Friday, 17 September 2010

Audi A7

Some years ago, Audi was renowned as a sportscar manufacturer, with the Quattro doing extremely well in rallying throughout the 80s. Before that, it was a bit of a mish-mash of history, first as a general car maker based in what would become East Germany, then as a new company based in Ingolstadt before being bought by VW in 1964.

Until the 80s Audi was viewed as a conservative car, kind of like a woolly jumper, or a pair of carpet slippers. Something for your granddad. 

Then the 80s happened, and the Quattro started hammering the competition at rallying, thanks to Audi's fast implementation of their four wheel drive system in rallying. It was more a bit of luck than anything else - a smart Audi engineer had the thought of developing a high performance four wheel drive car after seeing how fast the VW Iltis was on snow. 

Fortunately for Audi, this coincided with new rules for rallying which allowed four wheel drive, and Audi's reputation as a serious sports car maker started to flourish.

But then VW lost it a bit in the 90s and went back to the warm, comfortable safety of being a large, overpriced pair of carpet slippers. Audis became progressively more and more conservative, and the A6 became the choice of accountants everywhere, who wanted a nice car, but it had to be dull. The kind of accountants that you know will do an honest job, but won't help you with any "tax minimisation" - they all drive Porsches. Sales lagged while arch-rivals BMW and Mercedes grew and grew.

Then something happened in the new millenium. It's like the engineers suddenly woke after a 10 year slumber, most likely after Audi bought Lamborghini. 

The initial reaction was to fit big, powerful engines to the already available chassis. And it worked. The RS4 became the car of choice for every boy racer, overtaking the M3, but it took a little bit of time. Then came the vulgar LED day-time running lights, which are extremely tacky bits plastered on to the front of an otherwise conservative car. Kind of like turning up to work in a three piece suit with the buttocks cut out.

But modern Audis are brilliant. I love the R8. I love the Q5. I love the TT. But sometimes they go over the top, and you get cars like the Q7, which are a little too brash. But the rest hark back to their conservative roots in the 90s.

So what does this have to do with the A7? Well,the A7 looks like a cross between an A6 and a BMW 5 GT. Or an A6 and a Porsche Panamera. But it's clear that it's been copied a little bit.

I think the problem is that Audi are struggling abit to accomodate the new sporty image and the old conservative image. And that is why the A7 sportsback exists. Nice conservative car, with a little bit of sports at the back.

Wait, I've heard that before.

Business at the front, party at the back? This car is a mullet. 

Expect it to sell well in Germany and America.

Nice car though.

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