Ok, hate is a strong word. Too strong in this case. I don’t hate any Audi cars per se; I just don’t particularly like them. One day, I promise to write something about cars I do like.
Audi exists to represent VAG’s sport and prestige division, yet they offer nothing to justify this accolade. In the competitive market full of BMWs and Mercedes, Audi offer the consumer some very expensive Volkswagens.
“Ah yes,” Says Audi man, taking a quick puff before gesticulating at me with his pipe, ”But you forget their sporting heritage!”
Oh yes! Didn’t Audi once make a wheel bearing for a Grand Prix car? Sorry, no, Auto Union has a sporting heritage, Audi does not.
“But they brought four-wheel-drive to the motorsport arena!” Wrong again, my pipe smoking friend. That credit goes to Porsche with, not only the first four wheel drive race car but also the first hybrid as far as I am aware. Then you have the Spyker 60 hill climb car and let us not forget that Massey-Ferguson served up four wheel drive to formula one in 1960. That is 21 years before the first Audi Quattro started the Monte Carlo Rally.
Although the Rally car crashed first time out, it was a fantastic debut for Audi and it changed the face of rallying for ever, but is that enough? The World Rally Championship has been around since the mid-seventies and in that time Audi have only won it twice.
“What about Le Mans?” True again. The Audi R8 Prototype has been pretty unstoppable in GT circles. In 2000 the R8 took its first Le Mans win. Audi beat the likes of BMW, Ferrari, Porsche, Mercedes, Panoz and Nissan. Partly because of the mechanical excellence of the R8, but mostly because all those manufactures retired their respective sports car teams at the end of the 1999 season. This left Audi to battle with that most notorious of sports car designers, Cadillac…
Of course, none of this is important in the real world. A female friend of mine loves Audi. She has an A6 that she uses to get lost on the outskirts of Brighton when she comes to visit me. She says the Audi is comfortable and fast. It has massive boot space. It is everything she wants in a car. Well, that’s great! She is German and those things are important when you’re German. But you could spend less money and get all of those things from the equivalent Volkswagen or, dare I say it, Skoda.
I love Skoda.
Because you’re going to a Skoda expecting it to be bad, you are always pleasantly surprised when it isn’t. It’s like a Volkswagen. Which is a good thing.
When you go to an Audi you’re expecting it to be amazing. You are always disappointed when it isn’t.
It’s like a Volkswagen. Which is a bad thing.
The other day I was invited for a quick go in a v6 Audi A3. It was great. It was fast. It was planted. I didn’t drive it far or hard but I could tell this was a very very nice car. A bit like a Golf. But not a Golf.
Then there is the TT. I’ve driven a few of these in different engine configurations and have enjoyed every single one. The only thing that would stop me owning one is that, every now and again, I would have to look at it from the outside. If you believe Top Gear and Autocar, then the TT’s main competition is the Porsche Boxster. The Boxster is the car Porsche would make instead of the 911 if any of the 911 owners would treat it like a real car and not a birthday present for the wife. If the TT is good, then the Porsche is a sublime driving experience that will leave you contemplating that TT must stand for “Too Tight” to buy the Porsche.
And finally, the R8. The road one. I must confess I know very little about this car so forgive me for making some assumptions here. I am going to assume that it is the fastest and best handling supercar on the planet. I am going to assume that its build quality is second to none and that it is probably quite economical. In fact, if you have got a moment, I am also going to assume that it can solve the financial crisis, bring peace to the Middle East, find Madeleine McCann and fetch my slippers when my feet are cold in the morning.
I will assure you, nonetheless, that when I have £120,000+ to spend on a Volkswagen, I will want the badge to say Lamborghini.
***All the crap you see written here is Kelvin’s opinion and not that of his associates, race team or marketing partners.***