Queer4Cars – Audi Experience

Queer4Cars recently had the opportunity to learn more about the Audi brand, with an invitation to visit their US headquarters in Herndon Virginia. While there we got to hear about the technology and engineering that goes into Audi vehicles. Audi’s sales successes have been on the upswing since they have settled in, with 67 continuous months of increasing vehicle sales. Audi customers are embracing all of their vehicles from the A3 sports sedan to the R8 supercar, and everything in between.

The lines of the Audi R8 make anyone's heart beat faster.
The lines of the Audi R8 make anyone’s heart beat faster.

Audi moved their US Headquarters from Michigan to Northern Virginia at a time when the automotive market was at its lowest point in recent history. Indeed, a dark economic time when future prosperity was questioned for many industries. Since that move in 2008, Audi’s sales growth has been attributed to a technological advanced product line that discriminating consumers are looking for at a competitive price. Audi’s public relations team was very forthcoming saying how much of a very key part of the continued increase in sales is due to their dedicated dealership network of automotive professionals, who support and sell the brand.

Audi has a long history of competitive racing and winning with their vehicles.
Audi has a long history of competitive racing and winning with their vehicles.

Audi sits in the center of the larger Volkswagen Group, between VW’s mass-market product line and that of the exclusive, higher-end Bentley, Lamborghini, and Bugatti products. This corporate allegiance benefits Audi from the sharing of technological expertise across platforms to the awareness that consumers have with each marque.

 

The Audi Q7 is an impressive SUV featuring plenty of luxury combined with technology and safety in a very attractive package.
The Audi Q7 is an impressive SUV featuring plenty of luxury combined with technology and safety in a very attractive package.

 

We were given the keys to both the Q7 and the A4, each mainstream vehicles, appealing to very different customers. Both the shared many of the same technology advancements, though were very different to drive.

 

 

 

One such market changing technology, that if for no other reason will make you want to buy an Audi, is the use of the Google Maps view on their Navigation screen. This brings life to the in-car navigation screen, using advanced computer processing power, similar to gaming computers to display real-life, recent, aerial landscape images instead of simple drawings of maps on a screen.

 

The Audi Q7 Dashboard, features a screen with analog style gauges and plenty of information for the driver.
The Audi Q7 Dashboard, features a screen with analog style gauges and plenty of information for the driver.

While the vehicles we were driving did not feature the virtual cockpit, that the Audi is now offering on its sports cars, it was nice to see analog style gauge displays. These provided detailed information in ways that it is easy for the driver to comprehend. Queer4Cars believes this is one of the keys that attracts the younger more affluent buyer to the Audi product line.

 

The Q7, provided a very luxurious and powerful ride, with all-wheel “Quattro” drive, 3.0-liter supercharged gasoline engine. What drivers are looking for today is being able to sit up and ride in luxury, which the Q7 provides, with sumptuous seats for both the driver and passengers. We felt the Q7 was worthy of the $54K and up price tag, for all that it offers.

Audi Q7 is a nice mix of luxury and utility, it is hard to call it an SUV.
Audi Q7 is a nice mix of luxury and utility, it is hard to call it an SUV.

 

Audi A4 S Line a mid-sized sports sedan with Quattro All-Wheel Drive.
Audi A4 S Line a mid-sized sports sedan with Quattro All-Wheel Drive.

We found the A4 somewhat disappointing, especially with a $57 K window sticker. In comparison to competitors like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3-Series.The engine and transmission always seemed to always be hunting for the right mix of power to the Quattro all-wheel drive system that Audi has become legendary for.

 

Audi A4 interior materials were not as premium as we have seen in competing European Sports Sedans.
Audi A4 interior materials were not as premium as we have seen in competing European Sports Sedans.

 

 

The A4’s interior finishes were lacking, while acceptable in a higher end Volkswagen product, one would expect materials of a higher quality in a mid-market luxury sports sedan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall we were impressed with what Audi is doing on all levels, and look forward to experiencing more of their product line as it continues to be a technological leader and set sales records for its products.

Photos and article by William West Hopper

 

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Big, Burly, & Handsome, the Nissan Titan X D 4X4 Diesel Pickup Truck!

How does shopping for a full-size pickup truck compare to the reality show The Bachelor? The smart, well educated, girl, can have her choice of any one of a number of strapping, macho, attractive, strong, and smart, men. Just like today’s pickup buyer.

The 2016 Nissan Titan XD SL 4WD CC in Deep Blue Pearl w/ running board lights and splash guards out in the fields of New York State.
The 2016 Nissan Titan X D SL 4WD CC in Deep Blue Pearl w/ running board lights and splash guards off road in the fields of New York State.

 

We went out on a date with the 2016 Nissan 4×4, Titan X D SV CC, powered by a Cummins 5.0 L V-8 Turbo Diesel.  “It’s BIG!” “and thirsty” was the comment I heard from a colleague. Before the truck arrived, I thought, great, I will have a huge fuel bill!  Heavy duty pickups are not required to list fuel consumption on the sticker, though we were impressed with the mid 19 mpg with the Titan with the Turbo Diesel engine averaged. Impressive for a truck of this size and with the Nissan’s new square shouldered styling.

 

The 5.0 Liter V-8 Cummins Turbo Diesel Engine powering the 2016 Nissan Titan XD SL 4WS CC
The 5.0 Liter V-8 Cummins Turbo Diesel Engine powering the 2016 Nissan Titan X D SL 4WS CC, delivered 19 plus mile per gallons over an 1100 plus mile trip at a variety of speeds.

Big, and Strong, is not a bad thing when you have to do the hard work this truck has been designed for: hauling, towing, all the while carrying five full sized passengers. While we never asked the Titan to flex its muscles, we could see them bulging and ready whenever we needed them. Everywhere it went the Titan got looks of admiration, and sometimes, jealousy from other diesel pickup drivers.

The Nissan Titan XD and the Ford F250 Heavy Duty are the same size.
The Nissan Titan X D and the Ford F250 Heavy Duty are the same size. Both feature a lot of chrome on their grills.

 

While a truck this size is most at home where there is plenty of space, it also was well mannered in town. We used the front and rear parking sensors and a rear camera to help guide it into tight spaces along the quaint streets of Cooperstown and Sharon Springs, in New York State. Taking this big-boy out on unpaved country roads, as well off road across a farmer’s field, was a lot of fun.

Everywhere we went, the Titan made us feel safe and secure within its comfortable cab. The off road, the heavy duty suspension and four-wheel drive came in handy. During a particularly rough summer storm that shut down the interstate we were driving along, the Titan’s size and weight gave us a feeling of comfort in the midst of a raging rain and hail that had other vehicles pulled over to the roadside waiting for the storm to pass.

Inside we really appreciated the seating for five full-size men, with Man-Cave heated leather Captain’s Chairs with 8-Way Power Driver’s Seat w/Adjustable Lumbar Support and 4-Way Power Passenger Seat, and a 60/40 split Rear Flip Bench Seat. No seat fatigue in these extremely comfortable seats, even after hours of a long drive. Though power outlets were limited, with a single USB  on the dash.

The Nissan Titan XD features Leather Captain's Chairs w/heated seats. 8-Way Powerd Driver Seat w/ Adjustable Lumbar, and 4-Way Power Passenger Seat.
The Nissan Titan X D features Leather Captain’s Chairs w/heated seats. 8-Way Powerd Driver Seat w/ Adjustable Lumbar, and 4-Way Power Passenger Seat.

It was nice to have a 110v in the rear, and 3 old style lighter outlets for chargers, which meant you need USB adapters if you wanted to plug modern devices. Big boys like to have cup holders, and the Titan has four large gulp sized ones, two for the front and 2 for the dudes in the rear bench seat.(That third guy will have to hold his.) That rear seat is not skimpy, while it is not as ample as the front seats, it is still large enough for the guys. When not in use, you could fold it back for carrying things in the cab, or use it as a platform. Underneath the rear seats featured small, partitioned lockable compartments.

Speaking of interior storage, the center console is very large, enough to fit a lap-top in, with plenty of cubbies in and around the console as well as on both the driver and passenger door pocket, bigger than simple map pockets, that will fit log books or other things. And a normal size glove box. A well detailed dash and controls, no funny modern gear shifter here! The Titan features a trusted, olde style, steering column mounted shift lever with a tow mode and manual gear select to control the Alsin®6-Speed Automatic. When you wanted to go from 2-wheel drive into 4WD or 4-Lo, it is simple to control with the dash mounted rotary dial for the Shift-on-the-Fly system.

The Titan’s Sight lines were excellent, we could see everything around us with the extendable and heated outboard side mirrors. This ensured you saw all the little cars sneaking up beside you. Blind spots were few, except right beside the truck’s front fenders. Though parking in normal parking spaces took some practice. Sometimes big guys don’t fit in small spaces.

The Chevrolet Silverado 4x4 (front) and the Nissan Titan XD (Rear,) are both full size 4X4 Pickup trucks and take up plenty of space.
The Chevrolet Silverado 4×4 (front) and the Nissan Titan X D (Rear,) are both full size 4X4 Pickup trucks and take up plenty of space.

While we did not put the Titan to work as a heavy hauler, this big boy was built with an integrated gooseneck receiver as well as a class IV hitch receiver mounted under the rear bumper. Combine that with a trailer light check and brake management system from inside the vehicle, and extendable, folding, heated, tow mirrors, and you are ready to tow just about anything out there. The factory installed bedliner combined with the Util-track® system with 4 adjustable Tie-Down cleats, and plenty of LED lighting, in the bed, under the step rails, even a puddle light built into the mirrors, to make loading at night simple and safe.

The bed of the Nissan Titan XD Pickup has a factory installed spray-on bedliner, and a factory built, integrated Gooseneck hitch receiver, as well as a Class IV hitch receiver on the rear frame.
The bed of the Nissan Titan X D Pickup has a factory installed spray-on bedliner, and a factory built, integrated Gooseneck hitch receiver, as well as a Class IV hitch receiver on the rear frame.

No American truck is complete without big tires and nice wheels, the Titan is rolling on twenties, with nice looking factory rims, and a full-size spare tire. To make sure you see the Titan has bright headlamps, low mounted fog/driving lights and LED lights all over the truck..

Nissan Titan XD features On/Off headlights, with integrated DRL's, Fog lights, and LED lighting.
Nissan Titan X D features On/Off headlights, with integrated DRL’s, Fog lights, and LED lighting.

So while you have a lot of big strong good looking trucks to choose from, the Nissan Titan X D is worth a look if you want a full-sized heavy duty pickup that has a lot of niceties and is pretty to look at.

Check out Nissan’s website or a dealer near you for more information.

Just as we turned this 4-door cab Titan back, Nissan released a 2-door cab version, more like the work trucks of old. Still full of the goodies and extras we like, outfitted with the V-8 engine (gas or diesel), and full-size pickup bed. Just without the extra interior space of the rear seating area. So now there is a Nissan Titan in a couple of muscular sizes to fit your needs.

An update from Nissan, is that the 2017 Titan and Titan X D models will come with a bumper to bumper 5-year 100K mile waranty. So this hot hunk of truck, and his family will be committed to you for a good long while. When a manufacturer puts this kind of warranty behind their vehicle, you know it is going to be a long lasting vehicle.

 

The author William West Hopper with the 2016 Nissan Titan XD SL 4WD CC Pickup.
The author William West Hopper with the 2016 Nissan Titan X D SL 4WD CC Pickup.

    Photos and article by:      William West Hopper