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2016 Audi Driving ...

May 23, 2016 17:35

An odd combination for a title, don’t you think? Well, here is my reason for the name. A full four course meal usually comprises four rounds which are appetisers, fish course, main course and desert. It’s meant to fill your stomach, whet your palate and eventually give you an idea of what finesse tastes like. This is pretty much what we got with Audi at their drive experience on Hosur aerodome outside Bengaluru. It was a four course vehicular meal spread out across their range and something that I am glad I got to attend and enjoy.

 

Course-2 Q-Drive
We returned to the air field and were quickly directed into the SUVs to tackle the off-road course. Now, up until this point, I was a bit sceptical about the capabilities of Audi’s SUVs considering their urban nature. However, hopping into the Q7, the biggest and maddest of the lot, I was pleasantly surprised by how it performed on the path less trodden.
The course, designed to showcase the ability of the quattro system, had a variety of obstacles in increasing degree of difficulty.  The first three - rumble strips, chicken holes and axle twister were dealt with relative ease. A relatively short run up to the left side articulation was barely enough to prepare us for 30 degree lean angle that we experienced.
The AWD kicked in after just a bit of hesitation and I could feel it transfer power between the wheels as the car tackled the obstacle. It was also a bit surreal when I took a quick glance outside the window and found myself just a few inches away from the terra firma. It was a similar story with the right side articulation but this time I was the one on top while the co-passenger got a good view of the ground just a few inches from his face.

Finally, switching the ground clearance to full lift mode, we took up the hill climb challenge which demonstrated the car’s ability to transfer power between the wheels as well as the effectiveness of its hill descent control function.

Course-3 Sports car drive
This is the moment that all of us had been waiting for since boarding our respective flights the previous afternoon, a 1.7 kilometre runway and a chance to go flat out in a performance Audi. Like a child in a toy store given a free rein, we were allowed to choose a performance car of our liking and then push it to its top-speed out on the tarmac.
Looking around, I decided to hop into the TT Coupe and have my high-speed escapade. Well hop in would be an optimistic term as it took quite a bit of very difficult gymnastics and some amount of grunting to be able to seat myself in car. But once in, it was actually quite comfortable and exciting to be seated in the car. We were not allowed to turn off the electronic net so it was pretty much just look straight ahead and bury the throttle which resulted in me clocking just over 200kmph as I hit the braking zone.

Course 4 The R8!
However, this was just the warm up for what was actually on the cards, the hero dish of the day, which was the new Audi R8 V10 Plus. We had got a glimpse of it at the 2016 Auto Expo and here it was in the metal (and carbon fibre). After much fanfare around the car, including cricketer Virat Kohli launching it, we were finally getting a chance to see what it was capable of in terms of acceleration and speed.
With a naturally aspirated V10 pushing out 610bhp/560Nm of torque, this new R8 has a 0-100kmph time of 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 330kmph. Obviously such performance does not come cheap as the car has been priced at Rs 2.60 crore (ex-showroom Karnataka) making this something really worth owning if you have the cash. 
In a similar format to the speed run I had with the TT, it was strap in (fat man gymnastics and grunting once again), mash the throttle (virtual cockpit sexiness) and race towards the braking-point.  The very basic philosophy of a sports car is to put a large smile on your face when you drive it and needless to say I was wearing a smile that would have put any beauty pageant contestant to shame once I had my speed run.  This was mostly thanks to the 220kmph top-speed that I managed to hit.

Conclusion
After the heavy ‘meal’, the return to Bengaluru and its terrible traffic was like the waiter handing me the bill and me finding five digits instead of four in the total section. But then again the good things in life never come free and it was certainly worth the price for the opportunity to drive the entire Audi range.
Food similarities aside, this is Audi’s global customer engagement programme and has been hosted in different countries to give people a chance to experience what the four ringed kitchen has to offer (I did it again!). If you get a chance to participate in this programme don’t miss the chance, it is worth it.

Author: Venkat Desirazu

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