Audi ‘n Rush Hour

I love Audis. We’ve owned about five over the last decade including my current twin-turbo 250 S4 Avant. We bought our first at a time when the German luxury automaker was still recovering from the near-fatal PR disaster that “60 Minutes” manufactured.

To this day, those claims of unintended acceleration remain unproven, and more likely were fueled by intended litigation, and the riches gained therein.

Nevertheless, Audi is back…big time. Surprised? I’m not. The lower you sink, the higher you’ll rise if you stay focused and keep your foot on the accelerator.

Just take a look at Jeff Sabatini’s over-the-top review today of the Audi R8 (pictured), a $112,000+ sports car soon to bow on these shores. The seasoned Wall Street Journal automotive writer gushed and gushed and gushed,

…”on my own list of amazing cars driven over nearly a decade as an automotive journalist, I figured the R8 stood fairly near the top.”

But of course, if I were the PR guy handing over the keys for a cross-country spin in a sleek, never-before-seen, silver six-figure sports car to a writer likely earning a five-figure salary, I’d expect at least a few kind words.

He wrote: “At Audi headquarters in Germany, they’re hoping the 187-miles-per-hour, 420-horsepower R8 will be mentioned in the same breath as the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, the Ferrari F430 and the Lamborghini Gallardo.” Done!

Now contrast Jeff’s wet kiss with Manohla’s Dargis’ New York Times kiss off of “Rush Hour 3”:

“It’s a generically crummy action flick. It’s ugly. It’s noisy. It’s stupid.”

The reviewer could not have been more effusive in her distaste for this film. Even so, she admits:

“Like a lot of big-ticket productions ‘Rush Hour 3’ will flood into theaters this weekend (gobbling up more than 3,700 of the nation’s approximately 38,000 screens) and, because of its ubiquity and its brawny advertising muscle, will pull in a sizable chunk of change. Bad reviews won’t make a lick of difference to its box office…”

Well, I for one won’t be seduced by the stupid trailer. The Times critic still holds sway over me. In fact, so does The Journal critic and his praise for the Audi R8.

Come to think of it, I promise to write about the R8 again (and again and again) in this very precious space if permitted a test drive during my upcoming vacation. You listening over there in Germany? (Maybe I’ll add a few keyword tags so you can find my offer. I’ve no shame.)