Art meets digital wizardry in the new Audi A7. Picture: SUPPLIED
Art meets digital wizardry in the new Audi A7. Picture: SUPPLIED

Audi SA took the 2019 Festival of Motoring — the pinnacle of SA automotive events — quite seriously. Theirs was a spectacular pavilion featuring high-definition displays of flashing light presentations, display screens and of course, cars, inside the main marquee, at a makeshift arena on the skidpan area, and more cars circulating Kyalami’s racetrack.

Down at the arena Swedish pro-racer Mattias Ekström did sideways driving with an Audi R8 V10 while all manner of RS cars occupied the main track, from the RS3 with its sonorous-sounding 2.5l turbo fiver to RS4s and RS5s.

But it was the handsome new A1, elegant A7 Sportback, new Q3 and electric e-tron that took centre stage.

A1

The imminent new Audi A1 is unmistakably longer, higher and wider at 4,029mm, 1,740mm and 1,940mm respectively, hinting at a more spacious hatch. What’s also quite distinct is a sportier look of tautness thanks to a wide track and short overhangs. It also sports the trending 1984 Ur-quattro inspired retro styling touches such as pronounced flanks and three flat slits below the edge of the bonnet lid.

The single frame grille is enhanced but is six-sided rather than the eight as found in the equally fresh Q8. Expect a big renaissance in digital features where even the basic A1 version comes standard with a fully digital instrument cluster with a high-resolution, 10.25-inch display and a multifunction steering wheel. It’s also better connected and has voice control, MMI navigation plus, Audi smartphone interface and wireless charging.


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Driver assistance systems includes standard lane departure warning, Audi pre-sense front radar-based adaptive speed assist, reversing camera and park assist. Audi’s virtual cockpit is optional. Engines vary from 70kW to 147kW turbo petrol engines, while all cars can be optionally fitted with a manual transmission or seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmissions.

A7

Audi calls the new A7 four-door coupé the essence of its new design language. New levels of style, systematic digitalisation, dynamism and a space concept to please a wide range of customer requirements are highlights.

The cockpit offers a wide choice of colours, upholstery materials, inlays and interior lighting.

The luxury coupe also offers voice control,  head-up display, Audi virtual cockpit, a fully networked Infotainment and Audi connect, LTE speed Wi-Fi hotspot, various Car-to-X services, and a new digital Audi connect key that sees the A7 opened and started via smartphone. It has 39 driver assistance systems with new City and Tour assist packages. Five radar sensors, a laser scanner, a front camera, four 360° cameras and 12 ultrasonic sensors act as eyes for the car when on the move.

The new model is designed to drive better than ever before. All-wheel steering, a sport differential, damper control, sport suspension and adaptive air suspension are options to be had. More technical details and pricing will be revealed when the A7 is launched here before the end of 2019.

e-tron

Though the “save the date” notice says 2020, Audi’s first all-electric car, the e-tron SUV, was shown at the Festival of Motoring.

Ground-breaking e-tron is earmarked for its SA debut in 2020. Picture: SUPPLIED
Ground-breaking e-tron is earmarked for its SA debut in 2020. Picture: SUPPLIED

The company promises a sporty SUV with space, comfort, luxury and a claimed driving range of 400km which should be suitable for everyday use. System output is rated at 265kW and 561Nm. In electric boost mode this rises to 664Nm. The e-tron uses electric motors on each axle to provide high-precision, fast acting electric quattro all-wheel-drive suited to both normal and farm roads.

Q3

The new Q3 is a clear step forward from its predecessor with improved handling, ride quality and interior comfort. We are attending the Q3’s local launch this week. See next Thursday’s Motor News for the full article.