Toyota harvests solar energy to power UK engine production

  • Toyota UK switches on almost 13,000 solar panels to power the car manufacturer’s Deeside factory in North Wales.
  • The solar array, designed and installed by British Gas, can produce up to 3,475,000 kWh a year – enough electricity to build up to 22,500 engines.
  • Potential saving of more than 1,800 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.

A large-scale embedded solar array has been switched on at Toyota UK’s engine production centre at Deeside in North Wales.

Almost 13,000 solar panels will provide up to 10 per cent. of all the electricity required for manufacturing at the site, which makes petrol and hybrid engines for Toyota Avensis and Auris models sold throughout Europe.

Toyota Deeside array

The solar array, commissioned as a multi-million-pound project delivered by British Gas, will significantly reduce the site’s carbon emissions. It took three months to install the panels, supplied by Tata Power Solar, which cover an area that’s the equivalent of almost eight football pitches.

The Toyota plant’s carbon emissions will fall by 1,800 tonnes a year.

Established in 1992 and backed by a total investment of £700 million, the Deeside factory employs around 570 people, producing petrol and hybrid petrol engines for the British market and for export to Toyota production centres worldwide.

Toyota’s Burnaston factory in Derbyshire also uses solar power. In 2011 one of Britain’s largest solar arrays was installed there.

Volvo approaches crash-free future with opening of AstaZero proving ground

AstaZero is hailed by its proprietors as the world’s first full-scale proving ground for future traffic safety systems. Its opening has brought Volvo Car Group a step closer to realising their vision that by 2020 no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car.

An important measure towards achieving this goal will be the development of active safety systems, which will help to prevent accidents. These active safety systems will be the primary focus at the AstaZero proving ground, located near the Volvo Cars headquarters in western Sweden.

One of the facility’s greatest assets is its flexibility, with a design that permits the construction of unique, customised environments. As Pether Wallin, CEO of AstaZero, says, “You can simulate all types of real-world traffic scenarios. At most proving grounds, the options are more limited.”

AstaZero city junction

AstaZero: City environment

The centre can accommodate a wide range of test conditions, such as those found on busy city roads, highways, multi-lane motorways and crossroads. These conditions are crucial for studying the way cars interact with moving obstacles such as other cars, pedestrians, cycles, mopeds, motorcycles, trucks, buses and even animals that suddenly appear. In certain studies, for example those involving complex traffic situations and high speeds, robots will operate the test vehicles.

“Safety testing under realistic circumstances is a prerequisite for developing our active safety systems,” says Anders Axelson of Volvo Cars Safety Centre. He continues: “The facility will play several important roles: not only will it help us meet our safety vision, developing cars that don’t crash, it will also help us further develop safety functions that will address non-motorists, such as pedestrians and cyclists.”

Research and development

One of AstaZero’s main functions will be as a platform for the research and development of next-generation safety technologies. Here, in collaboration with universities and industry partners, Volvo Cars will undertake a range of initiatives, from strategic vehicle research and innovation projects to targeted research projects.

‪The work at AstaZero will also include the development and testing of autonomous driving technology, an intelligent driver support system designed to reduce accidents while improving the driving experience. Advanced systems are also under progress to further help prevent, for example, inattentiveness and driver fatigue.

Although meeting their target date of 2020 may be an ambitious goal, Volvo Cars clearly feels optimistic.

Anders Axelson, for one, is confident: “The Swedish automotive industry is at the leading edge of active safety. Thanks to AstaZero, we have great prospects for keeping our leading position. We’re the only car manufacturing company in the world to have set a goal of zero traffic fatalities for a specific date, and we’re the only country in the world whose government supports a zero traffic fatalities vision.”

—————-

About AstaZero

AstaZero AB has built a Kr500 million (£54m) state-of-the-art proving ground outside of Gothenburg, Sweden. Based upon the collaboration between academia, industry and the authorities, the AstaZero facility will serve as an open, international platform for all interested stakeholders like vehicle manufacturers, suppliers, legislators, road agents, universities, and technical institutes from around the world. AstaZero’s industry partners consist of Volvo Car Group, Volvo Group, Scania, Autoliv and Test Site Sweden. The name Asta (Active Safety Test Area) relates to the facility’s connection to a vision of zero traffic fatalities.

Design

AstaZero’s total surface area amounts to about 2,000,000 square metres (200ha) with a paved surface of 250,000 square metres (25ha). The facility is encircled by a 5.7km highway connected to a city environment with four blocks, 40m by 25m. AstaZero also features a high-speed area consisting of a circle, 240m in diameter, with “drop add-ons” joined to a 700m long multi-lane road.

Test environments

Rural Road

The rural road contains ten different points, both open and concealed, where objects will appear in front of the vehicles. The area is specially designed for different tests of driver behaviour and is well-suited for the use of hidden or suddenly appearing obstacles. At the road, there will be two T-junctions and a crossroad with signage in the specified language and changeable to suit customer requirements. The Rural Road will also have bus stops/lay-bys at two locations.

AstaZero: rural road

AstaZero: Rural road (with elk)

City Area

The City Area will primarily be used to test the vehicle’s capacity to interact with the surrounding environment to avoid hitting buses, cyclists, pedestrians or other road users. The area therefore covers a number of different sub-areas, such as a town centre with varying street widths and lanes, bus stops, pavements, bike lanes, street lighting and building backdrops. The City Area also has a road system with different kinds of test environments such as roundabouts, T-junction, return-loop and lab-area.

Multi-lane Road

The Multi-lane road consists of four lanes. These are connected to the High-Speed Area, with an acceleration road that is approximately 300m long, 7m wide and with a turning loop for long vehicles. Several different scenarios can be tested on the multi-lane road, such as lane changes, different collision scenarios and crossing scenarios.

High-Speed Area

Located in the centre of the facility, the High-Speed Area consists of two acceleration roads. Acceleration road one is approximately 1km long. In addition to the two acceleration roads, it is also possible to use the Multi-lane Road for acceleration, which means vehicles can enter the High-Speed Area from three different directions. In this area, focus will primarily be on vehicle dynamics like avoidance manoeuvres at very high speeds.

Porsche Club GB to host festival at Brands Hatch

The Porsche Club GB will host a new festival event at Brands Hatch, Kent, on 21 September. It will include racing, displays and demonstrations of both classic and contemporary Porsche sportscars.

The Brands Hatch Festival of Porsche will be the Club’s premier national event for this year. In addition to on-track action, the venue is expected to be surrounded by all types and ages of Porsche, from the 356 of the 1950s to the very latest plug-in hybrid 918 Spyder.

Porsches at Brands Hatch

The Brands Hatch Festival of Porsche coincides with the 40th anniversary of the 911 Turbo, and a special celebration of this model will form part of the festivities. A dedicated parade of over 60 examples of the 911 Turbo from the 1970s to the present day will take to the track on the Sunday afternoon.

With Porsche returning to the top LMP1 class at Le Mans this year, there will also be a sports car endurance racing theme. In support of this, the Porsche Museum will be showcasing a number of its precious exhibits from Stuttgart. Porsche is the most successful marque at Le Mans with 16 outright wins, and two past victors will be dropping in at the Festival. The 1987 Porsche 962 and the 911 GT1 from 1998 will line-up in a pit lane display, and other iconic racers will join them in the activities.

In addition to famous cars, a number of Porsche personalities will also take an active part in the event. Leading the on-track action will be former Porsche works race drivers and Le Mans winners Derek Bell, MBE, and Richard Attwood.

New: Long-wheelbase Infiniti Q50L for China

Infiniti has announced the world premiere of the Q50L, the new long-wheelbase variant of its Q50 saloon. With 48mm added to the wheelbase over the standard Q50, the Q50L provides more legroom for rear passengers.

With this introduction, Infiniti is delivering on its strategy to accommodate the Chinese market, where long-wheelbase derivatives of executive saloons are common. Of further note, the Q50L is in keeping with the soon-to-launch (in the US and Canada) updated Q70L long wheelbase saloon, a model which originated in the Chinese market in 2012. The Q50L is dedicated to the mainland Chinese market and will be offered exclusively there.

Infiniti Q50L

The Q50L debuts at the end of August at the Chengdu Motor Show in Sichuan province. It is offered in Comfort, Elegant, Sports, Luxury and Luxury Sports trims, providing a wide range of personalised choices for aspiring premium customers. Deliveries start in the beginning of November.

Significantly, the Q50L is the first domestically-produced Infiniti model for the important Chinese market. Production will take place at the Xiangyang factory in Hubei province, which becomes the fourth assembly plant for Infiniti vehicles globally. China is a rapidly growing market which is now considered very significant for the Infiniti brand. Sales growth year-on-year for the first six months of 2014 reached 130 per cent., with total deliveries of just over 14,000 vehicles.

Infiniti intends that China should be the Company’s second ‘volume hub’ globally. At the core of the plan is a mix of global as well as dedicated regional models.

The Infiniti Q50L has an overall length of 4852mm and wheelbase stretched to 2898mm. It is powered by a 2.0-litre in-line four-cylinder petrol engine that is turbocharged to offer 211hp and 350Nm of torque, driving through a seven-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode.

Noteworthy among its standard equipment, the Q50L has the world’s first steer-by-wire system – Direct Adaptive Steering (DAS). The intuitive double touch-screen  Infiniti InTouch HCI system, Active Lane Control (ALC), new Bose 14-speaker Studio on Wheels audio system, plus other onboard extras like the in-car mood light system, rear window sunshade, electronic anti-glare side mirrors, all ensure the Infiniti Q50L can meet or exceed the needs of demanding Chinese customers.

While the globally successful standard-wheelbase Q50 will continue being imported to the Chinese mainland market from the Tochigi factory in Japan, the fully Chinese-assembled Q50L is a direct answer to growing demand for Infiniti products in the region.

Jaguar XE: Notes on connectivity

  • All-new InControl ‘infotainment’ system with eight-inch touchscreen
  • InControl Remote enables smartphone control of functions such as door unlocking or engine start – from anywhere in the world
  • InControl Apps allows users to access Apple and Android smartphone apps through the vehicle’s touchscreen
  • Wi-Fi connectivity for multiple devices
  • Laser head-up display combines sharper images with compact, weight-saving design

A smooth, supple ride, exceptionally sharp steering, quiet, luxurious cabin and seamless connectivity – the new Jaguar XE promises a lot if the company’s predictably purple prose is to be believed. But the cars must be well-made, fault-free and reliable if the dream is to come true. The competition from Germany is hardly weak.

There is no doubt though that the XE is equipped with an impressive range of state-of-the art technologies. The XE’s InControl infotainment system is designed around an 8-inch touchscreen. A clear, intuitive user interface gives quick, easy access to all features and functions, and voice control using plain speech means that drivers can keep their eyes on the road at all times. This is very important. No-one should be scrolling through lists of phone contacts while ostensibly driving a car.

Jaguar XE

Smartphones are changing the way people interact with the world around them – the new XE is setting out to make sure that drivers stay connected. Jaguar InControl Remote allows users of iOS and Android smartphones to connect to the car from wherever they are and control a range of vehicle functions. These include seven-day timed pre-setting of the XE’s climate control system, locking or unlocking the doors, or even starting the engine.

Jaguar InControl Apps allows users to access smartphone apps through the vehicle’s touchscreen, making it easy to do everything from make a conference call, find a parking space or book a hotel room. The XE also functions as a Wi-Fi hotspot, enabling multiple devices to connect to the internet – the vehicle antenna provides the signal.

The sophistication of the infotainment system is matched by the array of driver assistance systems available in the new XE. The laser head-up display (HUD) is an industry-first. Projecting sharp, high-contrast colour images onto the windscreen, the technology provides the driver with information such as speed and navigation instructions with maximum clarity and minimum distraction. As well as better image quality, the laser HUD is smaller and almost a third lighter than existing systems.

Designed and engineered in the UK, the aluminium-intensive XE will be the first Jaguar manufactured at a new purpose-built production facility at the company’s Solihull plant in the West Midlands.

The world premiere of the new Jaguar XE will be held in London on September 8th.

Testing of all-new right-hand-drive Mustang begins

  • This is the first time in the 50-year history of the Ford Mustang that the car will be available in a factory-built right-hand-drive configuration
  • More than 25 new right-hand-drive markets will be able to purchase the new Mustang, including the United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa
  • Ford’s new Mustang goes on sale this autumn in the US and globally in more than 120 countries next year

For the first time ever, a right-hand-drive Ford Mustang will roll off a Ford assembly line when global production of the new model begins.

Mustang engineers recently finished construction of the very first right-hand-drive sixth-generation Mustang. The prototype Mustang will be used to conduct various development tests in preparation for the car’s entry into the global market in the coming months.

Ford Mustang RHD prototype

The first right-hand drive Ford Mustang

While the United States is the largest market for Mustang with more than 9.2 million sales since the car’s debut in 1964, more than 161,000 Mustangs have been sold outside of North America in that time. In 2012 alone, more than 4,000 Mustangs were sold in 35 territories outside of North America, from the United Arab Emirates to Chile to the Philippines.

50 years of Mustang

Ford claims that the Mustang is the newest member of a very exclusive club – vehicles in continuous production for 50 years – though of course there have been five completely unique incarnations of the car before this one. The Mustang has a worldwide fan-base, including more than 7.6 million on Facebook – the most of any vehicle nameplate. From the beginning, Mustang’s unique combination of style, performance and affordability established an entirely new class of sporty cars, and it has led the segment ever since.

The sixth-generation Mustang will eventually be available in more than 110 countries worldwide.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV completes Asia Cross Country Rally for second year

A Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid electric four-wheel drive SUV, entered and managed by the Two & Four Motor Sports rally team supported by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, successfully completed the FIA-certified Asia Cross Country Rally 2014 (AXCR) in its T1E class (electric vehicle class).

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

The team completed the rally in 19 hours 17 minutes and 12 seconds for the total driving distance of 1986km over rough terrain, winning first place in the class and 14th place overall. The Outlander PHEV, completing the rally for the second year in a row, proved its reliability, durability and all-terrain ability. It also demonstrated the durability of the Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) powertrain even under severe road conditions.

Rally Car Overview

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV rally car used the competition-modified suspension from last year’s race car as well as raised ground clearance with the drive battery placed higher for improved off-road performance. The car’s Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) integrated vehicle dynamics control system was tuned for competition use to provide better traction. Other modifications included the fitting of a roll cage and underbody skid plate, the use of lighter bonnet, tailgate and interior parts, and additional sealing and a snorkel for water crossings. Apart from these changes, the car competed using the ‘almost’ the same Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) powertrain and mechanical parts as the standard production model.

Result Breakdown by Race Leg

The Outlander PHEV won its class for the second year in a row. Overall standing by leg:

Prologue Run (9 August): 11th place overall in the Prologue Run time trials from Pattaya, Thailand.

Leg One (10 August): First day of full competition, 13th place overall.

Leg Two (11 August): Battling Thailand’s deep ruts and muddy and boggy trails the Outlander PHEV finished 12th overall.

Leg Three (12 August): Race moves from Thailand to Cambodia, towards the Angkor Wat World Heritage site. This leg featured comparatively flatter terrain where the Outlander PHEV could take advantage of the high torque of its electric motors and S-AWC which led to a step up to 11th place overall.

Leg Four (13 August): Progress to 9th place overall in this leg which started from Angkor Wat.

Leg Five (14 August): This gruelling leg was the longest and featured deep ruts. Lack of high ground clearance forced the Outlander PHEV to avoid much of the second half of the course, falling to 15th place overall.

Leg Six (15 August): The last leg starting from Phnom Penh featured a flat high-speed course, finishing 2nd in the leg and recovering to finish 14th overall.

New: Renault Twingo

  • All-new third-generation model
  • Rear-engined, rear wheel drive and five doors – all Twingo firsts
  • More compact, more spacious
  • Three trim levels with a huge range of personalisation
  • New R & GO smartphone connectivity system
  • Four-year warranty, roadside cover and servicing – Renault 4+
  • Available to order now.  Customer deliveries from late September.

Renault has revealed details of the all-new, third generation Twingo, which was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March and goes on sale from late September. Prices start at less than £9,500 for the entry-level Expression SCe 70, while the Play SCe 70 – which is expected to be one of the most popular models – comes in at less than £10,000.

There are three versions of new Twingo – Expression, Play and Dynamique, powered by either of two engines – the new 1.0-litre 70PS SCe three-cylinder atmospheric engine and a Dynamique TCe 90 with a 0.9-litre 90PS three-cylinder turbocharged unit. Dynamique models have Renault’s Stop & Start system, which cuts the engine when the car is stationary in traffic to reduce emissions and improve economy.

Renault Twingo

Connectivity comes as standard through the new smartphone-operated R & GO system. Thanks to the radio, a universal cradle and a free-to-download app, owners have intuitive access to a variety of navigation, telephone, multimedia and trip computer functions, as well as internet radio and a host of other features.  Dynamique models offer the option of the R-Link multimedia system with a seven-inch touch-screen, voice control, TomTom navigation and 3D sound by Arkamys. DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and USB sockets are standard on every version.

All versions of All-New Twingo come with body-coloured bumpers, door handles and exterior door mirror shells, a rear spoiler and LED daytime running lights.  Comfort and convenience features include electric power steering, electric front windows, remote central locking, a speed limiter, a height-adjustable steering wheel, a trip computer and gearchange indicator, a lane-change function for the indicators and the automatic activation of the rear screen wiper when reverse gear is selected.

One unusual feature is the folding front passenger seat. A split-folding two-seat rear bench is standard, as are numerous cabin storage areas, three cup-holders and a boot light.  The safety equipment includes Electronic Stability Control, Hill Start Assist, Emergency Brake Assist and four airbags as well as front and rear headrests and a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System.

The Play version adds to that core equipment with air conditioning, a height-adjustable driver’s seat and steering wheel, and 15-inch black two-tone wheel trims in place of the grey ones on the Expression.

Dynamique versions add 15-inch alloy wheels, pinstripe shoulder-line decals, front fog-lamps, electric heated door mirrors, cruise control, a lane departure warning system, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearshift knob, white instrument backlighting, a folding key and storage pockets in the rear doors.

Dynamique versions also benefit from a stop & start system that cuts emissions and improves fuel economy.  The Dynamique TCe 90 is fitted with Variable Gear Ratio power-assisted steering, making the vehicle more agile and reactive at lower speeds. 

Personalisation

An extensive range of personalisation options will allow customers to create a bespoke Twingo.  These include an interior style pack (a choice of colours for the interior upholstery, doorcards and cabin storage), interior touch pack (a choice of colours for the instrument and air vent surrounds and steering wheel inserts), exterior touch pack (alternative colours for the grille strips, side protection strips and door mirror shells) and a choice of different alloy wheels and side decals.

The Sport Pack is available to order on the Dynamique TCe 90 version and adds on 16-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, part-leather red and black upholstery, side decals, aluminium pedals, the red interior touch pack – which adds further colour to the steering wheel, centre console and air-vents – and the exterior touch pack, which adds colour to the front grille insert, door mirrors and side door protectors.

Key options, depending on model, are an electric panoramic fabric sunroof, rear parking sensors, a choice of premium sound systems and the ‘Seats’, ‘Techno’, and’ Convenience’ packs, which offer themed collections of extra equipment at lower prices than if they are bought individually.

The Seats Pack adds heated front seats and an ISOFIX three-point mounting on the front passenger’s side.  The Techno Pack consists of the R-Link connectivity, infotainment and navigation system and a rear parking camera. The Convenience Pack brings automatic lights and wipers, and climate control.

Smaller but roomier – and easier to manoeuvre

All-New Twingo is a clean-sheet-of-paper car. For the first time its engine is mounted at the rear to drive the rear wheels, and there are five doors instead of three. The rear-engined layout permits significant improvements in packaging – the new Twingo is 10 cm shorter than its predecessor at 3.59 metres, but has a 12 cm longer wheelbase (2.49 metres) and 22 cm more cabin room.

Having the engine at the rear allows the front and rear overhangs to be kept short, which helps to endow the All-New Twingo with a turning circle of only 8.59 metres. This agility makes the All-New Twingo much easier than the majority of cars to manoeuvre into kerbside parking spaces or end-on parking bays.

Packaging the engine so as not to intrude into the luggage area and to offer maximum protection in a rear-end collision was a significant challenge. Renault has overcome it by tilting the engine by 49 degrees and re-engineering 50 per cent of the parts. This ensures that the engine is pushed beneath the passenger cell if the car is hit from behind, and that it takes up 15 cm less space than if it had been mounted vertically. But why not mount the engine horizontally, with dry-sump lubrication?

The new Twingo is the only 5-door car in its segment with a folding front passenger seat as standard, which makes it long enough to take what Renault describes as ‘a flat-pack Swedish book case’ or a double bass thanks to its load length of 2.31 metres.  Luggage capacity is 219 litres (a Ford Ka offers 224l) and can be extended to 980 litres by folding the 50:50 split rear seats. There is also 52 litres of personal storage space within the cabin, including a removable 2.6-litre compartment at the bottom of the centre console, 29 litres of space beneath the front seats – with nets available to hold items in place – and a 6.4-litre glovebox.

Up to 14 miles further from every gallon

The three-cylinder four-valve engines offer up to 14mpg greater fuel economy with as much as 35g/km lower CO2 emissions than the power units in the previous Twingo. On the rolling road, the Twingo can return up to 67.3mpg and just 95g/km for the Dynamique SCe 70 with Start & Stop. All versions exceed 60 mpg in mixed use and 50 mpg on the urban cycle.

Made at Novo Mesto, Slovenia

Rear-engined cars are far costlier to produce than conventional front-engined, front-drive models. Renault has overcome this obstacle by collaborating with Daimler during the development of the All-New Twingo. Daimler’s next-generation Smart models will be built off the same platform, bringing cost savings for both groups. Renault will build the new Twingo and Daimler’s Smart Forfour at its Novo Mesto plant in Slovenia, where more than £350 million has been spent on upgrading the facilities.

Recapturing the spirit of the first Twingo

The new Twingo is intended to recapture the spirit of the original model of 1993 and the Renault 5 of the 1970s and 1980s. It also incorporates aspects of the 2013 Twin’Run and Twin’Z concept cars.

Peace of mind for four years: Renault 4+

As with all new Renaults, the new Twingo is covered by a four-year warranty which offers unlimited-mileage cover in the first two years and then two further years of protection up to 100,000 miles.  Four years roadside assistance cover is provided.  And, when bought on Renault Selections Finance, four years (or 48,000 miles) servicing is also included.  Alternatively, a four year servicing package can be purchased for £299.

Servicing is required once a year or every 12,500 miles.  The timing chain is maintenance-free which helps to reduce servicing costs.

TECHNICAL INFORMATION

Model

Power

(PS @ rpm)

Torque

(Nm @ rpm)

0-62mph (sec)

Top speed (mph)

Expression SCe 70

70 @ 6,000

91 @ 2,850

14.5

94

Play SCe 70

70 @ 6,000

91 @ 2,850

14.5

94

Dynamique SCe 70 S&S

70 @ 6,000

91 @ 2,850

14.5

94

Dynamique ENERGY TCe 90 S&S

90 @ 5,500

135 @ 2,500

10.8

103

 

OWNERSHIP INFORMATION

Model

MPG

CO2 (g/km)

BIK (band %)

VED (band)

Insurance group

Expression SCe 70

62.8

105

14%

B

2

Play SCe 70

62.8

105

14%

B

3

Dynamique SCe 70 S&S

67.3

95

12%

A

3

Dynamique ENERGY TCe 90 S&S

65.7

99

12%

A

8

Audi celebrates 24-hour wins

Audi is celebrating a hat-trick of wins in 24-hour races in one year, for the second time.

Having scored a 13th Le Mans 24 Hour race victory with the hybrid diesel Audi R18 e-tron quattro, Audi has gone on to win the Nürburgring and Spa 24 Hour races with the Audi R8 LMS ultra GT3 this summer.

Audi R18 etron quattro

Audi R18 e-tron quattro

At Le Mans in June, Audi’s victorious hybrid sportscar used 22% less fuel per 100 kilometres than the winning 2013 R18 e-tron quattro. Since the TDI era began in racing in 2006 – when Audi became the first manufacturer to win at Le Mans with a diesel-engined sportscar – there has been a 38% reduction in fuel consumption.

In 2014, Audi also celebrates 25 years of TDI technology in its road cars. At the 1989 Frankfurt motor show, Audi presented its ground-breaking 100 TDI, the first ever direct injection turbo diesel with fully electronic management. The latest ‘ultra’ models champion efficiency in the A4, A5, A6 and newly-revised A7 Sportback model ranges with engines that all comply with EU6 emissions standards.

Up to 67.3mpg is achievable on a combined cycle in A4 and A5 TDI ultra versions, corresponding to CO2 output as low as 109g/km. Despite impressive thrift, performance is very much business as usual – 0-62mph is accounted for in 8.3 seconds in the 163PS A4 Saloon and A5 Coupe on the way to a 140mph top speed.

In the executive class, A6 Saloon and Avant models featuring the particularly frugal 64.2mpg 190PS TDI ultra unit can be ordered in any specification without restriction, from SE up to the extensively equipped Black Edition.

After LED headlights with matrix beam technology had made their way from the Audi R18 e-tron quattro into production cars a year ago, the new Audi laser light was the most recent innovation to be tested at Le Mans and is now initially available to customers as standard in a limited edition model – the new Audi R8 LMX. Notable as the fastest ever road-going R8, the 570PS V10 super sports car blasts past 62mph in just 3.4 seconds and on to a 198mph top speed.

With 13 victories in 16 events, Audi has increased its Le Mans success rate to 81 per cent. No other car manufacturer in the history of the race that has been held since 1923 has clinched such a large number of winners’ trophies in such a short time. With also a second place at Le Mans, Audi has now achieved 31 top-three finishes in the twice-around-the-clock French race since the Company’s 1999 debut.

Just a week after Le Mans, an R8 LMS ultra set a new distance record in the Nürburgring 24 Hours around the infamous 15.16-mile Nordschleife, otherwise known as the “Green Hell”. For the first time ever, the winning car covered more than 2,500-miles – the victorious Audi completing 2,507.3 miles in the German race. A further two of the V10 mid-engined GT3 class sportscars were placed in the top-10.

More recently, the German manufacturer repeated its 2012 domination of winning the three main 24 hour motor races in Europe when an Audi won the Spa 24 hours in Belgium. In a battle involving 11 marques and 60 participants, the R8 LMS ultra prevailed for the third time in four years in the classic race in the Ardennes that celebrated its 90th anniversary this year. A further two Audi sportscars finished inside the top-four.

Audi R8 LMS

Audi R8 LMS

The Audi R8 LMS race car’s current sporting record includes 23 international championship titles worldwide after only five years of competition. An impressive tally of seven overall wins in 24hr races (2 at the Nürburgring, 3 at Spa, 2 at Zolder), three overall wins in 12 hour races (2 at Bathurst, 1 in Hungary) and three Macau GT Cup wins have been achieved.

The next WEC race is at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas next month (20 September).

2-3 for Audi at the Nürburgring

A double podium for Audi in the DTM: At the Nürburgring, Mike Rockenfeller (Audi Sport Team Phoenix) and Edoardo Mortara (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline) in front of 80,000 spectators (throughout the weekend) clinched positions two and three.

The seventh DTM race of the year was decided right at the start. While Edoardo Mortara on the more slippery inside dropped from second to third place, Mike Rockenfeller was able to improve from third to second place behind the quickest in qualifying, Marco Wittmann. These positions remained unchanged up to the finish. 1.2 seconds behind Wittmann, ‘Rocky’ in the Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM crossed the finish line in second place, followed ten seconds later in third place by Edoardo Mortara in the Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM.

Audi at the Nuerburgring

“I’m happy about second place,” said Mike Rockenfeller after having clinched his so far best result in his DTM home race. “‘Thank you’ to Team Phoenix and Audi. Marco Wittmann controlled the race. I only came a bit closer towards the end. Maybe I could have grabbed him if the race had lasted five laps longer. But you’ve also got to accept that he was simply stronger than we were this weekend.”

Rockenfeller and Mortara were the only two Audi drivers to convert their good grid positions into points at the Nürburgring. Adrien Tambay in his Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM dropped to 16th place in the starting commotion and in the end, in eleventh place, barely missed scoring a point. Jamie Green in the Hoffmann Group Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Rosberg advanced to fourth place after the start, but was subsequently relegated to position 15 after his Audi had been damaged in several incidents of body contact.

The other four Audi drivers had to park their Audi RS 5 DTM cars early following collisions. Mattias Ekström was hit by Timo Glock’s BMW right on the starting lap, with the rear suspension of his Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM being damaged in the incident. Miguel Molina suffered a puncture in a contact at the start and had to park his Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM after just four laps as well. Timo Scheider’s AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM on lap seven was pushed into the Financial Services Audi RS 5 DTM of his brand colleague Nico Müller by Mercedes driver Robert Wickens. Both Audi drivers had to retire shortly afterwards.

“Having two drivers on podium in the DTM is basically a good result,” said Dieter Gass, Head of DTM at Audi Sport. “Congratulations to Mike (Rockenfeller) and Edo (Mortara). Obviously, it’s not satisfactory that only these two managed to make use of their good grid positions. There were a couple of scenes today we need to carefully look at again. Losing four out of eight cars due to collisions is painful.”