Audi RS6 Avant and Mercedes-AMG E63 S drag race for Top Gear

Sometimes the kids are late for school, and you need a wagon to get them there in a hurry. In its latest drag race, Top Gear finds out which is the quicker high-performance family hauler: the Audi RS6 Avant or the Mercedes-AMG E63 S.

The specs suggest this race should be quite close at the finish line. The RS6 has a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with 552 horsepower, but the E63 S is a little more powerful with 577 hp from a 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8. However, the Audi has a traction advantage from the all-wheel drive system, whereas the Mercedes only spins its rear wheels. Pick your favorite, and then watch the video to see if the similar numbers translate to a photo finish in the real world.

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Spy video shows Audi RS4 Avant twin-turbo V6 lapping the Nurburgring

Nürburgring testing season is in full swing, and Audi took some of its newest upcoming models for a spin. That means our first listen to Ingolstadt’s new, turbocharged RS engine under the hood of the RS4.

Based off the updated A4, the new RS4 Avant is a return to the performance variant’s roots. The original RS4 (and early versions of the S4) used twin-turbo V6 power, although more recent models stuffed the beloved 4.2-liter V8 under the hood. The turbo engine in the new model is also rumored to find its way into the back of the R8 supercar. We don’t know horsepower figures yet, but with 450 horsepower as the benchmark from the last RS4 we expect big numbers from the six-cylinder.

The new engine might be just as powerful as the old V8, but as you’ll see in the video, it’s missing the phenomenal growl that the 4.2-liter made as it revved to the sky. This new car is quiet, especially compared to the ear-tingling five-cylinder note of the TT RS testing alongside the wagon. A quiet performance car is fine if you like stealth, but with its flared wheel arches, oval exhausts, and big wheels, the RS4 is a car that’s anything but subtle.

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Audi stretches the A8L even more for one special European buyer

Audi puts the customer first, however out of the ordinary their requirements may be. An example of this is the Audi A8*: at the request of a European customer the premium brand has built a first one-off version of the sedan in king-size format. Measuring 6.36 meters (20.9 ft) in length and with a wheelbase of 4.22 meters (13.8 ft), the A8 L extended* affords top-class comfort for passengers occupying all of its six seats. A concept that generates customer: Audi has further requests for the custom product already.

Experts invested almost a year in developing and building the exceptionally long luxury sedan. The result was an exclusive one-off specimen that meets the high standards of the production model in every domain. The major challenges concerned the safety and rigidity of the extra-large body, as well as the styling of the silhouette.

The Audi A8 L extended benefits from the low weight of the production model’s body, which uses an Audi Space Frame design and is made almost entirely from aluminum. For the built-to-order version the engineers extended the side sills and center tunnel using extruded aluminum sections. Inside the tunnel, these also assist with the air routing. A double rear bulkhead separates the passenger compartment from the luggage compartment; the roof incorporates additional aluminum profiled tubes and cross-braces. These measures provide torsional and flexural rigidity almost on a par with the A8 L*.

The representative XXL sedan in discreet moonlight blue, metallic offers 1.09 meters (3.6 ft) more wheelbase and overall length than the Audi A8. To maintain a harmonious roof line, the entire body from the A-pillar back has been reworked.

The experts embedded a 2.40-meter (7.9 ft) glass panel in the roof skin to enhance the sense of spaciousness. The sun blinds – one for each row of seats – prevent overheating of the interior in strong sunlight. The headlights and rear lights incorporate small side marker lights, as is prescribed by law for vehicles of this length.

All passengers face the direction of travel in the Audi A8 L extended. The six seats are upholstered in extra-supple Valcona leather, in the color velvet beige. Rows two and three feature electrically adjustable individual seats. The third row has a continuous center console, a Rear Seat Entertainment display and a cool box.

The one-off A8 version is powered by a 3.0 TFSI engine developing 228 kW (310 hp), delivering up to 440 Nm (324.5 lb‑ft) of torque. This propels the sedan from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 7.1 seconds and up to an electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h (155.3 mph). An eight-speed tiptronic transfers engine power to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system. The 19‑inch wheels in 15‑spoke design conceal the brake system of the Audi S8*, which assures outstanding deceleration of the over six-meter-long (19.7 ft) luxury sedan, with its unladen weight of 2,418 kilograms (5,330.8 lb).

Fuel consumption of the models named above:

Audi A8:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 11.2 – 5.7 (21.0 – 41.3 US mpg)**;
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 259 – 146 (416.8 – 235.0 g/mi)**

Audi A8 L:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 11.2 – 5.8 (21.0 – 40.6 US mpg)**;
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 259 – 148 (416.8 – 238.2 g/mi)**

Audi S8:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 10.0 – 9.4 (23.5 – 25.0 US mpg)**;
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 231 – 216 (371.8 – 347.6 g/mi)**
**Fuel consumption, CO2 emission figures and efficiency classes given in ranges depend on the tires/wheels used.

A8 L extended:
The A8 L extended has received type approval and been accepted under the EC Single Vehicle Approval scheme (Article 24, Directive 2007/46/EC).

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2018 Audi RS3 Sedan to make US debut in 2017

We really want the Audi RS3 to come to the US market, and based on a report from Car and Driver, it doesn’t sound like we’ll be stuck waiting that long. The report claims the new compact rocket sedan will debut next year as a model year 2018 vehicle.

Beyond that date, C/D’s report expands on some of the details we reported on in our RS3 Sedan report from February. It backs up the claim about a 2.5-liter, turbocharged five-cylinder, but instead of a 400-plus-horsepower engine, C/D’s report says it’d be “close to” 400 hp. That power would come from a turbocharged, 2.5-liter five-banger that’s distinct from the unit currently offered in the Euro-market RS3 Sportback and the last-generation TT RS (the new 2.5 would first debut in that car’s replacement). The new powerplant would be paired with Audi’s seven-speed S-Tronic.

According to C/D, all this powertrain goodness will allow the new RS3 to hit 60 in four seconds flat and run up to 174 miles per hour. If correct, that means Audi’s newest high performer will be a tenth of a second faster to 60 and have an extra seven mph on the high end than the most potent Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG. And while the two-door BMW M2 isn’t necessarily a direct competitor – because coupe – it’s worth pointing out that the RS3 will be 0.2 seconds faster to 60 and have an extra 19 mph to its top speed.

While C/D’s report cites a “highly reliable source” for its information, we’ve naturally reached out to Audi to confirm as much as possible. We’ll update this post as soon as Audi’s PR team gets back to us.

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Despite EV push, Audi will lead hydrogen for VW Group

The cynics among us will assume that Volkswagen Group would rather not affix its flagship brand name to its main hydrogen fuel-cell efforts in the wake of that German automaker’s diesel-emissions scandal. Instead, there’s less of a taint in having those efforts led by VWs Audi division. And that’s exactly what’s going to happen, reportedly.

Audi will lead Volkswagen’s way towards selling hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles to the general public, Automotive News Europe reports, citing comments Audi’s new development head Stefan Knirsch recently made at VW headquarters in Germany. That first effort may come in the form of the H-Tron Quattro concept SUV that Audi unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in January. That model is slated to have a 373-mile range on a full tank of hydrogen (using the optimistic European driving cycle) and includes a rooftop solar panel that can add 621 miles a year via sun rays. And true to Audi’s performance-driving bent, the car will offer up to 282 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, for a 0-62 miles per hour time of under seven seconds. Audi will also look to cut production costs by reducing precious metals such as platinum in fuel-cell stacks.

As for plug-in vehicles, Audi said at last November’s Los Angeles Auto Show that as much as 25 percent of new Audis will be plug-in vehicles by 2025. A month later, Audi said that the A3 E-Tron, which was launched in Europe in late 2014, was already accounting for a quarter of Audi sales in the Netherlands and Norway.

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