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.
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Anger: Doesn’t Mix Well With Automobiles and Dealerships

April 11, 2012

Details are understandably hazy with this eye-opening scenario, but the apparent story goes that this customer was rather annoyed with the Dealership’s impudence towards some suspension-related issues he was reporting with his new Suzuki Grand Vitara purchase. As a result, the internal rage switches were flicked on and, well… see for yourself.

Methinks his suspension queries are probably null and void now.

-Blake J.
AutoInjected.com


Bentley: EXP 9 F Concept Marches Onto The Premium SUV Scene

March 6, 2012

There are moments within the motoring world when it’s absolutely justifiable to make that sound of air being sucked into your mouth through clenched teeth… this is one of those moments.

Dubbed, clonkingly, the EXP 9 F, this is Bentley’s long-rumoured entry into the Premium SUV realm with a dead-aim set on emerging markets such as China and the middle East (as if the poorly photoshopped ‘desert roaming’ press shots below didn’t convey this). The immediate reaction upon viewing this new 3-tonne-plus leviathan at the Geneva Motor Show this week is the rather obvious (lazy..?) inspiration used for its styling, or lack thereof, if we’re being honest.

With the chunky face of the Mulsanne and styling lifted straight from the Continental, it appears to resemble (unsurprisingly) a jacked-up version of the two afforementioned combined. ‘Traditional’ Bentley individual character and charm seem to have been forgone for outright bling-presence and awkward vulgarity – again, with the geographical aim of this vehicle.

But let’s be straight-up here; this is Bentley looking to cash-in. Pure and simple as that. All one needs to do is glance at the astounding sales of Premium-level Cayennes and Range Rovers in said emerging markets and this concept’s raison d’etre is clear as water. Bentley wants a piece of that action and its German owners aren’t about to shy away from the potential sales figures…

Wonky styling and reason-for-being aside, the guts of this massive mobile lounge feature the 600 bhp / 590 lb ft twin-turbo 6.0 W12 Vdub-lump that has been gracing Bentleys ever since the VW ownership takeover. As such, this effectively allows Bentley to claim (rather obviously) that this would be one of the fastest of its breed… and quite easily the highest petrol-consuming as well… yet, if you’re wealthy enough to own one, you won’t really care about that.

As you’d also expect, oppulence takes centre stage with vulgar 23″ wheels, a flashy interior constructed of the finest veneer woods and the softest of hand-stitched leathers. Creature comforts abound with various cubbies for wine glasses and a handly split tail-gate (a la Range Rover) that offers a place to plomp your wealthy buttocks while you make full use of the custom dining-set out back.

As this is Bentley’s first foray into the Premium SUV segment, no holds were barred in the over-lavishing exercise of their concept to get their, um, point across. Yet Bentley reminds us that this is merely a concept to gauge reaction and insight from their potential customers that they so do wish to please…

With that in mind, it will be interesting to watch how a Bentley born purely from the munching gravity of marketing leads will end up in the end. Strange automotive times ahead, indeed…

-Blake J.
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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.
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Bentley: VW’s ‘hand-me-down’ Motorsport Brand…?

November 8, 2011

Bentley to enter the Paris-Dakar Rally – Sounds a bit daft, doesn’t it…? Like your Auntie dropping the knitting-sticks and taking up Bull-riding full-time… But in the case of Bentley’s situational outlook on parent-company VW’s radar, it doesn’t seem all that unlikely nor out-of-place. A few key (and historical) points to take into consideration:

1. Bentley is developing a new, gargantuan W12-motored 4×4 SUV based on a shared Audi/Porsche/VW platform that will see it rise to the cream of the price-crop when it’s unveiled in 2015 – and so it should be… It’s a Bentley for heaven’s sake. Yet, with all of this platform and technology sharing within the many halls of Poppa Veedub, a full-force rally attack utlising the Bentley badge could be considered perfect timing considering….

Coming soon..! A Bentley doing this...!

2. VW is re-focusing its sights on the WRC Rally stages now with a bespoke VW Polo to tackle it with. This means, in all likelihood, that the Touareg they’ve been successfully campaigning (and winning) with over the last few years or so (in the Dakar, etc) might be retired. In its place could be the new/next Bentley SUV which, as mentioned, will be based on a VW/Audi/Porsche platform yet badged as a Bentley… see how this is all working out…? Because…

3. Bentley has been here before… not long ago. Remember the 2003 Le Mans win with (from-out-of-nowhere) Bentley taking the chequered flag in the menacing British-racing-green Speed 8..? Said racecar was actually based rather extensively on the dominating Audi R8 race car… adorned with Bentley badges.

The 2003 Le Mans Winning Bentley... based on the *ahem* ...Audi R8

There we go – Brand engineering and exercising done with ease…!

Yet it does make one wonder how longtime Bentley employees and life-long devotees feel about the Bentley brand/name/heritage being utilised as a marketing exercise to prop-up and re-glitz the technologies and motorsport know-how that their parent company has already adopted and achieved prior successes with…? I’d feel like the middle/bottom kid in the family that eventually receives hand-me-downs from the siblings – it all works, but it was never really yours to begin with.

-Blake J.
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