Extra Audi-nary: From Motorsport to Luxury
Audi is a luxury car-maker of the Volkswagen Group that divides opinion like no other. Once lingering at the bottom of reliability rankings, Audi has turned it around and is now contending for the top spots. Audi is renowned for pushing the boundaries of technology, making more advanced and intuitive driver controls while offering a refined and polished driving experience.
Origin & Brief History of Audi
In 1909, August Horch was not allowed to use the ‘Horch’ name for his new automobile business. It was his son that suggested using the word ‘Audi’. ‘Audi’ is the latin word for ‘to listen’, similar to Horch, which means ‘hear’. Thus in 1910, Audi Automobilwerke GmbH Zwickau (Audiwerke AG Zwickau in 1915) was born.
In 1928, Jørgen Rasmussen, the owner of Dampf-Kraft-Wagen (DKW), acquired a majority share in Audiwerke AG. Subsequently in 1932, Audi combined with Horch, DKW, and Wanderer to form Auto Union AG.
The renowned four-rings emblem represents each of the four different companies that banded together to form Auto Union, Audi’s predecessor company.
Auto Union’s plants were re-tooled for military production during World War 2 and became targets for Allied bombing runs.
Post war, the factories were dismantled as part of reparations and the company’s assets were expropriated.
Assembly of pre-war models were resumed in 1949 by Auto Union.
Auto Union was acquired by Volkswagen in 1965 and subsequently merged with NSU to form Audi NSU Auto Union AG in 1969. This eventually got shortened to Audi AG in 1985 as the Auto Union and NSU brands got phased out. At this point, Audi was known for its performance and rally cars.
In the 1990s, Audi shifted towards a more upscale target market to compete with fellow German brands Mercedes-Benz and BMW. And the rest, as we know it, is history.
Audi’s history with motorsport began back in the 1930s when it was still known as Auto Union. The Audi Quattro rally car and subsequently the Quattro four-wheel-drive system was one of the most significant rally car developments of the time.
The Quattro system was later used for road-going passenger cars.
Audi was the first car-maker to produce 100% galvanized mass-market cars following Porsche’s introduction of the process in 1975.
The Audi A8, released in 1994, incorporated the aluminium Audi Space Frame (ASF) technology. The ASF body is said to weigh over 40% less than a steel construction. The lightweight ASF body enables to use of more compact and lighter components.
It is Audi’s intention to offer fully autonomous driving in future. Audi has stated that its newest A8 can be fully self-driven using Audi AI for speeds up to 60 km/h. Therefore, being the first production car to achieve level 3 (eyes off) autonomous driving.
Audi Emissions Scandal
Audi’s cars were implicated in the Volkswagen Emissions Scandal. In November 2016, regulators in California discovered that some Volkswagen-manufactured Audi cars and engines were programmed to cheat on emissions data during testing conditions.
This affects approximately 2.1 million cars worldwide including include the A1, A3, A4, A5, A6, TT, Q3 and Q5 lines.
However, Audi Singapore maintained that it has not imported or sold any of the models with the affected engines.
You can read more about Audi’s parent company – Volkswagen here !
If you’re interested in driving an Audi, the DEKRA Used Car Report has the Audi A6 as the ‘Best of All Classes’ winner. With the Q5 and TT taking the best SUV and best Cabriolet respectively.
You can find out more about Audi’s different offerings here!