Queer4Cars recently had the opportunity to learn more about the Audi brand, with an invitation to visit their US headquarters in Herndon Virginia. While there we got to hear about the technology and engineering that goes into Audi vehicles. Audi’s sales successes have been on the upswing since they have settled in, with 67 continuous months of increasing vehicle sales. Audi customers are embracing all of their vehicles from the A3 sports sedan to the R8 supercar, and everything in between.
Audi moved their US Headquarters from Michigan to Northern Virginia at a time when the automotive market was at its lowest point in recent history. Indeed, a dark economic time when future prosperity was questioned for many industries. Since that move in 2008, Audi’s sales growth has been attributed to a technological advanced product line that discriminating consumers are looking for at a competitive price. Audi’s public relations team was very forthcoming saying how much of a very key part of the continued increase in sales is due to their dedicated dealership network of automotive professionals, who support and sell the brand.
Audi sits in the center of the larger Volkswagen Group, between VW’s mass-market product line and that of the exclusive, higher-end Bentley, Lamborghini, and Bugatti products. This corporate allegiance benefits Audi from the sharing of technological expertise across platforms to the awareness that consumers have with each marque.
We were given the keys to both the Q7 and the A4, each mainstream vehicles, appealing to very different customers. Both the shared many of the same technology advancements, though were very different to drive.
One such market changing technology, that if for no other reason will make you want to buy an Audi, is the use of the Google Maps view on their Navigation screen. This brings life to the in-car navigation screen, using advanced computer processing power, similar to gaming computers to display real-life, recent, aerial landscape images instead of simple drawings of maps on a screen.
While the vehicles we were driving did not feature the virtual cockpit, that the Audi is now offering on its sports cars, it was nice to see analog style gauge displays. These provided detailed information in ways that it is easy for the driver to comprehend. Queer4Cars believes this is one of the keys that attracts the younger more affluent buyer to the Audi product line.
The Q7, provided a very luxurious and powerful ride, with all-wheel “Quattro” drive, 3.0-liter supercharged gasoline engine. What drivers are looking for today is being able to sit up and ride in luxury, which the Q7 provides, with sumptuous seats for both the driver and passengers. We felt the Q7 was worthy of the $54K and up price tag, for all that it offers.
We found the A4 somewhat disappointing, especially with a $57 K window sticker. In comparison to competitors like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3-Series.The engine and transmission always seemed to always be hunting for the right mix of power to the Quattro all-wheel drive system that Audi has become legendary for.
The A4’s interior finishes were lacking, while acceptable in a higher end Volkswagen product, one would expect materials of a higher quality in a mid-market luxury sports sedan.
Overall we were impressed with what Audi is doing on all levels, and look forward to experiencing more of their product line as it continues to be a technological leader and set sales records for its products.
Photos and article by William West Hopper