranked cars, and 106 of the top 107, are large cars, luxury cars, sport utility vehicles, crossover SUVs or minivans. Only one small car, the BMW 1-Series, scored in the top 100, landing in the 35th slot. Toyota Prius is the next-highest-scoring small car, coming in 107th.
Awards are given for top-scoring vehicles scoring in each of twenty-three segments, as well as for the top-scoring brand. Nine manufacturers earned segment wins, led by Toyota with nine awards (including three for Lexus), followed by General Motors with six (Chevrolet 4, Cadillac 2), Honda with three, and Chrysler with two (Dodge 1, Jeep 1). Audi, Ford, Hyundai, Nissan and Volkswagen took top honors in one segment each.
(And check out our video on YouTube.)

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2009 NAIAS: Audi R8 5.2 FSI quattro


A V10 for the R8
525HP, quattro, optional ceramic brakes and standard LED headlights. Zero to 60 in 3.9 seconds. What more is there to say?

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After the jump, catch more photos and Audi’s official press release.

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Exhaust Note #34: Audi Calls for Lowering Diesel Tax


A Sensible Recommendation? Yes, In Fact
At the close of the Audi Mileage Marathon we talked about last week, Audi of America’s Executive Vice President Johan de Nysschen took a moment between results announcements and meet-and-greets with a few Hollywood celebrities to make a plea to the political structure. Mr. de Nysschen called for a lowering of diesel tax. Good, lowering taxes I like, though for a racing fan like myself, I was more impressed with Audi American Le Mans Series and Le Mans drivers Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish, and Dindo Capello than Mario Lopez or Brooke Burke. But that’s just me, and I digress.


de Nysschen with Burke and Lopez


Kristensen, McNish, and Capello

Posted in: Audi, Exhaust Note

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Exhaust Note #33: Audi Continues U.S. Diesel Education Program


I just finished the fourth leg of Audi’s Mileage Marathon, a coast-to-coast demonstration and competition drive for the best fuel economy from a range of Audi TDI clean diesels. The drive started in New York City on October 6, ending in Santa Monica on October 19. I joined the crew in Las Vegas, which included driving through Monterey, California, and the chance to see the Audi R10 TDI cars take 1-2 in the final American Le Mans Series race of the year at Laguna Seca, their ninth consecutive victory.


A diesel winner. A nearly silent, dominating race car.

The undertaking allowed attending Audi engineers, designers, and product planners to take a deep dive into the extremes of American driving conditions, from a crowded New York City street through the Rocky Mountains, Red Rocks at Sedona, Death Valley to Mammoth Lakes (from altitude of minus 282 feet below sea level at Badwater Basin in the Valley to 11,000 feet in Mammoth Lakes), and finally down Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Monica.

The cross-country Audi Mileage Marathon fleet

This convoy of 23 silver Audi Q7s, Q5s, A3s, and A4s, dressed in nearly as many stickers as the R10 racing car, could not be missed. U.S. and international journalists and Audi engineers, designers, and executives got to see people over the country, talk to them about the car and the benefits of diesel, as well as gain firsthand knowledge of U.S. reactions. When the 3.0L TDI Q7 becomes available in the States next year, Audi will begin to see the results of the overall diesel communication strategy and education outreaches.
This was an astounding event in ambition, scope, and execution, and next week I’ll be telling my driving story. Today, we’re going to talk a little about diesel acceptance and Audi’s positioning.

Posted in: Audi, Exhaust Note

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Audi TT and Chevrolet Corvette Win 2008 AutoPacific Motorist Choice Award® for Premium Sports Car


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AutoPacific: Premium sports car owners rated the Audi TT as the category’s winner of the 2008 Motorist Choice Award®. The win was derived from top scores for safety features, feeling safe while driving, ride and ease of getting in and out. The interior of the Audi TT really pushed it to the head of the class, with high scores for instrument layout, controls having a quality feel, quietness inside, interior styling, feel of interior fabrics and materials and driver’s seat comfort. The TT’s traction in all weather conditions was also the best in the category.
IntelliChoice: The Audi TT tied with the Chevrolet Corvette within a very small class. The Audi TT has a strong retained value and was a 2008 Vehicle Satisfaction Award winner.
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AutoPacific: The Chevrolet brings home the 2008 Motorist Choice Award® for premium sports car with distinction. Owners rate the Corvette’s power and acceleration as best in class. The Corvette also scored very well in exterior styling, wheel size and style — not to mention high scores in being fun to drive.
IntelliChoice: The Corvette tied with the Audi TT. The Corvette was a 2008 BOVY winner and has best-in-class retained value, insurance, and maintenance.

Posted in: Audi, Awards, Chevrolet

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Road Noise: The Green Parade


Green technology at the Woodward Dream Cruise? Hmmm. You could fit a whole Prius under this baby’s hood, I guess.


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2009 Audi A4: First Drive


Audi‘s latest A4 goes on sale in fall 2008, and we recently had a chance for a spin behind the wheel of a Euro-spec car. At first drive, Audi takes everything good on its core model and ratchets it up a notch. Audi showed off the home of their owner’s driving school, the Audi Forum Sonoma at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. The Audi Forum takes a track experience a step above, and we only wish the day had been longer for more track time.

I promise, you can get the A4 in a color other than red..

We drove Euro-spec 265HP 3.2L Quattro sedans, with six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmissions. Audi is not offering the dual-clutch transmission here. The standard car this fall takes Audi’s 211HP 2.0L TFSI I4 (not the 250HP version once expected), standard in front-drive but available with Quattro. The wagon arrives with Quattro only. We covered the A4’s introduction at the Frankfurt auto show last year and brought you most of the technical stuff then (click here to revisit).

Like many vehicles, A4 has grown with each generation. Having fallen for the A4 back in my mid-1990s Automobile Magazine days, I wondered if this iteration would finally be so big it lost some charm. The A4 has grown about six inches, with a wheelbase just over 110 inches. Instead of being slightly smaller, the A4 is seven inches longer than the either the BMW 3-Series or Mercedes C-Class. Our short drive proved that the A4 is as charming as ever, and more nimble than the size suggests. The cabin is more comfortable, but this new chassis, steering, and suspension ensure a fine-handling sedan.

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Audi Q7 Wins AutoPacific 2008 Ideal Vehicle Award for Premium Luxury Crossover SUV



Owners in the Premium Luxury Crossover SUV segment crowned the Audi Q7 the winner in the 2008 Ideal Vehicle Awards. Across the board, the Q7 did very well, winning for exterior size, interior lighting, exterior styling, seat firmness, handling, wheels and tires and top-notch safety features.

Posted in: Audi, Awards

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AutoPacific Announces 2008 Ideal Vehicle Awards


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Tustin, California, June 30, 2008 – An “ideal” is defined as an excellent or perfect example. In the annual Ideal Vehicle Awards (IVA), announced today by automotive research and consulting firm AutoPacific, owners rate their new 2008 model year cars and trucks by how close they come to their ideal, as measured by 15 key vehicle attributes. The cars or trucks that owners would change the least are the most ideal.

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I've got your product placement right here.


A highly scientific poll conducted by calling my friend Doug and asking him, “Hey, who do you think has more screen time in Iron Man: Jeff Bridges or the Audi logo?” determined recently that, yeah, there might be some product placement at work in the entertainment industry.

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The star of Iron Man. Also pictured: Guy in a robot suit.

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