Audi prom­ises ‘year of heavy metal’

Hamilton News - - Front Page - By Colin Smith

THE de­but of the new RS 4 Avant be­gins a phase of Audi model in­tro­duc­tions with an em­pha­sis on the higher reaches of the model lineup.

Audi New Zealand gen­eral man­ager Dean Sheed called 2018 “the year of heavy metal” dur­ing the RS 4 Avant launch func­tion and he con­firmed the brand is pre­par­ing to in­tro­duce mul­ti­ple lux­ury mod­els and a new flag­ship sports-lux­ury SUV be­fore the end of the year.

Soon af­ter mid-year the new gen­er­a­tion Audi A8 lux­ury saloon will go on sale in New Zealand. It of­fers the high­est level of as­sisted driv­ing tech­nol­ogy yet seen in New Zealand — of­fer­ing el­e­ments of Level 3 as­sisted driv­ing where sup­port in­fra­struc­ture will al­low — and also de­buts a new gen­er­a­tion touch­sen­si­tive MMI in­fo­tain­ment and op­er­at­ing sys­tem that will fil­ter down into other Audi mod­els.

An­other new model that Audi New Zealand has high hopes for is the new Q8 SUV due in the third quar­ter of this year. The fiveseater with a coupe-like ex­te­rior Pic­tured clock­wise from top are the new Audi A8 lux­ury saloon; The new Sport­back ver­sion of the Audi RS 5 which is ex­pected to launch in New Zealand at the end of this year; The Audi e-tron Pro­to­type in Ber­lin.

metal due in 2018 when the RS 5 Sport­back ar­rives. It joins the RS 4 Avant and RS 5 Coupe mod­els with the 331kw and 600Nm 2.9-litre twin turbo pow­er­plant in­stalled in the five-door lift­back con­fig­u­ra­tion for the first time.

Look­ing fur­ther to the fu­ture, Audi’s elec­tri­fied ve­hi­cle plans — cur­rently it sells A3 e-tron and Q7 e-tron plug-in hy­brid mod­els — will step up a gear in 2019.

In the third quar­ter of this year Audi has sched­uled the global de­but of its first full-elec­tric SUV. So far there is no pro­duc­tion name finalised for the ve­hi­cle which has ap­peared in sev­eral con­cept guises in­clud­ing most re­cently as the Audi e-tron pro­to­type.

The pro­duc­tion ver­sion of the Audi e-tron pro­to­type is ex­pected to be one of the first cars on the mar­ket ca­pable of 150kw recharg­ing at high-out­put DC charg­ing sta­tions. Around 30 min­utes af­ter con­nec­tion at one of these sta­tions, the elec­tric SUV is ready to set off on the next long stage of its jour­ney. Its 95kwh lithium-ion bat­tery pack is ex­pected to pro­vide a range of about 400km in the WLTP driv­ing cy­cle.

Audi New Zealand says it’s gear­ing up to in­tro­duce the al­l­elec­tric SUV model dur­ing 2019 while an­other SUV new­comer ex­pected to launch next year will be the new Q4 fam­ily.

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