Audi’s slogan ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ roughly translates to ‘Advancement through Technology’ and at a recent Audi Driving Experience event held at Sydney Motorsport Park a group of lucky participants got to experience this technology firsthand. Audi Australia had a number of its premium models including the SQ5, SQ7, and RS5 to name just a few, on show to demonstrate some of their various technological and safety features.
After a morning coffee we started by checking out the Park Assist function, which is now available as standard on many Audis. Park Assist effectively parks the car for you into both parallel and perpendicular parking spaces, with the driver only having to control the braking and acceleration of the car.
Then we spent some time getting to know the elegant interior features of the imposing SQ7, Audi’s top of the line seven seat SUV. The interior of the SQ7 is the largest in its class, with seven seats as standard accommodating passengers in full-sized luxury, and impressing throughout with premium workmanship. Each of the five rear seats also has an ISOFIX point for car seats.
The electrically folding third row can be raised or lowered at the push of a button, making it easy to adjust the seating arrangement when needed. The LED interior lighting package includes ambient illumination. Adjustable through a range of 32 colours, this feature draws attention to carefully considered design elements such as door trims and the sculpted contours of the dash, centre tunnel and console.
The Audi virtual cockpit was also on show and is a standard feature of the SQ7. Its 12.3 inch digital instrument cluster replaces traditional dials withdriver information, navigation data and infotainment functions displayed in brilliant high resolution, with three different layouts possible at the touch of a button.
Audi uses Google Maps for satellite navigation with Live Traffic updates and you can even overlay Google Earth imagery and display Google Street view as you are approaching your destination to make it easier to spot the place where you are going to. You are also able to access Google Assistant via a built in SIM card in the car and the voice control feature to find things like a nearby restaurant or petrol station. Another cool feature included in the SQ7 is wireless phone charging in the centre console for compatible devices.
But by far the one feature that impressed everyone was the $11,000 Bang &Olufsen 3D Advanced Sound System. It consists of 23 loudspeakers including 3D Sound loudspeaker, centre speaker and subwoofer, 23-channel amplifier with a total output of 1,920 watt. And the sound is pure symphony to the ears, it really is a must have in your SQ7!
Lunch was served upstairs in the Corporate Area and included some good German cuisine like pork schnitzel and potato salad. Seating was at high tables with bar stools and linen napkins.The white Barcelona lounge chairs helped create a luxury feel that Audi owners can expect as part of any drive day experience.
After lunch we had some real world driving on the Great Western Highway in the SQ7 where the turbo 4.0 litre V8 TDI engine with 320 kW of power and 900 Nm of torque asserted its dominance. The SQ7 accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.9 seconds. The twin turbochargers are supplemented by an innovative world first electrically powered compressor which can be powered immediately, eliminating the traditional need to build boost pressure by accumulating exhaust energy. The result is all-but instantaneous power delivery, even at lower speeds, producing peak acceleration with no appreciable delay.
The purpose of the real world outing was to demonstrate a number of Audi’s Assistance Systems. The SQ7 offers Level 2 or partial automation of the driving experience. This is achieved with Adaptive Cruise Control including Audi pre-sense front and traffic jam assist. Along with Audi active lane assist – when activated helps the driver stay in lane by gentle corrective steering intervention and through steering vibration. It’s not just forward looking technology either with Audi pre-sense rear – helping to mitigate rear-end collisions within system limits through a series of measures including flashing the hazard lights at high frequency to warn the surrounding traffic. These are all of the kind of driver aides that will hopefully end minor nose to tail bingles that cost us all in our insurance premiums.
Back at the track the group got to practice their emergency braking techniques. In summary slam your foot on the brake like you are trying to push it through the floor and let the Anti-lock Brakes work their magic. Another feature demonstrated using a blow-up car was Audi pre-sense, which will automatically apply the car brakes if the system detects an obstacle in front of the car and the driver has not reacted to it.
We also got to enjoy some skid pan fun in the all new Audi RS5. The aim of this demonstration was to slide the car with and without Electronic Stability Control (ESC). The moral of the story ESC will save your bacon in the wet, but the Audi Quattro system is remarkable and did a fine job on its own as well.
The final treat for the day was a hot lap in an Audi R8 Plus with its screaming naturally aspirated 5.2litre V10 engine that offers a phenomenal 449 kW of power and 560 Nm of torque. It needs just 3.2 seconds to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h.From what I could tell from the passenger’s seat, the driving position appears to be quite snug and you are cocooned in like you would be in a race car. The interior and exterior styling is considerably more conservative in the R8 compared to its non-identical twin sibling the Lamborghini Huracan and depending on your personality type this may be a good thing or a bad thing.
Conservative is the word I thought of a lot throughout the day as I got to experience some of the best vehicles in the Audi range. Audi only introduce new technology into their vehicles once they know it has been thoroughly tested, which should give you confidence in the driver assistance packages they offer. The styling of their cars is also conservative and you may not stand out on the road, but this doesn’t mean you are not driving a superb piece of German engineering.
For more information about the full range of Audi models visit your local dealer or the Audi Australia website.
Driven Women Magazine was a guest of Audi Australia at this event.
Photographs by Audi Australia.