LAUNCH OF AUDI INDIA DIGITIZATION ROAD-MAP AND AUDI GURUGRAM SHOWROOM

Last Friday saw Audi India announce the launch of their new showroom in Gurugram with the inauguration of the Audi Gurugram showroom.IMG_9727.JPGRahil Ansari Head Audi India speaking at the event said ““Our ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ is truly on display today. The state-of-the-art Audi Gurugram showroom, Audi’s Digital Retail elements and the Audi e-tron, all epitomize a new era of technology and advancement. With the inauguration of our world-class showroom in Gurugram, we are strengthening our market presence for further capturing the market share in North India. The new set up boasts of Audi’s Digital Retail elements that transforms purchase into a seamless experience. The Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality technology enables complete visualization and customization right at customer’s fingertips. With the Virtual Reality Studio, Audi cars can now be viewed realistically with accurate details. The strategic location of the Audi Gurugram showroom will cater to a larger audience all over this region and we are pleased to associate with the highly experienced team of Kristan Auto in expanding our presence here”collage.jpgAudi India introduced a host of tech-driven new-age solutions for customers as well as its dealer partners under its Digitalization strategy.  The Audi Digital Retail elements will be rolled out across the Audi network in the country. The showroom follows the service outlet opened earlier in the year in what is one of Audi’s largest markets in India

Audi also showcased the Audi e-tron, the first fully electric SUV from the brand with the four rings. The India-bound sporty SUV combines the space and comfort of a typical luxury class SUV with a range suitable for everyday use, catapulting the driver into a new era with the electric all-wheel drive.

AUDI A4 – FAST & STYLISH

The Audi A4 celebrated its silver jubilee this year. That’s a massive achievement for any consumer product, more so for a car. In an industry where so many new products are launched each year, to still be popular 25 years later is testimony to the love and acceptance of the A4 worldwide.first.jpgI spent a few days with the A4 last week. Lots of improvement is noticeable in  this model, in comparison to the previous generation A4 that it replaced .

How does it look?

As soon as one spots the A4, you can tell it’s one good looking car. Sleek looking with the standard bells and whistles that we have come to expect of Audi cars. The front grille, headlights, taillights, all add to the allure of the design. To increase the visibility of the A4 during the day, the car comes with a set of Lumen LED daytime running lights. Nowadays every mid-size luxury sedan carries a sportier design language, the A4 is no exception.COLLAGE 1.jpgCOLLAGE back 1.jpgAudi gives owners an option to personalise the car by adding add on parts such as wheels and spoilers in striking carbon. This brings out the sporty character while adding a dynamic touch to the A4.

The 35 TDI A4 I drove came with a four-cylinder 2.0 litre TDI unit with a peak power output of 190hp with 400 nm of torque. The A4 is a front wheel drive with a seven-speed clutch transmission doing duty of transferring power from the engine to the wheels.

How is it to drive?

The A4 is one of the easiest and peppy cars to drive in its segment. Tap on the accelerator lightly, immediately you can experience how nimble the A4 is. Once past 2000 rpm all the way upto to 4700 rpm, the A4 enjoys a strong mid-range power band. Upshifts and downshifts are extremely quick and efficient. There are paddle shifters on offer when one wants to shift into the manual mode. Straight roads, corners and dense traffic conditions are tackled with the utmost ease.extra.jpg

The 4 driving modes in the A4 are Normal, Individual, Dynamic and Auto. Normal is when the car is more relaxed, but still fast. Shift into Dynamic and the A4 becomes a free revving vehicle. This mode is great fun on empty stretches of highway which one encounters on road trips across India. Individual gives you the option of trying different mode settings. Like one can put the steering in Dynamic and engine in Normal which gives you the feeling of more sporty steering feedback with a smooth power delivery.

The suspension setup remains the same irrespective of the mode one is driving in. All kind of road conditions are tackled with utmost ease. The suspension isn’t setup to be very firm. This works very well on our roads, no discomfort is felt by passengers inside the car.

How’s it inside?

The cabin is very contemporary, top quality materials and ambience is on display inside. The A4 I drove came with the “Virtual Cockpit” digital instruments.  The MMI infotainment system, the haptic buttons for the air-conditioner, which you preview each function, as you run your finger over them, give this cabin a very cutting-edge modern feel.  COLLAGE int.jpgSeating comfort is top-notch, under thigh and shoulder room is very good. Rear seat passengers get ample legroom with the seating ideal for 2 passengers. The 5th passenger may feel a tad uncomfortable in the middle. The space is little tight there.

The Verdict

The A4 is a very capable and performance packed midsize luxury sedan. The category Audi A4 is competing in, is a very important segment for luxury car companies in India.

The A4 stacks up very well compared to its rivals. A car one would strongly consider buying, if in the market for a midsize luxury sedan.last.jpgThe Audi A4 start at Rs 43 Lakhs ex-showroom Mumbai for the 35 TDI Premium Plus (Diesel) (Base Model). Prices for the 30 TFSI Premium Plus (Petrol) (Base Model) start at Rs 41 Lakhs ex-showroom Mumbai.

AUDI Q7 – 5 STAR LUXURY!

The advent of summer bought the largest and most luxurious SUV in the Audi India line-up to my doorstep. Having recently driven the smaller Q3, I was looking forward to driving an SUV which is due for a generation overhaul this year. This second generation Q7 is based on the Volkswagen MLB 2 Platform which made it lighter than its outgoing predecessor.

The moment you set your eyes on the Q7 it screams luxury and class all the way. The chiselled sleek shape works well, now you have a SUV that is aerodynamic. How SUV’s have come to be designed in the last few years! The grille at the front is a one-piece hexagonal design, with LED Matrix headlights.C INT 1.jpgWalk around the car and you notice how sharp it looks with its prominent wheel arches with a smooth shoulder line running across. Quattro has been embossed on the inlay strips at the bottom of the door to complete the look. The car drives on 19 inch 5-spoke wheels.

Step inside and you are greeted with a beautifully designed cabin. The front seats are comfortable, plush to seat on and offer very good under thigh support.  The driver’s seat is completely electric adjustable. The tall stance of the Q7 offers a great view to the front seat passengers while driving.C INT 3.jpgThe dashboard carries a walnut brown finish which is highlighted in brush metal. Classy and sophisticated are the words that come to mind when describing the layout.

There are hardly any buttons present on the dashboard. Most of the infotainment operations are managed by a bunch of toggles, a circular dial and touch-pad. The gear knob is as thick as they come. The level of comfort for the 2nd row of passengers with very good leg and shoulder room. The individual seat in this row can slide forward to provide more room to passengers in the 3rd row.

The 3rd row is okay for a passenger who’s short and small in build. Taller passengers wouldn’t be comfortable with the space on offer.The storage space in the boot goes up to 1,995 litres when the second row is dropped down. That more than enough space to carry luggage for a family trip cross country.C INT 2.jpgThe spare wheel is a space saver which is vertically strapped in the boot. This makes most of the 3rd row space unusable, reduces storage space in the boot.

As is the norm with Audi cars the Q7 comes with a slew of features. Large panoramic sunroof; auto ORVM (Outer Rear View Mirror) with dimming, folding and heating system with memory, electrically adjustable front seats, a 4-zone climate control, 7-inch touch-screen that slides out of the dashboard, matrix headlamps with intelligent covering lights, air-suspension, 8 airbags and half a dozen driving modes make up the package the Audi Q7 offers.C INT 4.jpgThe sound system comes with Bose 3D surround music system, rear parking camera, 360-degree view camera, park assist technology. The steering wheel is equipped with multi functions buttons to help the driver navigate around the infotainment system and the Audi virtual cockpit which gives out information about the car, engine, distance travelled, fuel range etc.

Under the hood is a 3.0 litre V6 diesel engine that offers 249PS and 600 NM of torque. The 8-speed automatic gearbox torque converter sends power to all four wheels using Audi’s quattro 4×4 system.C 5.jpgThe moment you press the engine start button and get moving the power this engine offers is obvious. The Q7 can get to 100kmph in under 8 seconds which is terrific considering its size. Its moves sharply, is easy to drive in city traffic. You don’t feel the bulk and size which is testimony to how well Audi has designed this SUV. There are various driving modes on offer such as Comfort, Dynamic, Off-road, All road for different driving conditions.

The V6 engine is refined and very smooth. For the city the mode one would prefer is the comfort mode, where the car moves around in a relaxed and calm fashion to give you a plush driving experience.

The moment you get on the highway and switch to Dynamic mode, the power delivery, steering feedback and suspension setup goes through a transformation. The gearbox as one would expect in an Audi is smooth, upshifts and downshifts are seamless. For the enthusiast who wants to drive in the manual mode you get paddle shifters which are great fun on empty stretches of highway.C7.jpgThe Q7 comes with Hill Decent Control and Hill Start Assist which helps when going down slopes and on an incline. The NVH levels in the car are very good. No noise from outside filters in. The air suspension in the SUV offers brilliant drive quality, adapts quickly to changes in direction.

If 5-star style driving luxury is what you hanker, look no further. The Q7 is waiting for you.C 6.jpgThe Q7 prices start at Rs 73 lakhs ex showroom Mumbai for the 40 TFSI Quattro Premium Plus Petrol and Rs 77 lakhs ex showroom Mumbai for the 45 TDI Quattro Premium Plus Diesel.

ADVENTURES WITH THE Q5…

The second generation Q5 was Audi’s first launch of the year. Launched in 2011 the Q5 ticked all the right boxes for SUV buyers, making it an instant success. In the last few years SUV’s have become an important category for every luxury car manufacturer. We Indians love SUV’s. And Audi gets it right each time with their Q series.

COLLAGE First.jpgThe 2018 Q5 is taut, sleek and more compact in its appearance compared to the previous model. The one-piece square grille and headlights with the LED DRL’s is what you first notice when viewing the car front on. There is a sharpness to the crease where it joins the tail light, which is new compared to the old Q5. The all-LED headlights are brilliant while driving in the night and offer very good illumination.

The moment you step inside the cabin you are greeted with a familiar looking steering wheel, 3 zone air-conditioning and a huge 12.3-inch instrument cluster display. The views which can be switched around, are superb to look at and use. The 8.3-inch display that sits atop the dashboard comes without a touchscreen feature which is good, as it one less thing to distract the driver while driving. The resolution is crisp and sharp. One must use the rotary knob on the centre console to access it. MMI scribble pad with 8 short cuts are on offer as well to use the screen for the on-board navigation.COLLAGE 5.jpgThe cabin has very good noise insulation. The air-conditioning has a smart feature, that it can detect which part of the SUV is getting direct sunlight, thus adjusting the temperature accordingly. Safety is always of the highest standards in Audi cars. The Q5 comes with 8 airbags, park assist system and a 360-degree camera. Seats are plush looking and extremely comfortable which is fantastic when driving long distances. But only the driver’s seat gets a memory function.COLLAGE 4.jpgNowadays luxury SUV’s in India come with huge sunroofs. The Q5 has one of the largest I have seen. Something one can use in the winters while driving on empty highway roads. Lots and lots of legroom is on offer for both front and rear passengers. Recline the rear seat back and you get even more comfort. The boot space is 550 litres. Fold the rear seat back, and one gets an additional 1,000 litres to play with!COLLAGE 2.jpgCOLLAGE 3.jpgThe Q5 has an inline four cylinder, 2.0-litre diesel engine which offers 190PS and 400Nm. Step on the throttle slightly and the Q5 responds with brisk acceleration. Power delivery is smooth and refined. Driving it on the expressway early in the morning with practically no traffic gave me a first-hand experience of the power that’s available. O-100kmph was very fast, making one forget that you are driving an almost 2-tonne SUV!

The Audi Drive Select offers Dynamic, Comfort and a dedicated off-road mode. In the off-road mode, the moment you go off the tarmac the engine performance changes. Throttle response becomes duller, one can see a marked improvement in the traction. Quattro also helps the Q5 put its power down better, thereby enabling better acceleration and improving grip levels. The adaptive suspension gets taut in Dynamic mode in regard to handling, while in the Comfort mode the ride quality is far plusher. Steering feedback is very good, engine performance, responsive transmission with an adaptive suspension that handles bad road easily make the Q5 a very impressive SUV

We visited Della Resorts in Lonavala, a well-known and popular resort for weekend getaways out of Mumbai. Started in 1996 Della has become one of the must visit resorts in the region. Jimmy Mistry a renowned architect is the driving force and inspiration behind the resort. Della is well known for its adventure and adrenaline filled activities and is India’s biggest extreme adventure park. There are 50 plus adventure activities on offer.COLLAGE 6.jpgDella offers India’s only Swoop swing (100 ft.), India’s Longest Flying Fox(1250ft.), 5 kinds of zorbing and 700cc Yamaha raptor ATV . The other activities one can partake in are Archery, Rocket Ejector, Motocross dirt bike riding, Buggy Ride, Paintball and Rappelling.

Driving the Q5 on empty roads in and around Lonavala over the weekend on all sorts of roads made me come back with one realisation. If anyone is in the market to buy a plush midsize luxury SUV, look no further. The Audi Q5 is the SUV for you.COLLAGE last.jpgThe pricing starts at 55.27 lakhs for the Q5 35TDI Premium Plus Diesel and the Q5 Premium Plus 2.0 TFSI Petrol. All prices are ex-showroom Mumbai.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF AN AUDI…

This weekend turned out to be the kind of dream, where one doesn’t want to wake up. I got the opportunity to drive one of Audi’s most stylish cars. The A5 Sportback. A car that stands for style and performance in every breadth!

audi im 1 copyThe A5 Sportback arrived 10 minutes before 8 on Saturday morning. Attractive looking whichever side or angle you view it from. The sweeping lines and curves work very well from a design perspective. The body style has a coupe roofline that flows into defined haunches. Prominent sharply cut taillights and headlights give the A5 a sleek and sporty stance.

The A5 Sportback blends hatchback versatility, the spaciousness of a sedan and the styling lines of a coupe. The A5 Sportback is a design masterstroke by Audi, the way different features of their model range have been combined so well here.

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Step into the car and you greeted with a cabin that exudes class and chic. The cabin is spacious enough for a six-footer to sit comfortably. Audi has worked on giving more cabin space.  It’s longer, narrower and lower than the car it replaces, but somehow more spacious. Headroom is adequate as well, unless you are very tall in which case you may find it a little tight… A sunroof which is standard for most luxury cars these days is available in the A5 Sportback as well.

The dashboard looks super and is based on the MLB Evo platform. The A5 Sportback comes with three-zone climate control, while the infotainment is a large eight-inch unit. It comes with 755W Bang and Olufsen audio system Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The virtual cockpit which a delight to use completes the package. Audi makes probably the best digital instrument cluster that’s out there presently. It comes with active and passive safety features as well. The on-board satellite navigation is very accurate, the few occasions I used it.

collage 1.jpgcollage 2.jpgThe Audi A5 Sportback is based on VW’s famous MLB platform with the engine feeding power to the front wheels mated to a seven-speed gearbox, which is as smooth, refined and as quick as they come. Under the hood is a 2.0l four-cylinder turbo-diesel which puts out 190PS @ 3,800-4,200 rpm and 400Nm @ 1,750-3,000 rpm. This engine is one of the best, not just because of the above-mentioned figures, but also of the high standard of refinement levels on offer. Start the car, press the accelerator and the power builds up quickly, with the torque hitting you around the 2,500 rpm mark. The revving is so rapid on this car, testimony to the superior TDI engines that the Audis come equipped with. The Audi A5 Sportback diesel claims to go from standstill to 100 in 7.9s.

collage 4.jpgI was lucky to drive it on relatively empty roads early Saturday morning. On the Bandra –  Worli Sea link, the A5 Sportback came into its own. Fast and quick on the go, the Sportback showed me the qualities which make it a top-class car in its segment. Braking was sharp, cornering was easily tackled without breaking into a sweat. The moment we got into traffic the A5 changed character and was equally at home there. Not once did I feel any stress even when we were moving at speeds of 40 km and less.

I spent a day driving the A5 Sportback. My impressions in this short period were extremely satisfying with everything the car has on offer in terms of luxury, performance and sports car sensibilities This is a car that’s as much at home in the city as on a race track. A car that’s on the must buy list for most auto enthusiasts worldwide…collage 5.jpgThe A5 Sportback is priced at 55.40 lakhs ex-showroom Mumbai.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions & Weight
Length 4733 mm
Width 1843 mm
Height 1386 mm
Wheelbase 2824 mm
Kerb Weight 1670 kg
Capacity
Doors 4 Doors
Seating Capacity 5 Person
No of Seating Rows 2 Rows
Fuel Tank Capacity 54 litres
Engine & Transmission
Displacement 1968 cc
Fuel Type Diesel
Engine Type 4-cylinder in-line diesel engine with common rail injection system and turbocharging
Max Power (bhp@rpm) 190 bhp @ 3800 rpm
Max Torque (Nm@rpm) 400 Nm @ 1750 rpm
Mileage (ARAI) 19.2 kmpl
Turbocharger/Supercharger Turbocharged
Turbocharger Type Variable Geometry
No of gears 7 Gears
Transmission Type Automatic
Drivetrain FWD
Dual Clutch No
Sport Mode Yes
Manual Shifting for Automatic Conventional Shift
Driving Modes Electronic Presets
Engine Start-Stop Function Yes
Alternate Fuel Not Applicable
Cylinders 4, Inline
Valve/Cylinder (Configuration) 4, DOHC
Suspensions, Brakes & Steering
Front Brake Type Disc
Rear Brake Type Disc
Steering Type Power assisted (Electric)
Wheels Alloy Wheels
Front Tyres 245 / 40 R18
Rear Tyres 225 / 40 R18