Archive for December, 2011

First drive of new Audi S4 leaves Autocar impressed

The new Audi A4 and S4 range was given its international launch in Portugal last week. A select number of the UK’s top motoring journalists were invited to put the ranges through their paces on bespoke routes in the winter sunshine, in and around Lisbon.

Journalists were able to fully examine the new Audi A4 Saloon, Audi A4 Avant, Audi A4 allroad and the stand out Audi S4 Saloon with its feisty 333PS, 3.0 TFSI engine.

Feedback from the launch so far has been exciting. Autocar magazine gave the S4 four out of five stars, with reviewer Gavin Conway saying: “The latest S4 is a beautifully made piece that isn’t too ‘shouty’ about its performance… It feels, in the end, like a grown-up’s hot rod. And that’s a good thing.”

Conway calls the S4 ‘very classy’ and adds: “The S4’s interior remains a terrific place to spend time, with fabulously supportive seats and a deep sense of quality.”

And Conway is just as impressed with the car’s performance. “This car is still a totally convincing driver’s tool… the performance on offer is utterly addictive,” he writes. The car’s handling comes in for praise, too: “You can get the S4 to flow beautifully on a twisting stretch of mountain road, and steering feedback is particularly good.”

4×4 future for VW has been revealed

The Tokyo Motor Show was the chosen venue for Volkswagen to showcase its concept SUV of the future – the Cross Coupé. This was a big clue as to the future direction for Volkswagen’s SUV styling and all-wheel drive plug-in hybrid engine may indicate Volkswagen’s future direction to produce more and more fuel efficient vehicles. 

It also defines a new stage in Volkswagen engineering design, being the first model based on the company’s new ‘modular transverse matrix’ – or MQB – to be shown publicly.

At 4,345 mm, the concept car being shown in Tokyo is longer than a Golf and shorter than a Tiguan. The width of 1,868 mm and height of 1,523 mm also come exactly in between these two bestsellers, meaning that the Cross Coupé’s dimensions place it at the heart of the globally in-demand A segment.

The design of the car – penned by a team led by Volkswagen Group Chief Designer Walter de Silva and Brand Design Chief, Klaus Bischoff – features the characteristic horizontal lines of the Volkswagen ‘face’ at the front while linking to the future with a completely new light and grille treatment. The rear is dominated by steeply sloping angles and new distinctive light clusters which are combined with SUV-like chunky bumpers and twin tailpipes.

If this first concept is a nod to the future of Volkswagen’s engineering design then we cannot wait to see it translated in to a UK production car.