Audi focuses on a new motorsport strategy: Formula E instead of WEC

Audi Sport Neuburg

WEC Fuji 2016FIA Formula E 2016/2017

New focus on electric race cars in FIA Formula E 

  • Audi CEO Stadler: “We’re going to contest the race for the future on electric power”
  • DTM racing commitments are unchanged

Neuburg, 27 October, 2016 – Audi is realigning its motorsport strategy. The premium brand will terminate its FIA WEC commitment, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, at the end of the 2016 season. Instead Audi is taking up a factory-backed commitment in the all-electric Formula E racing series.

Speaking to 300 employees of the motorsport department on Wednesday morning, Chairman of the Board of Management Rupert Stadler put this strategic decision in the context of the current burdens on the brand, pointing out that it was important to focus on the things that would keep Audi competitive in the years ahead. That is why the Board of Management had decided to terminate Audi’s commitment in endurance racing. In the future, Audi will be using the know-how and skills of the motorsport experts from Neuburg and Neckarsulm partially in motorsport and partially in production development.

“We’re going to contest the race for the future on electric power,” says Stadler.

“As our production cars are becoming increasingly electric, our motorsport cars, as Audi’s technological spearheads, have to even more so.”

The first all-electric racing series perfectly matches the strategy of offering fully battery-electric models year by year starting in 2018, Audi currently being in the greatest transformation stage in the company’s history. The commitment in FIA Formula E will already commence in 2017. It is regarded as the racing series with the greatest potential for the future. That is why Audi has intensified the existing partnership with Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport in the current 2016/2017 season. On the road toward a full factory commitment, the manufacturer is now actively joining the technical development.

The commitment in the DTM, where Audi will be competing with the successor of the Audi RS 5 DTM in 2017, will remain untouched. In mid-October, the premium brand won the manufacturers’ and teams’ classifications. In 2013, Mike Rockenfeller most recently brought the title of DTM Champion home for the four rings.

No final decision has yet been made concerning a future involvement in the FIA World Rallycross Championship (World RX). In the current 2016 season, DTM factory driver Mattias Ekström in his Audi S1 EKS RX quattro clinched the World Championship title early, competing against numerous factory teams. Up to now, Audi’s involvement has been limited to supporting the private EKS team. The brand is currently evaluating a possible extension of the commitment, the exciting topic of electrification being on the agenda in rallycross racing as well.

The departure from the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) marks the end of a successful era. For 18 years, the brand was active in Le Mans prototype racing. During this period, it scored 13 victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and set numerous technical milestones. At Le Mans, Audi clinched the first victory of a TFSI engine (2001), the first success of a race car with a TDI engine (2006), plus the first triumph of a sports car with a hybrid powertrain (2012). In the brand’s 185 races contested to date, Audi’s Le Mans prototypes have achieved 106 victories, 80 pole positions and 94 fastest race laps. On two occasions, Audi won the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) with the Audi R18 e-tron quattro race car. In addition, from 2000 to 2008, Audi, nine times in succession, secured the title in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), the world’s most important racing series for Le Mans prototypes at the time.

“After 18 years in prototype racing that were exceptionally successful for Audi, it’s obviously extremely hard to leave,” says Head of Audi Motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich.

“Audi Sport Team Joest shaped the WEC during this period like no other team. I would like to express my thanks to our squad, to Reinhold Joest and his team, to the drivers, partners and sponsors for this extremely successful cooperation. It’s been a great time!”

Due to the LMP commitment, Audi has been demonstrating Vorsprung durch Technik and learning a lot for use in production.

Skoda Octavia RS Flies Under the Radar but Deserves to Shine


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Skoda is one of the many brands owned by VW. As such, the Octavia’s MQB platform is also used in Skoda’s Superb and Kodiaq, VW’s Golf, Passat, and Tiguan, and the Audi TT, A3 and Q2. Octavia is in august company. Not only are there shared platforms, but the engines and transmissions are common, as well as much of the switch gear and infotainment systems.


Conservatively designed bodywork hides frisky performance. The vertical grille has just a hint of aggressive boy racer. None the less, the front end, like the rest of the body, is chunky with no silly frills. It is all shoulders and elbows, and “get out of my way, I’m coming through”. I like it, I like it a lot.

The 18” wheels and low profile tyres are standard fare for a car with sporting pretensions. The wheels, like the body, have a certain chunky quality to them. It could all look a bit heavy and awkward in the wrong colour. The blue test car had the “Grrrrr” look, and it is just the right colour for the right car.

The sedan is a sedan in looks only, because the Octavia is a hatchback. Many a brand has tried to get the rear door to look just right. Some have gone for a fastback look a-la Rover 3500, and some went for the notchback of the 80’s such as the Ford Laser. Since the Rover 3500, only the Octavia has not looked hacked about. That’s a big call, but there it is.

It gives a big roomy sedan the big easy access that it deserves. Some say that you can’t get big boxes and cartons in the back, but surely that is the role of the wagon. The hatch is for the sporty weekend antics of a buyer who spends most of the week locked in an office. To that end, a full-sized bike fits in with the front wheel removed. If you want to take a 2nd bike, you’ll need a rack.


Octavia RS GayCarBoys (9)Roomy is my word du jour. The cabin feels spacious, and although the fittings have a quality look, the finish doesn’t have the premium feel of a Golf, or the Luxury feel of an Audi. This is quite deliberate and reflects the pricing structure. VW has a canny tactic where they have a brand for each level, and a price to suit. Skoda is their entry level brand which still manages a quality finish.

The RS has a leather/fabric upholstery combination. Skoda makes special mention of the fact that the “leather” covered seat option is a combination of natural and man-made material. This is also true of most other brands, and Mercedes Benz uses man-made leather-look vinyl on its entry level models. No one can tell the difference.

Instruments are well laid out, with the driver’s LCD able to display digital speed. You can also scroll through other information such as vehicle status, fuel figures and distance to name but a few.

The new Apple Carplay/Android Auto infotainment system heralds a company-wide move to smartphone based entertainment. Plugging your Iphone into the system via the normal USB cable mirrors some of the apple apps on the (optional) 8” screen. The normal 6.5” system also has Carplay but lacks Satnav. Our car Octavia RS GayCarBoys (10)also had the optional Canton upgrade which comes Satnav and upgraded speakers. Although the sound was adequate, it was not thrilling. You can still get a lot of satisfaction by streaming your favourite internet based music via apps such as Stitcher and Pandora. They work well, but only while in cell range.

Even handier is the maps app. It will stand-in for Satnav and always has up to date map data, unlike built in systems.

We had a couple of option packs fitted:


8” touch screen Columbus satellite navigation system including SmartLink smartphone connectivity with Apple Carplay® and Android Auto™, Bluetooth® with voice control, audio and streaming, USB, AUX and 2× SD card slot (8 speakers)

Automatic Parking Assist and acoustic front and rear parking sensors

Lane Assist

Advanced Keyless Entry including Smart Start [KESSY] and Alarm

Premium German Canton sound system [10 loudspeakers, digital equaliser]

Driving Mode Selection


Electrically-adjustable driver and passenger seat, driver seat with memory function

Automatically foldable door mirrors with auto dimming, memory function and environment lights

Front and rear heated seats

Leather appointed seat upholstery with red stitching

Overall, the interior design is comfortable in a utilitarian, rather than premium, kind of way. There is no frivolous frippery to get in the way.

Annoyingly, many of the best bits were part of option packs.

The Drive:

If you had any misgivings about Octavia, they evaporate the second you unlock the door by merely grabbing the door handle. As long as the key is about your person, you are allowed to enter. The starter button is on the steering column which feels a bit pov. It is almost as if Skoda was trying to save money by putting the button where the key hole once was. Other than that, it is all good news.

The sports seats are extremely comfortable. The (optional) infotainment screen allows easy access to settings, and in radio mode, has direct select buttons for stations. Like all VW brands, the screen has an auto-hide menu bar along the bottom of the screen.

The optional VRS driving mode selection system has settings for eco, normal and sport driving, as well as a mode the driver can customise. You can make the drive train sporty, but leave the steering and other systems in comfort mode. Most importantly, you can turn off the naff exhaust noise that is “enhanced” for a better cabin experience. If it doesn’t come from the engine or the exhaust, then leave it out altogether. Having a valve that directs noise into the cabin, or a sound system that has a completely artificial noise, is for amateurs.

But, I digress.

The drive is superb. The ride is supremely smooth and quiet. The DSG, while only 6 speed, is crisp with instant changes, especially in sports mode. It would be nice to have an extra cog or two on the highway but the fuel figures are still relatively good given the performance. The turbo petrol 4 cylinder puts out 162kw/350Nm, and does 6.6 L/100k with a 0-100kph of 7.1 seconds. That’s not too shabby for a 1,400kg car.

The highway run was done in Normal modes in both DSG and Driving Mode Select system. It highlights excellent road manners on good tarmac. The active cruise control will slow you right down to zero, but does not have a queue function. The driver is required to apply the brake once the car stops, and you have to reactivate the cruise when the traffic moves off by pressing Resume. It’s just a little thing and would take so little to add queue assist to the existing system.

In the tight bends and undulating countryside, the RS is absolutely joyous. Although 162kw doesn’t sound too fiery, the 320Nm catapults the Octavia out of corners like it is fired from a bow. It is almost impossible to really convey the way it moves. It handles the way hot hatches used to without the bone-jarring suspension.

The platform has already proved to be a peach in other models, and doesn’t disappoint here. The body feels tight, and the steering and brakes are responsive with just the right amount of feel. The sophisticated suspension feels supple with rear Independent, four-link with coil springs, with anti-roll bar. Up front, there is lowered Sports suspension, and MacPherson suspension with lower triangular links and torsion stabiliser. This means the ride is compliant. It follows the road surface to keep contact while leaving passengers unruffled, but corners like a fun park ride.

Our spirited driving returned 11L/100k which is hardly surprising, but it was the kind of experience that would well and truly appeal to a boy racer. Metallic paint is $500, and the option packs add $1,700 for the tech pack and $1,900 for the Comfort Pack, but the base RS is $40,990 drive away (NSW). 45 grand doesn’t get you very much these days but an RS is $10,000 cheaper than the slightly smaller Golf GTI. It is a delight to drive and very comfortable to ride in.

I could easily do the cross country road trip quite happily.

Would I buy one? Yes, I loved it.

Engine/econ: 162kw/350Nm, 6.6 L/100k, 0-100kph of 7.1 seconds, 6 SP DSG

Price: $40,990 (drive away NSW)

Test car include: paint $500, tech pack, $1,700 and Comfort Pack $1,900

Ford Expands, Opens to Public, Teen Safe Driving Program to Help Address Road Tragedies – a Top Cause of Death for Young Australians

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Ford of Australia – the country’s largest automotive investor – will increase its local presence further by expanding its award-winning Driving Skills for Life teen safe driving program while making it available to the public for the first time

  • In partnership with the Australia Council of State School Organisations (ACSSO), Ford will bring the program to four Australian cities – Melbourne, Geelong, Canberra and Sydney – with plans to reach nearly 1,000 young drivers after launching in two cities last year
  • Ford also will reinforce with parents their influence as kids’ top safe-driving role model while featuring important vehicle safety and driver-assist features
  • Ex-Geelong Cats footballer and father of four, Billy Brownless, signs on as official spokesman to broaden his passionate message about upskilling young drivers in order to reduce road fatalities in Australia

Ford Driving Skills for Life BEER GOGGLES to show how difficult impaired driving is (1)Melbourne, 25 October, 2016 Ford is helping some of the riskiest drivers on our roads, young people, by expanding its award-winning Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) safe driving program across four cities in Australia in 2016 while making the free program available publicly.

The programs will take place in Melbourne (11-13 November), Geelong (25-27 November), Canberra (2-4 December) and Sydney (9-11 December) in partnership with the Australian Council of State School Organisations (ACSSO) and will help nearly 1,000 young drivers learn how to avoid the riskiest driving situations based on findings by Ford scientists.

Traffic crashes are the second-highest cause of death for young people aged 15-24, and the No. 1 killer of young males according to the Australian Institute for Health and Welfarei. Australian drivers aged 17-25 represent 18.8 percent ii of all Australian road deaths even though they only represent 11.8 percent iii of the driving population according to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development – Road Trauma Australia 2015 Statistical Summary. 

Ford research has identified four key areas– hazard recognition, vehicle handling, distracted and impaired driving, space and speed management – in which young drivers lack skills and education. The DSFL program has been specially designed to address each of these through hands-on driver training.
“Young drivers are among the riskiest on the road and Ford has invested significantly all over the world, including Australia, to do our part to reduce road fatalities,” said Graeme Whickman, president and CEO, Ford Australia. “The Driving Skills for Life program taps the global Ford leadership in young driver training and we’re excited to expand the program this year to reach even more young Australians.”

“Following the success of last year’s events, we are thrilled to continue our support for the Ford Driving Skills for Life program in 2016. As the organisation that represents the interest of the families and communities of every teen in public education, we consider it is our responsibility to champion such an important initiative. We believe Driving Skills for Life will better inform young people through practical, hands on experiences, helping them become safer, more aware drivers,” says Dianne Giblin AM, CEO, ACSSO.

Parents as safety partners
Recognising the influence parents and guardians have in young people learning to drive, Ford has signed on ex-Geelong Cats footballer Billy Brownless as the official DSFL ambassador. As a father of four, Brownless is passionate about upskilling young drivers in order to reduce road fatalities in Australia.

“Having now taught three of my kids to drive, I know first-hand the important role that parents and guardians play in the process of learning to drive,” said Billy Brownless, DSFL ambassador.

“I am honoured to be involved with the Ford Driving Skills for Life program as the skills training they are bringing to young Australians will help decrease the number of road deaths in Australia.”

Ford also offers parents the chance to join facilitated discussions on their importance as safe-driving role models along with invaluable tips from coping with stressful situations to building good driving relationships with their children.

“Ford research has shown that parents and guardians have incredible influence on the driving behaviours of newly-licensed drivers,” said Whickman. “We saw an opportunity to improve the skills of young drivers and also show parents and guardians the role they play in keeping their kids safe on the roads.”

In a 2015 survey of teenagers between 16-19 years old conducted by Ford, 61 per cent of learners said their parents or supervising driver struggled to teach them fundamentals such as how to parallel park, merge, and check blind spots.

Passing grades
Students who participated in the inaugural events in 2015 report increased confidence behind the wheel and that their driver training has had a knock-on effect to their peers who did not participate.

Established in 2003, Ford Driving Skills for Life is a hands-on driver safety program providing newly-licensed drivers with new skills and information not offered by traditional driver education courses.

Since 2003, Ford Motor Company’s award-winning driver education program, Driving Skills for Life, has reached hundreds of thousands of teens online and thousands more in hands-on events around the world. Ford translated extensive research from its advanced driving simulator studies in the U.S. into the program, which teaches the necessary skills that could help prevent up to 60 per cent of young driver accidents. At Ford’s DSFL events, students learn critical skills in hands-on driver training by professional driving instructors.

In addition to safety education, Ford has invested in new safety and driver assist technologies to address the key risks identified:

  • MyKey teen safety technology: Introduced in in 2014 in Australia, allows owners to program a key that can limit the vehicle’s top speed and audio volume to less than half of the maximum. MyKey also encourages safety-belt usage through unlimited warnings if teens are not belted and can sound special chimes at pre-set speeds.
  • Lane Keeping System: This driver assist technology can provide steering torque to help keep your vehicle in your lane or even provide a drowsy driver alert if sensing drivers consistently drifting outside their lanes.

Driving Skills for Life will be a ticketed event, with 250 free spots for participants in each city. Tickets are available at Tickets will be allocated in order of registration.

The program builds on the company’s leading automotive investment in Australia of more than $300 million in R&D this year alone.

i Deaths Among Young People Aged 15–24, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2012
ii Road Trauma Australia 2015 Statistical Summary, Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, table 5.3, pg. 50.
iii Roy Morgan Single Source Data, July 2015 – June 2016, 17-25yos drivers = 1,918,000 / driving population = 16,229,000 = 11.8%

Alfa Romeo Giulia wins the prestigious “EuroCarBody 2016” award

Alfa-Romeo Giulia-Quadrifoglio - “EuroCarBody 2016” Award

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Alfa Romeo Giulia wins EuroCarBody 2016, the most prestigious award for body design in the world organised by “Automotive Circle International”. Currently in its 18th edition and taking place in the town of Bad Nauheim (Frankfurt, Germany) from October 18 to 20, the congress brings together experts in body design, materials, processes and manufacturing.

Open to all car makers, the yearly competition includes a number of workshops in which the most innovative solutions in the sector are presented in detail. In addition to this, the bodies of the competing cars are painstakingly scrutinised during the three-day event by a panel of engineers and experts and assessed on the basis of over 20 criteria grouped in five macro areas: development and application of innovative materials; innovative development and design solutions; innovative concepts applied to the industrial manufacturing process; values that are significant for the customer, such as safety, ergonomics, acoustic comfort and quality, and, finally, the comprehensiveness and quality of the presentation of the required technical/technological content.

Scoring 39.46 points out of a total 50, the exciting Giulia – the most genuine expression of the Alfa Romeo spirit and entirely made in Italy – triumphed over the high-level competitors: Honda NSX, Volvo V90, Bentley Bentayga, Aston Martin DB 11, Land Rover Discovery, Skoda Kodiaq and Peugeot 3008.
This outstanding result was achieved thanks to an efficient bodyshell which is light and rigid in equal measure, and the extensive use of ultra-lightweight materials such as carbon-fibre and aluminium. Additionally, this technical peculiarity, combined with the adoption of many innovative safety devices, contributed to obtaining top score (five stars) from EuroNCAP. Giulia totalled a 98% rating for adult protection, the highest ever achieved by a car despite the more severe evaluation system introduced in 2015.

The “EuroCarBody 2016” accolade recognises the qualities of this one-of-a-kind car. Getting into an Alfa Romeo Giulia, the symbol of technological excellence and Italian style, means climbing into the centre of this splendid mechanical creation. It is a new automotive dimension, one where functional and dynamic beauty combine to achieve new levels of performance with powerful engines, perfect weight distribution, unique technical solutions and the best power-to-weight ratio in its segment.

Jaguar Land Rover Drives Forward Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Technologies


  • InAdvanced Highway Assist gaycarboys
  • a UK first, Jaguar Land Rover collaborates with other manufacturers to trial new connected technologies that allow cars to talk to each other
  • Connected and Autonomous Vehicle technologies will help make driving safer and cleaner in the future
  • Showcasing three research technologies, including a car that knows what speed to travel at to ensure traffic lights are always on green

Coventry, UK: Jaguar Land Rover showcased its latest Connected and Autonomous Vehicle technologies as part of the UK Autodrive demonstrations taking place at HORIBA MIRA today. In a UK first, Jaguar Land Rover is working with Ford and Tata Motors European Technical Centre to test connected technologies that will allow cars to talk to each other as well as the roadside infrastructure, such as traffic lights, in the future.

Connected and Autonomous Vehicle technologies are one of Jaguar Land Rover’s research priorities. It is creating a fleet of more than 100 research vehicles to develop and test a wide range of Connected and Autonomous Vehicle technologies over the next four years. Ultimately, these technologies will enhance the driving experience as well as making driving smarter, safer and even cleaner in the years to come.

Tony Harper, Head of Research, Jaguar Land Rover, said: We know that there’s a huge potential for these technologies in future vehicles around the world. Until now we have focused on communication between Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles, this collaborative approach is a major stepping stone towards all Connected and Autonomous Vehicles co-operating with each other in the future.

“Our aim is to give drivers exactly the right information at the right time and collaborations with other manufacturers are essential to help us deliver this commitment to our customers.”
Jaguar Land Rover is developing both fully and semi-autonomous vehicle technologies to help the driver with the challenging or more tedious parts of driving whilst maintaining an enjoyable driving experience. The company’s vision is to make the autonomous car viable in the widest range of real life, on and off road driving environments and weather conditions.

Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Technologies

With Advanced Highway Assist the vehicle can overtake vehicles automatically as well as stay in its lane on the motorway without the driver having to touch either the steering wheel or the pedals.

Electronic Emergency Brake Light Assist warns drivers when a vehicle ahead brakes severely or unexpectedly. This is particularly useful when driving in dense fog or if the vehicle in front is out of sight.

Imagine travelling across central London or Paris without needing to stop at traffic lights because they are always on green.This could be possible with Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory. The carconnects to traffic lights advising the driver of the best driving speed required to reach the lights when they are on green. This will improve traffic flow, CO₂ emissions as well as the driver’s experience.

UK Autodrive

UK Autodrive is a consortium of leading technology and automotive businesses, local authorities and academic institutions working together on a three year UK trial of self-driving vehicle and connected car technologies. It is helping to establish the UK as a global hub for the research, development and integration of automated and connected vehicles into society. It will also investigate other aspects of automated driving, including safety and cyber-security issues as well as the public’s acceptance for connected and autonomous vehicles.

VW’s Cheeky Polo GTI

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The Lilliputian Polo is a plain and simple recipe: a 2 box design, a nippy engine, a tight chassis and some smart tartan seats. The twin turbo 1.8 petrol engine puts out 141kw and a rather startling 320Nm of torque. It makes the Polo GTI feel incredibly quick, and the 0-100 dash is dispatched in 6.7 seconds to back it up. Fuel is consumed at 5.7 L/100k in the 7sp DSG, and 6.1L/100k for the 6 speed manual, meaning you’d around 850 km from the 45L fuel tank.

The exterior styling is understated like its bigger bother, the Golf GTI. There are touches of red in the grille and brakes calipers just to show people you paid more. You can have LED lighting too but that comes at a cost, but more about that later.

The Parabolica 17” wheels look expensive with just a hint of retro about them. My favourite are the 5 hole alloys from a few years back because nothing beats simplicity.

The range starts with a $16,990 (drive away NSW) 66kw entry level model for those who just want basic wheels, up to the $31,908 manual/$34,483 DSG (drive away NSW) GTI.

The cabin is comfy and well-appointed with the obligatory “Clark” tartan fabric splashed about with gay abandon. The infotainment system features a slightly de-featured version of the system found in Golf and Skoda’s Octavia. The 6.5” touch screen has fixed buttons at the side for direct selection, as well as an auto-hide menu bar at the button of the screen. The functions of the auto-hide bar change with each app, and appear magically as your finger nears the screen.

The Apple Carplay is brilliant and works when connected to your phone via the apple charging cable. You can use some of the Apple apps as well as a couple of the audio streaming apps, just as you would on your phone. You swipe the screen then select the app. We streamed our favourite internet music sites which doesn’t count towards the data cap with some carriers. And, if your car doesn’t have Satnav, you can use apple maps instead. In fact, it is easier to type the address into Maps then entering the same info into a Satnav. We used the maps app frequently, but naturally you have to be in cell range for it to work fully. I’ve used CarPlay many times but this unit seemed slightly moody. It was happy to work first thing, but if you nipped into the supermarket for a sliced loaf, it wouldn’t reconnect when the car was restarted. VW was not able to say what the problem was, and I haven’t had the issue in other VeeDubs. It must be said that this happened after an Apple update so it may well just be a bit tetchy for the moment. Importantly, you can use Siri by pressing and holding the voice button.

You can add extra stuff with various packs, at cost of course.

Driver Assistance Package $1,400

  • Discover Media audio and satellite navigation system with 6.5″ colour touch screen display
  • Driver Fatigue Detection system
  • Parking distance sensors, front and rear
  • SD card for satellite navigation system

Luxury Package $3,300

  • Alcantara and leatherette combination seat upholstery
  • Coming / leaving home function and daytime driving lights
  • Individually heated front seats
  • LED headlights for high and low beam
  • Panoramic glass sunroof, electrically slide and tilt adjustable
  • Rear registration plate light, LED

There is no smart entry/start system sadly, so you have to use the fob buttons to get in, and an actual key to start the car. It feels a bit last decade but such is life.

On the Road:

Polo is a brilliant package even in the base model. Although under-powered, the handling is sensational. The top-of-the-range GTI has no such problems.

As usual, we ran errands and id the usual things an owner would do to make sure there no nasty surprises lurking in the design. If you lower the rear seats, Polo can take a full sized bike with the front wheel removed. The active among us would no doubt find that handy. The 204L luggage area is slightly smaller in the GTI than the base models at 280L. The base models have a full sized spare and the GTI has a space saver, and the GTI is 10mm lower at 1,443mm. The lowered suspension is meant to aid handling by lowering the centre of gravity, but we all know it just makes any car look better, right?

At first, I found the ride firm, even harsh. I’d been in the Golf for the week previous, so the change was even more marked. Polo lacks the adjustable suspension of the big brother, so designers opted for a firmness to get boy racers around corners fast. It works too by George.

The test run through the Royal National Park happened on a particularly nasty day. Sydney weather has been moody to say the least. It’s hot one day, then cold and rainy the next. We entered the park at the southern end and began the descent to the weir. The showers made the roads greasy so we had to treat the bends with extra respect. It has to be said that the speed limits are straight from the 50’s, and the recommendations for the corners obviously more for Ford Anglias than anything designed in the last 30 years. None the less, we thought erring on the side of caution would yield slightly less risk. It soon became apparent the Polo’s grip was impressive regardless of the filthy weather.

There is no “sports” mode other than the “S” setting on the DSG. As it turns out, the Polo does perfectly well without the bells and whistles. 141kw does amazing things to a car weighing only 1242kg. The feel of near perfect balance makes the handling like that of the proverbial roller skate.

The power is instantly on-tap provided you keep the turbo spinning in the sweet spot. The steering is sharp and the brakes progressive so even on wet roads, changing direction feels confident and sure-footed. The front wheels will break traction if you’re too savage with the accelerator at the lights, but on this road, in these bends, it pure delight.

We loved the drive so much, we did it twice, but then we were done and turned to head. I mentioned descending into the park previously, and as you do, you meet some very tight corners. Some become tighter once you enter them, so can catch the unwary off-guard. Our run slowed considerably once an air-conditioning mechanic’s van turned out of a side street in front of us. It gave us more time to enjoy the Polo because even very slow, it was a joy.

As you know, the bends can be troublesome, but rarely a straight section. It goes to show how quickly things can go very badly tits-up when, after going through all the hard bits, the “P” plated van we had been following suddenly went sideways. I’ve been in a couple of accidents over the years and I can attest to the fact that time slows down. I can now say the same thing happens when you watch someone going wrong for another driver.

Many a racing car driver has told me to be gentle. Never over correct, and always look where you want to go, not where you’re going. You see, if you look where you’re going, that’s where you go. A case in point: this boy was staring at the only road sign in at least 500m. When he over correct and fish-tailed in the opposite direction, of course the van swung gracefully sideway. It came back onto our side of the road and flattened that road sign. Thankfully it dissipated the energy and the van straightened up to run several more metres along the shoulder and come to a stop. The whole thing was in slow motion. We can’t have been going more than 30kph and I had slowed to snail’s pace while the action happened ahead.

A handsome tradie jumped out of the van as I pulled alongside. After I made sure my hair was OK, I rolled down the window and said in my very butchest voice, “you right mate”. He looked properly shaken. He explained that it was a work van and that we had been going slow. I agreed that it was strange, but I knew more or less what he had done. He had been in a low gear for the hill climb, but flattened his foot at the top when he saw the straight. His van broke traction, and instead of a gentle correction while backing off the throttle, he panicked and hit the brakes. The skid continued in glorious colour.

Apart from the tradie needing new undies, the van suffered damage in the passenger’s side. Although not an old model, the van was not equipped with stability control. It would have helped, if not prevented this fiasco. In comparison, the Polo went exactly where it was pointed without ever misbehaving.

He declined any help and after I made sure he had phone signal, I headed back to town.


The Polo GTI, while not perfect, is a very good mix of sensible city hatch, sexy power, and capable driver aids. You can’t option the lane departure and blind spot warning as yet, and the adaptive cruise control is part of a pack only available to the midrange 81TSI, which is rather infuriating. Rain sensing wipers are standard on the GTI, but low speed autonomous emergency braking isn’t. In fact, emergency autonomous braking is part of the package available only to the midrange model.

This is what happens when the product managers mix options and trim in order to reach price points. It seems odd that they don’t simply make all options available to let the customer decide. They say the wiring looms come with certain options grouped because of the way the wiring is done at the factory. It all seems very odd.

Having said all that, the only thing that may deter me from buying a Polo is that city cars, by and large, are not for me. If I didn’t have the extra 20 grand for a Golf GTI, perhaps I’d take the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ option for similar money to the Polo. They have longer doors so are a bit easier to get in and out of despite being much lower. I’d prefer a softer ride too but the handling is a great argument for firmness underfoot.

Price: $31,908 6 sp manual/$34,483 7 sp DSG

Engine: 141kw/320Nm, twin turbo petrol, 1.8L

Econ: 6.1L/100k manual, 5.7 L/100k DSG

Audi S7 Sportback commences duty for the NSW Police Force


Audi S7 Sportback commences duty for the NSW Police Force (1)

Audi S7 Sportback commences duty for the NSW Police Force (3)Audi S7 Sportback commences duty for the NSW Police Force (4)

Audi S7 Sportback commences duty for the NSW Police Force (6)Audi S7 Sportback commences duty for the NSW Police Force (7)

Audi S7 Sportback commences duty for the NSW Police Force (2)

  • S7 Sportback to appear at a variety of events around the  Lake Illawarra LAC
  • 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 produces 331kW/550Nm
  • A second 12-month police vehicle loan to support the community

Sydney, 19 October, 2016 – The Lake Illawarra Local Area Command of the New South Wales Police Force has taken delivery of a brand-new Audi S7 Sportback to continue their work in a variety of community and youth engagement programs.

This 12-month loan follows a successful engagement of an Audi RS 4 Avant previously, and an extension of what is seen in community as a popular and beneficial association. The livery is an interpretation of a design chosen by almost 800 Audi Australia Facebook fans in 2015.

“We are pleased to continue to support the NSW Police Force as they engage with the youth and wider community in the Lake Illawarra region,” said Andrew Doyle, Managing Director of Audi Australia.

Audi S7 Sportback commences duty for the NSW Police Force (5)“The Audi S7 Sportback has a striking presence, thanks to its sophisticated design and the sound of its extraordinary twin-turbo V8 engine, and so it is perfectly suited to making an impact at the various events it will attend throughout the course of the next 12 months.

“Audi has been extraordinarily successful in Australia over the last decade, and so we are delighted to contribute back to the community in this way,” said Mr Doyle.

“The Audi S7 Sportback provides an exciting and visible platform for our community and youth engagement activities,” said Superintendent Zoran Dzevlan, Commander of Lake Illawarra LAC.

“Our use of the S7 Sportback will encourage people of all ages to introduce themselves to local police, using the car itself to help start up a conversation.”

The Audi S7 Sportback
The incredible S7 Sportback is powered by 4.0 TFSI Biturbo V8 that produces 331kW and 550Nm. With impressive outputs like these, it’s little wonder that the S7 can demolish the sprint to 100km/h in 4.6 secs.

The 4.0 TFSI utilises an unusual ‘hot side, inside’ exhaust concept, where the twin-turbos sit inside the 90-degree vee. In addition, four of the eight cylinders can be deactivated under light throttle loads for the benefit of efficiency, and any unwanted harmonics this may cause are suppressed in the passenger cabin by an Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) system that broadcasts through the sound system’s speakers.

In 2015, the face of the S7 Sportback was totally redesigned, including the singleframe grille, the lower splitter that now appears in a more cohesive line across the width of the car and the larger air inlets that feature twin chrome highlights. The effect gives the S7 Sportback a wider stance, with even more visual impact.

The new Matrix LED headlight technology also gives a different visual impression at the front of the S7, while also offering an incredible level of forward vision at night-time, without blinding other motorists. Audi’s distinctive, dynamic turning indicators at the front and rear are also available across the range.

At the rear, the S7 Sportback features new LED rear tail lights in a flatter design, trapezoidal tailpipe trims and a bold, contrasting diffuser to enhance the dynamic visuals.

Inside, a new high-resolution Driver Information System (DIS) sits in between the speedometer and tachometer readouts, and can display crystal-clear map-based navigation right in the driver’s natural field of vision. This intelligent ergonomic innovation from Audi is powered by the new-generation MIB2 infotainment system, which itself is driven by the latest Nvidia Tegra 30 quad-core processor.

Subtle enhancements throughout the interior increase the perception of quality throughout, like new details in aluminium – primarily around the air vents and MMI controls. The gear selector lever has also been redesigned, for cleaner visuals and also for improved haptics.

In 2011, the all-new A7 Sportback made an immediate impact in Australia when it took out the Australian International Design Award in the Automotive and Transport category. This followed another award bestowed by German magazine Auto Bild at its Design Summit in the same year.

The Audi S7 Sportback costs $180,716 (*MLP).

The Lake Illawarra LAC community engagement programs
Lake Illawarra Command is committed to delivering regular community and youth engagement opportunities.

Community engagement is about consultation, participation and communication –
Police talking with and seeking the views of the communities they serve, and working with them to develop responses and strategies to solve crime, reduce violence and improve local safety. This approach breaks down barriers with the community and reduces the fear of crime. It also promotes confidence in the NSW Police Force.

The Commander’s Active Citizen Program engages with students who are excelling and are seen as future leaders or mentors. The program shows these students what a positive influence they can have on others as well as showing them what community activities they may volunteer in. The program’s aim is to make them an active citizen in the community, to make a difference and have a voice.

A community that is engaged with Police better understands what the force does and why.

*MLP – Manufacturer List Pricing excludes dealer delivery and government statutory charges.