Audi are a German car manufacturer steeped in tradition and heritage, the company motto of 'Vorsprung durch Technik' or 'advantage through technology' is plain to see on the forecourts of Audi dealerships. Technological developments are at the heart of the Audi ethos with many modern techniques first being pioneered by this forward thinking German company's motor sport division.
One car you will not find in dealerships is the Audi Quattro, this legendary car owes its fame to a string of brilliant rally championship performances and many commentators consider it a seminal car in terms of handling and drive system.
The Quattro took advantage of new regulations in rally racing that allowed all-wheel drive cars in an era when doubters were criticising Audi for producing a car with such a system. Critics however were quickly silenced as the Audi Quattro one its first race and dominated the sport for two years. Audi dealerships suddenly found themselves inundated with orders for a car that was expected to be a flop.
The Quattro system has been modernised and is now used in a variety of cars in the Audi range. Audi have carved themselves a niche in the market when it comes to producing all wheel drive cars, despite efforts of other manufacturers to produce these types of model it is only companies such as Subaru who have managed to match anything on the forecourts of Audi dealerships.
Audi have pursued a course of rust and corrosion prevention for a number of years and with a great deal of success. Vehicles are one hundred percent galvanised as part of this and their lead has been followed by other manufacturers. Zinc coating has been so successful in the prevention of rust and corrosion that even Audi have been surprised by their car's durability; so much so that their ten year anti corrosion guarantee has been extended to twelve years. As part of this Audi have produced an all-aluminium car in the form of the A8; this 'space-frame' technology is ultimately revolutionary and the cars on the forecourts of dealerships are at the forefront of this revolution.
Technological development is even part of the engine design process with Audi acting as the avant guarde of the efficiency drive. The new FSI engines use fuel stratification injection technology to increase efficiency and mileage. Most of the petrol models currently available on the forecourts of dealerships now utilise this technology, with rising costs of fuel, this technology is becoming evermore popular with owners. The aluminium frame of the A8 also adds to this increased mileage by making the car incredibly light and hence, more fuel efficient.
Much of this technology comes as an offshoot to the successful motor sport division of the company. Although Audi do not possess a Formula 1 team, in other disciplines Audi have achieved success. In touring cars and Championship Racing the Quattro system has been beneficial and returned considerable race and championship wins.
The Sports Car Racing Competition has also seen a number Audis during its history; again, success has been forthcoming with three wins on the trot in the Le Mans 24 hours between 2000 and 2002. The current contender is the R10 which since 2005 has added to the trophy cabinet. Recently voted the most successful motor sport company since the turn of the century, dealerships will gladly highlight the exemplary racing pedigree of their cars.
Audi really do incorporate the education and technologies they develop in motor sport into their road cars. A relatively new phenomenon in terms of success, the company has done well to constantly build upon this success and make themselves a dominant force in the world of motor sport. As long as the technology developed in the racing division filters down to their road cars, dealerships will be busy with hoards of people wanting luxury cars that can match the levels of comfort with outstanding performance.
Motoring expert Thomas Pretty looks into ways in which Audi dealerships benefit from the strong racing pedigree of their cars.