The simply Audi car meet did not disappoint
My best spots and a first encounter with their electric future.
I haven't been to many car shows and have never participated in one but we thought it'd be a good idea to enter our new Audi RS5 Sportback into this Audi devoted show at Beaulieu Motor Museum . We arrived at lunch time to find the car parks and Beaulieu surrounds filled with Audi models. I thought it would be full of owners talking about Quattro All-Wheel-Drive and why the Inline-5 is the greatest engine known to man and I was partially right. You see, the crowd that this event attracts is diverse in both age and the car scene they come from. There were supercars, luxury cars, modified monsters and classic Audis all mixed into one.
We parked up and meandered around the show admiring the variety of cars and critiquing some choice modifications. There were legends of the Audi brand such as the Ur Quattro, Coupe Quattro and R8. I thought I'd share my best spots here for you all to enjoy.
The Company display
With this being a fairly high profile event, the representatives from Audi brought some of their cars to show. They focussed primarily on demonstrating their electric vehicles with their full electric range on show. I was lucky enough to see and sit in all 3 of their existing electric models; the first of which was the Q4 e-tron - it's certainly a lot of car for just under £50,000. This particular model was the S-line and was in Sportback form. The first thing that struck me was its practicality; the big boot and roomy interior is perfect for long journeys (subject to the claimed 200 mile range) and I would be intrigued to thoroughly test one.
The dashboard is similar to that of most other Audi models with the dash mounted screen and angular styling and venting. The gear selector and volume controls are small wheels and toggles in the centre console which is slightly strange and doesn't seem easy or pleasing to use. There is a storage section underneath which can be used for phone connectivity with several 12-volt sockets and plenty of room. There is physical climate controls which were returned to Audi's new models after they appeared more favourable to screen controls which Audi use in their A6 models and alike. The steering wheel is a new design; it's very pleasing to use and is ergonomically correct; the large venting on either side made the digital cockpit feel unusually small and compact but it is the same size as other models. If Audi can make electric vehicles of this quality that aren't just crossovers and SUVs such as their A6 e-tron concept then I'm all for their new range of models.
That point brings me onto the next vehicle I encountered - The RS e-tron GT. This is their first production electric saloon as well as their first electric RS car and it's superb. The car on display was the top of the line Carbon Vorsprung model and it did not disappoint with its looks, promised performance and overall presence. The sleek design and carbon accents oozed electric charisma with its carbon door mirrors and sills giving a very sporty feel. There is a very modern cabin with a similar layout to the Q4 incorporating physical climate controls but carbon and gloss black inlays as well; the redesigned digital dial cluster is particularly cool. The rear seats leave enough head room even with the sloping roofline; Audi have cut into the battery to create a "foot garage" in the floor - it's a tacky name but does give you better leg room. One issue I have with this car is the whopping £145,000 price tag which I just can't justify. We have spent the last 3 months driving our new Audi RS5 Sportback Carbon Black Edition which is very similar to the e-tron GT in performance and quality - but it's almost half the price. You could argue that the cost of running the GT is lower with its electric powertrain but I still could not bring myself to spend that sort of money on an electric Audi.
I also got to sit in the first electric car Audi released; the e-tron Sportback reminded me of most other Audi SUVs and did not have many defining features. Excluding the badging and filled in grille, you would struggle to tell that it was an electric car unless you knew what you were looking at. The interior design is similar to the likes of the Q7 with two screens for the infotainment and climate controls as well as a digital cockpit. The overall layout is specific to this car through a different steering wheel design, centre console layout and dashboard shape; there is plenty of e-tron badging and ample storage with futuristic cameras acting in place of wing mirrors. I particularly like the the design of the venting in the dash and the gear selector. Pricing is a bit steep at £75,000 but this car would be more than acceptable if it was what you were looking for - it's practical, comfortable and large so could definitely be a contender in the electric SUV market when put against the likes of Mercedes with their EQ models.
But, to remind us of what they can still do with internal combustion powered cars, Audi also brought along a £115,000 RS6 Avant. This particular model was the special Nogaro Edition which pays homage to the original Audi RS2 - the very first RS car. This edition carries special Nogaro Blue pearlescent paint, denim blue interior stitching as well as specific styling details such as aluminium and gloss black trim as well as alcantara and leather interior. The massive 22 inch rims which come on the RS6 stay for this trim level as well; there are just 25 examples of this special edition car in the UK and I was lucky enough to see one. The Twin-Turbo V8 estate car is an intriguing concept as it can be a monstrously fast and scary on demand but also very stylish and luxurious in certain modes - like a Skoda Superb which can suddenly become brash and loud and feels like it could spontaneously combust at any moment. Its 600BHP and 800NM of Torque can haul all 2,075kg (that's it's dry weight) of itself almost anywhere exceedingly quickly. The cabin is particularly classy with a blend of opulence and performance; the alcantara steering wheel is reminiscent of a racing derived wheel. When it is mixed with the well-bolstered leather RS sports seats and aluminium dashboard and centre console it provides a very desirable interior to sit in. The dual screen setup similar to the e-tron Sportback is paired with the RS-specific digital cockpit. To complete the look, there is alcantara door lining and centre console trim. I think it's obvious that I would take this car over anything else in the show no matter how much I like the RS e-tron GT. The sheer power and promise that this car shows is nothing short of spectacular.
I hope you've enjoyed my short recount of the Simply Audi event at Beaulieu and if you'd like to see more of my content I'd advise looking at my previous articles and following me on DRIVETRIBE and on Instagram because there's an exciting road trip coming up that I'd like to document in a similar way so stay tuned. Thank you for reading.
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