Opinion

“Is Audi about to become the ultimate driving machine?”

It’s a bit early to say new Audis are world-beaters, but big steps are being made in the right direction, says Steve Fowler

Opinion Audi

They always say that things are cyclical, but for as long as I can remember, BMW has had a distinct edge when it comes to driver appeal – even in the exalted company of premium models.

Things are changing. We’ve already crowned the Jaguar XE as our favourite compact executive car, ahead of the BMW 3 Series. And now we’ve just had a taste of a car that could well beat them both. And who’d have thought it would be an Audi?

New Audi A4 review

For many years now, you knew what you’d be getting with an Audi – a good looking car with decent efficiency, a class-leading interior and a ride that borders on the uncomfortable. And whether it’s front or four-wheel drive (sorry, quattro in Audi speak), you just wouldn’t be having as much fun as you would in a BMW.

Then along came Dr Ulrich Hackenberg – a long standing engineer who’s to-ed and fro-ed between Audi and VW (with a stint at Bentley) and led the development of the famed (and copied) MQB platform strategy that has proved so successful across so many brilliant VW Group small cars

In 2013 he was given responsibility for Audi technical development, while taking an overview of the technical direction of all VW brands.

Audi Q7 - front cornering

And trust me, it’s no coincidence that the last two new Audi models we’ve driven – the Q7 and now the new A4 – have a new-found sense of dynamic ability, on top of all of Audi’s other attributes. World beaters? A bit early to say, but they’re both big steps in the right direction.

What I’ve always liked about Dr Hackenberg (other than his willingness to chat openly to the likes of me) is his understanding of what’s important to different buyers. Which is why Audis have a new – and most welcome – feel of comfort on the road.

Do you think Audi will be able to finally beat the likes of BMW in the driving stakes with its raft of new models? Let us know in the comments below...

Recommended

VW emissions scandal: VW installed ‘defeat devices’ in thousands of cars, High Court finds
VW Emissions scandal update 2
Volkswagen

VW emissions scandal: VW installed ‘defeat devices’ in thousands of cars, High Court finds

The UK’s High Court has ruled that VW installed devices to cheat emissions tests in thousands of its cars
6 Apr 2020
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
24 Mar 2020
All-electric Audi e-tron GT spied ahead of official reveal
Audi

All-electric Audi e-tron GT spied ahead of official reveal

Audi’s new electric four-door coupe co-developed with Porsche Taycan and will take on Tesla Model S following a 2020 reveal
10 Mar 2020
Germany losing car domination
OPINION Twin Test
Audi

Germany losing car domination

With Audi's unprecedented early exit from World Car of the Year, Mike Rutherford asks is Germany losing its motoring domination
15 Feb 2020

Most Popular

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric cars charging at home
Electric cars

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric cars charging at home

New powers being sought to allow energy providers to turn off high-drain devices to manage electricity network
18 Sep 2020
How green are electric cars? Polestar data shows ICE trailing EV
News

How green are electric cars? Polestar data shows ICE trailing EV

Electric car maker reveals whole-life CO2 emissions of the Polestar 2 are better than a petrol XC40 - but EV is only 14% cleaner with global energy mi…
17 Sep 2020
New 2020 Skoda Octavia engine line-up expands again
Skoda Octavia

New 2020 Skoda Octavia engine line-up expands again

New 1.0-litre mild-hybrid petrol engine to the lower end of the Skoda Octavia’s line-up, which has a starting price of £23,005
17 Sep 2020