Jude P. Morte / | January 31, 2007 10:00The success of Audi's Philippine branch as a whole left luxury car (and performance) enthusiasts wondering if the German marque would have anything left for an encore in 2007. But PGA Cars (official distributor of Audi vehicles in the country) felt that the Metro Manila saturation of all things Audi wasn't complete, and recently launched three new performance-oriented products – the new TT Coupe, the new RS4and the new Audi A4 TFSI DTM.
So nice it's fit to a "T" - twice
The new TT Coupe sports two engines - a double overhead camshaft (DOHC) 16 valve 2.0L turbocharged TFSI (turbocharged fuel stratified injection; Audi-speak for gasoline direct injection) engine that totes 200 hp and 280 NMs of torque, or a 3.2L version with Quattro four-wheel-drive. Coupled with an electronic drive-by-wire system, the engines are derived from the wildly successful LeMans-winning R8 (2000-2005) race car.
The TT Coupe also comes with a 20 kg S-Tronic dual clutch gearbox that rewards the driver with a more seamless drive coupled and a quicker sprint to 100kmh (6.4 seconds versus the regular six-speed gearbox's 6.6 seconds). The S-Tronic shifts gears in just 0.2 seconds with no loss in forward momentum, thanks to twin output shafts carrying the gearsets. One can change gears either via the shift lever or pulling on the paddles behind the steering wheel, reducing driving effort and offering regular automatic transmission ease without sacrificing performance.
The TT Coupe's Magnetic Ride/Adaptive Damping System is an option for the discerning enthusiast as well as for those wanting supreme comfort. Magneto-rheological dampers are filled with microscopic magnetic particles within the damper fluid. When subjected to a magneto-electronic field or a magneto-electronic charge, the dampers can soften or stiffen to help suit driving style and road conditions. A Macpherson strut front-suspension and a new four-link rear suspension ensure excellent traction. There's also an electronically activated rear spoiler that pops up automatically above 120kmh and retracts below 80kmh for added stability.
Inside, a flat-bottomed R8-inspired steering wheel (with optional multi-function buttons for the cruise control and audio system) greets the driver, wrapped in soft Nappa leather or (optional) Alcantara leather. The Nappa leather-covered Recaro sports seats feel smooth and gentle to your backside, ensuring forever pleasant lon gdrives. The interior wraps around the driver for easy eye contact and less clutter.
The new overall shape is more pleasing, with minimal body lines. With optional wheels available up to 19 inches (plus a bevy of other accessories to be released soon) the new TT (P4.250M for the 2.0L, P4.950M for the 3.2L Quattro) promises dashing good looks coupled with sharpened driving dynamics.
A4's new performance alphabet soup
Audi's new Audi RS4 looks almost like a regular A4 sedan, with miniscule external cues betraying its performance intent. Flared wheel arches, a revised hood and an aluminum trunklid reduce mass and lower the center of gravity. Large 19-inch wheels, coupled with 365mm front and 324mm rear ventilated and cross-drilled disc brakes and Brembo six-piston front and rear calipers, help slow down this potential BMW M3 hunter.
The heart of the RS4 is an FSI 4.2L quad OHC 32-valve V8 (mated to a six-speed manual transmission) that revs to 8250rpm and has a smooth delivery that allows the car to eschew forced induction. The result is 420hp and 430Nm of torque, 90 percent of which is available at 2250-7650rpm.
The RS4's Quattro All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system, benefits from a Torsen locking center-differential that allows torque to be channeled to the front or rear axles, depending on which has more grip and traction on the road surface. Coupled with Audi's Dynamic Ride sports suspension system, the RS4 is now a precision handling tool.
All these helps propel the P6.5M RS4 to an electronically limited 250kmh, but without its built-in speed governor the RS4 is capable of a manufacturer-rated 285kmh top speed, a 4.8-second 0-100kmh acceleration, a 16.6 second 0-200kmh time and a seven minute, 58-second lap time around the fabled Nurburgring Circuit Northern Loop. Only sports cars are able to breach the eight minute time barrier, but Audi has now done it in a sedan package that promises practicality, space and comfort.
Inside, a flat-bottomed steering wheel awaits its pilot. Heavily bolstered Recaro Sportster CS seats wrapped in Nappa leather and Alcantara leather solely developed for the RS4 differentiate it from the regular A4. These seats (along with four-point harness slots) provide support and stability for the track animal.
On the other hand, the P3.55M A4 2.0L TFSI DTM sports the aforementioned TFSI system found in the new TT Coupe, but with a DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft, known better as the German touring car Championship) - inspired external styling and interior trim and Quattro AWD.
The launch of the new TT Coupe, RS4 and A4 DTM version shows that the brand with the four interlocking rings is not just about luxury, but performance as well.