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Audi to glam it up with diesel and V10 mumbo

Grunt: S8 will employ the Lamborghini Gallardo's 331kW/450Nm V10.

Audi hopes niche diesel and performance models will keep its sales momentum going

21 Nov 2005

AUDI is set to release at least 10 new models in the next 12 months, and several more soon after that, with the emphasis on turbo-diesel economy and high-performance brand building.

They follow the complete overhaul of Audi’s core passenger model line-up over the last 16 months. Since July 2004 there have been two all-new models (A3 and A6) and significant upgrades to the A4 and A8 luxury car.

A 30 per cent sales rise is forecast as a result. Most have been on the back of the B7-series A4 and the A3 Sportback five-door hatchback. Now Audi is keen to maintain the momentum by adding glamour to these models to boost their appeal.

In the last month it has launched an upgraded S4 performance sedan and the A4 2.0 TDI turbo-diesel sedan (see our first drives later this week), along with the the A3 Sportback 2.0 TFSI.

The latter combines the hot-selling VW Golf GTI running gear (147kW 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder engine) with a Haldex part-time all-wheel drive drivetrain.

Diesels will play the bigger role in Audi’s sales plans.

In March next year the 250kW A8 4.2-litre TDI V8 arrives, espousing a world-leading 650Nm of torque from its bi-turbo common-rail diesel engine. The fitment of the A6’s 3.0-litre TDI V6 in the A4 sedan will follow it. Available in quattro all-wheel drive, its 150kW engine pumps out 450Nm of torque from 1400rpm.

That’s 20Nm more than the 309kW RS4, which is out from April 2006. It’s a six-speed manual-only model that will initially be offered in sedan-only guise.

Next up is the revised A4 Cabriolet sporting the B7-series facelift. Out in June 2006, it replaces the last Audi without the company’s controversial single-frame grille.

June is also when the A3 1.9 TDI Sportback arrives. As an entry-level turbo-diesel delivering 77kW of power and 250Nm of torque, it should prove to be one of the series’ best-selling variants. Expect mid-$30,000 pricing.

7 center imageBut the big news is the Q7, a car that will finally put Audi on par with large 4WD wagons such as the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz ML and Volvo XC90.

Two engines are earmarked for launch – the volume-selling 150kW 3.0-litre TDI as well as the 257kW/440Nm 4.2-litre FSI V8 engine - both married to a six-speed automatic gearbox.

At the same time the latter engine will also be fitted to the A8, upping its power from 246kW and 430Nm. Audi may also launch a 150kW 3.0-litre TDI V6 version of its luxury sedan aimed at the limousine market. It will be followed by the S8, a sportier version of the all-aluminium Audi A8 luxury sedan unveiled at September’s Frankfurt motor show.

Using a variation of the V10 found in the related Lamborghini Gallardo supercar, the 5.2-litre FSI unit develops 331kW and 540Nm, to help the S8 reach the 100km/h spot from standstill in 5.1 seconds. The Avant wagon version of the RS4 sedan also makes an appearance from October 2006, while an as-yet-unnamed new model will appear soon after - possibly the all-new TT coupe which appeared at last month's Tokyo motor show as the Shooting Brake concept.

What's coming from Audi:

A4 3.0-litre TDI V6 sedan – April 2006
RS4 sedan – April 2006
A4 Cabriolet facelift – June 2006
A3 Sportback 1.9 TDI hatch – June 2006
A3 Sportback 2.0 TDI hatch – June 2006
Q7 SUV – September 2006
RS4 Avant wagon – October 2006
S8 sedan – October 2006
A8 4.2 FSI V8 sedan – October 2006
Mystery Audi - November 2006

And beyond...

Allroad wagon redesign – early 2007
R8 supercar – mid-2007
Q5 compact SUV – late 2007
A4 redesign – early 2008
A8 redesign – 2009

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