May 2011: Best month ever for Audi in the United States

Article by Christian Andrei, on June 2, 2011

Audi’s sales have been rising in recent months but in May 2011, it recorded its best sales in the US so far. It’s also its third best month since it started operating in the US. Last month, Audi sold 10,457 vehicles, standing for a 13.6% increase. When the new plant in Chattanooga was opened, the German auto group said if its sales were high enough, an Audi factory would be necessary.

The automaker said that sales rose due to the introduction of the flagship A7, which made up 812 of total sales. This is more than half of the total increase recorded for May. Audi’s other models that are best-sellers include the A3, the A4, the A8, the Q5, the Q7, the R8, and the TT.

The R8’s sales rose by 135.7% year-over-year to 99 vehicles sold in May. Johan de Nysschen, the president of Audi of America, said that the company still makes “measurable gain” in the high-end segment of the U.S. luxury car market. He added that Audi vehicles have an edge over its rivals since they’re fitted with the most advanced technologies available. De Nysschen predicted that Audi will soon lead in the U.S. luxury market.

The Audi R8 is one of the brand’s leading models as it has more than proven itself to be the leader when it comes to high-end sports cars. The brand though has launched the latest version with the Audi R8 V10 5.2 FSI Quattro. Performance is guaranteed especially with the 10-cylinder 5.2-liter engine fitted to it that can deliver maximum power at 386 kW (525 hp) and peak torque of 530 Nm (390.91 lb-ft).

R8 V10 is a product of the brand’s accumulated knowledge from a series of wins at Le Mans. One of the highlights in this new model is that it comes with the dry sump lubrication that has the FSI gasoline direct injection and then combined with the company’s racing technology. The V10 engine in particular shows the perfect fusion of low eight, strong pulling power, and top performance. Audi revealed that by 2009, this same engine will be able to prove its worth on the racing circuits as it will be equipped in the Audi R8 GT3 racing car that the company is developing for its customer teams in order to meet the GT3 rules.

Still, the V10 engine to be fitted in the production version will be the same as what’s inside the racing variant. Displacement is at 5,204 cc coming at 6,500 rpm. Output is 525 hp (386 kW) at 8,000 rpm with peak torque of 390.91 lb.-ft. (530 Nm) at 6,500 rpm. Specifically though, power output is 100.9 hp for every liter of displacement. What this means is that for each hp, the vehicle is pushed 6.91 lb. (3.09 kg.). One reason is that the R8 V10 that is paired with the manual 6-speed gearshift only has a weight of 3,571 lb. (1,620 kg.). The engine itself only makes up about 569 lb. (258 kg.); this is heavier compared to the V8 by 68 lb. (31 kg.). The engine allows for acceleration from a standstill to 62.14 mph (100 km/h) in merely 3.9 seconds. For the version that makes use of the sequentially shifting R tronic, it can go as high as 124.27 mph (200 km/h) if you give it 8.1 seconds more.

The propulsive power of this model is not even reduced as it can easily reach 196.35 mph (316 km/h) as its maximum speed. Its impulsiveness, acceleration, force, and even the sound of the engine, all combine to result in a magnificent sports car experience. Once powered, the engine starts with the bass tones, then the high notes, and slowly builds up to the grandiose fortissimo. This amazing sound though will continue until it reaches 8,700 rpm. A unique feature in the V10 engine is the direct injection system that was included by following the FSI principle made by Audi. In most common rail systems, the fuel is injected to the combustion chambers reaching a maximum pressure of 120 bar. By having direct injection, fuel is evaporated which gives a specific amount of cooling and it even lowers the vulnerability to knocking.

This results in a 12.5:1 compression ratio. The overall outcome is that it improves the fuel economy and helps with enhancing the performance. On average, fuel economy of the R8 V10 with the R tronic is 17.17 mpg (13.7 liters/100 km.). The engine also incorporates a technical improvement which is the dry sump lubrication. By having this, it makes it possible to mount the engine low on its chassis. Since the angle of its cylinder is at 90 degrees, it results in the vehicle having a low center of gravity. Using a rather complex method, the crankcase was created using an aluminum-alloy high-strength casting. While the pistons are composed of aluminum, the connecting rods are forged steel. Each of the four camshafts are not only chain-driven but can be adjusted for a maximum of 42 degrees.

This gives it a higher degree of freedom which is helpful especially in controlling the timing of the valve. Once this is combined with the flow-optimized and straight ducts of the intake manifold, it boosts the charge on the whole speed range. One of the main reasons why the R8 V10 guarantees driving safety and has a lead when it comes to traction is the quattro all-wheel drive. This technology is important especially for a high-performance sports car. After all, having four powered wheels offers better grip than having two. This technology enables the driver to immediately push on the pedal even when the vehicle is just going out of a curve.

It is not simply the traction that takes advantage of this but even the stability and the transverse dynamics. Paired to the engine is the manual six-speed transmission which is equipped as standard, though the R tronic is offered as an option. This advanced gearshift helps the driver get that genuine racing feel especially with the rocker switches that have been placed at the steering wheel. It even results in short shifting time, just less 1/10 of a second. With a simple push of a button, the Launch Control program is activated allowing the R8 V10 to get that quick start with the tire slip that is controlled electronically, either with the manual transmission or the R tronic. Due to the superior technologies in the R8 V10 like the quattro all-wheel drive, the lightweight body is composed of aluminium. And with its excellent design and the advanced LED headlights, it is clear that the R8 V10 is miles ahead of its rivals.

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