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Our trip with Audi had 2 big stages. The first one, as you already know, was the international launch and test drive of the all-new 2020 Audi Q3 Sportback that you can read here. The second stage, however, was a lot busier since we visited the Audi stand at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show which included an interview with Hildegard Wortmann - Member of the Board for Sales and Marketing, the reveal of the Audi RS7, the reveal of the Audi AI:Trail and a round table with Julius Seebach - Managing Director of Audi Sport. Basically, the guy that puts a smile on every RS owner’s face. The main highlights you want to know will follow below.
While motor shows are going through tough times due to the massive investment and coordination needed which does not reflect a significant return of investment; the Frankfurt motor show is still the most important. For the eyes of the regular reader, it is THAT moment of the year where brands show their muscles with the latest updates. Hosted in Germany, it seems that German brands have the obligation to kick it out of the park. If you’ve never been, the Frankfurt motor show is massive. To give you an idea of the huge, brands don't do stands but pavilions and if you want to avoid a 10-minute walk between each pavilion, there are cars that will drive you.
Audi presented a very techie set up where they placed their EVs, standard models, RS models, and their concepts all together. This year Audi made a statement regarding future mobility and electrification. For instance, they quickly showcased what will be their next EV in the brand’s line up. While it will be fully revealed during the LA Motor Show this November, they did an "in and out" of the e-tron Sportback during the press conference.
For the standard models, nearly the entire brand’s line up was present, however, the highlight was the previously tested 2020 Audi Q3 Sportback. As part of the Audi Sport division, the recently launched RS7 Sportback was taking the most important slot across all the RS models. Being the second-generation model and arriving in the Middle East by 2020, this RS7 Sportback comes with a refreshed design and more power. It will be packed with a V8 4.0 TFSI engine that produces 591 horsepower and delivers 800 Nm of torque. This powerful combo will take this wide-body five-seater from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in just 3.6 seconds and reach a maximum speed of 305 km/h if equipped with the Dynamic plus package. A car built for those who enjoy the speed and a V8 engine sound also comes with more than 30 assist systems like adaptative cruise control, lane change warning, curb warning, 360 cameras, among many other things. This head-turner will be available in thirteen standard exterior colors (but go for the red please) and five matte finishes. If you are into the details, you will also be able to request for the Audi rings and RS logos -front and rear- in gloss black (please do).
Following the RS, Audi Sport topic, as mentioned before we were part of a round table with Julius "the RS boss" Seebach. A young and super approachable guy that really wants to build exciting and sporty cars for the road. For instance, get ready to meet in the Middle East (soon) the Audi RSQ8. While he did not enter into much detail, I expect it to be a more cost-effective yet equally exciting to drive Urus. And that will be good value for money.
If the above was exciting, wait until you go through what comes next.
Leaving the performance to some extent on the side and moving to the future, the German brand presented what they have called "The Off-Roader of the Future". The Audi AI:Trail. The day before the reveal we did have an exclusive interview with Hildegard Wortman the newly appointed member of the board for sales and marketing. She clearly mentioned that what they will be showcasing was going to be very relevant to our region and she nailed it.
The Audi AI:Trail comes across as a fully electric automated off roader with four electric motors and Quattro drive. With a futuristic design, I can't find a better way of describing it than quoting Marc Lichte, Audi's head of Design: “With the AI:TRAIL, we are showing an off-road concept with an emissions-free electric drive for an innovative driving experience away from paved roads. Consistent with this, we designed a monolithic basic vehicle body with maximum glazing to create an intense connection to the surroundings. A concept for sustainable mobility on demand.”
Personally, I can't stop thinking of how well this concept will look and perform in the deserts across the Middle East.
Now the cherry on the top. We had an exclusive interview with Hildegard Wortman who, as I said, is the first woman member oo the board of management for Audi AG taking care of sales and marketing. Being honest, it was very refreshing to see that the brand has such an approachable, easy-going and smart person as part of the board. Being an ex-BMW personnel and having more than 20 years of experience in the automotive industry, Hildegard threw some light regarding Audi's plans for the near future. While you will be able to find the complete interview addressing the Audi Q3 Sportback’s USPs against its competitors and Audi's customer's profile; she emphasized on the fact that Audi will be investing heavily in electric mobility and digital channels to market their products. On the digital front, Hildegard also mentioned how they leverage from the constant feedback these platforms provide and how data analytics plays a very big role while shaping their products and services.