Opinion

"How a car drives could get less important"

Audi chairman Rupert Stadler hints at a future where autonomous driving and in-car tech takes priority over driving dynamics

If you ever needed proof of how great it is to work in the car business, take a look at some footage of Audi boss Rupert Stadler. He’s a bloke who gives a new meaning to upbeat. You can’t fail to feed off his energy as he speaks with massive enthusiasm about his brand, hands punching the air to illustrate every point, even if he completely sidesteps the original question on occasion.

If every Audi showroom had a Rupert Stadler in it, sales would double overnight – and they’ve been rocketing recently anyway.

I had the pleasure of his company last week and covered topics ranging from the growing number of SUVs in the Audi range to Audi’s potential involvement in F1.

One thing that ups the excitement level beyond fever pitch for Stadler is autonomous, or piloted, driving. Audi is already working in a world where its cars can drive themselves (the next A8 will arrive in 2017 with piloted driving at speeds up to 50mph), talk to each other and talk to the infrastructure to ease congestion.

Stadler says piloted driving will give people back valuable time, time that can be spent in his cars using the very latest connectivity. But with such focus on technology – all in response to customer demand – I asked him what value there will be in the driver appeal of new Audis.

“How a car drives could get less important,” he told me. “It will never change for a sports car, but it could change for a standard saloon or SUV.”

That will send shivers down the spine of some, but Stadler is so focused on giving his customers what they want, wrapped in a high quality, super-stylish package, it’s difficult to disagree with his reasoning. Looking at Audi’s booming sales, it’s a formula that’s working.

What's more important to you when you buy a car, how it drives or other aspects? Do you think technology is carrying more weight with buyers? Let us know in the comments below...

Recommended

What is Audi's Virtual Cockpit?
Audi Virtual Cockpit - header
Audi

What is Audi's Virtual Cockpit?

We give you the lowdown on Audi's hi-tech dashboard display screen, the Virtual Cockpit
22 Apr 2021
New Audi Q6 e-tron confirmed for 2022 launch
E-tron
News

New Audi Q6 e-tron confirmed for 2022 launch

All-electric Audi Q6 e-tron SUV will arrive next year and share tech with next-gen Porsche Macan EV
18 Mar 2021
New Audi Sport Nogaro Editions for TT RS, RS 4, RS 5 and RS 6
New Audi Sport Nogaro Edition
Audi

New Audi Sport Nogaro Editions for TT RS, RS 4, RS 5 and RS 6

In a tip of the hat to the iconic RS 2 Avant, Audi has launched a fleet of new special edition RS cars, on sale in UK now
17 Mar 2021
‘Fully-comprehensive’ subscription plan for Audi e-tron electric SUV
Audi e-tron
News

‘Fully-comprehensive’ subscription plan for Audi e-tron electric SUV

New Audi e-tron subscription ownership doesn’t require a deposit and comes with 1,000 miles-worth of free charging
11 Mar 2021

Most Popular

Average speed cameras on motorways get approval from drivers
Average speed camera
News

Average speed cameras on motorways get approval from drivers

UK drivers are in favour of average speed cameras on motorways despite the majority admitting to breaking 70mph limit
10 May 2021
Appreciating cars: classic cars that go up in value
Appreciators: Renault 5
Features

Appreciating cars: classic cars that go up in value

Looking to invest in a modern classic? Here are some cars destined to appreciate in value
4 May 2021
Vauxhall Mokka vs Hyundai Kona vs Nissan Juke
Vauxhall Mokka vs Hyundai Kona vs Nissan Juke
Vauxhall Mokka

Vauxhall Mokka vs Hyundai Kona vs Nissan Juke

Can the all-new Vauxhall Mokka make an impact in the small SUV market? We test it against the Hyundai Kona and Nissan Juke to find out
8 May 2021