Volkswagen parent company has appointed a new boss, Markus Duesmann, to head its top-of-the-range brand. Excellent engineer, 51 years old, comes from BMW (like Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen group) where he was a member of the Board of Directors and a great expert in the study of new engines. From April he will take the place of Bram Schot who took over in 2019 from Rupert Stadler, involved in the dieselgate. Duesmann will have the task of stimulating the brand’s potential, after Wolfsburg has assigned the ring brand the role of head of research and development for the whole alliance, assigning him the technical leadership.

Volkswagen will be able to increase its participation fee next summer, in Audi, up to 100%. “We are trying to put together our strengths – Diess explained – to face the great changes in the sector”. The first decision concerns the development of a new «PPE» electric platform to be built in the historic Ingolstadt site. At the end of 2019, the German giant announced an investment of 60 billion euros, by 2024, which will add to the 16 billion already approved in 2018, to quickly achieve the improvement of future mobility. In the race to comply with the strict European CO2 emission standards, Wolfsburg aims to sell 26 million electric cars worldwide, before 2029. A financial effort that will cost the suppression, in Germany, for Audi, of 9500 jobs (with stop the turn over) by 2025, in order to save 6 billion euros. 2000 jobs dedicated to electric mobility will be created.

The autonomous car, for the manufacturer from Ingolstadt, will become our third living space after the home and the workplace. Similar to an environment of relaxation and pleasure. There already exists an AI: Me concept that exhibits a rather sporty, compact design, 4.30m long and 1.90 wide. The silhouette accentuates its aerodynamic appearance, with angular sides, offset by a huge domed windscreen that increases the seduction of the bodywork. The passenger compartment does not have a driver’s seat, instead you can admire the landscape, read a book, consult the computer. AI: ME prefigures the intelligent car, capable of communicating with humans, of learning and adapting to passengers, thanks to artificial intelligence.

Duesmann will have to handle the transition. He will find great help in the new A3 which, after eight years of honorable service, passes the baton to the A3 Sportback, to fight, on equal terms, with the Mercedes A-Class and the BMW series 1, both recently renewed. The model takes up the MQB Evo platform, extending 20mm (4.34m) and widening 30mm (1.82m) to allow greater comfort for passengers in the rear seats. Large grille, with a beehive-shaped grille, octagonal air intakes, Matrix LED headlights, marked shoulders, hollow sides, an evolution of shapes that gives the Cx an aerodynamics of 0.28. The interior is of a superior category car. The equipment and the latest driving aid technologies are all applied, with the information system ten times more powerful than that of the previous generation.

Lto new A3 will offer the immediate choice of three engines, a 1.5-liter TFSI 150-horsepower petrol and a 2.0-liter TDI diesel, available in two power levels, 116 horsepower or 150 horsepower. Two transmissions, one six-speed manual and one S Tronic automatic, dual-clutch, seven-speed. After the launch, on arrival, a 3-cylinder, 110-liter 1.0-liter TFSI petrol and a 1.5-liter TFSI, petrol, 48-volt light hybrid. Thanks to this system that can disable the engine for 40 seconds, the A3 will be able to save up to 0.4l / 100km. It will share the rechargeable hybrid versions of 204 and 245 horsepower with the Golf GTE. The adoption of adaptive shock absorbers that lower the body by 10 mm may be requested.

With the Q3 Sportback, Audi positions itself as an even more credible actor in the very exclusive segment of SUV coupes where it is difficult to find models that affirm their personality. This version of the famous Q3 was not satisfied with thinning its bodywork, but added a more determined character, which gives it an even more premium aura. There was no revolution, it was not necessary, only a handover was needed for this new model: Sportback was simply added to Q3. The lines have been dynamized, aerodynamics improved to accentuate its sporty, high-end vocation. We find more muscles, more modernity, more shaped or sharper shapes, depending on where you look at it. The interiors are always the demonstration of refined luxury, the dashboard is more evanescent, without losing anything in technology, gaining intuitiveness thanks to the touch screen. A 150-liter 2.0-liter TDI diesel and a 230-horsepower 2.0-liter TFSI petrol are available, with front-wheel drive or 4×4 and dual-clutch S tronic transmission. They will be joined by a more powerful diesel and petrol combined with a 48-volt mild-hibrid. Anyone who accused Audi of falling asleep on their laurels finds this denial.

March 11, 2020 (change March 16, 2020 | 16:00)

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