Belgium-based Volkswagen/ Audi specialist tuner Caractere has released some details regarding the body kit fitted to the facelift Audi Q7. According to the company most of the old vehicle's kit, apart from the front grille, can be used in the new SUV.
Components making up the exterior include the complete front bumper with original fog lights. It is compatible with all the cars whether they come equipped with Park Distance Control or not. The same goes if Adaptive Cruise Control was installed. It even works with the original headlight washers.
Customers who choose the 10-piece set of wheel arch extensions can only have it in conjunction with the Caractère front bumper. Two choices are offered for wheel sizes; a 20-inch and a 22-inch package. The rear features a spoiler with left and right tips to accommodate cars with or without a tow bar.
Caractère assures that the body kit is not affected by the S-Line exterior package and that it is TÜV certified. It will be available from the end of September.
I’ve come to know Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen as a passionate advocate of fuel-sipping diesel engines. That passion was on full display when I sat with de Nysschen at a media dinner in Carneros, Calif. (after test drives of three new Audi models), during which he sharply criticized electric vehicles -- including GM’s Chevy Volt.
He dismissed GM’s upcoming plug-in hybrid as “a car for idiots,” saying that few consumers will be willing to pay $40,000 -- the Volt’s estimated base price -- for a car that competes against $25,000 sedans and conventional hybrids. Nor, he noted, is the Volt a luxury car whose green-technology costs will be excused because it also delivers prestige or performance.
“No one is going to pay a $15,000 premium for a car that competes with a (Toyota) Corolla,” he said. “So there are not enough idiots who will buy it.”
He did add that plug-in hybrids are good in concept and hold advantages over diesels in stop-and-go driving. But for the moment, de Nysschen noted, electric vehicles (EVs) are more about making a statement.
“They’re for the intellectual elite who want to show what enlightened souls they are,” he said.
De Nysschen expressed frustration with regulators and policymakers, saying the public has been hoodwinked into believing that EVs are the only answer to global warming. The U.S. government, he said, is pouring billions of dollars into EV technology, yet diesel technology could deliver a more immediate and dramatic decrease in global-warming emissions. And the man knows of what he speaks: Modern diesels already power half of Audi’s cars in Europe and have helped Audi dominate recent runnings of the 24 Hours of LeMans. Diesels have been shown to emit 25 percent less carbon dioxide than gasoline engines, while using 25 to 35 percent less fuel.
Mass electrification of cars, he argued, would result in a net increase in carbon dioxide emissions, because so much of America’s electrical grid relies on dirty coal for its energy. Cleaning up the nation’s power grid is the real priority, he said, and only then can EVs make environmental sense.
The Audi of America president ended with a bold prediction: The Volt will fall flat. And the federal government, having publicly forced GM to develop electric cars, will subsidize the Volt to save face and boost sales.
Whether that comes to pass or not, expect de Nysschen to continue to lobby Washington to ensure that diesels get their fair share of federal support.
Audi today announced pricing for the 2010 A3 TDI, its second U.S. clean diesel offering launched this a year. Expected to begin arriving at U.S. dealers in late November 2009, the 50-state certified A3 TDI delivers the highest highway fuel economy in the luxury car category – 42 mpg, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates.
Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (excluding $825 destination charge, taxes, title, options, and dealer charges):
A3 TDI clean diesel with S tronic front wheel drive $29,950
Audi launched its first TDI clean diesel model, the Q7 TDI, earlier this year. The Audi Q7 TDI built awareness with American luxury car consumers that modern clean diesel technology is markedly improved in emissions, quietness, ride comfort and overall performance. Both the A3 TDI and Q7 TDI clean diesel vehicles share several common attributes that include 50-state clean diesel technology, 30% better fuel economy and a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas than gasoline engines of comparable size.
In fact, the EPA calculated that if only one-third of the vehicles on American roads ran on clean diesel, the U.S. would use 1.5 million fewer barrels of oil each day. Audi was the first German car manufacturer to combine turbocharging with diesel engine technology in 1989, and has continued to evolve its technology ever since. Audi Sport has helped prepare the way for TDI clean diesel in the United States by racing the R10 TDI sports car from 2006-2008 in the American Le Mans Series and sweeping the major endurance races at the 12 Hours of Sebring (Sebring, Fla.) and the 10-hour Petit Le Mans (Atlanta, Ga.). In addition, the R10 TDI won all three 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance races in which it competed from 2006-2008. The R15 TDI continued the TDI clean diesel performance tradition by winning the 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race in March 2009.
The Audi A3 TDI offers the same sophistication, styling, operating efficiency and ride comfort that has distinguished Audi throughout its model range. Standard amenities include lighted vanity mirrors for drivers and front passengers within the sun visors, leather seating surfaces, cargo nets behind front seats, spit folding 40/60 rear seats, rear seat arm rest with dual cup holders. Distinctive options include Audi Navigation plus with RDS traffic, Bluetooth® hands-free phone preparation, Audi music interface (integration for iPod® and related technology), BOSE® premium sound, the Titanium package with dark grey wheels and black grille, leather/alcantara seating, wood trim, rain/light sensors, auto-dimming exterior and interior rear-view mirror with integrated compass, and LED daytime running lights.
The pulling power of torque is the signature performance feature in all diesel models, and the A3 TDI clean diesel is no different. Offering 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, this model performs briskly and efficiently with unmatched performance with its EPA-estimated 30/42 city/highway fuel efficiency.
The competitive set for the A3 TDI clean diesel is unique. Only one competitor is currently playing in the field of fuel-efficient compact luxury vehicles, but does not offer the driving experience or the 5-door flexibility that includes 40/60 split rear-folding seats. The Lexus HS 250h offers similar combined fuel economy with hybrid technology, but not superlative highway mileage range. The A3 TDI offers more superlatives in value, including a standard S line exterior sport appearance for 2010, a tighter steering turning circle, a top speed of 130 mph, as well as a 12-year limited warranty against corrosion.
The Audi approach toward efficiency is not only catered toward TDI clean diesel vehicles. Audi is also the first car company in the United States to equip 100% of its gasoline engines with FSI direct injection technology beginning with model year 2010. Audi began racing with FSI direct injection technology in 2000 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and American Le Mans Series with the R8 FSI prototype racing sports car. Once this technology first became available for U.S. Audi customers in late 2004 with the introduction of the 2005 A6 3.2 FSI quattro, the list of Audi vehicles sold in the U.S. with FSI direct injection technology has continued to grow.