German manufacturer Audi specializes in sport-luxury automobiles and utility vehicles that put the emphasis on quality-crafted cockpits and stout powertrains as well as all-weather traction, thanks to their quattro four-wheel traction systems.
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The Audi brand was established in 1909, and the first car created by founder August Horch was the Type A, a four-door convertible powered by a 4-cylinder engine. Models Type B through E were introduced up until WWI, and the Bt transport truck also appeared in 1913.
In the 1920s, the Type G offered a Landaulet roof, while the Type K of 1922 was the first German production car with left-hand drive, and the Type R limousine appeared in 1927 boasting the brand’s first V8 engine, developing 100 horsepower. Under new ownership, other models followed in the early ‘30s, such as the Type SS Zwickau, the Type T Dresden and the Type P.
In 1932, the Auto Union was created by associating the Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer brands, and the four-ring logo was born, which Audi vehicles still wear today. The 1933 Type UW was launched boasting the company’s first front-wheel drivetrain, while the 225 and the 920 models followed. In 1938, Auto Union started crash-testing their vehicles with side-impact and rollover tests.
Meanwhile, Auto Union was also busy developing race cars and their streamline-bodied cars enjoyed success right up until WWII.
Following the war, Auto Union changed ownership twice. Daimler-Benz AG bought up the company’s shares in 1958 and 1959, and sold them to Volkswagen AG from 1964 to 1966. During that time, a new Audi was being prepared, the first in almost 30 years. The new car became the 72, followed by 80, Super 90, 60 and 75 designations, while a wagon version called the Variant was also offered.
The brand entered the U.S. market in 1969 and the Canadian market in 1971. Meanwhile, the Audi 100 in sedan and coupe body styles was launched, of which the company sold 800,000 copies. A new 80 coupe and sedan appeared, of which Audi sold a million copies, and a wagon version called the Fox was available in the USA. The small Audi 50 hatchback represented the brand’s answer to the energy crisis. In the ’80s, the 80/90 and 100/200 were know as the 4000 and 5000.
In 1980, one of Audi’s halo cars was born. Presented at that year’s Geneva Auto Show, the Audi quattro was the industry’s first four-wheel drive performance car and proved its superiority in motorsports events. The ‘80s also brought new versions of the 80/90, the 100/200, the Coupe quattro and the V8 sedan.
During the following decade, Audi adopted a new strategy for their model names, which resulted in the A4, the A6 and the A8, while a Cabriolet version of the Coupe also appeared. The striking TT coupe and roadster as well as the allroad quattro wagon were also launched before the turn of the century.
Utility vehicles started to appear after the year 2000, such as the Q7 and Q5, while high-performance versions of their cars were also developed, such as the S4 and RS 4, the S6 and RS 6 as well as the S8.
Audi’s line-up currently consists of the A3 hatcback, the A4 sedan and Avant, the S4, The A5 and S5 coupes, the A6 and A8 sedans, the A7 and S7 hatchbacks, the TT in coupe and roadster forms, the R8 and R8 Spyder as well as SUVs and crossovers like the Q3, the Q5 and the Q7.
Audi's shot at the BMW X5, Mercedes ML,
and comparable luxury crossover models
is called the Q7.
I've been privileged enough to drive some of Audi's finest machines recently: the R8, RS 5, and now the RS 7 -- #firstworldproblems, I know. In each I found a sort of understated sophistication mixed with a refined rebelliousness that was just bursting to be unleashed. Add an "R" to the Audi name and watch out, you're in for quite the ride.
What happens when you want it all? The best of both
worlds; your cake and to eat it, too? Most would
laugh and say you're asking for too much, that you
don't understand how life is and that we all have to
make compromises along the way, that's just the way
the world works. Well, we're here to tell you that
those people just haven't heard the term "Grand
Coupe" -- and it's high time they did.
The need to be/feel connected at all times can be viewed as a plague on society: texting while having a conversation; answering phone calls at the dinner table; responding to emails while reading your kids a bedtime story; it all might seem a little harsh and extreme, but it's reality.
It's not often that you hear Audi's sports coupe being compared to "Germany's Next Top Model."
It looks like Audi is about to expand its portfolio once again, this time with plug-in hybrid variants of the A6, A8, and Q7.