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Re: Audiwatch Update (Tm)
Glen Powell wrote:
> Audiwatch Update (Tm) 2-18-92
> Audi 50/60 in 1993? (pg 75)
> Since the 80/90 range has moved upmarket, Audi is in need of a smaller model,
> such as the 50 series of the past. Reflecting the current social and market
> climates, such a move would be very feasible, indeed. There is talk that the
> upcoming Guigiaro-designed SEAT Ibiza will fill the gap in countries where
> SEAT is not represented, such as the U.S., where it will become mandatory
> to offer more energy-efficient models.
Hmmm ... there had also been talk of a split in the (European) dealership
arrangements in a few years, with two separate franchises: Audi/SEAT and
Volkswagen/Skoda. VW and SEAT have a lot of overlapping models, as (will)
SEAT and SKODA. Interesting...
Anyway, I've extensively driven the original Audi 50 (subsequently sold as
VW Polo -- the A01 model, not the current A02), the current SEAT Ibiza and
the new SEAT Toledo. I thought I'd just type a few impressions...
'75 Audi 50: I thought this was a very nice design for its time. It was a
little more spartan than the original Golf (Rabbit), but had a very
clean styling and, to me, looked "leaner" than the golf, being probably
2-3" lower than the Golf. The engine choces were rather limited, using
VW's 0.9L, 1.05L and 1.3L carburated engines, and a four-speed manual.
After a couple of years Audi decided to leave the small cars to VW,
'91 SEAT Ibiza: I drove a Ibiza SLX for a couple of weeks last fall. This is
a top-of-the line model, using the System Porsche 1.5L (fuel-injected
8-valve producing 92 hp -- not bad for a little 8V) and a five-speed.
The car was pretty quick, although cornering was abominable with the
165SR13 tires, but when you hammered the pedal to get some speed, the
revs would quickly scoot up to 5000, and the engine would start some
serious WAAAAAAAAAAAiling noises! The car was more Fiat/misc. Spanish
than VW, with El Grosso gauges and weird switchgear, but at least it
had VW corporate turn signal and wiper stalks! :) Overall, not a
very refined car, but, hey, it was cheap *and* quick...
'92 SEAT Toledo: I only had this car for a day, so the subconscious impressions
aren't as strong. However, to me, this car *felt* like a VW-Audi
products should. Inside, the dashboard wasn't a direct VW takeoff,
but it sure looked like a VW-Audi dashboard should. Comfy (if not
sporty) seats with a fairly luxurious upholstery. "Nice" Giugiaro
styling, although not one of his most memorable designs. Engines were
VW corporate, with a 1.8L 8V, 2.0L 8V and 2.0L 16V. Size-wise, it
slots in between the Jetta and the Passat.
In any case, I'm not really sure it would make any sense to sell the Ibiza A02
in North America as an Audi. With all the effort put into building an image
for Audi as a performance/luxury marque, a little Ibiza clone cannot but hurt
the focus. If they wanted to bring anything, it should be the Toledo, which is
smaller (and substantially cheaper) than the 80/90, and yet not too small.
One of the problems as I see it, though, is that none of the SEAT products fit
into Audi's lineup styling-wise. Or would just adding a new corporate grille
make the Toledo right? Hmmm, don't think so.
On other subjects, I was at the Toronto Int'l Auto Show yesterday, and was
just amazed by the contrast between VW's VR6 and Audi's new V6. While both
produce similar results, they look totally different! (Yeah, I know, Audi's
is a 90-degree, and the VW is a 15-degree...)
P.S. Does anyone know of a reasonably-priced source for a fuel distributor
for Tom Huschilt's '83 Quattro? His car needs one, so if you know where to
get one, please drop him (email@example.com) a note --- and please Cc: to me,
since Tom's working out of town right now and doesn't read his mail very
[ \tom haapanen "i don't even know what street canada is on" -- al capone ]
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