The CES, the world’s most important electronics trade fair, offers Audi an attractive platform for showcasing innovations. The highlights of its presence include not only numerous high-end exhibits but also the new Audi RS 5 Cabriolet and the winning Audi R18 e-tron quattro Le Mans sports car.
The Audi R18 e-tron quattro
The Audi R18 e-tron quattro notched up a majestic overall victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours 2012 with its package of cutting-edge technologies – its drive concept in particular is unprecedented in the world of motorsport. At the rear axle, a 3.7-liter V6 TDI engine delivering more than 375 kW (510 hp) and more than 850 Nm (626.93 lb-ft) of torque provides powerful and efficient propulsion. A six-speed transmission with a housing made of ultra-light carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) transmits the power to the road.
At the front axle sits the innovative motor generator unit (MGU). A generator and a converter transform energy recovered during braking phases into direct current; this powers a flywheel accumulator, which is located in the cockpit next to the driver. The electricity accelerates a CFRP flywheel, which runs in a vacuum, to up to 45,000 rpm.
When exiting the bend, the driver can retrieve the energy from the accumulator. It then supplies the MGU’s two electric motors that drive the front wheels with up to 150 kW (204 hp) of power – for a short time the Audi R18 TDI is a quattro with four driven wheels. So that this did not become too much of an advantage, the organizers of the Le Mans 24 Hours restricted the use of the MGU to the speed range above 120 km/h (74.56 mph), to a maximum of 500 kilojoules of energy and to seven zones on the circuit.
The Audi with chassis number R18-208 took the checkered flag in the Le Mans 24 Hours after 378 laps and 5151.762 km (3201.16 miles). Runner-up was the R8 e-tron quattro with Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish, just one lap behind. The two purely TDI-powered Audi R18 ultra cars rounded off the brand’s success by taking third and fifth position – the eleventh overall victory at Le Mans in 14 attempts since 1999.
The digital rearview mirror, which was fitted in all four racing cars under the roof, was a great help for the Audi drivers. Conventional exterior mirrors do not provide a sharp image at high race speeds due to the inevitable vibrations. In the dark the other vehicles’ headlights can blind the driver, while the spray impairs visibility in the rain.
The digital rearview mirror resolved all these problems. The intelligent processing of the signals, provided by the camera mounted on the roof, enables the interference components to be largely eliminated from the image. The AMOLED display, whose 600,000 individual pixels can be driven separately, provides excellent high-resolution, brilliant images with a wealth of detail.
The display’s extremely short switching times ensure perfectly smooth images – even at the 330 km/h (205.05 mph) top speed when the racing cars were covering 92 meters (301.84 ft) every second. The AMOLED display also provides drivers with a gear indicator, tire slip gauge or individual warning lamps.
The Audi RS 5 Cabriolet
Beefy power and majestic elegance – the hallmarks of the Audi RS 5 Cabriolet. The four-seat convertible with its lightweight soft top combines its pronounced sporty character with the exhilaration of open-top motoring.
The high-revving 4.2 FSI develops 331 kW (450 hp) at 8,250 rpm; it produces 430 Nm (317.15 lb-ft) of torque between 4,000 and 6,000 rpm. The naturally aspirated unit breathes freely; flaps in the exhaust tailpipes vary the sonorous acoustic backdrop. Acceleration from zero to 100 km/h takes 4.9 seconds; as an option Audi can increase the top speed from 250 (155.34 mph) to 280 km/h (173.98 mph). Average fuel consumption for the powerful V8 is just 10.9 liters per 100 km (21.58 US mpg).
Thanks to the long ratio of the highest gear the seven-speed S tronic makes a major contribution to fuel efficiency. The driver can have the dual-clutch transmission with its instantaneous, smooth gearchanges shift automatically in the D or S programs, or he or she can manually shift with the gearshift lever or the paddles on the steering wheel. Launch Control manages starts with maximum traction at the push of a button.
In its latest development stage, the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system features the crown-gear center differential and torque vectoring. Audi also offers the optional sport differential for the rear axle, which actively distributes the power between the wheels.
The five-link front suspension and the self-tracking trapezoidal-link rear suspension of the Audi RS 5 Cabriolet consist largely of aluminum. The speed-dependent power steering system has an electromechanical drive that operates in a highly efficient manner. The body is 20 mm (0.79 in) lower than that of the Audi A5 Cabriolet; its mounts are stiffer, and its anti-roll bars are larger and stronger. Forged aluminum wheels, size 9 J x 19 with 265/35 tires, come as standard; Audi will also fit 20-inch wheels as an option.
Internally ventilated and perforated brake discs in a weight-saving wave design bring the vehicle to a stop; pins are used to join the discs to the aluminum brake pots – a concept adopted from motorsport. The front brake callipers operate with eight pistons each; Audi can deliver the car with carbon fiber-reinforced ceramic front discs as an option. The ESP stabilization system has a Sport mode and can also be completely deactivated.
Audi drive select is a standard feature in the RS 5 Cabriolet. The driver can use this function to select various modes which vary the characteristics of major technology components. These components include the throttle valve, the seven-speed S tronic, the steering and the exhaust system sound flaps as well as the optional components: sport differential, dynamic steering, the sport suspension plus with Dynamic Ride Control (DRC). This is a purely mechanical system, whose damping can be switched between three characteristics.
The dynamism of the Audi RS 5 Cabriolet instantly catches the eye. The wedge-shaped headlights with wave-like lower edges illuminate with xenon plus lamps and LED strips that form the daytime running lights. Large air intakes are embedded in the distinctively shaped front apron whose ends run out into splitter edges. A frame in matt aluminum look surrounds the hexagonal single-frame grille.
Sill add-ons and wheel housing extensions dominate the car’s appearance in side profile. The door mirror housings have an aluminum look, while the surface of the windshield frame is made of matt anodized aluminum. Elegant LED light strips illuminate in the taillights.
The rear bumper boasts powerful lines; its diffuser is now much higher. A matt carbon spoiler lip provides additional downforce at the rear.
The lightweight textile roof spans over the interior space of the RS 5 Cabriolet which is 4.65 meters (15.26 ft) long; a foam layer delivers high acoustic comfort. At the press of a button, the soft top opens and closes in around 16 seconds; when open, it only requires 60 liters (2.12 cubic ft) of its 380 liters (13.42 cubic ft) total volume. The rear seatbacks can be folded over to provide a large load-through hatch.
The interior of the four-seater convertible is styled in sporty black, and the inner soft top liner can be ordered in the optional color star silver. The inlays come as standard in carbon fiber reinforced polymer; fine chrome highlights and high-gloss black trim underscore the car’s exclusive appearance. The steering wheel comes with a flat-bottomed rim; the dials are finished in black. The driver information system integrates a lap timer for circuit times and an oil temperature gauge. The S sport seats with integrated head restraints have power adjustments, a combination of leather and Alcantara is used for the seat covers. Special pigmentation prevents the leather from heating up in strong sunlight.
The equipment and data specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.