Days like these don’t come too often even in a motoring journalist’s life. A wide range of fast, powerful and luxurious cars from one of the major premium car makers in the world were waiting to be unleashed. Audi India got its entire range in India to a private airstrip on the outskirts of Bangalore and ensured we were there to soak in the entire experience. Since its entry into India almost a decade ago, the German luxury car maker has launched more than 40 products in India, which include everything from, Sedans to SUVs as well as performance cars. This meant that cars from the A range, the Q range and sports cars were all there.
‘A’ range luxury sedans
The program presented an opportunity to experience the capabilities of these vehicles on different kinds of tracks. It began with a scenic drive in a convoy of cars that included the likes of super luxurious A8 L, the A6 that comes with Matrix LEDs, and then the cars lower in the range like the Audi A4 and A3. India’s first compact open top convertible – the A3 Cabriolet was there too. The scenic drive on the outskirts of Bangalore in some beautiful weather gave the riders to chance to luxury in terms of features as well as ride quality. Be it the front seat or the rear, there was a lot to experience on these impressive set of wheels.
Q Range SUVs
There was a brilliantly designed off-road track full of challenging obstacles waiting to be tamed. These obstacles would test characteristics like ground clearance, traction control, angles of approach and descent as well as the power distribution in the famed Audi all-wheel drive Quattro system. The obstacles helped us understand the off-road capabilities of the Audi Q range. Cars like the Q3, Q5 and Q7 were taken through these tracks and they came out rather expectedly without breaking a sweat. It was surely a revelation for many present there. The Audi Quattro system which smartly divides power between all 4 wheels depending on the situation came in very handy here. Features like hill descent and ascent were also put to good use. There were also specific obstacles for drift angles that made the occupants feel very confident about the cars they were in.
There was a brilliantly designed off-road track full of challenging obstacles waiting to be tamed. These obstacles would test characteristics like ground clearance, traction control, angles of approach and descent as well as the power distribution in the famed Audi all-wheel drive Quattro system.
Audi Performance cars
A long straight was enough test the acceleration, braking and drive dynamics of fast cars like the Audi TT, the S5 and RS7. This was the perfect opportunity to floor these cars and experience the adrenaline they have to offer. If there was one place to see the working of launch control this was it. Just floor the throttle completely, achieve a top speed of close to 250 kmph and then brake heard. This was the perfect place to drive these massive fuel guzzling superfast cars without worrying about external factors or the conditions of the road. The private airstrip owned by Taneja aviation was an ideal playground to push these cars to the limits. All the mentioned cars played their roles very well.
Audi R8 V10 plus
The best was saved for the last by the German car maker. Yes we were supposed to get behind the wheels of the latest generation sports car from Audi, the R8 V10 plus. The car was first seen at the Auto Expo earlier this year. At the airstrip Audi announced the market introduction of this new R8, the most powerful and fastest production Audi ever built. But before any of us could behind the wheels of any of these cars, the captain of the Indian test cricket team, Virat Kohli took the R8 for a spin.
A naturally-aspirated 5.2 FSI quattro® V10 mid-engine with up to 610 hp of power responds instantly to throttle. It propels the car from 0 to 100 in 3.2 seconds with a top speed of 330 km/h. To drive this supercar in a controlled environment was an unmatched experience. The sport mode, the paddle shifters and a lot of other gadgetry was to be tested in the best way possible here. Much lighter than its predecessor, the next generation Audi R8 V10 Plus is priced at Rs. 2.55 crore, ex-showroom Maharashtra.
Driving a capable car in a controlled environment is one thing, sampling an entire range that included luxury sedans, SUVs and sports cars was completely another. We could certainly live with a few more days like these. Hope other performance car makers are listening.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars