Thursday, August 28, 2014

2015 Audi S3 configurator goes live with all the black and silver paint you've hoped for

It has already been nearly a year since we completed our First Drive of the premium pocket rocket Audi S3, with official pricing for the car detailed earlier this summer. Those are facts, but facts won't help you while away your lunchtime in blissful, car-dreaming reverie, will they?

No, for help with imagining just exactly the kind of Audi S3 that you'd like to put in your garage, the freshly launched configurator is just the thing.

Every 2015 Audi S3 will come with 2.0T power under the hood – to the tune of 292 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. The most basic Premium Plus trim (an interesting renaming of "entry level" we'll grant you) starts at $41,100 before destination, while the higher-content Prestige asks $47,000. The extra six grand buys you full LED lighting, tri-zone climate control, S model appearance upgrades like quad exhaust tips and a more advanced infotainment suite with Bang & Olufsen sound.

Nine paint options are available at launch, though only one, Brilliant Black, comes without an additional upcharge. Most of the other hues will run you an extra $550, though if you're sweet on the looks of the Panther Black Crystal (seen above), you'll have to shell out $1,075 for the look. Your choice of three interior colorways are all cost-free options, however.

There are really only two options packages beyond the trim level differences: a technology pack for $1,400 and a performance pack for $1,500. The performance upgrades include 19-inch five spoke wheels (an inch larger than the standard rolling stock, with the same 225-section tires), and Audi's magnetic ride control. The tech pack brings lane assist and adaptive cruise to help you crush those long road trips, along with an emergency city braking system for low-speed stops and a front camera with distance sensor for tight parking spots.

Finally, if you intend on putting folks (young or old) in the small rear seating area, we'd recommend dropping the $350 extra for rear side airbags. Always hoon responsibly.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Audi mechanic takes owner's S4 home for the weekend

When you bring your car to a dealer, you expect a technician to take it out for a spin, just to make sure there aren't any noises, rattles or other behavior that you may have missed. Maybe they run a few miles along a predetermined test route or take a quick run down the highway. You do not, however, expect a tech to abscond with you vehicle for a full weekend

That is just what happened to Chris Jackson, though, an Audi S4 owner in Calgary. His car was taken to Glenmore Audi – as mandated in his lease agreement – due to an issue with the navigation system. After realizing he'd left something in the car, he swung by the dealer on Saturday to pick it up, only to discover the car wasn't on the dealer's lot.

Naturally, he approached the dealer about the missing sedan.

"And the dealer's response was, 'It's okay, just go home, your car's fine, it's probably just somewhere on the lot. We can't find it.'"

According to Jackson, who spoke to the CBC, he lapped the dealership lot three times looking for the Ibis White S4. After two-and-a-half hours of fighting with the dealership and a call to the Mounties, the dealer finally started reaching out to its mechanics.

"The only way that they had actually even decided that they were going to call these guys was that I'd called the police and said, 'My car's missing, the dealer doesn't know where it is. I don't know where it is, that's a stolen car,'" Jackson said.

According to the owner of Glenmore Audi, the tech took the car to test the nav system over an extended period, but that still isn't sitting well with Jackson.

"The police officer we spoke with said I've never heard of anything like this before, it's clearly ethically wrong," Jackson said. Jackson and his wife, Angela, told the CBC that the tech put about 500 kilometers on the car (about 310 miles) over the weekend.

What do you think? Is this just a big misunderstanding? Would you be okay with an unknown tech taking your supercharged sports sedan home for a weekend of unsupervised use?