Monte Carlo Welcomes the A1

Des A1 Neue Kleider

Audi hat seinen kleinsten Drei – und Fünftürer innen wie außen nachgeschärft

A1 facelift and A1 Sportback first generation - more resolute appearance, overall sportier look. But not so much the exterieur is the highlight of the revamped A1, it is the engines.

One of the “older” A1 in Monte Carlo. A1 facelift and A1 Sportback first generation – more resolute appearance, overall sportier look. But not so much the exterieur is the highlight of the revamped A1, it is the engines.

Rundum Facelift für die erste Generation des A1 und A1 Sportback. Nachdem zunächst die überarbeiteten Versionen der sportlichen Speerspitze S1 und S1 Sportback auf den Markt kamen und die geschärfte, maskulinere Silhouette seither bekannt ist, erhielten nun auch A1 und A1 Sportback eine Generalüberholung. Europa ist für den Kleinsten von Audi der wichtigste Markt, mit Großbritannien an der Spitze, gefolgt von Deutschland, Spanien und Italien. Dann kommen China, Japan und Mexiko. Mit über 500.000 verkauften Einheiten seit Markteinführung des A1 im Jahr 2010 und des Sportback zwei Jahre später führt der A1 nach Konzernaussagen das Segment der Premiumkompakten an. Damit diese Erfolgssträhne nicht abreißt, hat man sich bei der Überarbeitung auf die Motoren und eine noch größere Individualisierbarkeit konzentriert. Letzteres vor allem deshalb, weil A1 Kunden die mit Abstand jüngsten Audi Fahrer sind. Achtzig Prozent der A1 Kunden fahren ihren ersten Audi überhaupt.

LED is in the smallest cars

LED is in the smallest cars. At least as optional equipment. The high-beam assistant switches automtically between low-beam and high-beamt headlights.

 

Die Motorenpalette reicht jetzt von 90 PS bis 192 PS. Dazugekommen sind zwei komplett neu entwickelte Motoren, beide mit dem hausinternen Label „ultra“ für besonders verbrauchseffiziente Aggregate versehen.Ein Novum in der Geschichte der vier Ringe: es sind Dreizylinder. Der Benziner, 1,0 Liter TFSI mit 95 PS (70 kW) bringt es auf 99 Gramm CO2 pro Kilometer, der Diesel als 1,4 Liter TDI mit 90 PS (66 kW) und Handschaltung sogar auf ganze 89 Gramm. Insgesamt wiegt der Benziner etwa 1.200 Kilogramm, sein Motor dank Leichtbau nur noch 88 Kilogramm. Die anderen Aggregate, drei Benziner und ein Diesel, wurden komplett überarbeitet. Alle Motoren erfüllen die EU6 Norm.

Das Mantra ‚weniger Hubraum, mehr Aufladung‘, also mehr Leistung, weniger Verbrauch, beschert seit einem Jahr auch dem Kleinsten der Audi Flotte die Zylinderabschaltung (COD), nämlich von vier auf zwei Zylinder. Gibt der Fahrer kräftig Gas, werden die abgeschalteten Zylinder binnen Millisekunden wieder aktiv. Der 1,4 Liter TFSI (150 PS, 110 kW) wurde weiter effizienzgetrimmt. Bei moderater Fahrweise lassen sich bis zu zwanzig Prozent Kraftstoff einsparen.

Ausstattungsmerkmale der Mittelklasse

Wie der am stärksten motorisierte S1 haben auch die A1 Modelle technische Merkmale aus der Mittelklasse. Dazu gehören erstmals das Fahrdynamiksystem Audi drive select, mit dem der Fahrer zwischen den drei Modi auto, efficiency und dynamic wählen kann, die elektromechanische Servolenkung, die dann arbeitet, wenn sie benötigt wird und somit auch weniger Kraftstoff verbraucht, sowie schaltbare Dämpfer. Allerdings sind diese Neuerungen wie viele andere optional.

Kein A1 muss dem andern gleichen. Insgesamt gibt es für den A1 und S1 mehr als eine Million Kombinationsmöglichkeiten – ohne die Ausstattungslinie Audi exclusive für noch höhere Ansprüche. Neu sind die Pakete Sport, Design und S-line. Zusätzlich gibt es erstmals das active kit, das den urbanen Charakter des A1 betonen soll. Und auch im kleinsten Fahrzeug kann mit MMI Navigation plus und Audi connect samt WLAN Hotspot mit besonderer Rücksicht auf die Jugend ein umfangreiches Infotainment Angebot eingebaut sein.

Smallest statement Audi has on offer.

Smallest statement Audi has on offer.

Satt steht er auf der Straße. Kurzer Radstand, steife Karosserie und Leichtbauweise machen den kleinsten Audi agil und wendig. Speziell als 1,8 TFSI (192 PS, 141kW) fährt er sich wie eine angenehm leichtfüßige Rennsemmel. Sowohl für die Autobahn, insbesondere aber für die vielen Haarnadelkurven im Gebirge von Monte Carlo, wo die geliftete Kleinfamilie zur Testfahrt einlud, ist der spritzig kraftvolle Vierzylinder mit Siebengang S tronic wie geschaffen.

Insgesamt ist die Preiserhöhung mit einem modellabhängigen Anstieg von etwa hundert bis dreihundert Euro wirklich moderat ausgefallen. Doch wie üblich in der Fahrzeugindustrie wird dem Käufer diese Suppe gehörig versalzen, will er sein Fahrzeug tatsächlich individualisieren. Summa summarum kann der kleinste  Ingolstädter am Ende schnell bei 25.000 Euro liegen. Im ersten Quartal des neuen Jahres kommt der deutlich nachgeschärfte A1 und A1 Sportback auf den deutschen Markt, zu einem Einstiegspreis von etwa 17.000 Euro für den 1.0 Liter TFSI ultra. Für den kleinsten Diesel steht der Grundpreis mit 19,200 Euro bereits fest.

Susanne Roeder

©roe

 


Q be nimble, Q be quick!

The Q factor, number three in the expanding Aud SUV family.

The Q factor, number three in the expanding Audi SUV family.

Welcome to the sunny side of being en tour

This specimen of mobility was presented to the press in Barcelona, Spain, and is the hitherto smallest Audi SUV: the Q3. Indeed, that was almost three years ago. Maybe it is because it is produced in Spain, in Martorell, that Audi focussed on advertising this model in a warm and positive colour which calls for attention, almost assigning it its very own “signature colour”, namely a specifically orange metal varnish. Mind you, they call it Samoaorange Metallic, which of course does not evoke a Spanish landscape at all, but rather  alludes to the tropical island of that name in the Pacific Ocean.

So why make this outrageously orangey colour an option for the Q3? Why make the SUV  share this colour with other Audi models like the A1 on the one hand and with no less than top-notch sportscars like the Audi TTS and R8 on the other? Does this unexpected combination of SUV and Samoaorange Metallic specifically appeal to the female sex? Is it a woman’s car? We do not know, and, to be honest, do not really care. What interests us more is the car’s overall performance. Usability, performance and economy, these are the decisive criteria which our 2.0 TDI quattro S tronic with 177 horsepower (130 kw) fulfils impressively well.

The Q-Factor

Once we had overcome our lurking aversion to the unmistakably characteristic sound of the diesel, we were pleasantly surprised by the nimbleness of the car and by how long one tank would last – in spite of it being the upgraded 2.0-litre diesel. Apparently the diesel sound of the same engine with 140 horsepower is even more prominent. The definite advantage of the diesel engine over the petrol engine remains its amazing quantity of torque (380Nm), which not only makes driving a most pleasant experience, but also gives the driver the satisfaction of quick overtaking procedures.

And, although the Q3 is a fairly solid and as such a “normal” car, wherever we drove or parked the car, it certainly stood out, due to the Samoaorange Metallic. “Disrupt to differentiate”, the motto we strive to pursue in our bloggosphere, encapsulates perfectly this specific Audi. And there will be further models with the Q-factor denoting SUV or crossover capabilities firmly implanted in their DNA. Which one is going to be next, the Q4, the Q6? Will there also be a Q1 and a Q2, possibly on the platform of the A1? The Q3 uses the platform of the A3 and the VW Golf, but otherwise bears no resemblance to the sedan or hatchback.

Every inch an Audi

The Q3 has lived up to our expectations, in spite of the Samoaorange Metallic version. We would certainly choose a different colour, not least as the Samoaorange costs an extra 546.22 Euro. Incidentally, the base price for the 2.0 TDI with 177 hp is 31,218.49 Euro (net). With all the extras from the options list we had on board, the Q3 would have amounted to  48,600.84 Euro (net) or 57,835.00 Euro including VAT. In other words, one should consider the options list very carefully.

The manufacturer’s claim: “The Audi Q3 is a premium SUV with the format of the compact class. It is sporty, efficient and versatile – an urban vehicle that is equally at home on or off the road. Every aspect of the Q3 showcases Audi technology.” We do go along with this description. New as far as technology is concerned is the fact that the Q3 has its four-cylinder engine mounted transversely, which enabled the designers to give it its compact shape. Needless to say, the SUV has Audi state-of-the-art infotainment and multimedia systems on board. We had the luxury MMI navigation plus system installed. It is easy to handle, and for the extra 2,289.92 Euro offers a wide array of useful features like a voice control system that understands 12 languages or up-to-the minute online traffic information.

World premiere in April 2011 in Shanghai.

World premiere in Shanghai in April 2011.

 

 

Hoch zu Roß im Deutschen Schmuddelwinter

Der Diesel mit 177 PS (130kW) lässt echten Fahrspaß aufkommen, vor allem in Handling und Ansprechverhalten. Die Freude kommt an der nächsten Tankstelle, denn der kleine On- und Offroader ist durchaus genügsam in seinem Durst nach Sprit. Trotz ausgiebigem Austesten der möglichen Höchstgeschwindigkeit von laut Tachonadel über 220 km/h lag unser Spritverbrauch bei durchschnittlich acht Liter auf 100 Kilometer. Der Sound im Sportmodus ist etwas bissiger, für unsere Ohren angenehmer, weil der Diesel in den Hintergrund tritt. Bei genügsamer Fahrweise reicht eine Tankfüllung (64 Liter) für gut 1000 Kilometer. Das Leergewicht fällt mit 1585 Kilogramm für ein Auto dieser Kategorie gering aus und ist ein weiterer Grund für den relativ geringen Spritverbrauch samt entspanntem Wohlgefühl im hohen Geschwindigkeitsbereich.

Der Q3 ist ein Audi durch und durch, in der Designsprache genauso wie im Fahrverhalten. Ein agil kompakter Alleskönner und bisher kleinstes und jüngstes Mitglied in der SUV Familie der Ingolstädter. Fazit: Es muss nicht immer ein RS sein, zumal die erhöhte Sitzposition zum Cruisen und Genießen der vorbeigleitenden Landschaft verleitet.

Susanne Roeder

©roe

Audi A8 Revisited

Sculptures of an Exhibition: The new Audi A8 starring at Langen Foundation in Hombroich, Neuss Northrhine-Westfalia.

Sculptures of an Exhibition: The new Audi A8 starring at Langen Foundation in Hombroich, Neuss, North Rhine-Westphalia.

Four Rings and Three Dimensions

It is the Audi flagship, the epitome of hightech, luxury, comfort and ease, spiced with sportiness: the Audi A8. Four years after the third generation was launched, a distinctly made over version is waiting to enter the limelight. And since this car encapsulates most of the Audi prowess, there is also a long version, as Mercedes-Benz and other OEMs have their long versions, built especially for chauffeuring the rich and mighty. In a nutshell and therefore simplified: Faced with the choice between Audi or Mercedes-Benz, those focussing on ever-increasing security features will opt for a Mercedes, whereas drivers for whom sportiness is the essence will go for Audi, knowing full well that the brand with the four rings has always had sufficient state-of-the art safety on board. This verdict is made irrespective of the very personal tastes as regards design. And we are fully aware that  for simplicity’s sake we have not mentioned the third of the German “big three”, namely BMW, also acclaimed for its sportiness.

Man does not really like rain that much, quattro loves it. Plus the power of the of the S8: We were indeed having fun, as can be seen. Smiling faces, because this car is so direct, so easy to drive.

quattro loves rain. Plus the power of the S8 with its 4.0 litre V8 TFSI engine on board. We had mighty fun irrespective of the rain. Smiling faces, because this car is so direct, so agile in spite of its size, so easy to drive.

Some of our colleagues criticise Audi for its signature claim “Vorsprung durch Technik”, maintaining the car manufacturer had lost its technical supremacy. But how about Daimler’s slogan “Das Beste oder nichts”, “The Best or Nothing”? Looking at the design of quite a number of their cars our answer in the direction of the Stuttgart brand would at

Best in Class

Best in Class

present be: “I’d rather have nothing.” Audi certainly is not half as apodictic as Daimler with their claim. The four rings are simply saying that technical leadership is the key to success. As any linguist would argue with reference to the OEM’s slogan: Audi is not maintaining to be the best in everything. The premium car manufacturer is rather driving home the fact that technical breakthroughs help towards being benchmark, which, of course, is what the brand is striving for. What Audi does not and has never maintained is that the car manufacturer holds the laurel in every respect. Having said that, without any preconceived notions pro or against Audi leadership in certain fields can be measured objectively.

So what is it that makes a flagship, and what specifically do people expect from a luxury limousine? Abundant space for man and luggage, sufficient state-of-the-art safety features, comfort features like adaptive air suspension, seats with massaging functions

Audi Flagship = A8

Audi Flagship = A8

and possibly air ionisation, connectivity, a high end sound system, luxurious interieur as a whole and appealing design are aspects that immediately spring to mind. And as much as individual brands differ in how they meet all these requests, they definitely take them into account. Audi has certainly succeeded in fitting all of these premium features into the new A8. In fact, the OEM has passed the test with flying colours. Why can we be so certain? Not only is Audi first to introduce a very intelligent lighting system called Matrix LED lighting, the algorithms for which were developed inhouse, the technology coming from supplier Hella –, but also have the engines become yet more powerful and more efficient. And even if 350 Euro may sound negligible in relation to the sizable total amount, it is the sum which the new A8, available in Germany with prices starting at 74,500 Euro, costs less than its predecessor. The 3 litre V6 diesel with eight-speed tiptronic and quattro as entry level model feels quite sufficient for the majority of drivers, and one can certainly feel the character of the new A8 for this entry price. In other words, the A8 has become more perfect, if there can be such a degree of comparison, and slightly less expensive.

Just another few days and the new Audi A8, S8 and A8 L W12 will arrive at German Audi dealerships.

Just another few days and the new Audi A8, S8 and A8 L W12 will arrive at German Audi dealerships.

The A8 has successfully maintained its place as sportiest full size sedan in the premium segment. The new A8 is scheduled to arrive at German dealerships in November. When driving the various models of the A8, with a clear preference for the S8, we have been able to experience just that: excellent comfort, superb craftsmanship, strict lightweight construction and a broad portfolio of high-end technologies. Audi has indeed managed to update its A8 flagship exhaustively.

Vorsprung durch Technik: Shine a Light

New assistance systems and the innovative Matrix LED headlights make for even safer and more superior driving. The engines are more powerful and more efficient. And it is still there, the technical leadership in quattro. Nothing can compare to this uniquely efficient technology that leaves the driver with a feeling of utter sportiness and as though in total command of the car, even if it is the superior technology that is in control in cases where an amateur driver might run into dire straits.

How the Audi Matrix LED headlights work.

How the Audi Matrix LED headlights work.

quattro is unbeaten to this day. But let us take a closer look at that discipline in which Audi has lately become benchmark, too: lighting. As shown in an online sneak preview from August (see our previous text http://globaliter.de/heres-to-another-fab-member-of-the-rrrrrrrrrrrrsssssssssss-family/) Stephan Berlitz, chief lighting developer, explained the main functions to the interested journalists in the fittingly futuristic ambience of the Langen Foundation. Berlitz amazed his listeners with the announcement that the stunning lighting device allows more than one billion light distributions.

Here's looking straight at you...

Here’s looking straight at you…

Fortunately, the appearance of the headlights has changed. These lights that in the thorough facelift of the third generation, i.e. of the internally called D4/4H, had this effeminate eyelash or garland look have become straight in a convincing way and so unmistakably Audi. With Matrix LED Audi even more has attained a unique physique, as the headlights with their 25 LED lights per headlamp shine their light into every corner of the surroundings, without blinding either man or animal. So even if it may seem a soppy love song, the Audi matrix LED headlights can also be described emotionally. Seeing that Audi vehicles are driven all over the world, the headlights certainly manage to “shine a light in every corner of the world” and, what’s more, in an extremely intelligent manner:

The car has been improved so significantly as regards technology, efficiency and assistance systems, and has been carefully made over with respect to its outer and inner appearance that it will take at least another three years before the fourth generation will be constructed right from scratch.

Dressed to Kill

A8 ante portas: Testing the grounds of Schloss Bensberg in view of becoming a classic of the future at a Bensberg Classics event.

A8 ante portas: Testing the grounds of Schloss Bensberg in view of becoming a classic of the future at a Bensberg Classics event.

The new A8 has gained a more masculine and at the same time more elegant and slender overall appearance. Here are the most noticeable modifications: The flagship has received an even more clear-cut shape with straight lines and edges, as in the case of the bonnet

The three dimensions of the Audi Rings.

The three dimensions of the Audi Rings.

which more than before stretches angular across the singleframe grill and towards the new headlights. The singleframe grill itself has become slightly reduced but just as ready to hit the road. The rear with its separation edge and chrome trim is of a self-assured concreteness. The car is planted yet more solid on the ground. The operating Audi surgeons have every reason to be pleased with their facelift. It is very becoming to the physiognomy of the car. What also caught our attention as we glanced at the A8 sideways is its sculptured three dimensionality, which becomes most noticeable at the chiselled Audi rings protruding from the grill and calling for attention.

20 Years of Audi Space Frame

Less is more in each new Audi, meaning less weight. What twenty years ago began with the revolutionary Audi Space Frame has been expanded into scrutinising every part and

The body of the new A8 weighs just 231 kilograms - thanks to its ASF architecture and an intelligent blend of aluminum and high-strength steel.

The body of the new A8 weighs just 231 kilograms – thanks to its ASF architecture and an intelligent blend of aluminum and high-strength steel.

parcel of an Audi car with a view to reducing weight. As it highlights sportiness and of course means higher efficiency lightness is a top priority. Thus the new aluminum technology wheel underscores the Audi claim to leadership in lightweight construction. Besides the great design freedom, it also reduces the car’s unsprung masses substantially. Its innovative structure saves 4.35 kilograms (9.59 lb) compared with a conventionally fabricated forged wheel of the same design. That in itself means a total weight reduction per car of 17.4 kilograms (38.36 lb). Its surfaces in Iridium/Contrasting Gray emphasizes the three-dimensional effect and gives the new A8 wheels with an exclusive and unique look.

Three-dimensional effect of the new A8 wheels.

Three-dimensional effect of the new A8 wheels.

Added to the refreshingly facelifted design both outside and inside, the Audi flagship hosts the latest enhancements of Audi connect. Connected mobility has in fact been a key issue with Audi for many years. And again, the company with the four rings was first to study connected traffic in great depth. Audi MMI (Multi Media Interface), the operating concept of the Audi infotainment system, was introduced to the A8 back in 2002. Since then development has been rapid indeed. The latest generation of Audi connect not only displays parking lots and parking garages wherever wanted, it also indicates current prices of petrol stations, thus helping the driver to find the station with the best price.

Rolling understatement with 12 cylinders: A8 L W 12 small in Cuvée silver, metallic.

Rolling understatement with 12 cylinders: A8 L W 12 small in Cuvée silver, metallic.

“The Big”: A8 L W12

Although the A8 is an impressively spaceous limousine, there is yet the even more spaceous version, the long-wheelbase A8 L W12. “The Big” is truly an exclusive powerplant. Its W12 petrol engine produces 500 PS (368 kW) and delivers an impressive 625 Nm of torque at 4,750rpm. Once the Big rolls it glides along at impressive speed. Don’t get me wrong. This car is also amazingly quick right from the start:The sprint from 0 to 100 km/h is completed in 4.6 seconds, the electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h being just a formality. A speedboat, not a tanker.

Fast and luxurious: "the BIG".

Fast and luxurious: “the BIG”.

The A8 L W12 is expected to specifically appeal to the Chinese. However, Audi totally refrained from a plush interior just to please the Asian taste. It would be so un-Audi! On the

This is how the W12 engine works: It consists of four rows of three cylinders. Two rows face each other in a mutually offset configuration at 15-degree angles, respectively, and collectively form a single broad bank. The two cylinder banks thus form a 72-degree V configuration. The crankshaft has a crankpin offset of twelve degrees so that the twelve cylinders ignite in the ideal interval of 60 degrees.

This is how the W12 engine works: It consists of four rows of three cylinders. Two rows face each other in a mutually offset configuration at 15-degree angles, respectively, and collectively form a single broad bank. The two cylinder banks thus form a 72-degree V configuration. The crankshaft has a crankpin offset of twelve degrees so that the twelve cylinders ignite in the ideal interval of 60 degrees.

contrary, the Big delights in sheer understatement. Its interior is subdued, straight and echoes the Audi spirit of perfect quality. It is absolutely luscious to drive or be driven. Should one describe the sensation of driving or being driven, one might say that the Big has reminiscences of Mercedes-Benz limousines which generally focus on the feeling of cosiness, where the Audians in the majority of their models want the spotlight on sportive driving sensation. The Big certainly feels markedly different from any other A8. This is partly due to the long wheelbase and partly to the W12 engine which consists of four rows of four cylinders resulting in utter smoothness. Incidentally, the W12 engine amazes with a size of barely over 50 centimeters in length and is roughly 70 centimeters wide and tall.

S-ums the A8 up Adequately …

Who would want to question the S8 oozing sheer driving delight? Not us. Okay, it is a rather large car, measuring 5.135 metres in legth, 1.849 metres in width and 1.640 metres in height. But does that stop it from having a markedly sporty character? Not for a moment. The sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) only takes 4.1 seconds.

The Audi S8 is sheer driving delight, realising the perfect mix between sporty character and top level luxury.

The Audi S8 is sheer driving delight, realising the perfect mix between sporty character and top level luxury.

The S8 with its V8 turbo is the sportiest model of the A8 family. The sound of the eight cylinders are sonorous bliss making the Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System and rear seat entertainment superfluous. The S8 furthermore offers a generous list of standard equipment, including LED headlights, ambient lighting, convenience key, four-zone automatic air conditioning, Bose surround sound system and MMI navigation plus with S8-specific welcome screen. Although the whole A8 lineup is very impressive, given the choice we would not hesitate but take a seat in the S8. Sports car or not, the optional massage functions in the seats of the S8 are a very welcome feature. For the sportive driver who wants to delve into luxury, the S8 perfectly captures two cars in one to perfection.

The emblem of true sportiness.

The emblem of true sportiness.

On Such a quattro Day

We were in luck: There were spells of pouring rain awaiting us. Just the right thing for quattro. Rain, sleet, roads full of leaves or snow – such weather conditions are best for bringing out the quattro in the A8. In October we definitely had rain in abundance. But, needless to say, our Audi managed the unease marvellously well, no matter whether the S8, the A8 L or any other of the A8 models we were able to testdrive.

To those who seek sportive luxury, the A8 is just the car. It is equipped with a fast and smooth-shifting, eight-speed tiptronic. The electronically controlled automatic transmission is paired with quattro permanent all-wheel drive. Audi complements this with the optional sport differential, which distributes the power between the rear wheels as needed. It is standard with the A8 4.2 TDI clean diesel quattro and the S8. Additional sportiness stems from the sporty character of the chassis.

I can Hear your Heartbeat

human heart anatomy edThe heartbeat of all the A8 engines is reassuringly strong, sonorous and sporty. There are two TDI diesel engines, the 3.0 TDI with 258 PS (190 kW), or alternatively the 4.2 TDI with 385 PS (283 kW), and two TFSI petrol engines, namely the 3.0 TFSI V6 with 310 hp (228 kW) and the 4.0 TFSI with Cylinder on Demand (COD) and 435 hp (320 kW), all of which feature forced induction and direct injection. And they quite obviously satisfy the requirements of the Euro 6 emissions standard. Every second A8 sold in Europe is a 3.0 TDI.

There is also a hybrid version of the A8 and of course the S8 and the long version, the A8 L W12. It is particularly the even sportier S8 that made our hearts beat faster. With its 4.0 TFSI engine the S8 produces 520hp (382 kW) and develops 650 Nm of torque between 1,700 and 5,500 rpm.

Whereas the S8 has the feel of a spacious sportscar, the A8 L W12 is luscious luxury in completion with yet sporty elements and understated appearance in the interieur. Albeit a truly big car, the Big does not come across as colossal, but as elegantly muscular from the outside.

Mighty engine for a mighty car: 4L V8 TFSI beaing in the Audi S8.

Mighty engine for a mighty car: 4L V8 TFSI beaing in the Audi S8.

All engines consume up to ten per cent less energy. And how incredibly complex these astounding pieces of technology have become. Makes the human heart appear almost ridiculously simple by comparison. Engineers have truly become the magiciens of the present.

And for those bewailing the introduction of COD (Cylinder on Demand) let it be said that once four or six cylinders are switched off the sound does not diminish, but leaves the impression as though all eight / twelve cylinders are constantly doing their job. For this the acoustics engineers have carefully hideden four microphones in the ceiling.

Catch Me If You Can

100,000 of the second generation of the Audi flagship were sold from 1994 to 2002. 150,000 A3 have already been sold since 2003. We are convinced that the intelligently and thoroughly facelifted new A8 will sell well. Analysts maintaining Audi would lose out on the  two competitors BMW and Mercedes-Benz do not seem to be aware of the fact, that it does not always need a totally new generation. In a way, the made over third generation A8 is as good as a fourth generation.

It is premiere time for the Audi fleet shuttle quattro – the futuristic Audi can now be seen in the movie “Ender’s Game” with the actor Harrison Ford in the sci fi Audi.

It is premiere time for the Audi fleet shuttle quattro – the futuristic Audi can now be seen in the movie “Ender’s Game” with the actor Harrison Ford in the sci fi Audi.

So, why start from scratch prematurely? Considering the quality and benchmark hightech inherent to the A8 this is not only unnecessary, but also counterproductive, both economically and strategically. After all, the Audi brand is conservative in the original sense in that it has established its DNA. And what other than corrobarating this typcially A8 DNA does the facelift of the third generation do? In other words: Why topple a winner and start from scratch? A rhetorical question. After all, the appearance and technology of the new A8 has been signifcantly sharpened. And the automobile industry has always been cyclical, each OEM having their own timing for when to launch the next generation of an existing car or indeed a totally new model. Audi will for instance be launching the Q6, a new SUV. The question needs to be asked: Are not analysts trying to hype up this issue?

So while Audi is refining and fine-tuning its successful flagship it is embarking on the future in other spheres. It may be spacy, it may seem science fiction. At any rate, the company with the four rings is dealing with the future, be it future urban mobility which Audi addresses in its Audi Urban Future Initiative, or futuristic cars, as in the sci fi film with Harrison Ford. Because who knows whether or not the future is now.

Honestly, what does “technical leadership” actually mean? It quite simply means always being a step ahead. Although the amount of horesepower is undoubtedly impressive, the technical data will not amount to much unless the whole product is a success. This also necessitates that man and machine are feeling as one, whether while speeding or cruising along, or in using all the luxury features and assistance function – intuitively.

Our verdict? In the case of the new Audi A8 we would certainly award the car with a triple A. So there is indeed no need to come out with the fourth generation, just because Daimler has recently launched its new S-class. No, Audi can placidly keep that ace up its sleeve till 2016 in the pleasant feeling that the engineers have yet developed the existing A8 significantly further and produced an altogether stunning, consistent and well composed premium car.

Summary / Zusammenfassung:

Audi hat den Bogen raus. Das Design ist stimmig und von hohem Wiedererkennungswert. Und der Claim “Vorsprung durch Technik” ist auch im neuen A8 wirkungsvoll umgesetzt. quattro ist unschlagbare Nummer 1 in der Automobilwelt. So auch im A8. Der hat auch das Neueste vom Neuen in Sachen Audi connect, nämlich so nützliche Angaben wie die aktuellen Kraftstoffpreise an Tankstellen und andere intelligente Online-Services. Auch alle Audi A3 Varianten sowie die meisten anderen Audi Modelle haben diesen Service neu an Bord.

Mit dem grundlegenden Facelift haben die Ingolstädter der dritten Generation neues Leben eingehaucht. Wozu also eine vierte Generation, wenn die dritte verdammt gut ist? Auch das ist Nachhaltigkeit und ein Abrücken von der Wegwerfgesellschaft, die immer etwas Neues braucht, nur um der Neuigkeit halber. Warten wir also gelassen ab, welche technologischen Highlights Audi in drei Jahren in seinem Flaggschiff zündet.

Susanne Roeder

©roe

For those interested further in Langen Foundation, based at the Rocket Station in Hombroich, see under: http://langenfoundation.de/en/architecture/the-raketenstation/.



Happy Birthday to You, quattro!

happy_birthday_candles

On Many More Outstanding Jubilees to Come!

“30 years quattro GmbH – Pure adrenaline” can be seen as exhibition in the Audi Forum in Neckarsulm, Baden-Württemberg, till 4th January 2014 (free admission, Monday to Friday from 8 am to 6pm, Saturdays from 8 am to 5pm). On account of this jubilee Audi is showing some unique Audi quattro cars, accessories through the ages, Customer Racing and, not least of all, some of the people who have shaped 30 years of incessant success, growth and passion.

Beary sportsman from the current quattro accessories selection.

Beary sportsman from the current quattro accessories selection.

In 1983 the name “quattro” was entered in the trade register in order to protect the name from being copied by other carmakers. The positioning of the new brand was quite a challenge, remember those who were involved with the project in its early days. From 1983 to 1994 quattro GmbH sold nothing but accessories – from keyrings, perfume, glasses, caps, little cars for children and other toys, to watches and leather merchandise like briefcases and wallets. Maria Leichtfuß, assistant to the first director of quattro GmbH, Dr. Jens Neumann recalls the early days of the high-end section of Audi engineering: “We felt like pioneers embarking on an adventure of passion. It was a great pleasure for us to inspire the accessories with the spirit of quattro. These simple seven letters infused Audi with something unique, something very special, the delight of power, empathy, and success. This spirit has persevered for more than 30 years – and it will last – since it  is implanted in the hearts of true Audi customers. quattro, this is more than just a word – it is a passion!”

7 = 7, passion = quattro

Audi debuts with its first individualised car.

Audi debuts with its first individualised car.

The year 1995 marked a decisive turning point in the history of the quattro brand: It is the year in which the first individualised Audi, an Audi A8 was presented during IAA in Frankfurt. 1995 was also the IAA where the Audi TT Coupé was presented as concept car, which as opposed to its predecessors quattro Spyder (1991) and Avus quattro came very close to series production. Designer Freeman Thomas had enjoyed great freedom, which resulted in a concept car from which the series production differed only in details. In 1998 the first Audi TT were delivered. Soon after, quattro had become a fully-fledged carmaker with a particularly sporty edge in the highend segment.

Audi TT concept car. Built only once, in search of yet higher performance.

Audi TT concept car. Built only once, in search of yet higher performance.

As of 1996, quattro GmbH was also vehicle manufacturer with their own chassis number for their vehicles. Werner Frowein is another name inextricably linked with the rise of quattro GmbH. Under his leadership from 1998 and ended only by his retirement in 2012 and Franciscus van Meel as his successor, the Audi RS 4 and RS 6 plus the high-performance models Q7 V12 TDI, RS 5, TT RS and RS 3 emerged and of course the super sports car R8.
Audi motorsports: The quattroworld at a glance. "Successful motorsport is part of our brand DNA," Wolfgang Dürheimer, former Member of the Management Board for Technical Development.

Audi motorsports: The quattroworld at a glance. “Successful motorsport is part of our brand DNA.” (Wolfgang Dürheimer, former Member of the Management Board for Technical Development)

The development of the rather exclusive quattro GmbH is breathtaking indeed – from accessories to handmade Audi quattro cars and, as top of the line, Customer Racing, the commitment to motorsports. Customer Racing started in 2009, and just four years later one hundred racing cars based on the Audi R8 have already been handed over to their proud owners.

In spite of having to jet all over the world, to a large extent living from a suitcase, Romolo Liebchen, Head of Customer Racing, considers his job as very rewarding. Liebchen who has been with Audi since 1989, took over the project management for the R8 LMS customer sport, the racing version of the Audi R8, back in 2008: “This has been the best decision in my life”, he says beaming all over his face.

Invented for passionate wo/men: Audi Customer Racing.

Invented for passionate wo/men: Audi Customer Racing.

quattro’s road to success as a very distinct brand full of passion has reached yet another climax in the 30 year jubilee: For the first time in its history more 200,000 quattro cars will have been built this year. This corresponds to an increase of sales by 30 per cent, comparedt to 160,000 cars sold last year. As site manager Fred Schulze proudly points out: “It is here in Neckarsulm that we develop all quattro models for our clients all over the world.”

13,000 hp can be marvelled at on three floors. Due to the tremendously gripping topic,  for the first time this special exhibition takes place on all three levels of the Audi Forum. One fabulous exhibit chases another, including precious pieces from private collectors. The exhibition conveys what the quattro GmbH has been known for since its foundation: high performance, exclusivity and hightech.

Gimme 5 Cylinders, Please!

Let’s therefore talk a bit more about cars now, as the history of this brand is just amazing. There is for instance the yellow “TT”, which only at first sight qualifies as a TT. Looked at more closely it becomes obvious that for a TT the car is too long. As a matter of fact the car is a hybrid in that it is the percursor of the Audi TT RS. The engineers were were racking their brains how to get more performance into the car. This meant working on how to fit six cylinders into this car rather than the hitherto four. Eventually, they took the A4 platform, a longitudinal platform which provided the adequate aggregates for the performance aimed for, and put the lid on the chassis, i.e. the typical TT top hat. The car in this configuration was only built once. Along with a number of other rare exhibits it can be seen in Neckarsulm till 4th January 2014. Soon after the engineers had the clever idea of reviving the 5-cylinder which fitted nicely into the TT platform. A perfect win:win situation, because not only did it allow them to adhere to the original TT platform, but most notably more performance was reached.

"Ur-quattro", the origin of the gripping quattro success story, owned by an Audi quattro enthusiast.

“Ur-quattro”, the origin of the gripping quattro success story, owned by an Audi quattro enthusiast. Below see some photos of this car in action.

Besides this unique piece there are many more delicious examples of engineering and craftsmanship to be seen. Take for instance the red “ur-quattro”, ancestor to what instigated a “quattro-mania”. For the purpose of the exhibition Audi borrowed this car from an absolute quattro and racing aficionado, whose entire collection of quattro cars wears Walter Röhrl’s signature on their bonnets. Or fancy owning a totally individualised Audi 100

A private collector's car. In immaculate condition and fully individualised: Audi 100 long version.

A private collector’s car. In immaculate condition and fully individualised: Audi 100 long version.

long version with specific leather all around, even the rooflining is clad in matching leather in ribs look. Both cars are in perfect nick and look as if they had just left the painting plant.

On the ground floor what immediately attracts one’s attention in the back are the two representatives of Customer Racing. The racing trim of the first polished to bring out its best shine, the other left in its original state after having completed a demanding race. It is in the eye of each individual beholder which car (s)he prefers.

Two versions of Customer Racing cars.

Two versions of Customer Racing cars.

It was … yes, of course, Ferdinand Piëch who introduced the 5-cylinder petrol engine to Audi, to the Audi 100 back in 1976. The engine proved so successful that the car manufacturer has kept it in its portfolio. Franciscus van Meel, too, is enthusiastic about the five-cylinder in-line turbo with its indistinguishable, particularly sonorous and earthy sound. In fact, van Meel could not resist announcing the new five-cylinder turbo in the Audi RS 3.

quattro Today

quattro means gripping hightech, which is symbolised by the technical quattro lizard that has a lot of grip on whichever surface.

quattro means gripping hightech, which is symbolised by the technical quattro lizard having a lot of grip on whichever surface.

“With eight RS-models and the Audi R8 we currently offer the largest range of models in the history of the quattro GmbH,” says Franciscus van Meel, Managing Director of quattro GmbH. And he is extremely proud to announce that to date more than 90,000 cars have left the manufacturing plant. In the meantime, 850 highly motivated quattro employees make sure that these top of the  line cars can be built.

Audi is benchmark in China.

Luck in Chinese. Audi is benchmark in China.

No end to growth is in sight. And like everybody else in the car manufacturing business, quattro GmbH is set to sell increasingly more cars in China. This is part of the plan for increasing internationalisation. As Fred Schulze points out: “We are by far the most successful premium car provider in China and will retain this position. In the course of the year we have surpassed the two-million mark. The first million sold cars took us 22 years, for the second million we will have taken three years. We were the first OEM in China. And our A6 is the most successful premium sedan in this country.” From these words one may deduce that Audi is not afraid of being overtaken by Mercedes-Benz that have announced a model-offensive in Asia.

One car that really is thrilling, as it looks unsuspiciously unobtrusive, is the RS 6 Avant. A wolf in sheep’s clothing… A perfect one-in-all that answers almost any need – except that of a cabriolet driver. Here is a little film encapsulating the spirit of quattro:

In an altogether different vein Ingolstadt, too, is commemorating 30 years, focussing exclusively on quattro motorsports. This exhibition according to Thomas Frank, Head of Audi Tradition, is a unique display of 30 years of motorsports and should not be expected to be seen in the same constellation for a long time. “Home of quattro” – meaning motorsports, not the place of production, as this is Neckarsulm/Heilbronn – can be seen in the Audi museum mobile in Ingolstadt from 15th October to 30th November, daily from 9 am to 6pm. Admission is free.

The Sport quattro S1 made its debut in 1985 during the Rally Marlboro in Argentina.

The Sport quattro S1 made its debut in 1985 during the Rally Marlboro in Argentina.

Some of us will still remember the breathtaking venture when the brand with the four rings set out to do the impossible and climb a ski jump. As early as 1986, they had rally driver Harald Demuth do the stunt. Watching the later version of this adventure, it looks almost an easy test of courage, which is no doubt why Audi subtitled: Copying not recommended!

But how better demonstrate how gripping in a double sense quattro can be …

As Years Go By …

Customers ask for increasingly more individualisation in their cars. quattro GmbH wants to meet these demands. Xmas Wish edThey therefore have imposed themselves an ambitious target: By 2020 they want to be the best premium car supplier. And who knows – after visiting one or both exhibitions in Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria and seeing that Christmas is approaching fast, some of us may well feel inspired to have a word with Father Christmas and urge him to make a childhood wish come true:

Susanne Roeder

©roe

PS: And as can be seen from these photos, the “Ur-quattro” does not simply sit around lazily in a garage, but enjoys lots of rides right across Europe, as for instance in Zillertal (Austria) or Hamburg. Mind you, the owner is naturally so besotted with his car that he does not dream of driving from Bavaria right to Hamburg, but has the car take a ride on the train.

Meeting his mates in Zillertal.

Meeting his mates in Zillertal.

What is snow to a quattro? But a laugh.

What is snow to a quattro? But a laugh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The owner of the Ur-quattro is a genuine "Quattronista" !

The owner of the Ur-quattro is a genuine “Quattronista” !

quattro take you down to their place by the river... Hamburg, here we are.

quattro take you down to their place by the river… Hamburg, here we are.

We can climb the highest mountains ... easy peasy!

We can climb the highest mountains … easy peasy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Data for Cars’n all

There is a better way to fly... According to Altair engineers, the company had significant involvement with both the A380 and 787 programs, helping to reduce the weight of both aircrafts.

There is a better way to fly… According to Altair engineers, they had significant involvement with both the A380 and 787 programmes, helping to reduce the weight of both aircrafts.

Aesthetics of Lightweight: Dallara, Airbus & Art

It is our vision to radically change the way in which companies design products and reach decisions.” Mere waffle? Far from it. The man who said it has a solid engineering background as consultant to the automotive industry, beginning his career with the Ford Motor Company in 1978. Seven years later, together with two partners he, James R. Scapa, better known as Jim Scapa, founded Altair engineering. What started out as a small scale consultancy in Troy, Michigan, in the then new field of computer-aided-engineering (CAE), has become a global player indeed, with more than 2,000 employees in 19 countries. Added to which the Altair portfolio of clients reads like an impressive who’s who of the  producing industry. For a first impression of how digitalisation works in an engineering process, this is what CEO Scapa has to say about innovation intelligence: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeX1J8tUIWg.

Digitalisation is omnipresent. And apart from being a most valuable tool for engineers in the production industry, even artists have become infatuated with the clever Altair software.

The making of ...

Design to the Xtreme or: The making of …

So what could the above turn out to be? The result of the rapid simulation process is a sculpture by the London based designer and author of the famous trouser chair Assa Ashuach. And thus it happened, Altair as a software company has entered the London Design Museum – as part of the show Future is Here. Further proof that this company is avantgarde and anything but antiquated. The Israeli, whose work focuses on progressive design and manufacturing, relied on Altair’s programmes solidThinking Inspire and OptiStruct to model his futuristic Femur stool. The stool is exhibited in the Design Museum till the end of October 2013.

3D print of the stool.

3D print of the stool.

Here is the animated version of the genesis, an unusual piece of seating furniture based on the human anatomy: http://altair-2.wistia.com/medias/rk9lr93q7w. Its creator Ashuach claims that 3D design starts with zero and that it is all about materialising one’s thoughts. This is precisely how Altair would like to see industry employ the software, because only starting from scratch, on a white sheet of paper, makes one reach the best results in weight reduction and durability. However, most use the software as a tool to improve existing design with the aim of reducing weight by removing material where possible.

The making of the Femur stool relied on the same work process as designing cars, parts of cars, parts of aeroplanes, trains and other industrial objects. As the artist explains: “In this project we used a new algorithm that removes any redundant material according to stress zones on the object’s surface. An optimisation of the exterior and material use was made to achieve a light and economical form.” What is unusual for the arts, has become widespread practice in industry, where saving time for production, weight and material means saving money and energy.

Less is more – Learning from Nature

The stool elegantly demonstrates Altair’s capabilities in the field of lightweight design, optimisation and additive layer manufacturing. The name Femur stool indicates that like the human pelvis and femur, this piece of art follows the human bone structure. Meaning, this shaping is driven by the mathematical intelligence of human bone formation. Bionics, i.e. analogies from nature, is much acclaimed in the car manufacturing industry for mimicking human nature, as it helps to reduce the drag coefficient. The difference with Altair’s software OptiStruct is that it does not simply copy nature as a static process. Rather, the company meticulously collects data, be it from the human ossification, from the structure of cobwebs, leaves or trees. This data allows fast and detailed calculations for industrial constructions, resulting in significantly reduced weight and a simultaneously increased lifespan..

For the artist, the looks of an object and perhaps its lifespan are of paramount importance, industry is keen on reducing weight, saving energy and improving the entire lifecycle. Drastic reductions in the CO2 emissions from passenger cars have been ordained by the European Commission and due to the global climate protection agreement of Kyoto will also be introduced worldwide sooner of later. The OEMs are therefore under enormous pressure to reach these goals. In Europe the fleet average to be achieved by all new cars is 130 grams of CO2 per kilometre (g/km) by 2015 and the hotly debated 95g/km

CO2 curse of modern times

Curse of modern times: CO2

by 2020. The 2015 and 2020 targets represent reductions of 18% and 40% respectively compared with the 2007 fleet average of 158.7g/km. These goals are not only extremely ambitious, they are highly unrealistic, a typical example of the green ivory tower of the EU.

Weightwatching is the Watchword

The experts all agree that there is still enormous potential for improvements and increased efficiency regarding vehicles with combustion engines. No stone is left unturned on the search for greater efficiency. Apart from building ever more efficient engines and recuperating energy while driving, one of the most important aspects is saving weight. Each gram gained translates directly into less CO2 per kilometre. Rule of thumb: On an average, 100 kilograms less weight lead to about half a litre of fuel saved.

Holistic design of a vehicle concept with OptiStruct.

Holistic design of a vehicle concept with OptiStruct.

Slimline is beautiful” could be the motto for the car industry. And this does not only imply using lighter materials in the intelligent material mix. The secret lies in an efficient change of shape, in other words in innovative lightweight construction. Altair is certainly a leading global provider of technology that strengthens client innovation. It therefore comes as little surprise that in the automotive sphere all the OEMs, be it Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Dallara, Daimler, Ferrari, Fiat, Ford, GM, Honda, HWA, Hyundai, McLaren, Nissan, Opel, Peugeot, Porsche, Renault, Tata, Tesla, Volvo or VW, plus the suppliers all use Altair software one way or another to make their products more efficient. With over 3,000 clients, Altair serves the automotive, aerospace, government and defense, heavy equipment industry sectors as well as the consumer products, ship building, energy, electronics, life sciences, and architectural engineering and construction markets.

Time is money 

Efficiency in the workflow and designing process is crucial in a cost-intensive production industry. This is why Altair wants to revolutionise the whole process. In the automotive industry, the established development process puts priority on the fulfilment of functional targets such as crash safety, fatigue as well as comfort and noise. As a result, weight

Single item designed by OptiStruct: Steps towards optimised VW engine mount for dynamo, A/C compressor and control pump.

Single item designed by OptiStruct: Steps towards optimised VW engine mount for dynamo, A/C compressor and control pump.

targets are frequently not fulfilled early in the development process, which leads to late weight firefighting and often unfavourable compromises between weight and functional targets. The introduction of numerical optimisation methods has improved the possibility to find better compromises. Still, as long as the usage of numerical optimisation is focused on component based, on-demand firefighting, large weight saving potential is left unused. It must be a goal in vehicle development to better utilise the potential that numerical optimization methods provide to help saving mass. The Altair engineers will not grow tired

McLaren takes advantage of Altair' advanced material modelling for its Formular 1 racing-car.

McLaren takes advantage of Altair’s advanced material modelling for its Formular 1 racing-car.

of emphasising how important it is to approach lightweight construction holistically. “We want to give the designer a tool with which he can come up with better solutions right from the beginning.” This means the designer will no longer start with the “white sheet” in front of him.

The old time-consuming and expensive approach.

The old time-consuming and expensive approach.

Thanks to frequently repeatable and fast simulation he can fall back on design suggestions which deliver the most efficient structures within any given framework, before he gets down to work. Real tests become replaced by virtual tests. And ideally, the Altair engineers use their methods and programmes for optimisation to collaborate with the respective OEM from the very outset. As in the case of Opel where the optimisation process concerns the development process of a passenger car.

Simulation – Inspiration – Innovation

Ideally, the Altair team would suggest using design optimisation techniques on every single component in a product, in order to ensure the entire structure is as lightweight as possible. In reality however, this is rarely possible as development schedules need to be

Optimised wheel suspension at the racing-car builder Dallara. (photo: Dallara.)

Optimised wheel suspension at the racing-car builder Dallara. (photo: Dallara.)

met with a limited amount of resources. So when faced with an existing design and often hundreds of components that could potentially be optimised, the challenge is to find out which ones could yield the biggest weight savings. The answer is to screen a product’s components during the early stage of the development process. The screening process helps to answer several vital questions when assessing where to focus time and energy such as:

  • Which steps are necessary to enhance the product?
  • What does this mean economically?
  • How large is the economic and technical potential of an optimisation project?
  • How much will it cost and how much effort will be required for an optimisation project compared to its benefit?
  • What are the consequence-, synergy- or interdependency-effects which may come up during the optimisation project?
  • What are convenient or realistic development targets?
The Altair vision ... massive weight reduction through CAE by means of cloud computing coupled with high-performance computing.

The Altair vision … massive weight reduction through CAE by means of cloud computing coupled with high-performance computing.

Be it on isolated issues such as weight reduction of an aluminium frame at Ferrari, the concept design of a cross car beam at Fiat Group, or a more comprehensive approach, as in the case of Porsche, with virtual vehicle development under the constraints of changing products and processes – Altair HyperWorks, OptiStruct, HyperStudy, HyperMesh and all the sub-programmes will help to produce viable solutions fast. Thus,

The Altair Way: Revolution of the design process as simulation-driven innovation.

The Altair Way: Revolution of the design process as simulation-driven innovation.

Daimler uses HyperMesh for Brake Disc Morphing and to check the durability of the Brake System in specific cars. OptiStruct comes in for multibody dynamic simulation, because it is all about how to best shape the brake discs in order to avoid brake noise and vibration issues. Many more examples can be given from the car industry.

In essence, Jim Scapa and his company focus on two main areas. In the analytics realm it is advanced material modeling, including composites, in business analytics it is solutions provided to analyse massive amounts of data for rapid descision-making.   

Is Sebastian Vettel's "Hungry Heidi" partly designed with the help of Altair software? Most of the time this remains a secret. Not so in the case of the F 1 Sauber Team which does cooperate with Altair Germany.

Sebastian Vettel’s “Hungry Heidi” was constructed without the aid of Altair. But as costs for Formula 1 continue to be cut who knows what the future will bring.

Susanne Roeder

©roe

And here is a printed version in German:

Altair: Not a Heavy Metal fan...

Altair: Not a Heavy Metal fan…

 

Alternatives to Heavy Metal - by Altair

Alternatives to Heavy Metal – by Altair

Sa Parlare Italiano? – Si, Certo!

Audi-Logo: Neues Corporate Design /Das neue Audi Markenlogo: Die Vier Ringe werden um den Markenkern "Vorsprung durch Technik" erweitert.Sapere AUDI-re

Ingolstadt, Neckarsulm and the Italian way of life

Amazing things are happening in and around Ingolstadt.lamborghini-logo Imagine driving right into the centre of Munich into the Postpalast for the eve of the Audi annual press conference – what should first catch one’s attention? A Lamborghini! Beside it was a Ducati, the famous motorcycle brand that Audi acquired in 2012; much to the dismay of AMG. In November 2010 this highend modifier of Mercedes-Benz vehicles signed a contract for intensive marketingducati_logo cooperation with the motorcycle manufacturer and itself had encouraged Daimler to purchase the brand. Apart from Ferdinand Piëch being a fervent fan of these motor cycles, on a more rational basis Audi wants to oust BMW not only from its throne as premium car manufacturer but also compete with the Bavarians on two fast wheels. Besides, with the acquisition of Ducati Audi is continuing a great past. Back in the 1950ies, the NSU Motorenwerke AG, or simply NSU, in Neckarsulm used to be the world’s biggest producer of motor bikes. The factory resumed car production in 1957 with the NSU Prinz and engineered such technologically advanced, if commercially unsuccessful cars, as the NSU Ro 80 in the 1960ies. In 1969 VW bought the whole company and Neckarsulm briefly became the headquarters for Audi. Nowadays Neckarsulm coexists with Ingolstadt as German production sites for the premium cars with their increasingly Italian flavour.

Stell Dir vor, Du kommst zu Audi nach Ingolstadt – und denkst, Du seist in Italien. Or, in other words: Imagine driving to Audi in Ingolstadt and ending up in Italy.  A colourful parade of Lamborghinis, Ducatis and Audi cars lined the entrance to the Audi World in Ingolstadt. A similar scenario presented itself in Neckarsulm about two months later during the 124th Annual General Meeting of Audi AG. No doubt about it, Audi has has combined the Italian passion for design with its German dependability and fascination for hightech.italdesign_giugiaro_logo

By now the secret is no longer a secret: Audi has become Audi Group hosting four brands of world renown: The Audi cars as such heralding premium in every respect, the Italian lightweight sportscar Lamborghini, Ducati motor cycles and Italdesign Giugiaro. It therefore comes hardly as a surprise that the company has turned Italian. The overriding idea is is to combine Audi hightech with Italian design.

Quattro-phony - The Audi Family nowadays consists of four members. Lamborghini was the first to join Audi, back in 1998.

Quattro-phony – The Audi Family nowadays consists of four members. Lamborghini was the first to join Audi, back in 1998.

Giugiaro has designed cars for renowned car manufacturers, many of which have become icons of style. One just has to think of the Lotus Esprit, the Lancia Delta and, of course, the first Golf and the Audi 80. The latter, incidentally, was the first Audi that Ferdinand Piëch, then CEO of technology, gave to his wife Ursula. In fact, the grandson of Ferdinand Porsche initiated groundbreaking innovations,  most notably the permanent “quattro” all-wheel drive in 1980 and the diesel direct injection TDI in 1989. Having reached an age where most people enjoy their years of retirement Piëch is still presiding over Volkswagen Group. However, the one person he fully trusts is his wife Ursula. The patriarch and most powerful man in the car industry has consequently bequeathed his industrial inheritance to her.

We are Family …

After being elected member of the supervisory board of Volkswagen AG in April 2012, just one year later,

Ursula Piëch - most influential lady in the car industry.

Ursula Piëch – most influential lady in the car industry.

Ursula Piëch has also joined the supervisory board of Audi AG.  The VW Group no doubt has essentially become a family affair with the Porsche and Piëch family members holding the majority of shares. Presenting herself to the shareholders in a short and rather personal speech, the former nursery school teacher and governess was refreshingly outspoken about her liaison with Ferdinand  and how she became involved with cars. “I have always been curious and thus have had a vested interest in every new car or development.” She went on to narrate that her first Audi was an Audi 80, which as she remembers caused derisive smiles by the public. The same applied to the introduction of the four-wheel drive “quattro”. Audi was anything but a premium brand at that time. Undoubtedly, the rise of the clever, discreet and yet outspoken 57 year old Austrian has only just begun. She is surely on her way to becoming the most influential lady in the car industry, even more so, should VW really become the biggest car manufacturer worldwide, a target that CEO Martin Winterkorn has proclaimed for 2020. No sooner had Ursula Piëch stepped out into public, than she overtook two mighty females in the car industry, namely Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler presiding over the huge supplier carrying her name and Susanne Klatten, BMW heiress and Germany’s wealthiest female ever.

As for Audi, with almost breathtaking speed the car manufacturer has managed to develop from a more or less non-descript VW annex in the 1960ies and 1970ies to a fully fledged autonomous and leading premium car manufacturer.

The Audi Way

And in spite of the overall tense economic situation, especially in Europe, Audi is growing  against the tide, achieving one record after another. From January to 30th April 2013 sales have risen yet again. Approximately 503.000 cars have been sold, resulting in an increase of 6.7 percent. Another record: For the first time in the Audi history the company has passed the 500.000 mark after just four months. These impressive figures are not least due to the popular SUV family Q3, Q5 and Q7. And CEO Rupert Stadler confidently announced further growth for the months ahead: “We want to and will continue to grow.”

On the fast lane: Another member of the RS family and premiere for  a member of the SUV family. The RS Q3 has 310 hp (420 Nm) and a maximum torque of 5,200 rpm.

On the fast lane: Another member of the RS family and premiere for a member of the SUV family. The RS Q3 has 310 hp (420 Nm) and a maximum torque of 5,200 rpm.

Audi is quite obviously mastering the tide against the odds. Spain has reached its lowest market volume since 1986, demand in Italy is back to the level of 1979. The automobile market as a whole has been thrown back by more than 33 years. In spite of all that, Audi has managed to grow, even in Europe. This growth has mainly been due to the United Kingdom where Audi in 2012 achieved a new sales record of more than 123.000 cars and an increase of seven percent compared with the year before. Even in Germany Audi managed to grow by 3.6 percent and for the first time has captured the throne on the home turf  of the “big three” to become premium brand number one ahead of BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Susanne Roeder

©roe

The Lord of the Rings

Audi and its pinnacles of performance: Sssssssssssss und RrrrrrrSssssssssss …

Audi in Red: Die ungleichen quattro-Sportler S3 und RS6 Avant

Audi in Red: Die ungleichen quattro-Sportler S3 und RS6 Avant

Audi lupus est – Der Wahre Wolf im Schafspelz

Audi sitzt in Ingolstadt und Neckarsulm, nicht in Wolfsburg. Das ist ein Glück, denn die geschichtlichen Konnotationen und das Antlitz der wölfischen Burg sind nicht eben schmeichelhaft. Es geht auch nicht um den Wolfsburger Lupo, den Zwerg der VW Familie. Es geht um die etwas schnellere Variante der ohnehin drehmomentfreudigen Modelle mit den vier Ringen. Wieso Neckarsulm? Viele Nicht-Baden-Württemberger wissen noch immer nicht, dass hier ein gleichwertiger Zweitsitz von Audi ist. Mehr noch. Audi Enthusiasten und eingefleischte quattro Fans wissen, dass hier die schnellen RS Modelle und weitere Premium Audis (A4, A6) gebaut werden und dass hier der Sitz der quattro GmbH mit ihren exklusiven Ausstattungsmöglichkeiten für die Fahrzeugindividualisierung wirkt. Von 1969 bis 1984 war Neckarsulm sogar der Hauptsitz. Der Name: NSU Auto Union. Denn wie heute war VW auch Ende der 1960er Jahre in Kauflaune und übernahm kurzerhand die NSU Motorenwerke AG. NSU, einst stolzer Name für den Fahrrad-, Motorrad-, Automobil- und Motorroller-Hersteller, der nach der Gründung anno 1873 sieben Jahre später in die Stadt, wo die Flüsse Neckar und Sulm zusammenfließen, umzog. Doch wer denkt heute  bei den Kürzeln NSU noch an Automobilbau? Gibt man heute NSU bei Google ein, findet sich gerade mal die VW Aktie an erster Stelle, doch dann seitenweise die rechtsradikale Szene samt Einzelheiten zum NSU Prozess. Schade, dass Audi den Begriff NSU nicht schützen lassen konnte. Audi_Ringe

Dessen ungeachtet lockt Audi dieses Jahr mit einem Leckerbissen nach dem andern, egal ob aus der NSU- oder IN-Schmiede. Der Audi S3 und RS6 Avant sind zwei Highlights, die wir vor kurzem ausgiebig fahren durften. Sehr unterschiedlich, aber beide in ihrem Segment herausragend und faszinierend. Das Fazit vorab: mehr davon! Man möchte schlichtweg weiterfahren. Doch das Angebot, den RS6 Avant direkt vor die eigene Haustür und weiter nach Neckarsulm zu fahren, stieß auf taube Ohren. Die Audi Mannschaft ist an Lob gewöhnt. Zu Recht. Das Handling beider Fahrzeuge ist wieder mal beeindruckend präzise, die Verarbeitung lässt keine Wünsche offen. Lediglich der Preis. Da bildet sich auch ohne Lenkrad in der Hand und sportliche Fahrweise die eine oder andere Schweißperle auf der Stirn. Der Fahrspaß à la “Vorsprung durch Technik” im S3 beginnt bei 38 900 Euro. Für den Fünftürer, den neuen S3 Sportback, kommen bescheidene 900 Euro dazu. Fast das Dreifache muss man für den neuen Spitzensportler RS6 Avant berappen. Das neue Flaggschiff kann man ab 107 900 Euro sein eigen nennen. Über Extras können es schnell 130.000 Euro und mehr werden. Aber wer das Auto gefahren ist und es sich leisten kann, will es haben.

Let’s hit the road, yessss!

Let's hit the road, yessss - with sheer unlimited power

Let’s hit the road, yessss – with sheer unlimited power

Satt und gefräßig steht der wahre Lupus Audiensis vor uns da. Satt im Design. Gefräßig, weil er viel Strecke machen will und das blitzschnell wie ein Pfeil. Wären wir uns in und um den Münchner Flughafen herum begegnet, wir hätten uns vermutlich den Vogel gezeigt oder die Lichthupe betätigt. Zu Unrecht, denn er erledigt alle Manöver souverän. Der RS6 Avant ist einfach sauschnell, ein Rennwagen mit Tarnkappe. Man tritt aufs Gas, und er rast davon. Blitzschnell hat er weitere Reserven parat. Ein hammerhartes Fahrerlebnis. Ohne Geisterfahrer zu sein, wird die Gegenfahrbahn zur fast so häufig befahrenen Spur wie die eigene. Natürlich macht es auch Spaß, als Frau das Stereotyp zu bedienen und mal so richtig die Geschwindigkeitskrallen ausfahren zu können. Sieht ja so harmlos aus: Frau am Steuer und kurz vor Ortseinfahrt. Der Mercedes-Benz S-Klasse Fahrer vor uns macht sich schon mal breit – ein Tritt aufs Gaspedal; und er wird zum Punkt im Rückspiegel. Überhaupt können wir in aller Regel relativ unbehelligt durch die Gegen brausen. Bei Audi erklärt man das so: “Der RS6 hat eine höhere Akzeptanz als ein reiner Sportwagen. Denn er bietet ein gewisses Maß an Seriosität in allen Lebenslagen.”

Einen noch unvorstellbareren Job leisten die Bremsen, wenn wir direkt vor Ortseingang brutal in die Eisen steigen. Die RS-Bremsanlage und Keramikbremsen als Sonderausstattung

Von 305 auf 50: Höchstleistung im Runterbremsen

Von 305 auf 50: Höchstleistung im Runterbremsen

greifen sofort knallhart durch. Denn egal wie sehr ein erfahrener Fahrer die brachiale Kraftentwicklung samt famosem Drehmoment von 700 Newtonmetern. Hätten wir gewollt, wir hätten ihn per Kickdown in 3,9 Sekunden von null auf hundert gebracht, ohne Grummeln des Motors. Diese Eckdaten des 560 PS starken geräumigen Kombi dienen nicht der Prahlerei. Sie sagen schlichtweg: dieser Biturbo-V8 kann, wenn er will. Leicht geworden ist er auch. Um etwa hundert Kilogramm hat er abgespeckt. Zu einem erheblichen Teil ist das der Veränderung von einem V10 zu einem V8 Aggregat geschuldet. Ein Downsizing, das zudem trotz Zylinderabschaltung (Cylinder on Demand) von acht auf vier Zylinder im Teillast-Bereich absolut überzeugt. Der Motor ist allzeit bissbereit. Kein Turboloch, ein permanent griffiger Motor, der keinen Quälbereich kennt. Und dazu dieser satte Sound, der bullig dröhnt und mit seinen Sportrohren bollernde Salutgrüße an die Umwelt verteilt.

Der Audi Bolide knurrt auch im Stehen. Er duldet keinen Stillstand. Doch das Leben auf den Straßen der Neidgesellschaft Deutschland, von den Zuständen in der Schweiz ganz zu schweigen, wird dem Herr der Ringe alles andere als leicht gemacht. Freie Fahrt für freie Bürger. Dieser Spruch der 1970er Jahre gegen die damals drohende und auch aktuell immer wieder debattierte generelle Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung auf 130 km/h war mit Sicherheit nicht klug gewählt. Allerdings wäre es zu begrüßen, wenn diese leidige Diskussion um Begrenzungen im Hightech-Land Bundesrepublik endlich ad acta gelegt werden könnte. Der Hochgeschwindigkeitszug TGV rast mit 320 km/h davon, Flugzeuge fliegen mit unvorstellbar schneller Geschwindigkeit durch die Lüfte. Nur das Automobil soll quasi stillgelegt werden. Abgeriegelt wird schon seit Jahrzehnten. Denn auch der RS6 Avant mit Dynamikpaket plus könnte mehr als 305km/h.

"Passen's auf sich auf!" Zuspruch einer Pfarrfrau, auf die der RS6 Avant auch Eindruck machte.

“Passen’S auf sich auf!” Zuspruch einer Pfarrfrau, auf die der RS6 Avant auch Eindruck machte.

Warum also nicht das eine tun, ohne das andere zu lassen? Der Verkehr nimmt weiterhin zu. Speziell im Transitland Deutschland. Mit Sicherheit lässt er sich flüssiger gestalten, wenn auf dreispurigen Autobahnen nach und nach verschiedene Geschwindigkeiten für verschiedene Spuren gelten. Die rechte Spur sollte für 80 bis 120 km/h vorbehalten sein. 125 bis 150 km/h könnten auf der mittleren Spur und Geschwindigkeiten ab 160 km/h auf der linken Spur gelten. Kommt dann ein Fahrzeug deutlich schneller angeschossen, können langsamere Fahrer zügig in die mittlere Spur wechseln, um danach wieder rauszubeschleunigen. Die vierte Spur, wo es sie gibt, sollte grundsätzlich für Geschwindigkeiten ab 190 km/h vorbehalten sein. Zusätzlich könnte es angekündigte Bereiche geben, in denen der Schwerlastverkehr überholen, also von der rechten auf die mittlere Spur ausscheren darf, um nicht über weite Strecken hinter einem erheblich langsameren Artgenossen festzuhängen. Keiner soll zum schnellen Fahren verurteilt werden. Dann bitte auch nicht zum Langsamfahren.

Start these engines instantly!

Nach der Power-Familienkutsche RS6 Avant –  nein, das ist kein Widerspruch. Es ist eine der überzeugendsten Formen des Horaz’schen “dulce et utile” im 21. Jahrhundert, eben die perfekt gelungene Symbiose von “Nutzfahrzeug” und Angenehmem, quasi einem Rennwagen mit Straßenzulassung. Nach dieser granatenmäßigen Power-Familienkutsche also scheint der S3 vergleichsweise harmlos. Scheint. Denn handzahm ist er mitnichten, der Power-Kompakte aus Ingolstadt.

S 3 und Susanne - aber bitte in Misanorot Perleffekt

S 3 und Susanne – aber bitte in Misanorot Perleffekt

Mit Charaktereigenschaften wie 300 PS (221kW), die einen Sprint von null auf hundert km/h in 4,8 Sekunden (S tronic) oder 5,2 Sekunden (manuell) ermöglichen, mit einem Drehmoment von 380 Newtonmetern zeigt auch der S3, dass er mit Fug und Recht zur Riege der Leistungssportler gehört. Er ist knackig, frech und wie gewohnt präzise steuerbar. Der Zwei-Liter Turbomotor mit seinen vier Zylindern ist schon aufgrund seines sparsamen Verbrauchs von 6,9 (S tronic) oder 7 Liter Normverbrauch ein weiteres Highlight in der quattro-Phonie der sportlichen Allradler. Auch der S3 wird wieder mit einer RS-Variante aus Neckarsulm getoppt, allerdings muss man auf ihn noch ein paar Jährchen warten. Und wer will das schon.

30 Jahre quattro GmbH

Außer einem Feuerwerk neuer Modellgenerationen und Facelifts feiert Audi dieses Jahr auch 30 Jahre quattro GmbH. Alle RS Modelle werden in der Manufaktur und hundertprozentigen Tochter von Audi in Neckarsulm gefertigt. Dazu kommt der Mittelmotorsportwagen R8. Und nicht nur das. Die quattro GmbH, die dem Motto „Power, Speed und Individualität“ huldigt, hat drei Geschäftsfelder. An erster Stelle stehen Entwicklung und Bau der Hochleistungsmodelle, also der RS- und R8-Typen. Ein zweites Betätigungsfeld sind die Fahrzeugindividualisierung und die Accessoires. Passend dazu befasst sich die quattro GmbH auch mit dem Kundenmotorsport, dem Audi Sport Customer Racing, in dem so bekannte Rennfahrer wie Markus Winkelhock und Rahel Frey unterwegs sind.

Rechtzeitig zum Jubiläum hat Audi dieses Fahr vier neue RS-Modelle auf die Straße gebracht: Den Anfang machte der RS4 Avant, dessen dritte Generation seit Jahresbeginn beim Händler steht. Darauf folgten in schneller Folge der RS7, der RSQ3 und zuletzt eben der Herr der Ringe, der atemberaubend schnelle RS6 Avant. Allein im letzten Jahr haben 11.500 RS und R-Modelle ihren Käufer gefunden. Ganz zu schweigen vom Wunsch der Automobilisten nach Individualisierung. Sie hielt im vergangenen Jahr in 160.000 Audi Modelle Einzug. Wer da unkt, der RS6 Avant und seine Artverwandten seien eine aussterbende Rasse, der irrt sich hoffentlich gewaltig. Denn zum einen wird die Gruppe der Autobegeisterten, die gerne sportlich schnell unterwegs sind, nicht versiegen. Zum andern haben Hightech die Verbräuche der RS-Modelle dermaßen reduziert, dass der Normverbrauch des Zweitonners RS6 Avant gerade noch bei 9,8 Liter Kraftstoff auf hundert Kilometer liegt. Das hätte vor wenigen Jahren ein Kleinwagen verbraucht.

Kommandozentrale vom Feinsten

Kommandozentrale vom Feinsten

Reinsetzen und wohlfühlen. Das haben sowohl der S3 als auch der RS6 Avant von Anfang an bei der Fahrerin ausgelöst. Auch nicht ansatzweise das leiseste Gefühl von Unbehagen oder gar Unwohlsein vor schneller Beschleunigung und vielen Pferdestärken. Ausgefeilte Technik, bequeme Sportsitze, ein  und ein Interieur vom Feinsten machen’s möglich.

Susanne Roeder

©roe

 PS: Und weil die leidige Diskussion zu Tempolimits rechtzeitig zum Wahlkampf wieder ein Kampfthema wird, möchte ich an dieser Stelle ausdrücklich auf die Meinung von Mobil in Deutschland e.V. hinweisen:
Kein Tempolimit 120 km/h: Nichts spricht dafür, vieles dagegen!
http://www.mobil.org/mobil/nachricht/article/mobil-in-deutschland-ev-zum-tempolimit-nichts-spricht-dafuer-vieles-dagegen/

 

Mit Gaumen, Herz und Seele

Der Maître des Cuisines des Südens auf Entdeckungsfahrt

Sternekoch Serge Gouloumès liebt es frisch, flott, sportlich

Serge Gouloumès small

Audi A3 Sportback + small

Abenteuer pur. Schon die Anfahrt: Boulevard Clément Rebuffel, Mougins. Mougins, ein hübsches, mittelalteriches Städtchen mit Gemäuer aus dem 15. Jahrhundert klingt schon mal vielversprechend. In der Nähe von Grasse befinde sich unser Ziel, so die Ansage der Freundin, die schon mal da war. Die letzten Meter zu Le Mas Candille à Mougins bedeuten selbst für den dynamischen Audi A3 Sportback eine Herausforderung. Nicht etwa an Drehmoment. Ein paar hundert Meter vor der Einfahrt zu dem Fünf-Sterne-Luxushotel der Kategorie Relais et Châteaux nämlich führt ein ebenso enger wie steiler Weg im rechten Winkel direkt auf die Straße zum Hotel. So abrupt gestaltet sich das Abbiegemanöver ins Nichts, dass wir selbst im knackig wendigen A3 noch einmal zurückstoßen müssen, um die Kurve beim zweiten Anlauf zu meistern. Dabei können wir nur hoffen, dass sich entgegenkommender Verkehr durch Hupen ankündigt oder mit Rücksicht auf das rechtsabbiegende Sträßchen entsprechend langsam vortastet. Aber vor das Vergnügen haben die Götter ja bekanntlich den Schweiß gesetzt. Gleich wird es um Autofahren und Kochen gehen…

Den Göttern so nah

Schweiß und ein wenig Adrenalin hinterm Volant sollten sich gelohnt haben. Nur wenige hundert Meter von der abenteuerlichen T-Kreuzung entfernt liegt der Eingang zu einer veritablen Verwöhnoase. Wir klingeln, und das sanft geschwungene Eisentor schwingt geschmeidig auf wie ein Sesam-öffne-dich. Vor uns liegt eine gepflegte Weite, die ins Unendliche zu reichen scheint. 4,5 Hektar terrassenförmige Parkanlage, Blick über den Pool in die Ferne, auf Grasse.

A hotel with a view+small

In dieser Hanglage mit perfekter Aussicht steht kein neumodischer Protzkasten. Die Geschichte des Mas Candille ist fast poetisch idyllisch, reicht zurück zu einer kommerziellen Olivenhainplantage. Äußerst behutsam vollzog sich der Umbau des provenzalischen Landhauses aus dem 18. Jahrhundert, das sich höchst stilvoll in die Landschaft integriert. Nur wenige Minuten entfernt vom pulsierenden Leben mit Reichtum, Stars und Sternchen der Côte d’Azur und, je nach Windkonstellation, in Geruchsnähe zum Duftparadies Grasse, der Hauptstadt des französischen Parfums, entfaltet sich in den bergigen Höhen der Provence eine Insel der Ruhe. Hier im Mas Candille Mougins ziehen wir uns zurück von der Hektik der Croisette in die Stille der Alpen und sind doch jederzeit in Nizza (30 Kilometer), Antibes mit dem Picasso Museum (16 Kilometer), Cannes (9 Kilometer) oder Monte Carlo (55 Kilometer). Von hier aus ist das azurblaue Meer unter ebensolchem Himmel zu erahnen, man hört Vogelgezwitscher, das Zirpen der Zikaden, beobachtet das „se lézarder“, das Sonnenbad der Eidechsen, genießt mediterrane Düfte von Zypressen, Palmen, Pinien, nebst Oleander, blühenden Bougainvilleas, Rosmarin, Thymian Bäumen, um dann einen Drink beim Pool zu nehmen oder eine kleine Speise im Restaurant la Pergola zu goutieren.

Le Mas + Sculpture small

Mourir de plaisir – das Beste aus vier Welten

Nein, an diesem wundersamen Ort amüsiert man sich nicht zu Tode. Er ist ein Genuss für alle Sinne – Körper, Seele, Augen und Geschmacksorgane. Die mediterrane Küche hat ihren Meister in Serge Gouloumès gefunden. Der sympathisch bodenständige Mann aus Agen, einer Stadt im Südwesten Frankreichs, kocht seit Teenagertagen – mit niemals nachlassendem Enthusiasmus. Binnen weniger Jahre, im jugendlichen Alter von 16 Jahren, verschafft er sich bereits einen Namen in der französischen Gastronomie. Dann zieht es den jungen Mann hinaus in die weite Welt – Stationen in Belgien, den Antillen, der Schweiz und Los Angeles verschaffen ihm intensiven Einblick in die Usancen der jeweiligen Landesküche.

Dann, im Jahr 1995, entscheidet er sich endgültig für sein Heimatland, und zwar für das mediterrane Flair der Côte d’Azur. Dort setzt er an zu einem kreativen Höhenflug nach dem nächsten. Nicht nur Maler spornt diese Region mit ihren einzigartigen Lichtverhältnissen, ihrer unnachahmlichen Farbengebung zu kreativen Höhenflügen. Gouloumès fühlt sich sofort heimisch. Mit der Eröffnung des Mas Candille in Mougins vollzieht er nach sechs erfolgreichen Jahren als Küchenchef des Miramar Beach Hotels in Théoule-sur-Mer den Wechsel seines Lebens. Es ist nur eine Frage der Zeit, bis er mit einem Michelin-Stern für seine liebevoll bodenständige und dennoch äußerst kreative Küche erhält. Im Jahr 2005 ist es soweit. „Für mich ist die phantasieerfüllte Arbeit in der Küche eine Selbstverständlichkeit. Ich glaube, von mir sagen zu können, dass ich Küche lebe,“ beschreibt Gouloumès seine Kochphilosophie. Dabei bedient er sich dessen, was die Region zur jeweiligen Jahreszeit zu bieten hat. Die reiche Kräutervielfalt der Provence und die Schätze des Meeres bilden die Basis seiner unwiderstehlichen Gaumengenüsse, Patisserie inklusive. „Die Inspiration für meine Speisen liefern mir die Jahreszeiten, der Besuch auf dem Markt, ein Spaziergang in der Natur, das Produkt an sich und zu seiner jeweiligen Zeit, der Zeit, die es braucht um zu voller Reife zu gelangen.“

Bürgerliche Gourmetküche ohne Starallüren

Die Interpretationen seiner Speisen sind ebenso kühn wie überraschend und dabei stets nachvollziehbar für Gaumen, Augen und Seele. Seit über 30 Jahren ist Serge Gouloumès unterdessen Maître des Cuisines. Und dabei erfindungsreich und voller Begeisterung für sein Metier wie am ersten Tag. Über die Jahre hat sich seine Küche zu einer Reise um die Welt entwickelt. Mal setzt er asiatische Akzente, mal einen Touch Karibik oder eine Brise Irland, und immer gibt er hundert Prozent Serge dazu. Jedes seiner Gerichte verspricht Eleganz und künstlerische Harmonie und ist darauf bedacht, die hochgesteckten Erwartungen seiner Gäste zu erfüllen. Davon wollen wir uns gerne überzeugen lassen. Im wunderschönen, äußerst stilvoll renovierten Restaurant Candille, dem Restaurant mit dem Michelin-Stern verwöhnt uns Serge Gouloumès nach allen Regeln der Kochkunst.

Natürlich darf eine Spezialität aus seiner Heimat nicht fehlen: Sein berühmter Tatin de foie gras façon Candille à l’armagnac, zu deutsch etwa Stopflebertörtchen mit Armagnac nach Art des Hauses. Allein das war schon köstlich. Doch zunächst serviert er uns mit „Coeur de saumon en habit de poireau confit, jus corsè aux épices thaïes, chutney passion“ ein Medley seiner meisterhaften Vielfalt als Koch. Das Herzstück des Lachs im Lauchmantel zergeht uns auf der Zunge. Bei Serge ist das Lächeln auf den Tellern und bei seinen Gästen inklusive.

Dining small

Um ein komplettes Menu aus seiner Gourmetküche mit der nötigen Ruhe genießen zu können, werden wir wiederkommen. Und wer weiß, vielleicht nehmen wir auch teil an einem seiner heiß begehrten Kochkurse. Doch beim Erstbesuch machen wir eine ausgedehnte „Hausbegehung“ mit Direktorin Carole Rouvier. Schnell verstehen wir, was diesen Geheimtipp in den Voralpen auszeichnet. Es ist der Charme, der Liebreiz der Anlage mit ihren einzigartigen Alleinstellungsmerkmalen. Dazu gehören neben den individuell gestalteten Luxuszimmern zwei Schwimmbäder, formvollendete Skulpturen zeitgenössischer Frauengestalten der in Mougins ansässigen Marion Bürkle und ein großzügiges Shiseido Spa, das einzige in Frankreich. Diese Lokation ist eine Ode an die Schönheit, ein Ort absoluter meditativer Stille, ideal zum Entschleunigen und zur Konzentration auf die eigenen Sinne.

Le Mas C - exterior small

Serge der Auto-Enthusiast

Essen ist dann gut, wenn es schmeckt. Das klingt genauso langweilig wie die Aussage: Ein Auto ist dann gut, wenn es uns sicher von A nach B bringt. Einer, der auszog, unsere Gaumen das Träumen zu lehren, ist Serge Gouloumès. Perfekt verkörpert der Franzose das Savoir-Vivre. Sein munteres lebensfrohes Naturell ist ansteckend. Zu seiner Lebensphilosophie gehört für ihn, neben Küche und mediterranem Wohlfühlklima, eine Mobilität der Meisterklasse. Wie der Herr so sein Auto. Für sich persönlich fand Serge diese perfekte Art der Fortbewegung bei Audi. Serge Audi A3 Sportback small  Er bleibt auch da bürgerlich bodenständig, mit dem gewissen Touch of excellence. Über seinen Audi A3 Sportback lässt er nichts kommen – auch wenn er „naturellement“ für die Automobile des Sportwagenherstellers Porsche Feuer und Flamme ist. Wir haben’s vernommen und versprechen, ihn bald mit einem Modell aus der Garage der Zuffenhausener zu überraschen. Ein Versprechen, das uns angesichts der vielseitigen Genüsse im Mas Candille absolut nicht schwer fällt.

Doch zurück zum Ingolstädter Premium Fahrzeughersteller. Serge schwört auf seinen A3 Sportback. Das Auto sei nicht nur praktisch – er kann darin seine Markteinkäufe wunderbar unterbringen. Darüber hinaus liebt er die Schnelligkeit, die Zuverlässigkeit und die Bodenhaftung dieses „sehr sportiven Autos“. Ein wenig neidisch schaut er auf die neue Generation, mit der wir ihn besucht haben. Kommt Zeit, kommt neuer A3 Sportback für Serge. Deshalb überlassen wir ihm das Steuer unseres A3, der zum Zeitpunkt unseres Besuches den Augen und dem Urteil der Presse vorbehalten war. Die winkligen Sträßchen im mittelalterlichen Mougins und in den Vorderalpen sind wie gemacht für die Kompaktklasse von Audi. Serge kommt zurück und ist absolut begeistert.

Neben der weiter gestiegenen Sportlichkeit bei geringerem Spritverbrauch gefällt dem Küchenchef naturgemäß das vergrößerte Ladevolumen. Der 184 PS starke TDI quattro begeistert ihn mit seinem Drehmoment, aber auch der Gedanke an den Audi RS3 Sportback (340 PS) bringen ihn auf Touren. Keine Frage, Serge Gouloumès ist ein Ästhet, ein Freund der schönen Dinge des Lebens.

Rendez-Vous en Été

Im Sommer, so haben wir vereinbart, wird uns der sympathisch bodenständige Mann aus Anger nach allen Regeln seiner Kochkunst verwöhnen. Dass dieses „régaler“ ein voller Erfolg wird, das wissen wir schon jetzt. Um angesichts der langen Liste seiner Speisen nicht die Qual der Wahl zu haben, wird der Meister selbst unser Menu zusammenstellen. Bon appétit au Candille!

Susanne Roeder

©roe

Roe + Carole Rouvier small

Was den Koch Serge Gouloumès alles umtreibt, findet sich unter: http://www.gouloumes.com

Das Fünf-Sterne-Hotel Mas Candille: www.lemascandille.com

 

 

Rahel Frey driving in the Blancpain Endurance Series

 

Rahel_Frey_Audi

Good news for all Rahel Frey fans: Rahel will be driving this year’s five races of Blancpain Endurance Series for Audi in the R8 LMS. This has been confirmed after a brief test driving in Le Castellet. For all Rahelisti: Enter the following dates firmly in your agenda and watch out for Rahel Frey in her Audi R8 LMS:

Round Date Country Circuit
1  14.04.2013 Italy Monza
2  02.06.2013 United Kingdom Silverstone
3  30.06.2013 France Paul Ricard
4  27.07.2013 Belgium Spa-Francorchamps
5  22.09.2013 Germany Nurburgring

Further negotiations with Audi are on the way. A positive outcome from these talks would involve Rahel’s racing outside of Europe… In order to take place in a rather prestigious race Rahel is looking for a sponsor. She needs another 150 000 Euro – a pittance im terms of racing budgets. Hey ye sponsors around the globe: This is your chance to get coverage and to sponsor this rising star.

At any rate let us keep our fingers crossed for racing Rahel!

Susanne Roeder

©roe