Audi Concept Unveiled: Chunky Q3 Receives the RS Badge *eyes roll*

April 18, 2012

Audi has released photos of its latest concept in the form of its baby Q3 SUV adorned with the firm’s ‘ultra high performance’ RS (RennSport = Racing Sport) badge from their coveted Quattro GmbH wing. The official unveiling will occur at next week’s Beijing Motor Show and well, one could see why – this sort of thing will light-up eyes and sell in droves in China.

Propelling this (undoubtedly heavy) ‘RS’ SUV will be the company’s characterful 2.5L 5-cylinder turbo-charged unit dispelling the same 360 bhp power-figure as the one fitted inside the latest TT RS ‘Plus’. 4-wheel drive is a given and shuffling that power to all 4 wheels comes courtesy of a 7-speed R-tronic twin-clutch unit. All of this wizardy manages to propel the attractive anomaly to 60 mph in 5 seconds and hit 165 mph when going for gold.

Rather confusingly, the RS Q3 concept receives a hefty 25mm drop alongside the usual ‘sporty’ RS-morphing visual cues; redesigned chunkiness here and there and astronomically huge 335/30 tires riding on 20″ wheels. I say confusingly, because I’m starting to see a blurring cross-over of product offerings here. What is the point of a lowered, high-performance, fat-tire’d Q3 SUV…? An Rs3 is too low…? So then, enter-in the jacked-up Q3 and lower it/power it to make it ‘sporty’ enough for the cogs that will purchase such SUV taft as this…?

I suppose this is just Audi following their recent mandate of filling in the gaps of every possible niche market out there… Still though, I remain baffled by their marketing department-lead decisions for their model extensions.

Also worth noting is that Audi created a hypo ‘Custom Concept’ version of their Q5 SUV about a year or so ago but noted that the company would never make an RS version of their SUVs unless it was “technically possible”… riiiight.

For those that may be unaware, the Quattro GmbH wing of Audi is a private subsidiary that (used-to) only produces top-tier, limited-edition, high performance models drawn from the Audi stable. Past memorable efforts include the very first ‘RS’-badged Audi RS2 Avant of the mid-90’s followed by two seperate generations of both the RS4 and RS6. The later ’06-’08 RS4 being held of considerable excellence across the landscape of petrolheads and the motoring press worldwide.

Yet, over the past few years we’ve seen a drastic change-of-direction for the ‘RS’ badged Audis. It seems Audi have decided “If people will buy them, we’ll build them”. Consequently, we now also have a TT RS, a TT RS ‘Plus’, an RS5 and an RS3 – all of them receiving decidedly lacklustre reviews from the motoring world… A new RS4 was also recently unveiled. Seems Audi’s RS is following BMW’s lead with the milking of their ‘high performance’ M-badge…

All in the name $ cha-ching $ cha-ching $ and the fact that people nowadays (oddly) seem to love driving cars that look like toys…

-Blake J.

Porsche: Baby SUV ‘Macan’ On The Way

February 16, 2012

Porsche has been receiving some (deserved?) flak this week, what with their ludicrous statement from 911 project chief, August Achleitner, that the next GT3 could very-well receive a PDK-only gearbox, arguing that “No one complained when we made the Turbo PDK-only”… Really Mr. Achleitner…? Well, if we’re resorting to that level of grade-school justification then it’s safe to say that no one complained when the last two hardcore, driver’s-choice GT3 models (996 and 997) came with three pedals and a proper gear-stick with cogs… 100% approval from customers I’d say- they bought a GT3 for that very reason.

Was known as the 'Cajun', now officially named the Macan

So before I ruffle myself up into a tiz again, let’s move on… The promised Porsche baby-SUV has been confirmed and its name is Macan – translates to ‘tiger’ in Indonesian and is apparently a safe bet for worldwide translations (important when naming a new car). It goes without saying that its main rivals will be the Audi Q5 and the sleek ‘n sexy Range Rover Evoque, what with its compact dimensions (ie: no space inside, yet jacked-up to look like it has space) and ‘sporty’ coupe-like roofline. And, as is the Porsche way, its face and rump looks as though it has been designed by the same lazy designer of every new Porsche over the last 12 years – just imagine a smaller Cayenne… there you go, job done.

It goes without saying that this new Macan is a direct result of Porsche’s long-term expansion plans, with an eye dead-set on China where Panamera and Cayenne sales outnumber sportscars sales by a substantial margin. The numbers tell all – Porsche sold 118,967 vehicles last year, 59,897 of those were Cayennes. One-quarter of Porsche’s total production last year landed on China’s shores…

The old saying (belief ?) goes that Porsche only builds these Cayennes, Panameras and Macans solely as cash-cows to help fund development of their ‘true passion’: sportscars like the Boxster, Cayman and 911 derivatives (and to some extent, the forthcoming halo 918 supercar). But with the current fleet at an even ‘3 on 3’ now and with sales gravitating heavily towards the success of the big ‘n chunky sort in developing markets like China, it will be interesting to see what direction Porsche takes with the brand’s sporting origins amidst the oncoming horizon.

-Blake J.

Scary Accident On The Highway In China

July 5, 2011

A truck losses control after his front tire explodes and crashes the car beside him. On the other hand, this driver continues to pass the accident without stopping. In many ways, stopping in the middle of the highway with no shoulder would probably cause more harm than good. What do you guys think? Please leave a comment.

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