Archive for Audi A5

Audi go frugal

Posted in Desirable machines, News with tags , , , , , on 06/02/2012 by Alexander

I’m not an Audi fan, not even close (though I do like the Audi A5 coupé), but I’ll admit to giving credit when it’s due.

The four-ringed brand from Deutschland have introduced a highly-efficient 2.0 litre diesel to the A5 coupé and Sportback, that sips as little fuel as the awesome BMW 520d EfficientDynamics (again, not a fan, but hats off to who deserves the honour). It can return figures of something on the order of 4,4l/100km (64.2mpg[UK]). In a mixed cycle. That means it’ll probably get mileage out on the open road akin to that of a VW Lupo 3L. In a car that weighs a ton and a half, and is made to be comfortable and luxurious, as opposed to small and practical, which is what most low-consumption vehicles are.

I like this approach to big cars, and I always have, in no small part thanks to my father and his obsession with low-consuming big Citroens. I’ve never ever liked the Top Gear-like mentality of “if it looks good, it has to go fast”. Why? Who wrote that rule? Why can’t a sleek coupé be a fuel-sipping cruiser that can go 1500 miles between stops at the pump?

Just as a footnote, imagine converting one of these babies into a dual-fuel car. Now that would be ultra-mega-hyper-efficient. Assuming it worked.


A question of coupés (2)

Posted in Crap cars, Desirable machines with tags , , , , , , , , on 03/02/2011 by Alexander

So now that I’ve wrapped up the debatable question as to what is a coupé, let’s get to the meat and veggies. What’s available out there on the coupé market?

  • The Germans
    The Big German Three have had the coupé market practically to themselves over the past years. This isn’t because they sell the best coupés. It’s because a coupé, as I’ve said, is a vehicle for posing, which gives way to badge snobbery very, very easily. That said, their grasp on the market is so strong, each of the German Big Three brands have two or three coupés in their line-ups. We’re going to have to break it down even further:BMW 1-series coupé – A stunted, disgusting, little bastard of a coupé, resembling it’s hatchback counterpart too closely. With not much going for it in the looks department, it has some interesting engines on offer, such as the 177bhp 2.0-litre diesel Start/Stop powerplant. My cousin has one, and it really is unimpressive. It’s crap on journeys because of its rock-hard suspension. And it’s also expensive and cramped, but hey, it’s a coupé, so that’s to be expected. There’s a new, upcoming M1-coupé, which is as exciting as the soup-stain I have on my left trouser leg. 

    BMW 3-series coupé – Not much more than an elongated 1-series, it still manages to be a far more stylish car than its smaller sibling.  It has a nice rear, but its flanks still have horrible sills and creases left over from Chris Bangle’s disastrous tenure as chief designer at BMW. The front is as bland as any other BMW, as is the ghastly interior.

    BMW 6-series coupé – The only production BMW I wouldn’t loathe owning. It’s stylish, but a bit too much, and with a €100,000 price tag + options, it screams out “ostentation!” to the four winds. The oil-burning 635d is the most interesting choice of engine, since it fits the 6-series as a GT cruiser.

    Mercedes C-Class coupé – First and foremost, this car looks like an awful, truncated version of the saloon. Horrible inside and out, the gigantic rear third stop-light is so ghastly, kitsch and tasteless it should be banned, unless Mercedes put it there for people like me to laugh at the crap taste of the sap of a driver behind the wheel. This car has zero style, thus failing as a coupé, so I won’t even bother mentioning engines.

    Mercedes E-Class coupé – The coupé version of the E-Class has always managed to look cool, relaxed and sophisticated (except for the disgustingly disproportionate W124). Again, it’s a pity when coupés resemble their four-door versions too closely, but the E-Class still manages to have a nice profile. I’m not too keen on the interior design though, with the horrendous steering wheel, and with that fussy centre console, with too many shapes and orders, it doesn’t know what it wants to look like. The lowest cylinder diesel engines are pretty impressive, as you’d expect from the current crop of German mechanical prowess in general, with the same 2.2-litre with three power outputs (136, 170 and 201bhp), but all with the same fuel consumption figures.

    Mercedes SLK – Bleeeargh. First off, it looks awful. Second, only balding, middle-aged men with jumpers tied around their necks and cruising to score with females half their age or disgusting, middle-aged blonds who try everything under the surgeons scalpel not to look like prunes with wigs drive these things. And if I’m not mistaken, it only comes as a hard-top convertible. Hence, it’s not a proper coupé.

    Audi TT – This car is suckingly nauseating to gaze upon. It looks like a stunted bar of soap. It’s far too expensive, especially when compared to its larger, better-looking brand-colleague, the A5, and even more so when compared to its most direct competitor, the Peugeot RCZ.

    Audi A5 -Probably the best rational choice of coupé available today. Nice shape, nice interior (even though it’s practically a carbon copy of all other Audis), and great choice of engines. By far the best is the 2-litre diesel with start/stop tech, which fulfils all needs well and is economic and efficient at the same time. Drawbacks include the price (having some nice options will be worth about 50% of the base-price of the car), the fact that all Audis look the same (though this one manages to be handsome) and the cheapening effect of the existence of the Sportback version.
    Nevertheless, I’ve never hid my, shall we say, hostility towards the brand with four rings, so my saying that this model is probably the best offering in its segment is saying something. A car I wouldn’t detest owning.

Audi A7 – Why?

Posted in Crap cars, Upcoming cars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 27/07/2010 by Alexander

I’m not a fan of Audi. As I’ve said before, they’re no more than VW’s with four rings nailed onto the front. That said, however, I quite like the Audi A5 coupé, because it has a nice shape and doesn’t have a corresponding VW version. The same can be said, though it’s debatable, of the A6 and the A8, though I don’t like either of them.

So now Audi announces the A7 Sportback, and I just don’t understand what the hell it’s for. Audi say it’s a competitor for the Merc CLS, which makes sense only up to a certain point. For saloon cars, Audi has the A4, the A5 Sportback, the A6, the new A7 Sportback and the A8. That’s five fricking cars that cover everything from family saloon to four-door ostentatious fascist-mobile. Merc have the C-Class, E-Class, CLS and S-Class. That’s only four. BMW have the 3-series, 5-series, the pathetic 5GT and and the 7-series, that’s four too (though they’re coming up with the new 6-series Gran Coupé, which will probably be the first good-looking BMW since 1988).

The problem with Audi, apart from being driven solely by absolute bastards, is that from the front, they all look exactly the same. Yes, perhaps Audi fanboys can tell the difference, but the designers took the “same design-language coherence across the range” thing far too literally. This makes Audis far too bland and boring, with no singular, fantastic-looking model. Mercedes have the CLS for this, and it also justifies the existence of the model, even though it’s really only an E-Class in a frock.

So why would I buy an A7 Sportback? Want a four-door coupé? There’s the A5 Sportback.”Ah, but I want it to be luxuriuos”. Get an A8. I don’t get it.

I wish it would flop like the absolutely stupid 5-series GT seems to be doing, but alas, car-buyers are far too thick not to be fooled by the overpriced crap the Big German Three flog on the market.

BMW: what’s next?

Posted in Alt-Fuel, Car conception, Crap cars, Desirable machines, General opinions, Upcoming cars with tags , , , , , , , on 16/04/2010 by Alexander

I am not a BMW fan. They make some excellent cars, though nowadays the entire range is all ugly, probably a consequence of ex-chief designer Chris Bangle’s atrocious taste. BMW, like Mercedes and Audi, thrives as a badge-brand, with cars no better than rivals yet insultingly more expensive, thus more attractive to morons.

But before the said morons start leaving stupid comments, let me say more. Before the 90’s, BMW made beautiful cars. The old 1602’s were a regular sight here in Portugal, and I miss them and yelp for joy when I see one running. The E34 5-series was and is a properly good-looking car, that’s easily prettier than most of what came after, and not just in comparison to the following 5-series or other BMW ranges for that matter.

If there’s anything that BMW do undeniably well, it’s creating engines. Their early 90’s 2.5 litre turbodiesel engine was revolutionary (525tds, remember?), and today they still churn out a host of amazing powerplants. And some pretty amazingly-engined vehicles are coming soon too.

And this is an interesting dilemma for me. On one hand, the Bavarian brand is making really head-turning stuff, like the Dynamics-Efficiency-complicated-name thing, while on the other, it offends good taste everywhere by farting out the X-range. The most recent example is their killing the next 6-series M-version for a V8, pollution-farter, while on the other their making a range below the 1-series (probably an Isetta-inspired affair) and a triturbo diesel engine.

Let me delve into each matter shortly. Firstly, the 6-series is something I’ve always wanted to hate, but shouldn’t and can’t. It’s a coupé, and it’s not exactly gut-churningly ugly, as other BMW’s. It also has a diesel in its midst, which gives it a rare status, i.e., a grand tourer that does more than just chew fuel. It’s a well-balanced, interesting coupé, although it’s Achilles heel (apart from the badge) is it’s obscene price tag. And at the risk of sounding incoherent, I don’t think it’s a good idea to leave the M6 out of the next generation. Yes, M-BMW’s are “fuel-chewingly” mad, but all car models have a big-engined, multi-hundred horsepower version in their range. Not having one seriously cheapens the whole line-up of 6-series models. I think this is silliness on BMW’s part.

On the other hand, the prospect of a triple-turbo engine sounds insanely cool. The thought of accelerating and feeling turbo after turbo kick in is exhilarating. Let’s wait and see what the Bavarian brand has in store.

CC: doesn’t mean just “cubic centimetre”

Posted in Desirable machines, Upcoming cars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 11/10/2009 by Alexander

The 4-door coupé isn’t a recent fad that the Mercedes CLS and its fans and ignorant motor journalists would have us believe. Sweeping coupé designs for saloons have been around for longer (take Robert Opron’s fastback saloons of the 70’s, or the Volvo S60), though the CLS somewhat popularised it. The band wagon is roomy, as many cars since have jumped on. The Citroen C6, the VW Passat CC, the Opel Insignia, the hardly-convincing Audi A5 Sportback (after all, it did start life out as a coupé to begin with) and the hideous and stupid BMW 5 series GT.

I’d say from this it’s a clearly a predominantly German fashion, with the funky little VW Passat by far the most attractive of the Kraut-auto flock (The Citroen C6 is by far the most attractive in the Global Auto range, but I digress). The BMW 5-series GT looks like a dwarfish, handicapped, stunted SUV, and the A5 Sportback comes across as a coupé with those extra doors jammed in to meet a marketing niche for stupid people. The VW looks balanced and smooth, with nice lines and a striking presence, which the Opel has, but in less measure. If I were ever to buy German (and I hope one day I’ll have the money to even consider these things), the Passat CC would be a probable choice.

However, VW has been like my old Citroën BX’s hydropneumatic system and has been leaking, though in this case, interesting information.

First, was a glimpse of the future Golf VII, which I found rather strange since the Golf VI was released this year. It’s like VW are saying “Yes, we know this current Golf is disappointing, so we’re making another one.” The Golf IV was so brilliant both the V and VI are but pale images that simply don’t have the same appeal (though the rise in quality from competitors also helps this notion). The Golf VII is trying to get VW’s family hatchback into the arena of ball-bashing success.

Second, was none other than a Golf CC (original link). Which on the surface seems a good idea, building on the Passat CC’s appeal and widening the choice amidst the Golf range. But then I think: this will kill the Jetta (unless it’s the next-gen Jetta) and probably overlap the Passat range. Doesn’t sound so smart any more, though I must admit I personally find the idea of a Golf CC very clever and appealing, especially if it has a panoramic roof like the Passat version.