Filling on an opinion survey tonight about Audi commercials… don’t know why it came to us but we had fun watching them and then answering the questions.
Here’s two for you to sample. Go full screen, turn up your volume!
The first we had never seen before. We thought it was creative, represented the essence of the brand well, and was humorous. It’s titled “Ahab”.
And the next one had us laughing and clapping for the kid. It’s titled “Big Game”, and that is exactly what he is hunting at his prom:
The final question in the opinion survey was if this was a company we want to do be associated with. The answer is an unqualified “Yes!”.
Audi Press Release follows:
The Countdown Begins: Starting at Midnight Tonight, Vote for How Audi’s Super Bowl Spot Will End
• Audi to let audiences choose the ending of its Super Bowl XLVII spot on YouTube • Voting to take place for 24 hours beginning at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Thurs., Jan. 24 and closing at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Fri., Jan. 25. • Final spot to be revealed online on Saturday, Jan. 26 and will also air during the big game on Super Bowl Sunday
In the spot, viewers will follow a nervous teenage boy as he embarks on one of the most pivotal moments of American adolescence: prom night. With no date and no confidence, the teen is discouraged until his father tosses him the keys to an all-new 2013 Audi S6. With the power of the Audi S6 at his fingertips, the teen is suddenly determined, inspired. When he enters the gymnasium, he heads directly towards the prom queen and kisses her. What happens next is up to the viewer to decide.
“Audi has a long history of experimentation with social media, especially during Super Bowl season,” said Loren Angelo, General Manager of Brand Marketing, Audi of America. “This year, Audi – which is Latin for listen – is listening to our fans, allowing them to take part in the creative process and have a voice in how our spot should end.”
Audi’s Super Bowl spot was created by San Francisco-based Venables Bell & Partners.
Every year, Audi challenges the status quo with a Super Bowl spot that celebrates emotion and individuality. This year, Audi’s ad salutes the unconventional bravery that propels people to take risks and pave their own paths. The spot will feature the 2013 Audi S6 performance sedan – a vehicle that stands for power, confidence and pushing limits.
Proven on the track, Audi’s award-winning and progressive technologies such as TFSI engines and quattro® all-wheel drive inspire the new S6 and provide a driving experience that is engineered for the driver. The S6 is fitted with the 4.0T twin-turbo V8 – delivering 420 horsepower – and is fitted with a seven-speed double clutch S tronic® transmission and cylinder on demand technology. The S6 offers incredible interior design and craftsmanship such as Atlas carbon fiber inlays, diamond-stitched sport seats and the highest levels of technology through the Audi MMI Navigation plus system with Audi connect™.
Last year, Audi’s entertaining spot “Vampire Party” showcased the power of progressive engineering with the brand’s signature LED headlight technology. In 2011, Audi’s “Release the Hounds,” featuring the Audi A8 and a cameo by Kenny G, redefined luxury and became the first Super Bowl spot in history to use a Twitter hashtag. In 2010, Audi’s Super Bowl ad showcased a soundtrack created by rock legends Cheap Trick and featured the A3 TDI “Green Car of the Year” showing how easy being green can be. The brand’s 2009 spot featured actor Jason Statham in a series of high-speed chase scenes involving luxury competitors, sending the message that luxury is evolving. In 2008, the brand’s first Super Bowl spot delivered a parody of the movie “The Godfather,” signaling that Audi was ready to take on the perceived luxury leaders.
ABOUT AUDI Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. Audi was a top-performing luxury brand in Europe during 2011, and broke all-time company sales records in the U.S. Through 2016, AUDI AG will invest about $17 billion on new products and technologies.
We’ve previously gone out on a limb to predict what the 2015 and 2018 Mustang specifications will be. We provided a chart showing the 2013 Mustang specifications against comparable models expected in 2015 and 2018 (yes, we are predicting that in the spring of 2017 an update will occur for the 2018 model year since Ford’s latest and greatest engines and transmissions will not be available in the spring of 2014 when the 20157 Mustang is expected to launch). We created an extensive spreadsheet based on what is known about the 2015 Mustang, and it wasn’t too difficult since we know the new chassis is closely based off the old, and since spy photos have supported what we call “education extrapolation”. Educated because as a member of the press we’ve been watching Mustang launches for many past generations, education because we’ve been an owner of many of those cars ourselves, and extrapolated because of course almost noting is announced – other than that there will be a Mustang. So, yes, we’re out on a limb, and we’re prepared to eat crow next spring when the car arrives. But, generally, enthusiasts who have gone thru out chart agree with most of what’s there.
So now it’s time to go even further out on a limb for the next Camaro, which we think will arrive for the 2016 model year. That could be as early as the summer of 2015, or as latte as the spring of 2016.
Facts: what do we know? Read more
In the latest video in the series, the Toyota 86 takes on the Yufuin-Hita road in the dark and rain.
And proves that the 86 is a car you can enjoy driving year-round, and is up to any conditions.
Yufuin and Hita are areas in the south of Japan, on Kyushu island. This is a very humid and wet area, and is well-known for its hot springs. Note how those springs come into play in the video.
We are using this video series to learn more about Japan, but also to plot a drive around the country one day. There are thousands of great roads to drive in Japan and places to see and this terrific series by Toyota has shown us dozens of places that we wouldn’t have known about otherwise.
Doumo arigatou gozaimasu, Toyota!
We came across this video the other day of the Ford EXP introduction. We were surprised because we certainly didn’t think anyone would ever fondly remember this thing. But we do remember the EXP very clearly… but certainly not fondly.
We never owned one… we never wanted to and we never would even imagine such a thing. But we did drive one once in the mid-eighties. This was in the fall of 1983 (the beginning of the 1984 model year). A brand new 1984 120 HP turbo EXP had just come in at the dealer (1.6 liters, DOHC, transverse 4 cylinder with 5-speed manual). The dealer’s owner, being a friend, tossed us the keys. We closely looked over the car – it was odd beyond belief. The styling appeared to want to imitate a car with pop-up headlamps… up! Perhaps the budget failed at the last-minute and the car was originally supposed to have pop-ups? We seem to remember a spy pic in AutoWeek of such a thing.
The EXP has a bit of an infamous history. Car & Driver and Road & Track entered matching EXPs against each other in the (in)famous 24 hour endurance race at Nelson Ledges. These were naturally aspirated cars – with all of ~90 HP! As we remember, both entries failed due to repeated front wheel bearing failure. The hot ticket, discovered too late for the event, was the European Escort Diesel bearing, and of course Ford of N.A. got cheap with their development budget. Seems to us that the entire line of Escorts have all had this issue. Ford apparently never got it right.
The test drive started well enough.. we started the car and remember a nice burble in the exhaust. When we took off, there was HUGE torque steer (far more than in the Rabbit GTI we had driven a few months before). It was all we could do to immediately let off the gas. One tire was spinning like mad… there was traction from (barely) only 1 side. If the EXP wasn’t already entirely pointless, it sure was once you drove it.
The handling, despite Michelin TRX tires, was also poor. The seats were a cheap version of the Thunderbird Turbo Coupe seats (Lear Siegler), the same cheap seats used in our own (and much-hated) 1983 Mustang GT. Again, in both ways, the GTI was far superior. When we finally got back to the dealer, one front tire was ruined (and not from me abusing it, all it did was spin the entire time) and the engine was very hot (Fords were as bad from over-heating in street driving as they are now).
All in all, a very very *very* poor effort by Ford.
Some time later, we did notice a somewhat better effort – but not by Ford. We were at a swap meet in Columbus when there was a huge exhaust and induction roar behind us. We turned around in came… an EXP! We walked over to talk to the driver… the car had been converted to RWD and it was powered by a BOSS 429 engine. Built for drag racing, it was nonetheless registered for the street (something you couldn’t get away with these days). Thsi same car was featured in Super Ford sometime later (you may be able to find that issue for reference).
The EXP evolved a bit over the years of its lifespan, eventually switching to the front end from the later Escort GT (circa 1986) along with its far better 1.9 liter “CVT” engine. That engine was the first Escort engine specifically designed for North America, and had decent torque and acceleration – especially in the even later high-output “GT” form. But, as is so typical from Ford, even that car never approached the far more serious Escorts in Europe – such as the 1982 Escort RS1600i.
Seems that Ford takes forever to learn, although today the North American Focus ST is identical in spec (although not options) around the entire world. Finally – after 30 years!
Why have we had to wait so long for this test to be run? As the hosts of Everyday Driver say, the FR-S world is full of hype. No one would dare to say anything negative about it when the usual magazines do their usual kowtow road tests and sing its praises.
But in this test, a test the usual car magazines can’t do (because they would risk their press credentials and advertising revenue), a car designed in the mid-nineties, which went on sale in 1999, beats it hands-down. With clear results so there shouldn’t be any controversy.
Of course owners will always find controversy. But personally, as an owner and driving enthusiast, and as a driving instructor who has put significant miles on all three ourselves, we enthusiastically agree with the results of the test.
Nissan is aggressively growing its line of aftermarket and factory NISMO parts for its full line of cars, adding the Juke now and the GT-R late in the year the existing 370Z NISMO.
While frankly we can’t see any point whatsoever in promoting the Juke, we’ve driven the NISMO Z and it’s a very well crafted and balanced track-oriented machine. That we can appreciate. And while there aren’t any published specs of the upcoming NISMO GT-R yet, we’re sure that it will be even more finely tuned than the already excellent GT-R.
What we’d like to see next in North America is the line of NISMO parts that is offered in Japan. Major engine and suspension parts are offered, for a range of current and classic Nissans going back many years.
Nissan press release follows:
VIDEO REPORT: The World is a Race Track for Nissan’s Expanding NISMO Line
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 2, 2013) – Nissan’s Motorsports brand, NISMO, is growing and changing beyond the racetrack.
To show off what’s new, Nissan staged a special NISMO event for media at the Nashville Superspeedway. It was an event to provide a glimpse into what is new, and what is coming next.
On site were both the 2013 and 2014 Nissan 370Z NISMO, the JUKE-R, the 2013 Nissan JUKE NISMO, and the 2014 GT-R Track Edition.
As part of the performance line, these cars sport uniform, race-inspired exterior and interior styling. And, enthusiasts will find new features designed specifically for the driver.
“We think the track is a perfect place to showcase NISMO because NISMO is Nissan Motorsports. It’s the racing, the motor sports heritage that has inspired cars like the new JUKE NISMO, and it’s about bringing that excitement from the track to the street,” said Carl Phillips, chief marketing manager, NISMO and Nissan sports car marketing – Nissan North America.
The first new Nissan production vehicle to get the NISMO treatment, the Juke NISMO, is already on sale in Europe and Japan and launches in the United States in the spring. The 370Z NISMO is now in its second generation in the U.S., with a revised 2014 370Z NISMO set for sale this summer.
Nissan is promising a rapid pace of introduction of even more NISMO models – at least one model every year during the Nissan Power88 period, encompassing the breadth of the Nissan model range. This of course includes the flagship of Nissan’s performance and technology efforts, the Nissan GT-R.
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Subaru teased us with the introduction to a new series featuring rally cars in North America. And now we have episode 1.
Rallying is the most original form of motorsports. It takes us back to the days when there were no paved roads in the country – but with modern cars and engines. The object is simply to get the fastest time on a closed off section of back-country road, called a “stage”, and there are several of them over the course of a day or two.
No restrictions, no excuses. And thankfully, no Olympian egos, no Danica Patrick love life, no redneck fist fights, or any other drama. Safety? No whining about how many guardrails a track should have – there isn’t a track and there are no guardrails. Just driving in its purest form.
One of the highlights of our own motorsport hobby has been attending professional rallies in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Washington. We were never able to attend the Sno*Drift rally, unfortunately, but hope to do so one day. As the name says, it’s in the dead of winter, and the conditions are the worst possible. And that’s exactly what ralliests do.
Go full screen, turn up your volume, and enjoy!
We’ve been closely watching the development at Cobb Tuning of their new lines of parts for the Ford Focus ST. How about 26% more horsepower, and 28% more torque?
You’ll note from the video that the parts are extremely well built and integrated into the Focus ST: no open filters (always a dumb idea), elimination of cats, or a droning exhaust. In other words, this is top-quality and very professional work. We’re very tempted to get a Focus ST and install these parts ourselves.
Having been thru so many new car introductions in our thirty year history in the hobby, it’s always interesting – and definitely more than a bit sad – to watch the almost endless cycle of great looking concept cars, followed by a so-so or often ho-hum production model.
The latest model to hit the sad fan is the upcoming 2014 Subaru WRX. The concept car hit the show circuit recently and it was more than fabulous, although also obviously not tenable:
And then the final production model was spotted at the Nurburgring. It’s a Legacy, with model-specific flared front fenders, hood, front cap, rear fenders, rear bumper, and of course the expected wing. Some fans who believed that Subaru would build something like the blue Concept above were let down – even though it was clear that it never could have happened, especially given the budget Subaru operates under for the WRX and STI. It had to be based on a production car.
Fans get disappointed a lot in this hobby. Take the current Mustang, for example, which was introduced for the model year 2005. Ford first released two concepts, however, styled as shown below, and on an entirely different chassis – the DEW-98 platform, used for the Lincoln LS, Thunderbird, and Jag S-Type – and originally developed for the Mustang but dropped due to cost concerns. What we were shown was a great looking car, with the DEW-98 state-of-the-art chassis ( all aluminum double A-arms up front, and IRS out back), and featuring a supercharged 4.6 DOHC V-8:
The inexperienced observer would be excited and hopeful because it appeared the Mustang was about to get everything every (sophisticated) fan could have hoped for. However, reality is a cruel mistress. What Ford actually delivered is this:
Not only was the uber-chassis lost, the sharp styling was lost as well. Were we cheated? Yes. When will Ford learn? We’ll see.
Meanwhile, Camaro fanboys were shown a concept in 2006 which greatly excited them – not only because their car had been cancelled permanently and was now unexpectedly resurrected from the dead, but also because the concept was a knockout (if more than a bit retro):
The production model for the 2010 model year was all but identical, including the huge bulk, terrible sightlines, enormous width, and the full concept interior with its terrible ergonomics. All that was dropped was some over-the-top orange treatment of the instrument gauges (which themselves retained the concept’s styling). But it was popular and as acceptance grew it finally out-sold the Mustang.
Now we are approaching a new round of ponycars: the Mustang will be all-new in 2015 (well, sort of all-new, being simply an evolution of the existing S197 platform), and the Camaro in 2016 (based on the all-new Alpha chassis, also shared with the ATS and CTS).
We’ve seen several Mustang development mules thanks to spy photographers, showing the Fusion-like front end, but not yet the final rear shape:
The styling of the production car, like the Fusion and all new Fords going forward, is based on Ford’s 2011 Evos concept. As Alan Mulally says, when he steps off a plane in another country, he wants to be able to instantly recognize the local Fords.
From spy pictures, including an underhood picture, we know that the 2015 Mustang has the same grill and swept-back headlamps. We’ve also seen pictures of several small-scale clay models in Ford’s styling studios – and while none of those are production (hundreds of drawings would have been made, and many of the most promising converted to clay), they do all show the same shape and dimensions as the Evo.
So the question is: will Ford deliver a concept of the 2015 Mustang before production commences (presumably in the spring of 2015)? And will that concept accurately preview production… or will reality again be cruel to us?
If there will be a concept delivered, we may see it as early as the LA Auto Show this coming November, but traditionally it would be far more likely to appear in Detroit at the NAIAS in January. And while most observers are assuming that the production model will be shown at the Mustang Club of America 50th anniversary celebration event in April 2014, it’s possible that only a concept could be shown there with the production car introduced later. No doubt this is all being decided now… and we’ll just have to be patient in the meantime. And that, folks, is the car hobby.
All along we’ve been wondering how Letty could possibly be back in Fast and Furious, when she was very clearly killed in an earlier episode.
Now this new featurette has been released.. and the story is in here. It’s the only spoiler in the video that is new.. otherwise the previous trailers (trailer #1 and trailer #2)have revealed several elements of the storyline. If you don’t mind the spoiler, or can’t help yourself, watch the video.
Set your system to full screen, turn up the volume – and enjoy!