Audi is a multi-national automobile manufacturer that designs, engineers, produces, markets and distributes luxury vehicles. Audi was originally based in Germany and has its roots at Ingolstadt, Bavaria, Germany. Audi-branded vehicles are produced in nine production facilities worldwide. The origins of the company are complex, going back to the early 20th century and the initial enterprises (Horch and the Audiwerke) founded by engineer August Horch; and two other manufacturers (DKW and Wanderer), leading to the foundation of Auto Union in 1932. The modern era of Audi essentially began in the 1960s when Auto Union was acquired by Volkswagen from Daimler-Benz. After relaunching the Audi brand with the 1965 introduction of the Audi F103 series, Volkswagen merged Auto Union with NSU Motorenwerke in 1969, thus creating the present day form of the company.
The company name is based on the Latin translation of the surname of the founder, August Horch. “Horch”, meaning “listen” in German, becomes “audi” in Latin. The four rings of the Audi logo each represent one of four car companies that banded together to create Audi’s predecessor company, Auto Union. Audi’s slogan is Vorsprung durch Technik, meaning “Advancement through Technology”. However, since 2007 Audi USA has used the slogan “Truth in Engineering”. Audi, along with BMW and Mercedes are among the best-selling luxury automobile brands in the world.
Audi produces 100% galvanised cars to prevent corrosion, and was the first mass-market vehicle to do so, following introduction of the process by Porsche, c. 1975. Along with other precautionary measures, the full-body zinc coating has proved to be very effective in preventing rust. The body’s resulting durability even surpassed Audi’s own expectations, causing the manufacturer to extend its original 10-year warranty against corrosion perforation to currently 12 years (except for aluminium bodies which do not rust).
Audi introduced a new series of vehicles in the mid-1990s and continues to pursue new technology and high performance. An all-aluminium car was brought forward by Audi, and in 1994 the Audi A8 was launched, which introduced aluminium space frame technology (called Audi Space Frame or ASF) which saves weight and improves torsion rigidity compared to a conventional steel frame. Prior to that effort, Audi used examples of the Type 44 chassis fabricated out of aluminium as test-beds for the technique. The disadvantage of the aluminium frame is that it is very expensive to repair and requires a specialized aluminium bodyshop. The weight reduction is somewhat offset by the quattro four-wheel drive system which is standard in most markets. Nonetheless, the A8 is usually the lightest all-wheel drive car in the full-size luxury segment, also having best-in-class fuel economy. The Audi A2, Audi TT and Audi R8 also use Audi Space Frame designs.
For most of its lineup (excluding the A3, A1, and TT models), Audi has not adopted the transverse engine layout which is typically found in economy cars (such as Peugeot and Citroën), since that would limit the type and power of engines that can be installed. To be able to mount powerful engines (such as a V8 engine in the Audi S4 and Audi RS4, as well as the W12 engine in the Audi A8L W12), Audi has usually engineered its more expensive cars with a longitudinally front-mounted engine, in an “overhung” position, over the front wheels in front of the axle line – this layout dates back to the DKW and Auto Union saloons from the 1950s. But while this allows for the easy adoption of all-wheel drive, it goes against the ideal 50:50 weight distribution.
In all its post Volkswagen-era models, Audi has firmly refused to adopt the traditional rear-wheel drive layout favored by its two archrivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW, favoring either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The majority of Audi’s lineup in the United States features all-wheel drive standard on most of its expensive vehicles (only the entry-level trims of the A4 and A6 are available with front-wheel drive), in contrast to Mercedes-Benz and BMW whose lineup treats all-wheel drive as an option. BMW did not offer all-wheel drive on its V8-powered cars (as opposed to crossover SUVs) until the 2010 BMW 7 Series and 2011 BMW 5 Series, while the Audi A8 has had all-wheel drive available/standard since the 1990s.
Regarding high-performance variants, Audi S and RS models have always had all-wheel drive, unlike their direct rivals from BMW M and Mercedes-AMG whose cars are rear-wheel drive only (although their performance crossover SUVs are all-wheel drive).Audi has recently applied the quattro badge to models such as the A3 and TT which do not use the Torsen-based system as in prior years with a mechanical center differential, but with the Haldex Traction electro-mechanical clutch AWD system.
LED daytime running lights
Beginning in 2005, Audi has implemented white LED technology as daytime running lights (DRL) in their products. The distinctive shape of the DRLs has become a trademark of sorts. LEDs were first introduced on the Audi A8 W12, the world’s first production car to have LED DRLs, and have since spread throughout the entire model range. The LEDs are present on some Audi billboards.Since 2010, Audi has also offered the LED technology in low- and high-beam headlights.