Audi’s RS 5 Coupé looks amazing

Audi RS 5 Coupé

This is the new Audi RS 5 Coupé, a tasty performance car which Audi says is the perfect combination of “elegant aesthetics with everyday usability”. Fabulous to look at and reportedly sensational to drive, it’s a big marker laid down for BMW’s M division.

The figures are certainly tantalising. Powered by a 2.8L V6 bi-turbo engine, you’ll have 450hp and 600 Nm torque at your disposal, with the ability to spring from 0-100km/h in a mere 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 250km/h.

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Decisions, decisions: Audi’s updated A3

One of my favourite places to drive in Ireland is Cork, right after the Wicklow Mountains. Getting there is relatively painless on the motorway (though a little boring), Cork city – compared to Dublin – is actually quite pleasant to drive around, even during rush hour, and the countryside boasts some nice and twisty roads combined with a truly beautiful landscape.

My most recent trip to the Rebel County was spent behind the wheel of an Audi A3 saloon. Audi, like fellow executive brands BMW and Mercedes, has spent a great deal of time and effort in building a range of vehicles to suit every need and desire, from the entry level A1 for urban dwellers who want something small and light on its feet, to the R8 supercar for (at €235,000) the very wealthy petrolheads. The A3 is somewhere in the middle – not too big and not too small, not the cheapest Audi on the market, but not the most expensive either.

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The Roundup: An Audi A9, JCB’s GT and Land Rover’s unofficial twin

An Audi A9?

Audi prologueWe’ve driven Audi’s A8, which sits atop Audi’s regular car pile. But that could be about to change. Meet the Audi prologue, which we could easily see slotting into the Audi line up as a newly introduced A9. A two door coupe concept car, it’s a mixture of power, comfort and surprising efficiency.

Powered by a 4.0L V8 TFSI engine, the prologue produces 605hp and 750Nm of torque, propelling it to 100km/h in just 3.7 seconds. Better get used to the scenery passing by in a blur. Interestingly it also has all-wheel steering – the back wheels can turn up to five degrees, which means piloting the behemoth gets a little easier. If this is the prologue, we can’t wait for the full story.

Digging for gold

It’s official – JCB have the fastest digger in the world. Built inThe iconic JCB 3CX backhoe loader Staffordshire, the specially-modified JCB GT vehicle broke the record at Bathurst, near Sydney, Australia, confirmed by Guinness World Records as 72.58mph. That’s quite impressive when you think about it – we’ve driven cars which had trouble getting past 60. JCB invented the popular machine in 1953, and sold more than half a million over the past 61 years.

JCB’s demonstration driver, 43 year old Matthew Lucas, was behind the wheel of the modified version, which was designed to perform high-speed wheelies at racing events. That’s not a typo. Just don’t expect to see a repeat performance next time you drive past a building site.

Imitation isn’t always flattery

Range Rover Evoque (2)Jaguar Land Rover were understandably a little peeved when they discovered that a Chinese company had produced a carbon copy of the Range Rover Evoque and displayed it at the Guangzhou Motor Show 2014. At which Land Rover was also displaying their first Chinese-built Evoque. You have to at least admire their brass neck.

While a genuine Evoque will cost £40,000, the LandWind X7 is the equivalent of only £14,000. China is JLR’s biggest market, and sold more than 90,000 vehicles there last year. We’d be a little angry too.

This piece first appeared in the Q4 edition of Business Ireland magazine.

Skoda Starts Again

20140226_SKODA_VisionC_side

If, by some chance, you’re in the market for a lime-green, Audi/VW-inspired saloon car, with massive alloys and a Skoda badge, you’re in luck.

20140226_SKODA_VisionC_rearThat’s because Skoda have just announced their VisionC concept model, “the next stage in the development of Skoda design language” as Skoda themselves put it, in that form of English known only to marketing executives.

So far we’ve learned that it’s a five door coupé with room for four people and (unsurprising in a Skoda) plenty of space for luggage in the boot. Under the bonnet is a 1.4 TSI turbo engine with 108bhp running on either petrol or natural gas, with estimated fuel-efficiency figures of around 70mpg. 20142026_SKODA_VisionC_front

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Driven – the Audi A8

IMG_7995The new and improved Audi A8 has been officially launched this week at the suitable location of Carton House in Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Car Craic tagged along to see if all the fuss is deserved.

In short – it is.

Like the Mercedes S-Class, Audi’s flagship A8 is undoubtedly a big car. But it’s the little things that make it. Though at first glance you mightn’t notice too much difference from the previous model, as the proportions haven’t actually changed, extra lines down the bonnet add a sleeker, sportier look, as do new rear lights and a more sculpted boot. New chrome lines through the rear lights and above the redesigned twin rhomboid exhaust pipes add to the new, more sporty A8 design.

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Brabus’ Biturbo monster

Brabus LogoApparently there’s a madness in the water when it comes to the world of powerful estates. Early this year we saw the launch of Audi’s RS6 Avant, while Swedish car maker Volvo have also got in on the act with their Polestar V60 estate.

While Mercedes themselves have the AMG E63, Brabus – the German high performance aftermarket company specialising in MB, Smart and Mayback – have upped the ante with the 850 Biturbo – a 6.0L 838 bhp version of the E63 AMG.

The original wasn’t exactly underpowered but this version is bonkers – a bored 5.9L engine with forged pistons and custom crankshaft, new turbos with larger compressors, special exhaust intake manifolds and an ECU upgrade gives the beast the ability to churn out a breathtaking 838 bhp and 1,069lb ft of torque (limited to 848lb ft, to ensure ‘longevity’). 0-100 takes just 3.1 seconds with a top speed of 217 mph.

Just imagine your kids’ faces when you decide to put your foot down on the school run.