Monday, June 29, 2015

2016 Audi A4 is larger, lighter

The 2016 Audi A4 arrives with a bang, but no surprises. We say that because the formula for creating the news A4 one we know all too well. Make it larger, add a bunch of content, reduce weight, and improve both power and efficiency. It's a recipe for success, and this fifth-generation A4 looks to be a solid contender against its chief rivals, the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

The shape hasn't changed; it's immediately recognizable as an A4. Instead, this new model updates that familiar design with sharper lines, similar to what we've seen on the new Q7, or even the R8. The big story here is that the 2016 A4 is up to 264 pounds lighter than its predecessor, depending on trim and engine. Additionally, the A4 is the most aerodynamic car in its class, boasting a drag coefficient of just 0.23.

A fresh, modern cabin lies within that lighter shell – one that looks decidedly more upscale than the last A4. Many elements are reminiscent of the Audi Prologue Concept that we first saw (and drove) in Los Angeles last year – specifically, the steering wheel, and the new MMI controls. In fact, Audi has positioned its infotainment controls closer to the center console – in front of the gear selector. This reminds us of the current A8, where Audi specifically designed its shifter to act as a sort of wrist rest. You can rest your arm on the gear lever and still access all of the MMI functionality. Speaking of which, that's the latest generation of Audi's MMI interface, packing navigation, touch capability, LTE connectivity, and WiFi in the 8.3-inch color display.

Audi isn't saying which engines will come to the United States right now, but when the new A4 launches, it'll be offered with three gasoline and four diesel engines in Europe. Our best guess is that the US-spec car will come with the latest 2.0-liter TSFI turbocharged inline-four with 272 horsepower, as well as Audi's tried-and-true 2.0-liter TDI diesel four. Front- and all-wheel drive will be available, and for the first time, two-wheel-drive models will get a proper dual-clutch transmission – no more CVT.

Camp in style with the new Volkswagen California

Now in its fourth generation, the California is still unique in the camper van world as it is designed and built in house, by VW itself.
Based on the equally new Volkswagen T6 commercial vehicle, the latest VW camper van gets the option of four-wheel drive and a paddle-shift gearbox for the first time and the vehicle can be specified with adaptive suspension for greater comfort even when fully loaded.
There is also a range of safety systems including Driver Alert -- which monitors activity to make sure the driver is awake -- brake assist for performing emergency stops more rapidly, and post-collision braking for bringing the California to a complete halt immediately after an accident.
In terms of camping comforts, the California can sleep four, has a pop-up roof for improving headroom and concealing a double bed, a fridge, stove, sink and a host of ingenious storage solutions.
The California will be offered in two trim levels -- Ocean and Beach -- and the first deliveries are expected this summer.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Volkswagen Launches New ‘Contemporary’ Brand Font

Car and Driver is reporting that Volkswagen will no longer use VW Utopia as their official font, opting to go with the new “more contemporary, less geometric” VW OT typeface instead.  Created by design consultancy MetaDesign, the new font is “inspired by Volkswagen’s distinctive vehicle design”, and should be making its way to Volkswagen products very soon.  We have to wonder though, is this really the best use of Volkswagen’s time and money?
Not to say that a new font couldn’t be found to subconsciously bring customers into dealerships, but we’d wager that some new product and an expanded marketing effort in key markets could do the same thing.  To read the whole report, jump over to Car and Driver’s website, right here.


200 Nm: Highest specific torque of any petrol engine sets new benchmark
99 g/km CO2: Low-emitting Golf TSI BlueMotion attains efficiency class A
Ten key facts about the new Golf TSI BlueMotion:
1. Innovative 1.0 TSI offers highest specific torque of any large-scale production series of petrol engines: 200 Nm per litre displacement.
2. First Golf BlueMotion¹ to feature a petrol engine consumes just 4.3 l/100 km
3. Emitting just 99 g/km CO2, the Golf TSI BlueMotion is one of the most eco-friendly cars in its class.
4. Despite its efficiency, the Golf TSI BlueMotion with an 85 kW / 115 PS engine has a top speed of 204 km/h.
5. The downsized 999 cc high-tech, three-cylinder EA211-series engine is as refined as a four-cylinder engine.
6. A 7-speed DSG (with automatic gear changes) is available; this version Golf also consumes just 4.3 l/100 km.
7. The Cd value of 0.28 helps reduce fuel consumption.
8. The Golf TSI BlueMotion is available in two equipment trim levels: Trendline and Comfortline.
9. Golf Estate (4.3 l/100 km)² and Golf Sportsvan (4.5 l/100 km)³ will also launch with a TSI BlueMotion version.
10. Golf offers cutting-edge, progressive networking with Volkswagen Car-Net, Media Control and App Connect.
  • A petrol engine that is as fuel-efficient as a diesel – until recently this was barely conceivable. A three-cylinder engine that is as powerful and refined as a good four-cylinder – that was barely conceivable until just recently. But now it is a reality. This engine exists. The 1.0 TSI from Volkswagen. The German manufacturer will now be installing it in Europe’s most successful car: the Golf. The name of the new high-efficiency model: Golf TSI BlueMotion. Until now, the Golf BlueMotion was only available in diesel (TDI) and natural gas (TGI) versions. The Golf TSI BlueMotion (which can be ordered in the Trendline and Comfortline trim levels) now extends the model range with one of the most economical cars of our time. The combined fuel consumption of the most fuel-efficient petrol-powered Golf ever: 4.3 l/100 km. This fuel consumption equates to incredibly low CO2 emissions of 99 g/km – and the Golf TSI BlueMotion achieves these figures with both the standard 6-speed manual gearbox and the optional 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG). At the same time, the Golf Estate and Golf Sportsvan will launch as TSI BlueMotion models. With a manual gearbox, the Golf Estate also consumes 4.3 l/100 km; with DSG the figure is 4.5 l/100 km. For the Golf Sportsvan, the figures are 4.5 (manual) and 4.6 l/100 km (DSG).
  • Specific torque of a sports car. The 1.0 TSI on-board the Golf TSI BlueMotion is the first large-scale production petrol engine to attain a specific torque of 200 Nm per litre displacement. The maximum power of the three-cylinder engine – 85 kW / 115 PS – lies just above the level of the first generation Golf GTI (110 PS). In terms of responsiveness and top speed, the Golf TSI BlueMotion can reach 204 km/h and so surpasses the legend (182 km/h). When it comes to fuel consumption, it even beats the first diesel-powered Golf TDI BlueMotion (4.5 l/100 km). Clearly, the Golf TSI BlueMotion – a five-seater, and optional four-door all-round car that does not require even a hint of compromise from its owners despite its efficiency – is defining a new benchmark among petrol models in its class with diesel-like fuel consumption figures.
  • Affordable. With the lowest price tag of any Golf BlueMotion version, the TSI model is extremely affordable. In Germany, the Golf TSI BlueMotion Trendline costs 20,450 euros – and includes standard features such as air conditioning, seven airbags, Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, XDS electronic differential lock, start/stop system with brake energy recovery, model-specific rear spoiler in body colour, sport suspension (body is 15 mm lower) and BlueMotion 15-inch “Lyon” wheels.