Audi says 2012 will be a big year. You won't find a brand that will tell you to expect a bad year, but a flood of investments and new model plans say one thing: Audi won't be sitting on its laurels in the new year.
Over the new year, and right up to 2016, Volkswagen's prestige brand will throw 13 billion euros into new models, new technology and increased production capacity.
The carmaker took on some 3500 new workers in 2011, and it plans to add a further 1200 specialists in 2012, with a view to expanding its use of lightweight materials and construction techniques, and electric vehicle technology.
Breaking it down, Audi will spend around 2 billion euros on new products and technologies, while the biggest chunk - 10.5 billion - will go into future-minded tech: electric and hybrid vehicles.
Carmakers invest in new technology every year, and expanding production capacity is nothing new, but Audi says this will be its largest ever funds injection.
New models scheduled to debut in the coming year include the next-generation A3 hatch, along with a new sedan version.
Both variants preview a sharp new look for the brand and have been teased in detail over the past year.
The familiar Allroad Quattro version of the new A6 Avant will debut in 2012, and Audi has also confirmed that its long-coming electrified R8 e-tron will get a limited-release launch in the new year.
The big news for supercar fans is in the R8. A facelift is expected to pick up a styling and power upgrade in 2012, gaining a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (replacing the current sixer) and a sharpened front end.
An all-new R8 is expected to follow in 2014, although Audi has been less open on that front. The current R8 is nearly six years old however, so a new model cannot be far away.
Expect the new model to get a new engine and more power, possibly utilising the turbocharged V8 that drives the new entry-level variant in the Continental GT range.
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