Monthly Archives: June 2015

Volkswagen Comeback Gains Traction

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Kelley Blue Book (KBB) estimates that VW’s sales will rise 10.5% in June to 55,000, better than any other car company except Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

VW’s sales include its Audi and Porsche brands. Audi often beats Mercedes and BMW in growth rate among German manufacturers. In the US VW itself still relies on one very successful car to pull its overall sales higher — the much-awarded Golf. Sales of the line are often in the double digits per month. Golf family sales rose 252% in May to 6,308.

KBB analysts see success beyond June: “Volkswagen Group is another manufacturer poised to report solid growth, thanks to the full model lineup of its redesigned Golf. The Audi brand also is providing a boost with double-digit growth this year, while the overall luxury market is 7.4 percent higher than last year.”

The major contributor to the turnaround in the U.S. will be the Volkswagen Passenger Cars division, which forms around 16% of the company’s valuation and was a massive 46% contributor to the net revenues last year. The forecast is boosted by an 8% jump in deliveries in May. The Volkswagen group is estimated to achieve a 4.7% growth in the U.S. in June.

The strengthening dollar also bodes well for Volkswagen, which reports its financials in euros. Volkswagen is investing $7 billion in North America between 2014-2018 for the purpose of adding capacity and accelerating growth in the country. The German company might be geared for growth in the U.S. now with a new operating structure, well-performing premium auto brands, and with a turnaround in sales for the namesake passenger brands.

VW by some measures is the largest car company in the world. It has a market share of close to 25% in Europe, and it is among the market leaders in China, the leader in sales among all countries.

Porsche to Sue Over Chinese Macan Clone?

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No, that’s not a Porsche Macan. It’s a Chinese-made knockoff, the Zoyte T700, and Porsche is seriously considering a lawsuit to prevent its manufacture.

The Chinese automotive industry has a major problem with design plagiarism, in which a Chinese automaker simply copies an existing design from another (usually non-Chinese) automaker. Of course, they don’t consider it a problem. There have been many examples of patent infringement in the past. Chinese-based Landwind built a Range Rover Evoque copy, the X7. Its patent drawings were available all the way back in April 2014, but Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) only started considering legal action after they saw the X7 debut on the Guangzhou Auto Show, when it was completely finished and ready to roll. Too late! Even more recently, BYD Auto was readying a Porsche Cayenne clone. Now automaker Zotye is preparing an SUV called the T700, which looks almost exactly like the Porsche Macan.

Zotye plans for the T700 to become the new flagship for their SUV line. It will be powered by a 177hp 2.0 turbo, or a new 3.0 V6 turbo that is currently under development. Prices are anticipated to start around 170.000 yuan ($27,390 US, according to today’s exchange rate). The Porsche Macan starts at 558.000 yuan or $89,920 US.

The Porsche press office says court action is being researched and reviewed by the company’s various legal departments, and that a final decision will be made after this process is complete. Much will depend on exactly how and when Porsche applied for patent on the Macan in China. If they did everything according to the Chinese law, which is famously vague—copyright enforcement in China doesn’t really exist—they have a chance. The Porsche name will help too, especially when fully backed by Volkswagen, one of the largest investors in the Chinese automotive sector. Furthermore, the Zotye T700 seems far from finished at the moment (it will reportedly not hit the market until next year), giving Porsche time to work out a strategy and put the brakes on development.

Audi Lunar Quattro Headed for the Moon in 2017

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Audi is helping a team called Part-Time Scientists go for Google’s Lunar XPRIZE. Anybody from around the world who can build a rover, fly it to the moon and send back data wins $30 million. The challenge requires that once on the lunar surface, the robot must explore at least 500 m around and send back high-quality photos and video.

Part-Time Scientists have created the robot, but Audi is contributing knowledge of robotics (where their experience with self-driving cars comes in handy), propulsion and lightweight materials to the project, and gets to put the four rings on the rover, called “Audi Lunar Quattro.” The mission is slotted for 2017, with the rover five days after launch near the spot where Apollo 17 touched down in 1972.

The last Porsche 918 comes off the line

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The legacy of this technology pioneer will reach far beyond its production time. Future generations of sports cars will benefit directly from innovations of the 918 Spyder.

The 918 Spyder was systematically developed to be a performance hybrid with plug-in technology. The hybrid super sports concept car made its debut at the 2010 Geneva International Motor Show where it met with overwhelming approval. In the summer of 2010, the Supervisory Board of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG gave the green light for its production development. When the car was launched on the market in late 2013, the 918 Spyder represented a continuation of a series of super sports cars in Porsche history. As technology pioneers they were, without exception, among the ultimate sports cars of their respective decades: the 904 Carrera GTS, the 959, the 911 GT1 and the Carrera GT.

In 1963, for example, Porsche created a steel and polymer body for the 904 Carrera GTS that is a prime example of how to unite stability and lightweight design. In 1986, the 959 successfully introduced an electronically-controlled all-wheel drive system to the sports car world. Ten years later, the 911 GT1 paved the way for implementing carbon-fibre technology in production vehicles. In 2003, the Carrera GT made its debut as the first production vehicle whose monocoque and subframe were made entirely of carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP).

Strong impetus for the advanced development of technologies

Even more than any of its predecessors, the 918 Spyder is now providing strong impetus for the advanced development of technologies for the sports cars of the future. The key technology is a drive concept which combines a high-performance combustion engine with two electric motors; its ingenious operating strategy is one of the unique aspects of the 918 Spyder. It considers the various requirements ranging from an efficiency-oriented driving profile to maximum performance. In doing so, it is providing important know-how for future production developments.

To realise the most benefits of the large spread between power and fuel consumption, Porsche developers defined a total of five operating modes. As in car racing, they are activated by a “map switch” on the steering wheel. Porsche applied its leading hybrid know-how in preparing the characteristic maps and the algorithm stored in them for controlling the three drive units and other systems. This know-how will also be applied to future hybrid drives.

The car also creates an important foundation for the hybrid drive of tomorrow in its thermal management concept that features five separate cooling loops and the innovative hybrid cooling of the rear electric motor with air and water. Another example with future implications: the Porsche 918 Spyder can convert far more kinetic energy into electrical energy than other hybrid vehicles because of its intelligent control of generator functionality and conventional brakes. Its enormous regenerative power boosts efficiency and driving range.

A similar form of this recovery system is implemented in the LMP1 prototypes of the 919 Hybrid which Porsche raced to an impressive 1-2 victory at the 24 hours of Le Mans. The 918 technology platform also blazed new trails with spectacular solutions like the all-carbon body, fully variable aerodynamics and adaptive rear axle steering. Adaptive aerodynamics and rear axle steering have already made their way into production sports cars, such as in the 911 Turbo models and in the 911 GT3 and 911 GT3 RS.

The 918 Spyder embodies classic Porsche virtues and sets cornerstones for the future. On the one hand, the car embodies performance. In September 2013, the super sports car – with 887 hp of system power – set the lap record for street-legal vehicles with production tyres on the North Loop of the Nürburgring with a time of 6 minutes 57 seconds – a record that has never been equalled by any other car since. On the other hand, the car embodies efficiency. With a fuel consumption figure of around three litres of petrol per 100 km, the 918 Spyder consumes less fuel than most small cars in the standardised NEDC cycle. It convincingly illustrates the potential of plug-in hybrid technology – not only for economical driving, but more importantly for the typical sports car driving pleasure it can offer.

Innovative ideas also in the manufacturing process

Porsche is also implementing innovative ideas in the manufacturing process for the hybrid super sports car. Porsche has applied for patents related to many of its innovations in assembly and quality assurance which fulfil the most stringent ergonomic requirements. They demonstrate that Porsche is setting the standard for innovative capabilities far beyond the automobile itself. For instance, the entire assembly process takes place with wireless tools. The best example: the battery-powered screwdrivers controlled via Bluetooth. They perform their work nearly silently, increase flexibility for workers at the workplace and ensure – via a database link – that specified torques are reliably performed and documented.

The highly-adjustable assembly elevating truck – a specially developed solution – was designed as an ergonomic tool for finishing the two-seat monocoque. Another new type of scissors lift platforms also simplified installation of the 140 kg high-voltage battery. Leather finishing and assembly tables in 918 manufacturing are considered the benchmark for ergonomics and flexibility. They can be used to manufacture different parts, for instance, by the use of changeable inserts, so that station cycle times can be fully exploited. This is how Porsche also achieved maximum efficiency in the production process for the 918 Spyder.

 

A New Porsche Supercar?

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Porsche recently made a Facebook post highlighting its participation in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, where its latest 919 Hybrid LMP1 race cars finished first, second and fifth overall. The Facebook post talked about Porsche’s strong performance in Le Mans qualifying but more importantly it included three photos that represent the company’s past, present and future.

It’s the photo representing the future that has piqued our interest. It shows a 919 Hybrid sitting next to a shrouded car with the message “Mission: Future Sportscar” draped across it. We know that Porsche is closely studying a new model to top its range, most likely a mid-engine supercar to take on the likes of the Ferrari 488 GTB and McLaren Super Series of cars, and the shrouded car’s proportions make it look very much like a mid-engine model.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean the shrouded car represents a new model; it could simply represent all future sports cars from Porsche and their link with the company’s Intelligent Performance philosophy, which is embodied by the 919 Hybrid. The philosophy is performance gains met with improvements in efficiency through the use of technology, and right now for Porsche that means the increased use of hybrid technology. In fact, even the iconic 911 is confirmed to go the hybrid route.

But what about Porsche’s plans for a new mid-engine supercar? The last we heard, the car, billed as a successor to the legendary 959, was very much on the company’s wishlist, though its arrival will need to be delayed in order to free up resources for more urgent projects. Although not a direct successor for the limited edition 918 Spyder, the new model would enable Porsche to cater to demand for a super sports car more capable, more exclusive and more exotic than the top-end 911 variants.

The 2017 Audi R8: A Supercar for the Rest of Us

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  • The second generation of the high-performance sports car has debuted in Geneva
  • 5.2 FSI engine with up to 449 kW (610 hp), 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 3.2 seconds
  • New multimaterial Audi Space Frame with high proportions of aluminum and CFRP

 

No model with the four rings is closer to motorsport, none is more striking and more dynamic: at the Geneva Motor Show, Audi is presenting the second generation of its high-performance R8 sports car. The V10 mid-engine and a newly developed quattro drive ensure breathtaking driving performance, especially in the top-of-the-range version with 449 kW (610 hp): achieving 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in just 3.2 seconds, its top speed is 330 km/h (205.1 mph).

A high-revving mid-engine with superior performance, a consistently lightweight construction concept and an extremely dynamic chassis with quattro drive system and fully variable torque control – this is what makes the R8 the sporty spearhead of Audi. The high-performance sports car has been newly developed from the ground up – it is more taut, more striking and more fascinating both on the race track and on the road.

“Motorsport is in Audi’s genes, it has always been a permanent feature of our brand’s character,” says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Board Member for Technical Development at Audi. “With the new Audi R8, our engineers are bringing accumulated racing expertise from the race track onto the road. No other model of ours evokes more dynamic emotion. The new R8 V10 plus is therefore the most powerful and fastest series-production Audi of all time.” Thanks to the close cooperation between racing engineers, racing drivers and developers, the Audi R8 has seen a clear performance increase – this benefits both the series production car and the R8 LMS developed on the basis of this.

The engines: 10 cylinders in two versions
The 5.2 FSI is available in two versions: one with 397 kW (540 hp) and another sporting 449 kW (610 hp). The range-topping model accelerates in a mere 3.2 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) and keeps going to its maximum speed of 330 km/h (205.1 mph). The sound of the freely aspirated V10 engine, whose maximum torque is available at 6,500 rpm, has become even fuller and sharper. A 7-speed S tronic transmission and a newly developed quattro drive system transmit the power to the road. The distribution of the drive torque adapts to the respective driving conditions – in extreme cases, 100 percent of the torque can be transmitted to the front or rear axle. The new performance mode in the Audi drive select dynamic handling system enables adaptation of the most important ride dynamics parameters to the friction coefficient of the road.

Lightweight construction: only 1,454 kg (3,205.5 lb) dry weight
The top model R8 V10 plus has a dry weight of 1,454 kilograms (3,205.5 lb). Despite a lot of extra equipment and greater rigidity, the new Audi R8 weighs up to 50 kilograms (110.2 lb) less than its predecessor. The multimaterial Audi Space Frame (ASF) ensures low weight and optimum axle load distribution. The combination of aluminum and carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) in the Audi Space Frame opens up new dimensions with regard to weight, rigidity and crash behavior. The aerodynamic underbody which integrates a long diffuser boosts downforce. The chassis, too, with its double wishbone suspension demonstrates how close the new Audi R8 is to motorsport.

Design: flat, wide, muscular
The design reflects the powerful sporty character of the R8. A visual distinguishing feature which also provides enhanced safety comes in the form of the standard LED headlights. For an extended field of vision and more brightness, Audi offers the laser spot for the high beam as an option – complemented by the dynamic turn signals at the front. Dynamic turn signals are standard at the rear.

In the new Audi virtual cockpit, the displays are digital. The most important controls are grouped together in button clusters on the steering wheel, also known as satellites. In the interior, the driver has the impression of sitting in a race car. The air conditioning controls emphasize the simplicity of the control panel with its floating effect. MMI navigation plus with MMI touch is standard.

Sales of the new Audi R8 start in summer 2015. Prices are 165,000 euros for the R8 V10 and 187,400 euros for the top-of-the-range version R8 V10 plus.

New factory for quattro GmbH: production at the “Böllinger Höfe” site
The new Audi R8 is produced at a new quattro GmbH production site that was specially built for the sports car – the “Böllinger Höfe” site in Heilbronn. An elaborate manufacturing technique ensures that Audi-typical quality is produced.

Specialists: the Audi R8 e-tron and Audi R8 LMS
The second generation of the Audi R8 forms the basis for more models. The latest evolutionary version of the electrically-powered high-performance R8 e-tron sports car achieves a performance figure of 340 kW and a torque of 920 Nm (678.6 lb-ft). It sprints from a standstill to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 3.9 seconds. Thanks to new battery cells, the range could be more than doubled compared to the first version of this technological wonder – it is now more than 450 kilometers (279.6 mi).

The new Audi R8 LMS race car was developed based on the new GT3 regulations due to come into effect worldwide from 2016. This year it will already be put through its paces at the factory. Despite massive performance increases, around 50 percent of its components are the same as the series-production car.

The new Audi R8
The R8 is the dynamic spearhead of Audi. In its second generation, the high-performance sports car has been newly developed from the ground up – it is more taut, more striking and more fascinating. The high-revving V10 engine is available in two performance variants. In the top-of-the-range version with 449 kW (610 hp), it develops breathtaking power.

“Motorsport is in Audi’s DNA, it is part of our brand’s character,” says
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Board Member for Technical Development at Audi. “With the new R8, our engineers are bringing accumulated racing expertise from the race track onto the road. No other model of ours evokes more dynamic emotion, none is closer to a race car. The new R8 V10 plus is the most powerful and fastest series production Audi of all time.”

The mid-engine principle used for the Audi R8 is not only a classic concept in motorsport but also an important piece of Audi tradition. The powerful engines were located in front of the rear axle even in the Grand Prix race cars brought to the start line by Auto Union in the 1930s – a revolutionary step at the time. In 2000, Audi won the 24-hour Le Mans endurance race with the LMP R8 prototype for the first time. By 2005, the car which provided the name for today’s series-production high-performance sports car had secured five overall victories at the Sarthe – the name chosen for the road version of the super sports car from Audi, R8, indicates the technological relationship between the two winners.

As the R8 LMS, the Audi R8 is also highly successful in customer racing. The basis for its success: motorsport was part of the development strategy from the very beginning. In 2009, the R8 LMS customer racing race car began its success story which would lead it to more than 190 victories and 23 championship titles worldwide. Technically speaking, it is closely related to the road version of the sports car with around 50 percent of the same parts.

Up to 449 kW (610 hp): the two V10 engines
The new generation of the Audi R8 utilizes the latest development of the ten-cylinder engine. With its spontaneous throttle response, quick revving up to 6,500 rpm and inimitable roaring sound, the naturally aspirated 5.2 FSI engine is enough to give you goose bumps. In the new R8, the freely aspirated V10 engine offers even more power and torque than before. Controllable flaps in the exhaust pipe and an optional sport exhaust system make the car sound even more characteristic.

The ten-cylinder engine is available in two versions. In the R8 V10, it develops a power of 397 kW (540 hp)  from its 5,204 cc displacement and a torque of 540 Nm (398.3 lb-ft) at an engine speed of 6,500 rpm. The sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) takes just 3.5 seconds, and it can reach a top speed of 323 km/h (200.7 mph). The R8 V10 plus is even more powerful and is the fastest series-production Audi of all time. It develops 449 kW (610 hp) and its maximum torque of 560 Nm (413.0 lb-ft) is available at 6,500 rpm. The performance figures are equally impressive: 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 3.2 seconds, 0 to 200 km/h (124.3 mph) in 9.9 seconds, and a top speed of 330 km/h (205.1 mph).

A further innovation in the 5.2 FSI engine is the additional indirect injection. It complements the FSI direct gasoline injection, lowers fuel consumption and enhances engine output. Moreover, the R8 features yet another innovative system in the form of COD (cylinder on demand). It shuts off one of the two cylinder banks by deactivating injection and ignition. The R8 V10 consumes an average of 11.8 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (19.9 US mpg) with CO2 emissions of 275 grams per kilometer (442.6 g/mi), for the R8 V10 plus those values are 12.4 liters per 100 kilometers (19.0 US mpg) and 289 grams per kilometer (465.1 g/mi). The fuel consumption reduction of up to 10 percent compared to the previous model is also due to the new start-stop system.

The dry sump lubrication completes the technology package of the 5.2 FSI. The ten-cylinder engine is hand built in the Hungarian engine plant in Gy 014Å‘’ type=”#_x0000_t75″>r. As a traditional motorsport technology, it allows for low installation of the engine, which is particularly beneficial for the car’s center of gravity. What’s more, it also ensures oil supply even under extreme lateral acceleration.

Fast as lightning and highly variable: the power transmission
In both engine versions, power is transmitted to a rapid-shifting seven-speed S tronic transmission installed behind the engine. The S tronic has three automatic modes and can also be controlled manually. Shift commands are transmitted electronically (shift-by-wire). The launch control system manages full-throttle acceleration from a standing start.

Another function of the S tronic comes into play when the driver’s foot is removed from the accelerator pedal at speeds above 55 km/h (34.2 mph). In such cases, both clutches open and the car goes into coasting mode. This function saves a considerable amount of fuel, especially in everyday use by the customer.

The quattro permanent all-wheel drive system gives the new R8 a decisive plus in terms of stability and traction when compared with two-wheel-drive competitors. On the front axle, an electrohydraulic multi-plate clutch replaces the Visco clutch of the predecessor model. The newly developed quattro drive system enables completely unrestricted and fully variable distribution of the drive torque to the front and rear axles depending on the driving situation and weather. In normal operation, up to 100 percent is transmitted to the rear wheels and, if required, the clutch continuously diverts up to 100 percent of this torque to the front wheels. Thanks to the mechanical differential lock on the rear axle, the driver experiences maximum traction without any slip.

Audi drive select: the chassis
In the chassis of the new Audi R8, double wishbones made from aluminum guide all four wheels. The R8 V10 plus has a particularly sporty setup – for both engine variants, variable adaptively controlled Audi magnetic ride shock absorbers are available as an option. The newly developed electromechanical power steering system provides close contact to the road surface and makes a further contribution to reducing CO2 emissions. As an option, Audi offers dynamic steering, whereby the steering ratio varies in accordance with the road speed and the settings in the Audi drive select dynamic handling system.

As standard, the new Audi R8 V10 has 19-inch wheels with size 245/35 tires at the front and 295/35 at the rear. Upon request, Audi is also offering 20-inch wheels for the first time in the R8. With this option, the tires are size 245/30 at the front and 305/30 at the rear. The steel brake disks have a weight-saving wave design and the calipers can be painted red upon request. In the R8 V10 plus, high-tech disks made from carbon fiber ceramic are responsible for deceleration of the 20-inch wheels (optional for the V10).

In the Audi drive select dynamic handling system, the driver has the choice of four modes (comfort, auto, dynamic and individual) to control the way in which important technical components operate. As standard, the system takes into account the engine characteristics, steering, S tronic transmission and quattro drive system as well as optional extras such as Audi magnetic ride, the exhaust flaps and dynamic steering. On top of that, there is also the new performance mode (available as an option for the V10 and standard for the V10 plus). The driver activates it by pressing a separate button on the steering wheel. He or she can select between the programs dry, wet and snow using a rotary wheel. These programs support dynamic handling on dry, wet and snow-covered surfaces. In performance mode, Audi drive select also makes use of the ESC stabilization control function.

New Audi Space Frame with high proportions of aluminum and CFRP
The R8 V10 plus has a dry weight of 1,454 kilograms (3,205.5 lb). The key factor behind the consistent lightweight design is the body shell with multimaterial Audi Space Frame (ASF): It weighs only 200 kilograms (440.9 lb). The resulting unladen weight of 1,555 kilograms (3,428.2 lb) leads to a superior power-to-weight ratio of 3.46 kg/kW (2.55 kg/hp).

The ASF body shell features a completely new multimaterial lightweight construction concept. Components made from carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) form the B‑pillars, the central tunnel and the rear wall. The front section of the vehicle, the roof arch and the rear section form a framework made from cast aluminum nodes and aluminum profiles which, in some cases, employ new alloys. As always with the ASF, each component is precisely designed for its location and purpose. Accordingly, the engineers have now integrated some components into the body shell due to their function. Leaving aside its components, the body shell is now around 15 percent lighter than its predecessor. At the same time, torsional rigidity is roughly 40 percent better. Particularly with regard to rigidity, the body of the new Audi R8 is a benchmark. The resulting lightweight construction is unparalleled among the competition.

The multimaterial Audi Space Frame in the new Audi R8 is extremely light and rigid, whilst also being acoustically comfortable and offering a high level of safety. The outer skin is made entirely of aluminum, but as an optional extra (or as standard for the V10 plus), Audi also offers attachment parts made from clear-coated carbon fiber, for example the front splitter, the diffuser or the side blades. A long, rising diffuser in the underbody produces downforce on the rear axle at higher speeds.

Design: flat, wide, muscular
A cockpit positioned very far forward, a long, flowing back and a relatively short wheelbase – the exterior design makes the technical concept of the mid-engine, high-performance Audi R8 sports car clear upon first sight. At 4.42 meters long (14.5 ft), 1.24 meters high (4.1 ft) and with a wheelbase measuring 2.65 meters (8.7 ft), its dimensions have only slightly changed in comparison to the previous model. Its width now measures 1.94 meters (6.4 ft) and has thus grown by about four centimeters (1.6 in). The car’s proportions convey more of a race car character, with characteristic design ideas from the previous model now more pronounced.

The four rings sit proudly on the hood, the Singleframe radiator grille with honeycomb design is wide and flat. Modeled plastic surfaces allow it to merge into the flat headlights – facets of the vehicle which highlight tension, provide an impression of depth and add an air of logic to the design. The grid-type signature of the daytime running lights with vertical elements replicates the structure of the air inlets and emphasizes the width of the car. The entire appearance of the Audi R8 conveys a feeling of lightness and technical precision. LED headlights are standard. Available upon request, Audi can also supply the laser spot which doubles the range of the high beam to 600 meters (1,968.5 ft) as well as the dynamic turn signals at the front. The dynamic turn signals are standard at the rear. The rear lighting signature also combines two vertical elements with a horizontal line. This gives the Audi R8 an even more powerful appearance.

As part of the new laser high beams, one laser module per headlight generates a cone of light with twice the range of the all-LED headlamp. Each module comprises four high-power laser diodes. With a diameter of just 300 micrometers, these generate a blue laser beam with a wavelength of 450 nanometers. A phosphor converter transforms it into white light suitable for roadway use with a color temperature of 5,500 Kelvin – ideal conditions for the human eye that enable the driver to recognize contrast more easily and help to prevent fatigue. The laser spot is active from a speed of 60 km/h (37.3 mph) to supplement the LED high beam of the R8 and, thanks to its long range, greatly enhances the driver’s field of vision as well as safety. An intelligent camera-based sensor system detects other road users and actively adjusts the light pattern to exclude them.

On the sides of the high-performance sports car, characteristically curved contours are drawn over the wheels. The shoulder line, shaped like a powerful muscle, connects the wheels with one another while at the same time dividing the side blade in two to leave an upper and a lower half. This new design solution makes the car appear even longer and more dynamic.

At the rear, as well, the lights and the air inlets visually connect to one another. The two tailpipes of the exhaust system have a trapezoidal design and the rear window offers a clear view of the illuminated engine compartment. The R8 is equipped with an electrically extending spoiler, the R8 V10 plus with a fixed wing made from CFRP.

Just like in a race car: the interior and the controls
Behind the steering wheel of the new Audi R8, the driver feels like a race car driver. All functions are driver-oriented and allow easy operation even when the critical limits are reached – and all without the driver having to take his or her hands off the steering wheel. The newly designed sport seats with integrated headrest provide excellent lateral support. Even more radical seating for a sports car comes in the form of the newly developed R8 bucket seats. These make a clear statement confirming the relationship between lightweight construction and comfort (optional in the V10 and standard in the V10 plus).

The start-stop button and the Audi drive select button are located on several satellites on the new multifunction plus steering wheel. The Performance steering wheel in the Audi R8 V10 plus features two more satellites. One button is for performance mode together with a rotary wheel for selecting the dry, wet and snow programs as well as a button for controlling the sports exhaust system.

The Audi virtual cockpit is set in a free-standing housing and presents all the information on its 12.3-inch display with elaborately computed, fascinating graphics. The driver can toggle between different display modes and also adjust the digital instrument cluster to his needs in individual mode. In performance mode, the driver is presented with information on the driving programs, acceleration, deceleration and lateral forces as well as power and torque. The Audi virtual cockpit also displays a shift light which informs the driver that the engine speed limit has been reached. The driver operates the Audi virtual cockpit using the multifunction plus steering wheel. The driver’s hands remain on the steering wheel and he or she can concentrate on the road. Alternatively, operation can take place via the touch wheel or the buttons in the center console.

In the design of the interior too, the taut geometric lines emphasize the aesthetic lightweight construction of the brand. Its characteristic element is the monoposto, a large arc in the area around the driver’s seat. The MMI monitor of the previous model is no longer available. Instead, the three central control elements of the air conditioning system have taken its place. The three-dimensional design of the air outlet vents bring to mind the air inlets of a race car. The dashboard appears to float weightlessly. The wide console of the central tunnel accommodates the standard MMI terminal as well as the newly designed flat selector lever of the S tronic transmission.

When it comes to upholstery, customers can choose between Alcantara/pearl Nappa leather and fine Nappa leather. Also available are trim elements in clear coated carbon fiber, two leather packages and a new diamond stitching pattern.

Customization
There are numerous customization possibilities for customers of the new Audi R8 – for both the exterior and the interior. The colors for the body have been newly mixed and can be freely combined with the colors of the side blades – a blade made from glossy carbon is a particular highlight of the range. Ten standard exterior colors are available, for the R8 V10 plus there is an additional matt paint finish available, Camouflage Green.

Among the five equipment colors available for the interior, two color ranges can be found, whereby the interior is always characterized by a sporty feel. Additionally, there are numerous options to further customize both the interior and the exterior, for example with headlining in Alcantara with dynamic diamond stitching pattern. The Audi exclusive program makes it possible for you to turn the new R8 into a one-of-a-kind model.

Completely connected: infotainment
In the new Audi R8, the Audi virtual cockpit replaces the analog instruments and the MMI monitor. The driver can switch the all-digital display between two different view modes. These bring either the virtual dial instruments or the large navigation map into focus.

The Audi R8 makes use of the latest technology in terms of infotainment. MMI navigation plus is installed as standard; the MMI touch touch wheel is the central control element. In the background, the second generation of the modular infotainment platform sets about its work – just like the Audi virtual cockpit, it integrates a super-fast T30 chip from Audi’s cooperation partner, NVIDIA.

MMI navigation plus is complemented by the Audi connect module. The passenger can connect a smartphone or tablet via the system’s integrated Wi-Fi hotspot. Tailored online services from Audi connect are displayed on the Audi virtual cockpit. The internet connection uses the fast LTE (Long Term Evolution) network. Optional components such as the fine-tuned sound system from Bang & Olufsen with a system performance of 500 watts or the Audi phone box for convenient cell phone integration round off the infotainment program.

New factory for quattro GmbH: production at the “Böllinger Höfe” site
The new Audi R8 is produced at the new “Böllinger Höfe” quattro GmbH production site, close to the Neckarsulm plant. The production area covering 30,000 m2 (322,917.3 sq ft) comprises a body shop and assembly facilities. The entire production facility is highly flexible, while technical and ergonomic innovations such as the CFRP body shell construction and driverless transport systems ensure top quality.

As was the case for the previous model, production follows an elaborate manufacturing process. In cycle times of about 30 minutes and with up to 400 highly qualified employees, the R8 is created in highly precise craftsmanship. Following completion, each R8 is subjected to a strict quality acceptance process on the internal plant test track and an approximately one-hour test drive on public roads. With the new R8 manufacturing site, quattro GmbH – the high-performance subsidiary of AUDI AG – is further enhancing its small-series expertise, thus creating the opportunity to realize ever more exciting derivatives of the R8.

Electrified: Audi R8 e-tron
The second generation of the Audi R8 forms the basis for two more models. Audi has made major engineering developments in its high-performance electric sports car, the R8 e-tron. The latest evolution of the vehicle takes up the multimaterial Audi Space Frame from the new series-production model.

The supporting structure was enhanced by a CFRP rear-section module comprising the luggage compartment. The walls of the CFRP luggage compartment well are corrugated. This way, in the event of a rear-end collision, more energy can be absorbed despite the reduced material weight.

Thanks to targeted modifications to the outer shell and on the wheels, the Audi R8 e‑tron achieves an aerodynamic drag coefficient (cd) value of 0.28. In terms of performance and range, the car enters entirely new dimensions.

The large T-shaped battery is structurally integrated into the center tunnel and behind the occupant cell – optimally positioned in the car. It supports the dynamics of the R8 e-tron with its low center of gravity. Audi produces the high-voltage battery itself, for the first time based on a newly developed lithium-ion technology which was specially conceived for a purely electric vehicle drive. In comparison to the first technology platform, the battery capacity has grown from 49 kWh to approximately 92 kWh. This progress was possible without changing the package.

The R8 e-tron achieves an electric range of 450 kilometers (279.6 mi) instead of a previous 215 kilometers (133.6 mi) with an energy density that has been increased from 84 Wh/kg to 154 Wh/kg and some other modifications to the car. The electrically powered high-performance sports car has the Combined Charging System (CCS) on board, which allows charging with direct and alternating current. Using this system, it is possible to fully charge the battery in significantly less than two hours.

The power is now twice 170 kW and the maximum torque twice 460 Nm (339.3 lb-ft). The R8 e-tron accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 3.9 seconds on its way to an electronically restricted top speed of 210 km/h (130.5 mph) or 250 km/h (155.3 mph). Intelligent energy management and an electromechanical brake system enable high energy recuperation rates. Targeted torque vectoring – needs-based distribution of power transmission between the rear wheels – ensures maximum stability and dynamism.

Audi uses the electrical high-performance sports car primarily as a mobile high-tech laboratory. Accordingly, the findings from the R8 e-tron help in creating a vehicle with a sedan character. Upon customer request, the R8 e-tron will be available for order in 2015 as an electrically powered sports car in supreme hand-built quality.

New race car: the Audi R8 LMS
Alongside the new R8 series-production model, the second-generation R8 LMS race car is also making its debut, with colleagues from motorsport and series production working in close harmony as part of its development. Both the series-production model of the R8 and the R8 LMS have seen clear increases in power and performance compared with the predecessor. Both cars have around 50 percent of the same parts.

The body shell of the rear-wheel-drive GT3 sports car is based on a selectively reinforced multimaterial ASF. Engineers have supplemented this feature with a safety cage. Its outer shell consists mainly of carbon fiber reinforced plastics. The vehicle’s type approval weight is 1,225 kilograms (2,700.7 lb). The V10 engine is virtually identical to the series-production engine and produces around 430 kW (approximately 585 hp), depending on the applicable regulations and the restrictor required.

Sales of the new R8 LMS to customer teams worldwide will start with the 2016 season. This year, the new race car will be put through its paces by the works team at international long-distance and sprint races, as well as being available to customers as part of the Audi driving experience.

 

Porsche wins 2015 Le Mans

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One-two for the Porsche 919 Hybrids in Le Mans

Mission accomplished: Porsche has achieved its 17th overall Le Mans victory at the 83rd running of the famous 24-Hour race in a perfect way with a one-two finish. Drivers Earl Bamber (NZ), Nico Hülkenberg (GER) and Nick Tandy (GB) won the coveted trophy in their innovative Porsche 919 Hybrid exactly 45 years after Porsche’s first overall win at La Sarthe was achieved. Timo Bernhard (GER), Brendon Hartley (NZ) and Mark Webber (AUS) in the sister car added the icing on the cake when they came home in second. Romain Dumas (FR), Neel Jani (CH) and Marc Lieb (GER) brought home the third Porsche 919 Hybrid in fifth.

No other brand has managed to win the world’s toughest endurance race so many times and is connected that closely to the myth of Le Mans. The previous win was also a one-two – back in 1998 when Allan McNish (GBR), Laurent Aiello (FRA) and Stéphane Ortelli (MC) finished first in their Porsche GT1.

Matthias Müller, CEO Porsche AG said: “This one-two finish in Le Mans 2015 is such a fabulous result we wouldn’t have dreamed of. The entire team has done a great job over the recent three or four years and well deserve this success.”

Wolfgang Hatz, Member of Board for research and Development Porsche AG, said: “A one-two finish in what is only our second year is an amazing reward for the guts of our engineers regarding the 919 Hybrid’s concept, and the relentless efforts of our 230 team members.”

Porsche only returned last year to the top level of endurance racing, attracted by the new efficiency regulations. In the brand’s Research Center in Weissach the most innovative car of the entire grid was developed. The Porsche 919 Hybrid has a trend-setting downsizing turbo engine and two energy recovery systems, which all together create a powertrain delivering around 1,000 HP. It works as a racing laboratory for the highest efficiency of future road going sports cars.

At the 83rd Le Mans 24-Hours all the systems of this highly complex race car were tested to their limits. Because of the very tight competition, especially between the Porsche 919 Hybrids and the Audi prototypes, the race went on in qualifying mode twice round the clock. In qualifying the three Porsches did not only lock out the front of the grid with a one-two-three, but also set a new qualifying record for the 13.629 kilometre long track. The pinnacle was also the performance of the pit crew, who managed 90 pit stops in total and were significantly faster than the competition.

The winning number 19 prototype had started third on the grid, and for a short time at the beginning even dropped down the order to eighth before settling in sixth for a longer period. Of all things, it is the rookie crew that won the monstrous classic. Neither Formula One driver Nico Hülkenberg, who had the joy of being in the car at the most emotional moments of the race, being the start and the finish driver, nor Earl Bamber brought Le Mans experience with them. Nick Tandy, the third driver of the winning trio, had at least done two Le Mans 24-Hours for Porsche in the GT class. By doing super fast laps, staying calm but highly focused, the three of them drove a race with no errors and won it by their own merits.

In the early stages of the men and machine stressing marathon the number 17 Porsche had been leading. However, a one-minute stop-and-go penalty at the end of the first third of the race dropped them back to fourth. Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber kept their heads down and worked hard. With a consistently strong performance they made it up to second place.

The crew of the third Porsche 919 Hybrid had a rather tricky race. Pole-setter Neel Jani lost the lead right after the start to Timo Bernhard. For some time the drivers were unhappy with the braking stability, and two offs from the track didn’t help either. Given that chronology of events, more than fifth place wasn’t within reach this time for the fast trio with the number 18 car.

Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “It is an incredible achievement to win Le Mans in only our second attempt since Porsche’s return. I have to thank this brilliant team that has been growing together over the last three and a half years. The Porsche board backed us one hundred per cent from the word go. It will take a few days to realise what we have achieved. I know that a lot of people have virtually lived for this dream to come true and have pursued it with the greatest commitment.”

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: “It is hard to find words because it is just so difficult to believe we have done that. It is a fantastic reward for the tough work the team did here on the race track and back home in Weissach over the last three and a half years. We knew we were a lot better prepared than last year, but no way could we expect this result. We didn’t benefit from any situations, but were on a winning level in every regard – be it the mechanics in the garage or the engineers doing the strategy. The pit stops were outstanding. The drivers were sensational. Congratulations to the three winning guys.”

Alexander Hitzinger, Technical Director LMP1: “We are really happy now. It is an incredible feeling to win in Le Mans and one that you cannot describe with words. I am especially satisfied for the team, which has put so much passion and hard work into this project. We have achieved such a great development over the last two years and this one-two result is the reward for it.”

Timo Bernhard (car number 17): “Hats off for what our mates in the number 19 car have done – great job, great race. We were doing well, but never made up for the delay that the penalty caused. Regarding my brief excursion into the gravel bed: Everyone has agreed that the slower cars stay on the racing line, but this guy decided to change his line without notice. To avoid contact I had to run wide and ran through the gravel bed. Nothing serious happened though, but this kind of incident can cause a lot of trouble. But that’s racing and the track is there for all of us.”

Brendon Hartley (car number 17): “On the final lap I had tears in my eyes. We have all been working so hard for this result. Stepping onto the podium was a dream come true. It is unbelievable. I’m very proud that two Porsches have won. I feel happy for every single person here.”

Mark Webber (car number 17): “The guys in the number 19 car did a great job. All three of them were exceptional for 24 hours. Especially at night, the number 19 was quick. It is a big day for Porsche. We have had a smooth race, but in the end weren’t quick enough. Brendon and Timo did a great job. We are very proud for Porsche. If we can’t win we obviously want it to be within the team.”

Romain Dumas (car number 18): “That is a great success for Porsche. Sadly, we didn’t have a good race with our car, because we had some problems. But the most important thing is that we proved that Porsche can win. That was the main target. For sure it was not easy for us. But that’s part of the game. This success is a big reward for all the efforts that we have put in since the end of 2012.”

Neel Jani (car number 18): “It wasn’t the race for the crew of number 18 today, but we finished and at least took some championship points with us. For Porsche this one-two success is just amazing.”

Marc Lieb (car number 18): “This is a great day for the entire team and for Porsche. I am very proud to be part of it. Congratulations to the 19 and 17 crews. A one-two for Porsche in Le Mans is really big. We had hoped for more for our car crew, but it wasn’t our day. Nevertheless we will party tonight.”

Earl Bamber (car number 19): “It feels incredible. I have enjoyed every single stint. It is been a long, long day to drive in the evening and then again in the morning. I just had a very short break. But I am not tired at all – I am pumped up on adrenalin now. I thought I would have heard strange noises in the car. But, of course, you fancy every kind of noise if you are on your way to win Le Mans.”

Nico Hülkenberg (car number 19): “I enjoyed every moment, these cars are great fun to drive and then to be on a huge track like this one. The pace was really high, and not what you would expect from endurance racing. Especially at night when the temperatures came down a bit, the car was fantastic to drive. Of course, I didn’t think I would come here and rock ’n’ roll this race, this would be silly because there are so many challenges in that race. However, we did it and we did it together.”

Nick Tandy (car number 19): “This is such a fantastic day. It is hard to get it to sink in that I’m now a Le Mans winner with Porsche.”

Porsche 919 Hybrid sets new qualifying record at Le Mans

 

24 Hours of Le Mans :
Porsche beats all records!

As expected, this first day will be have been marked by the domination of the Porsche 919 Hybrid cars during the first qualifying practice and who totally smashed the record of the track. But let’s be careful, Audi isn’t far behind. In LM P2, an Oreca 05 from Team KCMG finished in front whereas the Aston Martins excelled in LM GTE Pro and LM GTE Am.

During the free practice sessions that took place between 4 and 8pm, the competitors began carefully on a drying track after the afternoon rain. The red flag was presented only 5 minutes after the opening of the track because of an immobilized driver who had made a mistake (without any other consequence other than this neutralization) at braking point in the chicane ForzaMotorsport (first of the two chicanes on the Hunaudières). The British driver Richard Bradley was the cause of this behind the steering wheel of the Oreca 05 n°47 of the Hong Kong team KCMG. The prototype LM P2 was brought back to the pits on the breakdown truck. A little later, the same Richard Bradley did the best time of the free session on this Oreca 05 n°47.

Audi and Toyota, then Porsche, accelerate
A few minutes after the restart of the session, the prototypes Audi and Toyota were the first to produce significant timing. Just before 6pm the first offensive of the Porsche cars 919 Hybrid saw Mark Webber and Nicky Tandy establish the first references of the evening with 3’22. 228 and 3’22.819 on the n°17 and n°19. Marc Lieb wasn’t late to slip in his n°18 between its team cars with 3’22.491. Marc Webber came very close to the 2014 pole position with 3’21.796 and beat the score with 3’21,362.

41 minutes of neutralization
At 6.14pm the session was neutralized because of a contact of the Oreca 03R n°48 with the American driver Mark Patterson on the inside of the Porsche corner and because of the immobilization of the Rebellion R-One n°13 at the beginning of the Hunaudières straight. The session restarted at 6.55pm. Loïc Duval placed the Audi n°8 between the three Porsche cars. Timing decreased but with the rain that seemed to come back on the circuit, the enthusiasm of the head drivers was held back.

Only Romain Dumas was to be faster in his n°18 but his timing wasn’t taken into consideration because of a non valid trajectory in the Ford corner. The four wheels of his Porsche 919 Hybrid n°18 had crossed the limits of the track to avoid a Ferrari GT.

Mark Webber, the fastest driver of the free practice sessions
If we go by the performances, this session of free practice, with 50 minutes less, was therefore dominated by Mark Webber’s Porsche 919 Hybrid n°17 who kept the best time with 3’21 362. A faster timing than the 2014 pole position but not as fast as his team driver Brendon Hartley (3’21.062) during the Test Day on the 31st May.

At 10pm, after two hours of pause, the first session of qualifying practice begun. A breathtaking session with the Porsche 919 Hybrid constantly on the alert. Neel Jani and Timo Bernhardt were successively beating the lap record in qualifying by establishing times of 3’16. 887 and 3’17.767. The last record dates back in 2008 and was established by Stéphane Sarrazin in a Peugeot 908. An exceptional performance with regards to the 24 Hours of Le Mans regulations set up in 2014 that allowed to reduce the consumption of LM P1 prototypes by nearly 25% equal performance, if not better as we can see with these records.

At 10.55pm, three cars, the Audis R18 n°7 and n°9 as well as the Gibson 0155 n°41 were said to be in difficulty in different areas around the circuit provoking the neutralization of the qualifying session during 30 minutes. If the two Audis were able to regain the pits, the damaged n°41 driven by Gaëtan Paletou, had to be freed of the protections at Mulsanne.

At the end of these qualifying sessions, the Porsche 919 Hybrid n°18 (Dumas, Jani, Lieb) signed the best timing with 3’16″887 in front of its team car, n°17 (Webber, Bernhard, Hartley) at 8 tenths and the third Porsche 919 Hybrid n°19 (Tandy, Hulkenberg, Bamber) at 2,4 seconds. Then follow the three Audis R18 e-tron Quattro n°8, n°9 and n°7 placing themselves between 3 and 5 seconds from the Porsche cars. Then come the Toyotas n°2 and n°1 who remained behind their competitors Audi and Porsche at nearly 7 seconds. The first private cars of Rebellion Racing placed themselves at 9 and 15 seconds in front of the first Nissan GTR LM Nismo, n°23 which continued its progress with 3’38″488.

The fastest LM P2 is the Oreca05 Nissan n°47 (Lapierre, Bradley, Howson) with 3’38″032. In LM GTE Pro, the best time goes to the official Aston Martin (McDowall, Rees, Stanaway) n°99 with 3’54″928 and in LM GTE Am another Aston Martin n°98 (Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda) with 3’55″102.

Return of the 56 competitors of the 24 Hours of Le Mans tomorrow as from 7pm for another four hours of qualifying practice (7pm-9pm and 10pm-midnight).

The departure of the 83rd edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be given on Saturday 13th June at 3.00pm.

UNITED FOR THE FIRST TIME: AUDI’S 13 LE MANS WINNERS

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– Efficiency technologies since 2001 in the Audi R8
– Pioneering achievements with the TDI diesel engine
– R18 e-tron quattro with hybrid technology unbeaten at Le Mans

Just days to go until the Le Mans 24 Hours: Audi is intensively preparing to battle for its 14th victory in the world’s toughest endurance race. Since 2000, the brand has won the race 13 times. This year, Audi has assembled all of its Le Mans winning models for a group photo for the first time. Every single one of them represents ‘Vorsprung durch Technik.’

The string of victories began with the Audi R8 in 2000. “Following a year of learning and gathering experience at Le Mans, we started the 2000 season with a completely new design,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “From weight distribution to cooling, the suspension, aerodynamics and many other aspects, we managed to create a well-balanced car.” What’s more, Audi Sport Team Joest, and subsequently the brand’s customer teams as well, received a race car that the mechanics still rave about to this day. It featured a modular design that was equally robust and simple, thereby enabling quick repairs. As the transmission of LMP race cars is highly stressed, and was regarded as a vulnerable assembly at the time, Audi developed a particularly clever modular solution: a rear end – consisting of the transmission and the rear axle – that could be exchanged within a matter of minutes by means of quick-release fasteners.

In 2001, FSI technology marked a major step forwards in the powertrain. Gasoline direct injection optimised consumption, had a favourable effect on the race car’s responsiveness and shortly afterwards was introduced in Audi’s production models. Between 2000 and 2005, the R8 won at Le Mans five times, and ‘Mr. Le Mans,’ Tom Kristensen, was a member of the driver squad in each of these events.

In 2006, Audi sparked a technological revolution. The R10 TDI was the first Le Mans winning car with diesel power. Ever since then, only LMP race cars with diesel engines have been winning the classic race at La Sarthe – including eight Audi cars. “The challenge was to develop a diesel engine with more than 650 hp for racing,” says Dr. Ullrich. Integrating this V12 unit into an LMP race car posed an equally great challenge. Weight, the axle loads and the cooling requirements in a racing category with particularly sensitive aerodynamics made high demands on the engineers. The R10 TDI won at Le Mans three consecutive times since 2006.

The R15 TDI is linked with a feat that has continued to exist to this day. The race car with a V10 TDI engine and a lithium-ion battery for the onboard electrical system broke the 39-year-old distance record at La Sarthe in 2010. A year later, the Audi R18 TDI debuted. It, too, was instantly a winner. “This closed-wheel race car marked the beginning of a new era at Le Mans for Audi,” says Dr. Ullrich. “The regulations required us to reduce the cubic capacity of the engine from 5.5 to 3.7 litres. Therefore, the aerodynamic efficiency of the closed race car, considering all the factors combined, became even more important.” The optimized aerodynamics helped improve lap times although the race car had less power output than its predecessor and consumed clearly less fuel.

Since then, all Audi LMP1 race cars have been designated as ‘R18’ even though they have included ever new model generations. The 2012 R18 e-tron quattro, the brand’s first hybrid sports car, marked the next major step. Audi, as the first winner with hybrid drive, set the next milestone at Le Mans and, in 2013, won again with a significantly updated version of this model. A V6 TDI engine powered the rear axle, a hybrid system the front axle, and the entire control system was fully electronic. “Audi has never before developed such a complex race car,” says Dr. Ullrich. The most radical change to the regulations to date followed only a year later when each of the LMP1 race cars was restricted to a limited amount of fuel and hybrid energy per lap. Therefore, Audi developed a basically new, even more efficient R18 e-tron quattro. It won the race in 2014, was faster than its predecessor, but used 22 percent less fuel. There is hardly a better way to demonstrate ‘Vorsprung durch Technik.’