It was only a matter of time: pics of first crashed Porsche Macan hit the web

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I know how much some of our readers love seeing busted up sports and exotic cars, so I thought this one from Poland might be worth sharing.

This is purported to be the first crash of a new Porsche Macan, the company’s sporty crossover vehicle. It seems that this unfortunate porker in Radomierz, Poland was involved in a head on collision with an Audi A4, which caused the Porsche to flip and hit a tree. Polish news reports that the A4 was being driven by a 19 year old male while a 53 year old male was driving the Porsche with a 63 year old male passenger. All three men have been taken to hospital, and there are no reports yet on their condition.

Potential injuries aside, I would have to say that the cabin structure of the Macan performed quite admirably.

Nows Source: kontact24 with files from Wrecked Exotics

Green flag mayhem during ADAC GT Masters at Oschersleben

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If ever there is an opportunity for all hell to break loose during a car race, it is at the start. The limits of physics are being tested as clutches are popped and tires scrabble for traction as drivers do their best to launch harder than the next guy. Then of course there is the jockeying for position as drivers aim for holes or try to block that guy who got the jump from the row behind.

At the start of the ADAC GT Masters race at Oschersleben over the weekend, things went all sorts of crazy. The worst part of the incident was when the #11 Audi R8 of Nick Thiim hit the wall on driver’s right. The car then dug in and began a series of barrel rolls. Fortunately all of the drivers involved were ok. The same can’t be said about team’s bank accounts.

Onboard Audi S1 video will blow your mind

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Back in the mid-Eighties, the Group B days, there was a video floating around about the series and Audi’s involvement. Chances are that you have seen bits of it that are now mashed-up with other stuff in modern YouTube videos. The flick featured lots of incredibly cheesy 80s Euro synth tunes and fantastic footage of the most fearsome cars ever built, complete with flames and jumps. Also on tap was a decent amount of in car footage, something we didn’t see too often at that time.

There was one particular scene that featured the fancy footwork of one Walter Rohrl. That scene is what taught me how to left foot brake, heel and toe downshift and the near dead art of double clutching. I pretty much wore out the VHS tape because I watched it so many times. It was great footage for the time, but modern action cameras are so much better than what we have now.

Ride along with Polish rally driver Josef Beres during a hill climb last year in his Audi S1 Quattro Group B car. While we don’t see any foot action, the sound is utterly fantastic and gives a small glimpse into what it must have been like to rally these monsters back in the day.

Source: YouTube via Motorsport Retro

The Garage at 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona

The Winners crossing the line!

The Winners crossing the line!

The past 12 months have been just a crazy ride for me as I have traveled around the world covering events for Wheels.ca including bucket list events like the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Goodwood Festival of Speed and just this past weekend I went to Daytona Beach to cover the Rolex 24 for the first time. Just an incredible year!

To get my full report on the 24, click here to read my live blog from the race complete with tons of images. The long and the short of it is that Chip Ganassi Racing won their fifth Rolex 24 in ten years. Toronto’s AIM Autosport pulled off a great third spot on the podium in the GT class and west coast Canucks, Bullet Racing, scored second place in the new GX class.

Head past the jump to see a rather huge gallery of images from the 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona.
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Review: 2012 Audi S4

The times are changing, and if you don’t believe that, look no further than the Audi S4. While S4’s of yore were powered by V-8 engines, the current S4 makes due with a supercharged V-6. Sure, there is a lot to be said about shoehorning a V-8 in a mid-size sedan, but in the interest of emissions and fuel economy, can Audi keep the excitement alive in the S4 running on two fewer cylinders? Read on to find out.

For starters, Audi has again managed to design an extremely handsome sport sedan. Our test car, finished in a gorgeous Phantom Black pearl paint effect with sexy 19″ alloys and aluminum capped sideview mirrors all added up for one elegant and subtly aggressive package. Contemporary A4s looked dowdy next to the drop-dead serious S4. Without a shadow of a doubt, the S4 is one of the best looking premium sport sedans available today, bar none.

Audi has earned a reputation for constructing some of the finest interiors available, and the S4 is no exception. The quality of materials is exceptional, and the workmanship cannot be faulted. Despite the fact our heavily optioned S4 was loaded with extras, controls were fairly intuitive. Using Audi’s MMI (Multi-Media Interface) is easier than BMW’s iDrive, and I never had to drag out the owner’s manual. Our test car’s black and red leather interior hinted at the level of performance on tap. The sport seats offered excellent support, and the leather-lined, red stitched steering wheel was a joy to hold.

Our S4 was pressed into duty for a weekend trip to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to celebrate my son’s sixth birthday with my in-laws. And sadly, this is where the S4 sort of falls short. For a two night stay with a family of three, the S4’s trunk was fully loaded. Returning home with birthday gifts, the trunk was ready to burst and half the back seat was loaded with what would not fit in the trunk. With a booster seat and two adults seated in the rear, it was way too close for comfort, and my passengers were incredulous at how a car of this size could offer such cramped quarters. Driving the S4 is a thrill, but knowing your passengers are miserable takes away a lot of the fun.

But let’s get back to the fun. Yes, the V-8 engine is gone, replaced with a 3.0L supercharged V-6 rated at 333hp. All S4’s are all-wheel drive Quattros, paired with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual clutch automated manual. Our test car was blessed with the six-speed manual, which was a joy to shift. The S4 offers explosive acceleration off the line, and exceptional passing power. The supercharger is seamless in operation. Passing on the highway rarely calls for a downshift-the power is right there when you want it. The S4 is a model for the definitive German sport sedan with a firm but surprisingly forgiving ride. The car just inhaled the miles at rapid pace without ever breaking a sweat.

The Audi S4 starts at $47,300USD. Standard equipment includes a power moonroof, xenon and LED lighting, leather and alcantara interior, heated/power front seats, brushed aluminum trim, three-zone auto climate control, Bluetooth and satellite radio. Our S4 tester added the Prestige package, which includes 19″ alloys, adaptive lighting, a superb Bang & Olufsen sound system, Nappa leather, parking sensors and navigation, and adaptive cruise control. Including delivery, our Audi S4 rings in at $60,300. And that is near the entry price of a BMW M3, the Holy Grail of all sports sedans.

So where does that leave the S4? Make no mistake, the combination of a sophisticated exterior and interior design coupled with an utterly fantastic engine, the S4 looks like a no-brainer. But the tiny trunk and the S4’s inability to comfortably seat five passengers was a huge turn-off. It’s tough to enjoy a car that is as fun to drive as an S4 when you know your passengers are uncomfortable, and in a car with a $60,000 sticker price, I find that hard to accept.

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Review: 2011 Audi A5

Ah, the personal luxury coupe-a breed of car most folks under the age of thirty have no memory of. Originally perfected by American automakers, the personal luxury car arguably hit its zenith at the height of the Rat Pack era with gorgeous styling masterpieces as the original Oldsmobile Toronado and Buick Riviera. And then it all went downhill from there, and badly. Interestingly, the Germans would later pick up on the concept on an even grander scale. As a kid growing up in the 1980’s, I was utterly captivated by cars like the BMW 635CSi and Mercedes-Benz 560SEC. While the descendents of the BMW and Benz are still available, they are hugely expensive. And that is where the Audi A5 enters the picture.

What separates the Audi from its German competition is that the A5 offers all the swagger and style of the original personal luxury coupes, but on a more more attainable level than its contemporary rivals. When the A5 went on sale as a 2008 model, the car’s good looks slayed me. Three years later the car is still positively gorgeous, and in future years I am convinced the A5 will be as respected and admired as 1970’s-era BMW 3.0CS coupes are today. Neither trendy or flashy, the A5 absolutely drips of class and elegance. The proportions are perfect, and though it may be hard to tell from the pics, but the A5 is delightfully curvy and voluptuous. Finished in optional Deep Sea Blue pearl effect paint, the Audi makes similarly priced cars appear forced in looking premium, while here, it seemingly effortless.

Audi has earned a sterling reputation for building some of the best interiors out there, and the A5 does not disappoint. And, after all, this is a personal luxury coupe, so it had better deliver. And it certainly does. The seats are low, as they should be, and supremely comfortable. For all the features and tech our A5 offered, all controls were within easy reach and fairly intuitive to use. I definitely prefer Audi’s MMI (multi-media interface) to BMW’s iDrive for controlling audio, navigation, and other functions. The driver is faced with two deep set gauges, separated with an LCD display screen and a meaty steering wheel. The workmanship and quality of materials here are without fault, and the optional Nutmeg Laurel wood trim added an extra level of luxe to an already polished interior. Rear seat space is not as awful as you might think, and the generously sized trunk makes the A5 a perfect choice for a weekend getaway.

At this point, it might be fair of you to think that ok, Audi has dipped its toe in an older, and largely forgotten niche, but that is where you would be wrong. While personal luxury cars of the past favored larger engines, Audi has turned that concept on its head by offering the A5 with a four cylinder engine. Before you start crying heresy, hear me out. The engine in question is a 2.0L turbocharged, direct injected four rated at 211hp. On paper that sounds pretty meager for a car the size and heft of the A5, but this lovely, torquey little engine actually works very well here. 0-60mph can be expected in the mid-six second range. In my week with the A5, the car was always satisfying. And, let’s face it. The guy buying an A5 is not heading to the local drag strip on the weekends. To sweeten things, the A5 delivers something personal luxury cars are not known for-good fuel economy. With 21/31 MPG city/highway, the A5 is frugal for the luxury and style it delivers. Even sweeter was our test car’s six-speed manual transmission, which was a joy to use. As befitting any proper German coupe, when taken to your favorite back road, the A5 is ready to dance.

While the A5 was previously available with a V-6 engine, that has been dropped. Buyers seeking more power should seek the Audi S5. The A5 is available as a coupe or Cabriolet. While the Cabriolet is offered in front-wheel drive and Quattro all-wheel drive, all A5 coupes come standard as a Quattro. While the six-speed manual is standard, an eight speed automatic transmission is available.

The Audi A5 Quattro coupe starts at a reasonable $36,500USD. Our test car, with the aforementioned pearl paint, wood trim, was also equipped with the Premium Plus package, which adds to the generous standard equipment list xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights and taillights, unique 18″ alloys, Bluetooth, three-zone auto climate control and  heated seats. Other options included navigation and a sublime Bang & Olufsen sound system for a total of $45,430, including destination. Inexpensive? No. But the content for the price paid is on par with its closest competition from Lexus, Volvo and Infiniti.

No, Audi did not reinvent the wheel with the A5, but what they did manage to do was to take an old formula with the personal luxury coupe and make a positively stunning car that offers more than adequate performance with good fuel economy to boot-a modern take on a classic recipe. The A5 is a no-apologies, bonafide grand tourer that begs for weekend trips to grand locales, where getting there in style, fun, and comfort is the order of the day. That it can do so at a fraction of the cost of its pricier rivals at BMW and Mercedes wrapped in a body that is destined for classic status is icing on the cake.

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Review: 2011 Audi A3

The A3 is Audi’s entry-level car here in North America, but as such, the car unfortunately does not get much promotion or media attention. Which is understandable-Audi is going to spend its advertising budget pushing the A4 and Q5, which compete in white hot markets. The A3, on the other hand is unique in the entry-level luxury car market. Americans continue to be aloof when it comes to hatchbacks, especially when a premium price tag is part of the deal. But does the entry-level Audi retain all the goodness its larger and pricier siblings offer, or is the A3 a ploy just to get people to buy into a premium brand with a less than premium car? Read on…

For anyone who has honestly thought that hatchbacks look cheaper compared to a traditional four door sedan, I’m showing them the A3. The car oozes class, and is every inch an Audi, regardless of being a hatchback or the entry-level car. Understated, serious, and sporty. Our test car was finished in the optional Deep Sea Blue pearl effect which was positively gorgeous, not to mention one of the highest quality paint jobs I’ve seen. It really makes the car, and the sporty but elegant 17″ wheels was icing on the cake. Further proof that the A3 was built to a standard, not a price, come when you shut the door, which gives a solid “whump”. Solid.

Audi has a well-earned reputation for being the gold standard when it comes to interior design and quality, and the A3 is no exception. Fit and finish and quality of materials are exceptional. Gauges are large and easy to read. The beefy steering wheel and comfortable, supportive seats are subtle hints that the A3 is fun to drive. I’ve done seat time in an A3 before in a car with a black interior, which was austere to the point of being drab. Our test car’s Luxor Beige interior went a long way to cheer things up, and is worth it, even if it may be harder to keep clean. Navigation and audio were controlled by Audi’s MMI (multi-media interface), a knob mounted just to the right of the screen. You get used to it, but I desperately wished it was just a touch screen so I could quit the knob. Again, sitting in the driver’s seat there is no mistaking you are enjoying an Audi interior.

The A3 is available with two engines: a 2.0L turbocharged four cylinder rated at 200hp, or a 2.0L TDI diesel rated at 140hp (in August 2011, nearly 70% of A3 buyers chose the diesel). Both engines can be teamed to either a six-speed manual or a 6-speed S Tronic dual clutch auto. Quattro all-wheel drive is available with the gas engine only, and S Tronic is the only transmission choice. Our test car was a front-wheel drive gasser with the S Tronic. We’ve sampled this engine in several VW’s, and have grown quite fond of it. Today 200hp does not sound like much, but the A3 is quick from a standstill and you’re never wanting for power when you need to make a quick pass. The S Tronic shifted quickly, and is obviously far superior than any torque converter automatic, and did nothing to take away from the A3’s inherit driving pleasure. And the A3 is fun. The A3 is a gleaming example of why people respect German engineering, and how Audi continues to walk the line in providing drivers a sporty yet comfortable ride.

In addition to choosing between gas or diesel, manual or automated manual, front or all-wheel drive, the A3 is offered in Premium and Premium Plus trim levels. The base A3 starts at $27,270USD. Our test car, with the optional paint, S Tronic transmission, Navigation, panoramic sunroof and Premium Plus (includes xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, Bluetooth, multifunction steering wheel, power drivers seat, aluminum trim, and 17″ wheels) for an as-delivered price of $35,250. If you go full out with options, you can top out an A3 for over $40,000, which seems ridiculous, but such is the case with most premium German cars when you start checking every option box in sight.

The Audi A3 may be the entry-level car to the brand, but it isn’t the ‘everyman’ Audi-leave that for the A4. In spite of its ‘entry’ status in the Audi family, the company has successfully instilled all the ingredients that make people admire, and aspire to own an Audi. I applaud Audi for resisting the temptation to go cheap with this car when they so easily could have. In doing so the A3 is a no compromise Audi.

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Audi Announces Pricing for TT RS

Audi has announced US pricing for the white-hot, and highly anticipated TT RS. Going on sale this summer, prices start at $56,850USD. The heart of the TT RS is its engine, a 2.5L TFSI turbocharged five cylinder cranking out 360hp. A six-speed manual is the only transmission available. Personally, I could not be more proud of Audi for that. I’d love to be the Audi salesman who sees the guy waltz into the showroom, check in hand, wanting the RS, but only with an automatic.

“Sorry sir, but if you can’t row your own gears, you don’t get to play.”

And that guy would miss out on some serious fun. No shock that all TT RS’ are Quattros, and putting that power to the pavement delivers a 0-60mph sprint of 4.1 seconds, with a top speed of 174mph. To keep everything under control, Audi’s magnetic ride is standard, which is essentially an active suspension. There is also a sport mode that tightens ride and response even further, with the added bonus of a more raucous exhaust note.

The TT has suffered, in my opinion, a somewhat unfair rep here as a bit a a girly car. In my opinion, the four cylinder TT epitomizes what Porsche should be selling as their entry level car (and no one called the 944 a chick car). The TT RS ought to silence those critics, but on the same note, we’re lucky this car is reaching our shores at all, since there were doubts Audi would be allowed to. You see, The TT RS is more powerful, quicker, and cheaper than a Porsche Boxster or Cayman, and the fear was the Audi would be a threat to the Porsches. Again, I applaud VW Group for letting the TT RS arrive here, and it makes sense. The buyer who’s dreamed of owning a new Porsche his whole life won’t be sidetracked by an Audi. But in any case, the TT RS is a welcome high-performance sports car to our market, and has earned a spot at the top of the heap.

Audi Sets US Pricing for A7

Mercedes-Benz confused the world in 2005 with the introduction of the CLS by calling it a “four door coupe”. Surprisingly, VW followed the concept by offering the well-done, yet affordable Passat CC in 2009. Not wanting to be left out, Audi is rolling out the 2012 A7, which will be available later this month. With the A7, Audi borrowed the basic recipe for the German “coupe” that happens to have four doors, but with a twist. Take your mid-size car (in this case, the A6) and wrap it up in sexy, swoopy bodywork. The twist here, is that while the Benz and VW have trunks, the A7 is actually a hatchback, which instantly makes it the more practical choice.

While European shoppers can choose between two gas and two diesel engines for the A7, in North America we receive one drivetrain-the top-spec 3.0L supercharged V-6, rated at 310hp, paired to an 8-speed automatic and standard Quattro all-wheel drive. Pricing for the A7 starts at $59,250USD, but typical of German luxury automakers, that price can quickly escalate when you start checking off option boxes. Properly outfitted, the A7 is a technological tour de force, with available features like voice-activated Google Earth, rolling Wi-Fi hotspot functionality, color head up display, night vision assistant, and for the true audiophile, a 15-speaker, 1,300 watt Bang & Olufsen audio system.

Make no mistake, Audi is chasing a niche market with the A7, especially in the US, where consumers still rate hatchbacks as lesser cars than sedans. Still, it should be interesting to see how the A7 plays against its closest competitor, the Mercedes CLS550. The A7 is priced about $5,000 less, gives up two cylinders and 72hp to the Benz, but offers remarkably better fuel economy, as well as more practicality.

Audi R8 GT Coming to America

When The Garage announced Audi’s plans for the R8 GT last year, it wasn’t clear if there were any plans to import the car to the US, but thankfully a small number of buyers will be able to enjoy a lighter, more powerful R8. Total production is limited to 333 cars, 90 of which are destined for the US. The R8 GT is powered by a massaged 5.2L V-10 rated at 560hp (35hp more than a standard R8 5.2) paired to Audi’s R-Tronic sequential manual transmission. The R8 GT, according to Audi, will hit 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds, with a top speed of 199mph. Pricing is set at $196,800USD. Options available include carbon fiber reinforced ceramic brakes and a 12 speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo.