By Paul Borden - Photos by Pepe Forte

Who says that summer is a slow time in South Florida ?

Certainly not the 42 SAMA members and guests who packed an upstairs banquet room at Smith & Wollensky’s on South Beach for the group’s July luncheon. Every seat at every table was filled for the event, which was sponsored by Audi of America.

Tony Lesesne and Rick Baker

It marked the second time that Audi has graciously hosted one of our luncheons. On the first occasion (May 2007) Audi displayed the new TT sports cars. This time around, the all-new 2009 A4 sedan, which USA product manager Carter Balkcom calls a “game changer,” was the star attraction. After lunch, SAMA members who were able to take time for the walk-around of the A4 -- on display in front of the restaurant --

saw why. Audi designed the A4 on a “clean sheet of paper from the ground up,” Balkcom said, and engineers were allowed “to bring in everything that they wanted to do,” making the A4 a “striking luxury sports sedan.” The low roofline results in a sleek profile, and the longer wheelbase and length (6.5 inches and 4.6 inches, respectively, over the previous A4) gives the new model more interior room.

SAMA President Ron Beasley

The A4 comes with a choice of two engines – a 2.0-liter TFSI rated at 211 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque (0-to-60 mph in 6.5 seconds) and a 3.2 V6 with 265 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque (0-to-60 in 6.3 seconds). Both are available in Audi’s Quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system. Fuel economy is improved by 15 percent in the four-cylinder 2.0 and by 10 percent in the V6 over the previous model A4. Three transmissions – a six-speed manual, six-speed automatic with Tiptronic, and a multitronic CVT – are offered. The A4 in both sedan and wagon form will hit showrooms in mid-September. Pricing will be announced closer to that time, but is expected to be in line with the previous model, which started at

$28,000. Many thanks to Audi and communications manager Andrew Lipman for giving us a preview of what looks to be a fun, yet practical vehicle to drive. In business matters, SAMA President Ron Beasley reminded members to please RSVP when luncheon invitations are sent by email. Hey! It takes only a few seconds to hit “Reply”! The big announcement of the day was the news that OnStar has agreed to sponsor the annual

SAMA members toast Angelica Willard’s birthday

 kickoff breakfast in conjunction with the South Florida International Auto Show. Teresa Bravo once again is coordinating the event, which will feature our annual show awards. Dates for the show, Rick Baker of the South Florida Auto-Truck Dealers Association reminded us, are Nov. 7-16 at the Miami Beach Convention Center .

Giorgio Cerboncini  and Jaime Gabaldoni

Reinaldo Acosta and Johnny Tampanes

Another reminder: Dues for 2008-09 are due and may be paid by forwarding a check to Ron Beasley at 4740 SW 83rd Avenue; Miami, FL 33155. He’s collecting the checks and secretary Jaime Florez is depositing them in the SAMA bank account until treasurer Bill Adam returns in late August. So, please, get your dues checks in as soon as possible.
Also, mark your calendars for Nov. 1 and hold the date. That’s the day for our Kids’ Track Day at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and we’ll be needing volunteers for various duties. This promises to be a very rewarding day for all concerned. Treasurer Bill Adam is in charge of the event and more details will be forthcoming as we continue to coordinate the schedule of events.

Alex Madeja and Girogio Cerboncini

Paul Borden (left) and Russ Heaps

SAMA member Pepe Forte has created a very attractive and interesting website where you can read a Spanish recap of SAMA meetings and view all the pictures that Pepe shot. The site also holds his past vehicle review and other interesting material. Check it out at www.ifriedegg.com

Ric Green

Jaime Florez (left) and Al Vazquez

USA product manager Carter Balkcom details the finer points of the all-new Audi A4

Ron Beasley and Marcello Serrato

 

Audi East Coast Communications Manager Andrew Lipman

The August luncheon is scheduled for Thursday, August 21, and will be sponsored by Nissan. The location is still to be announced, but we will have the amazing new Nissan GT-R sports car on hand for you to get up-close-and-personal with. Check your email box for more details and don’t forget to RSVP early!

And don’t forget to send news and pictures from events you attend for posting on the SAMA website www.samaonline.org

See you on August 21!