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2011 European automaker report cards

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Khatir Soltani
Audi
Life is good, but you never know when the end will come. Arrogance is a multi-edge sword, one that you can wield as long as there is no harm, no foul. However, claiming that you don't need to attend a media event of national significance because it wouldn't get you any more visibility is pretty short-sighted.

2012 Audi A6 rear 3/4 view
2012 Audi A6 (Photo: Michel Deslauriers/Auto123.com)

Audi is on a roll, with gorgeous cars that people desire more than ever, to the point where production barely meets demand. On the other hand, the company has the unfortunate habit of hitting a brick wall when plans couldn't work better. In the '80s and again in the '90s, Audi faced complications, failures, and lots of headaches due to quality and reliability issues. History always repeats itself and, while executives insist that their track record is improving, Audi owners tell a slightly different story.

Let's just hope that Audi is aware of its full potential, because we don't think that consumers would forgive the brand from Ingolstadt if things turned sour again. Mercedes-Benz and BMW are right across the street, you know…

BMW
BMW enjoys a stellar reputation as a manufacturer of accessible luxury cars offering the best driving experience on the planet. Over the years, it became ''the automaker that builds the car I want.''

BMWs are unquestionably very popular. The 3 Series remains by far the top seller among luxury compacts. For more than 30 years, this model has served as the benchmark for every other competitor. However, it's not just the 3 that makes people drool, especially those who want to look good and have a fun time behind the wheel: The 1 Series and 5 Series prove outstanding performers, while BMW SUVs combine capability and versatility. Let's not forget about Rolls-Royce and MINI. In fact, the latter has never been more popular than right now.

BMW seems to be immune to mistakes and failures. Aside from the 5 Series Gran Turismo and X6, the Bavarian company hasn't made a single gaffe since launching in North America. Moreover, the future looks bright and fascinating: Cars like the i3 and i8 appear to be directly in tune with our automotive needs of tomorrow, where styling and fun meet no limit.

2011 BMW 550i xDrive Gran Turismo front 3/4 view
2011 BMW 550i xDrive Gran Turismo (Photo: Matthieu Lambert/Auto123.com)
Khatir Soltani
Khatir Soltani
Automotive expert
  • Over 6 years experience as a car reviewer
  • Over 50 test drives in the last year
  • Involved in discussions with virtually every auto manufacturer in Canada