Le Mans Accolade Crowns Record Year For Audi

Anthony Lewis and Chris Wright in Paris Audi's sporting heritage was underlined at the Paris Motor Show when the historic Le Mans trophy was presented to the company outright after scoring three successive wins in the famous 24-hour race.

That racing pedigree was evident in Audi's two new motor show sports saloons powered by engines derived from the Le Mans winning machines.

The Le Mans accolade comes during the most successful year in Audi UK's history with expected sales of 62,000 units, an increase of more than 10 per cent on last year.

The new S4 features a further development of the 4.2-litre V8 engine with 344bhp on tap enabling it to make the 0-60mph dash in just 5.6 seconds and to reach a top speed governed at 155mph.

The S4 is the only car in its class to have quattro permanent all-wheel drive.

To shoehorn the engine into the S4 - the first time for such a big power plant in a B-segment car - engineers have reduced its length by 52 millimetres to 464 millimetres.

Savings have also been made in terms of weight by using lighter pistons and con rods.

Power is transferred via a closely stepped 6-speed manual gearbox while a 6-speed tiptronic will extend the range in the second half of 2003.

Also new on the Audi stand was the allroad quattro 4.2 adding the V8 engine to a range which already includes the 2.5 TDI and 2.7T.

The new top of the range model has a power output of 300bhp and has a top speed of 150mph.

This V8 is the same as that already available in the Audi A6 quattro and S6.

Five speed tiptronic gearbox is standard and the car also features a further development of the 4-level air suspension which can be raised to increase ground clearance for off road work.

At the top of the Audi range the new A8 was on display featuring two V8 engines with 4.2 and 3.7 litres. One new feature on this model is the 6-speed automatic transmission with tiptronic.

As an option it is also possible to change gear manually via shift paddles mounted on the steering wheel.

Aluminium is again used on the body of the car with a further development of the Space Frame ASF giving high strength and low weight.

This model also features adaptive air suspension and the driver can choose between four pre-defined settings ranging from sporty to ultra comfortable.

There is also a first for a luxury car with the new A8 featuring run-flat technology which allows the car to run for up to 200 kilometres at a maximum speed of 80kph with a tyre fully deflated.

Published 27 September 2002 Melanie Carter

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