Master Craftsman Builds Audi Skysphere Replica for Daughter

Audi skysphere Replica

It might not feature all the trick technology of the Skysphere concept car, but this wooden replica is incredible all the same.

The Audi Skysphere is a stunning concept that redefines the very idea of what a car can be. Along with next-generation tech like Level 4 autonomy, the 624-horsepower electric dream machine features an adjustable wheelbase, meaning drivers can opt for the dimensions of either a small sports car or a more luxurious GT cruiser. And for the record? While the replica shown here does run and drive, it doesn’t feature any of that other tech — but it’s still incredible.

Built over the course of two and a half months by ND – Woodworking Art, the creation was a gift for the master craftsman’s daughter, and watching it come together in this time-lapse video is absolutely fascinating. So if you’ve ever looked at the roadside woodcarvers turning tree stumps into sculptures of bears and been impressed at their skill? Prepare to be blown away. Because while he begins with just a few planks on a bare concrete floor, this incredible artisan is able to replicate the lines and proportions of Audi’s Skysphere with a level of accuracy that would make Ingolstadt’s stylists proud.

The entire video is hypnotic, but I think my favorite sections are the ones where he’s using the chainsaw to rough out elements like the front fenders. The level of precision he’s able to achieve, all while keeping each side symmetrical, boggles the mind. I also liked seeing him use a chisel to delicately shape all the components of the steering wheel, and loved how it all snapped together like an ornate piece of old-world furniture at the end.

While the drivetrain is obviously metal, and there are a couple of hinges under the hood, virtually everything on this replica is made from wood — even the wheels were turned on a lathe!

As you might expect, this isn’t ND – Woodworking Art’s first rodeo. His YouTube channel is packed with other wild wood creations, including a tank, a steam train, a Rolls-Royce Boat Tail, and a Lamborghini Vision GT. Given how good he is at rendering cars in wood, I’m curious as to what some of the stuff he does for his day job looks like. Can you imagine what a staircase, bookshelf, or dresser looks like when built with this level of talent?

Photos: Audi, YouTube

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These are the Audi Sport Quattro Replicas of Your Dreams

Audi Sport Quattro Replica

Inspired by Audi’s Group B car, these replicas from LCE High Performance are fitting tributes to a legendary rally weapon.

Replica cars are a funny thing. Personally, I’ve never seen the appeal of a Fiero-based Lamborghini, or a C4 Corvette Fauxrarri. But there are a few cases — think Porsche 356, Lancia Stratos, Jaguar C-Type — where the replicas can be as good, or even better, than the cars that inspired them. And if you’re looking for a replica of Audi’s legendary Sport Quattro, LCE High Performance is the place to go.

The German company will build one to your exact specifications, whether they be rally, road, or somewhere in between, and the gallery on its website is simply wicked. Power figures start at the 300 horsepower mark, and many flavors of the Sport Quattro are represented. If you want to look like you’ve just rolled in from a Group B stage, there’s the S1 E2, which comes with a roll cage, full carbon body kit, and brakes plucked from a Porsche GT3 RS.

The S1 E2 Pikes Peak features an even splashier livery, and the running gear is as bombastic as the sheet metal. Like all the replicas, there’s a 5-cylinder 20V turbo under the hood. But in this spec, that mill can be stoked to a whopping 750 horsepower. A six-speed manual sends power to all four corners, and since the total weight of the package is around 2,500 pounds, it’ll be an absolute riot to drive.

Of course, if you’re concerned that much power could turn you into a crimson stain on the pavement, there’s the more conservative S1 E2 Rallye version. Here, the running gear — including the axles, differentials, and brakes — from an Audi S2 are utilized, and there’s a five-speed stick backing everything up. At 450 horsepower, poke is still robust, but not obscene like it is with the weapons-grade Pikes Peak.

Prices for a LCE High Performance Audi Sport Quattro Replicas start at $147,000. And while that’s not exactly chump change, it’s still far less than what an original S1 E2 will fetch — provided you can even find one. To see one of these babies in action, check out the video below to see one of its prototypes hitting the ‘Ring. The noise from the high-strung five-pot is off the chain, so turn up the volume, and look for fire-spitting goodness around the 1:20 mark!

Photos: LCE High Performance

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Ken Block: Electrikhana is a Dream Come True

Ken Block

Taking Audi’s iconic rally cars into the future was a labor of love for the Gymkhana superstar, and enthusiasts got the goods.

When Ken Block first teamed up with Audi to help develop electric vehicles, he revealed that watching Group B — and the company’s legendary S1 E2 — was what inspired him to become a rally driver. So working with the wizards of the Four Rings on the Audi S1 HOONITRON, then using it to tear up the streets of Sin City for the ELECTRIKHANA video was a dream come true. Even by Block’s lofty standards, the latest entry in his Gymkhana series is a riot to watch — and now that the smoke has settled, he’s giving us a peek behind the scenes.

Of course, there’s no question that the HOONITRON is a new-school machine. So it was interesting to see that some of the techniques used to construct it are as old-world as it gets. I’m talking specifically about the fact that before the final bodywork was completed, the prototype was sculpted in clay. Given how much can be done with 3D modeling today, the choice to use a physical medium to massage the lines was an interesting one.

But it’s hard to argue with results, and as James Bond taught us in Skyfall, “sometimes the old ways are best.”

As Bastian Rosenauer, Chief Engineer of the HOONITRON project explains, making a high-performance electric vehicle with the level of maneuverability Block requires for his videos was no easy feat. Specifically, the extremely short wheelbase meant finding a place for the battery was a challenge. And obviously, weight distribution — along with giving the machine the proper center of gravity — was a big factor as well. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Block describes the finished product as the most advanced drift car he’s ever driven.

At this point, exactly what’s next for the Hoonitron remains to be seen. But given the fact that Audi is headed toward an all-electric lineup, and has no intentions of letting its motorsport involvement fall by the wayside, you can bet some of the lessons learned here will be used to craft other weapons-grade kit. Perhaps someday, we’ll even see Audi return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with an electric endurance car…

Photos: Audi

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Face Off: Audi S8 vs Porsche Panamera Turbo S

Audi S8 vs Porsche Panamera Turbo

There’s nothing like a little family feud, and watching these corporate cousins — Audi S8 vs Porsche Panamera Turbo S — go head-to-head is great fun.

While they’re corporate cousins, the Audi S8 and the Porsche Panamera Turbo are also natural competitors. After all, both hail from Germany, have sky-high price tags, and along with their luxurious environs, each packs a punch. So it’s only natural to want to find out which one is faster, and since most mere mortals don’t have the resources to commandeer both cars and an airstrip, we’ll just have to appreciate the fact that our friends at carwow did just that.

That said, before the hosts hit their throttles in anger, it’s worth noting that the representative from Ingolstadt is already behind, so this isn’t exactly a fair fight. As the tale of the tape reveals, the Audi’s twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 produces a robust 571 horsepower, and it tips the scales at 2,220 pounds. Instead of a dual-clutch,  it’s also using a conventional automatic transmission to send power to all four corners.

And while those numbers are nothing to sneeze at, Stuttgart’s uber sedan is better on paper. First off, the Panamera Turbo weighs about 150 pounds less than the Audi, and it’s also got more grunt. Because while it’s also using a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8, here the mill is tuned to produce 630 ponies. Additionally, the Porsche comes with a dual-clutch gearbox, meaning shifts will be slightly quicker than the Audi’s.

So even if you’re not a math whiz, you should be able to figure out which car is going to cross the line first. But that doesn’t mean the contest is any less fun to watch. Plus, there’s always the possibility that a bad start could level the playing field. For what it’s worth, I happen to think that the Audi looks way better than the Porsche, even if its engine note isn’t as sexy. And hey, if you’re flush enough to be using this video to determine your next vehicle purpose? Consider yourself lucky!

Photos: YouTube

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The RS4 Avant Competition Proves Audi Isn’t Red Mist Immune

Audi RS4 Avant Competition

We don’t get any flavor of the RS4 Avant in the United States. But who doesn’t love forbidden fruit?

You don’t have to be a race car driver, or even an enthusiast, to understand the concept of the “red mist.” If you’ve played sports, video games, or even something as — ostensibly — benign as Wordle in a competitive manner, you know the red mist. It’s the feeling of harnessing blind rage to inspire better performance. And the RS4 Avant Competition is proof that even the world’s most celebrated automakers are vulnerable.

Or, at least that’s the thesis presented here, in this killer new video from our friends over at Hagerty. Here host Henry Catchpole opines that Ingolstadt’s lusty longroof exists only to assert dominance over another of Germany’s apex predators — the BMW Competition Estate. Of course, because the world is unfair and Americans are obsessed with crossovers and pickup trucks, neither of these glorious beasts is available on our shores. Even if the “standard” RS6 Avant is one hell of a consolation prize.

That said, even if we don’t get any flavor of the RS4 Avant here, it’s an absolute blast watching Catchpole hurl the RS6 Avant’s smaller sibling around the track, and give up dirty details on this juicy bit of forbidden fruit. For starters, there’s no more power on the table. The 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 is still pumping out 444 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of twist. But it’s sporting a host of other kit, including a trick differential, a rear-biased all-wheel drive system, and retuned transmission that quickens the shifts.

The wheels have also been swapped for units that are four pounds lighter than the standard car’s, the adjustable dampers have been tuned for both cobblestone streets and track work, and the steering ratio is a fixed 13:1. Fixing the ratio means it’s more predictable than an adaptive system, and — apparently — is a key component to the transformed driving experience. Watch the full video for a full breakdown of the changes, and to enjoy some absolutely stunning scenery.

Photos: YouTube

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