Hype: Audi May Provide Their Dealers With Virtual Reality Headsets …Because Future

Posted on 01.15.15 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

Audi VR experience

The car buying experience has changed a lot since the early days.  We have come a long way from Henry Ford’s famous quote “The customer can have any color they want, as long as its black”.  Now, there are hundreds of options available for new cars and buyers can get a look at what they look like through an online configurator.  However, even an online configurator is starting to feel a bit dated.  Really, configuring a car online is basically just a webpage widget that can photoshop a byer’s options in to an image of the car in question on the fly.  Audi is experimenting with a way to make the customization experience deeper through the use of virtual reality.

Essentially buyers will be able to put on a VR headset (and headphones) and virtually move around a car that is optioned out to their spec.  They can even “sit” in the car with the leather and infotainment they chose and look all around the interior thanks to the help of a head-tracking camera.  Options can also be instantaneously changed out and called up so the buyer can check out different combinations.  A full audio experience will be integrated as well so that users can hear everything from the doors closing to how a particular car’s sound system, well, sounds…

If you’re having trouble envisioning what this experience would be like, imagine using Forzavista mode from Forza Motorsport but while wearing an Oculus Rift VR headset.  In fact, Audi mentions that if this tech experience aids in sales they may look into pushing this into the home rather than buyers only being able to partake in the experience at dealerships.  I imagine that when tech like the Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, and other consumer level VR headseats are more common, these experiences from Audi will simply be downloadable.

If you think Audi’s use of this tech is in the distant future guess again.  They are actually experimenting with it now in their booth at the Detroit Auto Show and Audi hopes to have the first dealerships equipped with their VR tech by the end of this year. For a closer look click the thumbnails below.

Audi VR experience: das Autohaus im Aktenkoffer Audi VR experience: das Autohaus im Aktenkoffer

Now, if only there was some kind of breathing apparatus so that they could add the new cars smell…

Press Release:

Audi VR experience: the dealership in a briefcase

  • Innovative virtual reality headset extends advisory service at Audi dealers
  • Sales chief Luca de Meo: “Further proof of Audi’s pioneering role in sphere of digitization”
  • First Audi dealerships to introduce new sales tool by end of 2015
 The Audi VR experience gives customers the opportunity to configure their preferred car at the dealership through virtual reality headsets and experience it in a unprecedentedly realistic way. The headset showcases the entire model portfolio of the four rings, including all possible equipment combinations. Audi has become the first automotive manufacturer to develop a dedicated retail software solution for virtual reality headsets.

Audi is taking the next big step in integrating digital technologies into automotive retail: The Audi VR experience gives customers the opportunity to configure their preferred car at the dealership through virtual reality headsets and experience it in a unprecedentedly realistic way. The headset showcases the entire model portfolio of the four rings, including all possible equipment combinations. Audi has become the first automotive manufacturer to develop a dedicated retail software solution for virtual reality headsets.

Luca de Meo, Member of the Board of Management for Sales and Marketing at AUDI AG, presented the Audi VR experience this week on the sidelines of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit: “Hand in hand with our dealers, we are bringing digital innovations into the dealership in order to improve convenience and to provide even better advice. With the Audi VR experience, we are once again demonstrating the pioneering role of the four rings in this area.”

With the innovative technology, customers and prospective buyers experience the virtual Audi world on a new level – in three dimensions, with all sound effects, and almost life‑like. They can virtually take a seat behind the wheel of their individually configured dream car or take a look in the trunk. A camera tracks the movements of the user’s head and the system adapts the image displayed accordingly. The full spectrum of the Audi model range, with respective customization options, can be called up: colors, leathers, inlays as well as infotainment systems. The dealer is thus able to demonstrate the diversity of the Audi portfolio in a very convenient way and to provide individual advice to the visitor.

Audi will bring the new sales tool to first dealers by the end of this year – with particular focus on dynamic growth markets where high sales increase for AUDI AG is being accompanied by expansion of the dealer capacity. In future, it will also be possible to provide the Audi VR experience away from the dealership as a mobile solution – while visiting the customer at home, for example.

Thanks to their large field of view and the performant positional and movement tracking, Virtual Reality headsets offer excellent immersion – the observer feels fully integrated into the scene presented. In use at the Audi dealer, VR headsets obtain the extremely detailed data records for the vehicle models from a high‑performance computer that assures superior image reproduction. The Audi VR experience is also equipped with high-end headphones by Bang & Olufsen. They transmit the full range of acoustic information, from the sound of the doors closing to the 14‑channel sound of the Advanced Sound System in the Audi A8 and the conversation with the customer consultant.

AUDI AG has already been pioneering the use of virtual reality in automotive sales since 2012, blending digital innovation with the strengths and services of the physical dealership: Audi City, the cyberstore with a real presence, displays the brand’s automobiles on ceiling‑height digital powerwalls on a very life‑like 1:1 scale. There, visitors are able to configure their individual dream car step by step.

Occupying only little space and offering exclusive services, Audi City complements the brand’s sales networks in prominent downtown locations of major international cities. This year, Moscow will be joining London, Beijing and Berlin as the next Audi City location. In addition, AUDI AG has refined technological components of the digital showroom for use at classic dealerships. In 2014, technical modules from Audi City went into use at the first 16 European pilot dealers. The digitization of around 200 more locations worldwide is planned this year.

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12 Days Of Hype: Exotics Racing Is The Only Way To Drive An Exotic Car Like You Stole It…Without Stealing It..

Posted on 12.17.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments


In the last “12 Days Of Hype” post I talked about Skip Barber racing school as a great gift for the hardcore motorsports fan in your life.  However, if you want to just gift someone a day on a race track with crazy exotic cars like Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and the like, then Exotics Racing is a good choice as well.  With Facilities at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway in California they are within relatively easy reach for anyone on the west coast.  Exotics Racing offers different packages that allow participants to take hot laps in one of up to 15 cars that cover the gamut.  Want to drive a Lamborghini Huracan? They have one.  What about a Ferrari 458 Italia? They have a few of those too.  McLaren MP4-12C? Yessir!  They even have Nissan GT-R’s available.

Since all of their experiences are one day they are much easier on the wallet than say a full racing school such as Skip Barber.  Driving packages at Exotics Racing start at around $199 and go up from there.  If someone just wants to ride shot gun then there are high-speed ride alongs offered for $99.  I have personally checked out the facility at Auto Club Speedway and I can tell you that the staff really goes the distance to make sure participants have a good experience.  If you are trying to think of a good gift then I would recommend considering a day at Exotics Racing.  Hit the source link below for more info.

[Source: ExoticsRacing.com]

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Hype News: LA Auto Show Expecting To Host 25 Global Debuts. Lets Guess What They Are!

Posted on 08.07.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments


November is one of my favorite months and for good reason.  There is just so much to look forward to on the 11th month of the year: Some of the best football games all year, Thanksgiving, the start of the holiday season, and the LA Auto Show.  The last item on that list should be particularly exciting this year as the LA Auto Show has announced that they are expecting 25 world debuts at the show this year from the likes of Acura, Audi, BMW, Chrysler, GM, Hyundai, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Scion, Toyota, Volvo, and Volkswagen.  That is a pretty long list, no?  What will all those brands debut?  Well we don’t officially know yet but if history is an indicator I am sure we will find out about most of the debuts from embargo breakers weeks before the show starts.

However, we are still quite a ways from that as well so how about we play a nice healthy game of speculation?  I am going to list off what I think (or want) each brand on that list is going to debut in LA this year. Feel free to add your own in the comments!


Production version of the new NSX (its time Acura, its time…)


Production ready e-Tron cars, S3, that cool new R8 with the laser headlights


A concept for the Z4 successor, M4 convertible, a new edition to the electric “i” cars (i5, i7)


We will finally get a production version of the ME Four-Twelve (wishful thinking)

General Motors:

I dunno a truck or somethin’?


The official successor to the Genesis coupe


Production RC and RC-F coupes


New Mazdaspeed3, Mazdaspeed2 (because we want it), Mazdaspeed6-look they just need to “Mazdaspeed” everything and give it to us.  I want a Mazdaspeed stroller! A Mazdaspeed coffee maker!  Oh, they will also probably show off the new MX-5…and Mazdaspeed it!


The new AMG GT Coupe with out that funny looking neon zebra camouflage all over it…that stuff is ugly..


The next tC release series, production ready TRD-supercharged FR-S


The next Camry in its new “super beige” color, A somewhat less-concept FT-1 coupe


A consumer version of the semi trucks that Jean Claude Van-Damme did splits on in that crazy viral video


Baja bug!





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Gaming Hype: Hot Wheels Car Pack DLC Brings Audi Auto Union And Lamborghini Veneno To Forza Motorsport 5 (With Video)

Posted on 07.01.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments


The Forza 5 DLC just keeps on chugging along with a brand new DLC pack for this month.  Their newest offering, curated by Hot Wheels brings a slew of classics and a few modern cars to Forza Motorsport 5.  As seen above, owners of the DLC will get to drive the fabled Audi Auto Union (one of the rarest collector cars on the planet) as well as the gundam-esque Lamborghini Veneno!  There are also plenty of other gems included in the DLC but I will let you see it all for yourself by watching the video below!  By the way the Hot Wheels car pack DLC is available now!


….pst…hey…did you see it?  ……A-Team van!!!

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Event Hype: Mother’s Car Polish Exotic Car Show (Gallery)

Posted on 04.17.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments


Here we are with another gallery from the epic Long Beach Grand Prix weekend.  As you may or may not know, the TUDOR series has their race on Saturday, so come Saturday night their paddock clears out as they head off to the next race.  In its place on Sunday morning is a cavalcade of luxury and exotic cars filling the lot completely and its all furnished by Mother’s Car Polish.  First thing Sunday morning I headed out to the newly filled lot and started shooting away.  Granted, not every car there was photo worthy but I snapped the best stuff and now I am presenting it all to you in a new gallery.  Just scroll down to check it out.

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Hype Bowl 2014: The Three Worst Car Commercials AKA The Whack Three (Video)

Posted on 02.03.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments


I showed you the best now its time for me to show you the god awful.  It never ceases to amaze me how a huge multi-million dollar company can spend a huge portion of those millions on ad space for one of the most watched television events in the world, yet still drop the ball so hard on executing a commercial.  Heck, really it doesn’t even have to be a “great’ commercial as long as its adequate but sometimes they can’t even hit the mediocre mark!  What’s going on people?!  Sigh…ok lets get this over with.. scroll down please.

Third Place: “Doberhuahua” – Audi

This was more of a disappointment than a straight out bad commercial.  First of all lets not get it twisted: I am not an Audi hater.  In fact, I like Audi a lot which makes this spot all the more disappointing.  Audi has been doing some seriously crazy stuff over the last few months.  Remember all that cool new tech they showed off at CES? Laser beam headlights? Cars that can read street signs and park themselves?  They’re practically living 5 years in the future but instead of showcasing any of that (the way they did when they partnered up with Marvel and Iron Man) they bring us some weird monster movie throw back staring a creepy mutant dog!  What the heck Audi?!  There is so much more that could have been done here!  I weep at the possibilities…  Next year Audi better come correct!

Second Place: “Nice” – Hyundai

Oh Hyundai, like Audi you did so little with so much.  When I first learned that Big Bang Theory star Johnny Galecki would be the lead in Hyundai’s Super Bowl spot I had very high hopes going in.  Imagine my disappointment after watching what transpired.  I am still not even totally sure what was going on in this spot.  Whatever this girl says just magically happens to poor Johnny yet he still can’t get the hint that he stop trying to hit on her from a moving vehicle? BLAH!  Dude! I know its a cheap tactic but they could have played off of Johnny’s Big Bang character Leonard Hofstadter!  This could have been so much better than it was!  Instead it just ended up as a confusing mess.

First Place: “The Truth” – Kia

Here it is. The worst of the worst.  What Kia did here is so bad its baffling!  No matter what your opinion of the Matrix movies are, I think we can all agree that the character Morpheus is awesome.  Yet, the folks at Kia drove up to Lawrence Fishburn’s house with a truck full of money and convinced him that turning the folk hero for the entire people struggling for freedom from robotic overlords into a shill for the K900 was a good idea.  I guess there really are no plans for another Matrix movie otherwise there is no way I can see the studio allowing this farce to happen!  Thanks to Kia I can no longer take Morepheus seriously!  PRO TIP: When trying to advertise your car, don’t ruin a Sci-Fi icon in the process!! FAIL-SAUCE!!

There you have it.  The three worst (in my opinion) car commercials from this year’s Super Bowl.  Now just to be clear I don’t dislike any of the brands mentioned in this post.  I really like Audi and Hyundai won me over with the Genesis coupe and Kia…well I don’t dislike Kia.  I am only singling these companies out because of the commercials they made this year, which just happened to not be so great.  Really, I want ALL car commercials during the Super Bowl to be awesome but that wont happen unless the OEMs and the ad agencies they hire know what not to do.  So consider this a loving (albeit pointed) critique.  Let us all hope that these guys do much better next year!

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CES 2014: Audi Is All Over The CES Show With New TT Interior, Autonomous Driving In Traffic, And Cars With Freakin’ Laser Beams!

Posted on 01.07.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments


Ok, I am going to warn you now: this is going to be a long post.  Why? Because Audi just dropped a metric ton (see what I did there? German? Metric system? No? Ok moving on..) of new tech, concepts, and sneak peaks at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas today.

CES2014_AudiTTInterior_1 CES2014_AudiTTInterior_2

First of all lets start with what has the car nuts drooling in their computer chairs.  While highlighting their new infotainment display Audi has also graced the world with a glimpse of what the next Audi TT interior will look like.  Astute observers will notice the stick shift lever between the seats which confirms that a full manual option will be available!  This is great news for those who feared the next TT would be a strictly “F1 inspired” mass of tech and “flappy paddle” shifting.  While I personally have nothing against paddle or sequential shifters, it does add something to the driving experience to be able to row through the gears.  While the transmission Easter egg was cool the real point of showing off the interior is to highlight the new MMI “multi media interface” display which will be available on the new TT.  The display allows for integration of navigation, entertainment, and the controls for other systems such as the AC all in one screen which replaces the main gauge cluster.  This also means that all the important gauges: MPH, RPMs, temp, etc will be completely digital as well.  Everything that the driver needs to know will be displayed on a 12.3 inch TFT monitor.  Now for those who are worried about having all that info in their faces, the great thing about the all digital gauge cluster is that it is completely customizable, as in it can be changed to suit visual preferences.  If a driver just wants the see the basic needle style gauges then they can have that!  Everything can be controlled via buttons on the steering wheel or with a set up on the center console.  Audi promises the controls will be easy to use and intuitive but we will just have to wait and see how well it all works out when the TT is released. For some pics of the new TT interior and new digital gauge cluster just click the thumbnails above this paragraph.

Next I want to talk a little bit about Audi’s “Active Saftey” technology suite.  Audi calls it “Active Safety” but really its a collection of autonomous driving features, each increasingly more awesome than the last.  Naturally, “stop and go” adaptive cruise control (ACC) comes to the party but Audi has taken it up a few notches by increasing the distance that the radar can detect objects from 820 feet away.  It can bring the car to a full stop, and then proceed, on its own!  The new ACC also works with other systems in the car such as Navigation, for example if the driving is approaching a scheduled turn it will adjust the speed accordingly.  The system also uses “Active Lane Assist” which essentially keeps drivers in their lane by using cameras to detect markings on the asphalt and then adjusts steering automatically if the driver begins to veer out of it without the turn signal on.  Audi has also brought their Parking Assist feature to a new level by using ultrasound sensors to detect the curb and other objects around a parking space to help line itself up to park and there are also 4 cameras for a “surround view” so that when parking manually drivers can literally see everything around them.  This is definitely helpful for those who still have problems with parallel parking.  Although out of all the Active Safety Systems I think my favorite is the traffic sign recognition.  Yes, you read correctly, it can read traffic signs!  Not only does it read signs but it will give the driver a heads up or adjust the speed automatically for you if you want it to once it reads the posted speed limits.  It also cross references where the driver is via GPS and the local traffic laws for that area and provide notifications incase the driver may be doing something that would get them in hot water.  Yes, these features lean a bit on the “Skynet” side but the fact that the tech has come this far is pretty cool.  To see how some of the Active Saftey tech works just watch the video above.

 CES2014_AudiLaserLight_1 CES2014_AudiLaserLight_2 CES2014_AudiLaserLight_3 Laser spot-3 Laser explo

Finally, we get to one of the coolest/craziest things Audi brought to CES: The Audi Sport Quattro Laserlight concept car.  This is the next iteration of the highly sought after Quattro concept but with one very notable addition.  I will focus on the concept as a whole in a later post but for now I want to talk about this “addition”.  Audi has been leading the way with headlight tech since they began their push on LED headlights.  Well, now they are going beyond that with lasers.  Yes, freakin’ lasers.  The low beams on the Quattro Laserlight concept are still high output LEDs but the high beams are now laser beams!  Despite the laser diodes being only a few microns in diameter they can light the road ahead at a distance over 1,600 feet!  That is three times the power of LED headlights.  Audi has also stated that they will test their laser light tech on the Audi R18 e-tron Quattro race car this year.  That should make for some interesting endurance races!  Hit the thumbnails above for some detailed looks at the laser light tech and stay tuned for another post about the laser light concept car specifically.

[Source: Audi]

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Hype Event: Exotics Racing Opens At California Speedway

Posted on 12.16.13 | Andrew Beckford No Comments


Unfortunately, there are many car lovers out there who will probably never get to own amazing cars like the Ferrari 458, the Lamborghini Gallardo, the Porsche 911 turbo, or a Nissan GT-R.  If I had my way everyone in the world would be able to have one of these cars in their driveway, but alas such a thing is not possible (not yet anyway).

ExoticsRacing_CaliSpeedway_SoftOpen_4 ExoticsRacing_CaliSpeedway_SoftOpen_5 ExoticsRacing_CaliSpeedway_SoftOpen_6 ExoticsRacing_CaliSpeedway_SoftOpen_7 ExoticsRacing_CaliSpeedway_SoftOpen_9

Although there is another way… What if I told you that you could drive six-figure exotic supercars, on a race track no less?  Well thanks to Exotics Racing such a thing is in fact possible.  I know since I got to pay them a visit at something of a soft opening at their new location at Auto Club Speedway (AKA California Speedway).  Exotics Racing is essentially every car nut’s dream come true.  Imagine showing up at a race track with a fleet of top-end super cars parked in front of you.  Then, a professional driving instructor approaches you and walks you to any of the cars you’d like then coaches you through several laps at full tilt?  In a nutshell that is the reality of Exotics Racing.  All you need to do is show up, pick a driving package and then you are off!

Well, there are a few formalities.  After you choose from a range of driving packages that includes everything from laps in any car you want to ride longs, and even drift car ride alongs, you join a group for a short “in class” instruction session in which the teacher (a professional driver) will talk about the fundamentals of how to drive a supercar, how to drive a supercar fast, and how not to crash said super car.

ExoticsRacing_CaliSpeedway_SoftOpen_21 ExoticsRacing_CaliSpeedway_SoftOpen_18 ExoticsRacing_CaliSpeedway_SoftOpen_15 ExoticsRacing_CaliSpeedway_SoftOpen_17 ExoticsRacing_CaliSpeedway_SoftOpen_1

After the class session the group is split up into smaller groups and taken out in a pair of Porsche Cayennes to take an “introduction lap”.  This is pretty much the equivalent to a “track walk”.  During the introduction lap the instructor will point out all the nuances of the track, covering breaking points, driving line, etc.  All of this is an effort to get the drivers more accustomed to the course.

ExoticsRacing_CaliSpeedway_SoftOpen_13 ExoticsRacing_CaliSpeedway_SoftOpen_14 ExoticsRacing_CaliSpeedway_SoftOpen_16

From there, you just wait for your name to be called by a driving instructor and you are then escorted to the car of your choice for several laps of awesome!  The really cool part is there are add-ons to help you document your experience the best of which is a video package.  Each car comes equipped with several cameras and track GPS to capture what’s going on outside and inside and it records the entire experience.  For an extra fee drivers can have their videos edited and given to them on DVD or data disc so they can upload their laps to YouTube, Facebook etc.  Trust me, you will want to do this should you pay Exotics Racing a visit.

ExoticsRacing_CaliSpeedway_SoftOpen_28 ExoticsRacing_CaliSpeedway_SoftOpen_31 ExoticsRacing_CaliSpeedway_SoftOpen_30 ExoticsRacing_CaliSpeedway_SoftOpen_32 ExoticsRacing_CaliSpeedway_SoftOpen_25

Although I’d have to say one of the coolest things I saw in my visit was Tony’s driving experience.  Who’s Tony?  Tony is a great guy who is a huge sports car enthusiast and also happens to be confined to a wheelchair.  Despite being in a wheel chair Tony is a avid driver thanks to the advent of special hand controls that Tony can use for the throttle and brake.  Exotics Racing is as far as I know, the only service of its kind to offer hand controls for participants who use wheelchairs.  And since the hand controls are removable, wheelchair participants still have a healthy choice of supercars to choose from.  Tony chose the black Ferrari F430 Scuderia…an excellent choice if I’d say so myself!

If you are in California or Las Vegas (their two locations) I would highly recommend checking out Exotics Racing for yourself.  Its well worth the price for experience provided!  If you want to try it out for yourself visit ExoticsRacing.com to book a day!


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2013 LA Auto Show: Audi Wants You To Want An A3… But Still Want An R8 (Video)

Posted on 11.29.13 | Andrew Beckford No Comments


There are a lot of reasons to love Audi.  What’s not to like about the super luxury A8 sedan? Or the more sporty A7? Seriously how many people out there don’t like the R8?  If you are into luxury sedans or exotic cars that are livable then Audi is pretty much the way to go.  Although this year in Los Angeles Audi was actually putting most of their energies behind their new A3/S3 compact.  Yes, the little guy got center stage at the Audi booth this year!

Audi_LAAutoShow2013_12 Audi_LAAutoShow2013_13 Audi_LAAutoShow2013_14

So why is Audi showering so much attention on the A3?  Well there are two answers to that really.  The first is that the A3 is getting a refresh in looks and performance for 2015.  The second is that the new A3 will also play host to a bunch of new tech including being the first car with 4G LTE connectivity as part of the next gen “Audi connect” system.  The Audi Connect system will also allow for the installation of existing apps as well as future Audi-developed apps.  Essentially the new A3 line could end up becoming a smart phone with wheels.

Audi_LAAutoShow2013_15 Audi_LAAutoShow2013_18 Audi_LAAutoShow2013_16 Audi_LAAutoShow2013_17

What about the performance you say?  Well over the course of the next 18 months Audi plans to grant the A3 with 4 engine options: a standard 1.8 liter TFSI 170hp engine, a 2.0 liter TFSI 220hp engine, a 2.0 liter TDI clean diesel 150hp engine, and for the S3 a 2.0 liter TFSI 290hp engine.  For those who wish to really be environmentally friendly Audi announced that by early 2015 an A3 sportback e-tron PHEV (plug-in hybrid) will be available in the U.S.  It will run off a gasoline engine and a 100hp electric motor.  So, if anyone out there is interested in the A3 they will have many different flavors to choose from.

 Audi_LAAutoShow2013_2 Audi_LAAutoShow2013_3 Audi_LAAutoShow2013_4 Audi_LAAutoShow2013_6 Audi_LAAutoShow2013_9

Apart from the A3 Audi featured plenty of other vehicles in their exhibit including the awesome S7 and the new R8 with a factory “Sepang blue” matte exterior treatment.  In other words the Audi booth is just one big piece of eye candy with a carbon fiber wrapper.  Definitely worth checking out!  For now you can click any of the thumbnails above for a full size picture and you can scroll below for official videos from Audi of the A3 and S3.

Audi A3:

Audi S3:

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Gaming Hype: Microsoft Drops 2 New Forza Motorsport 5 Gameplay Videos For Your Enjoyment

Posted on 11.12.13 | Andrew Beckford No Comments


In just 10 days Xbox One will be released upon the world and all of us crazy kids can finally get our hands on Forza Motorsport 5.  In anticipation, or maybe just to goad us further, Microsoft has released two new gameplay videos.  One of the Lotus E21 F1 car taking a full lap around Yas Marina Circuit and another of the Audi R18 taking a lap of LeMans.  Both videos will make you throw tantrums and ask “Why don’t I have Forza 5 now?! Waagghh!”  Just me? Ok nevermind… Just watch the videos!

Lotus E21

Audi R18

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