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One hundred years of Audi

The latest generation A6 combines supreme driving dynamics with high technology

IN 1899 August Horch established a car manufacturing company — A. Horch & Cie — in Cologne. Here he developed his first car, which was completed in early 1901. The company went through a number of changes including names like DKW and Auto Union AG. Audi or, for that matter, DKW was the first to manufacture a front wheel drive car in 1931.

The concept and technology that have revolutionised the automobile industry today and are being used extensively by all major and small car manufacturers worldwide for their efficient power delivery and best fuel consumption for a vehicle.

In 1934, the new Auto Union AG received a big boost, with the success of a racing car designed by Ferdinand `Porsche.' For the first time, a six-cylinder engine was installed behind the driver that had a favourable effect on the vehicle's aerodynamics and till date Porsche follows its design traditions.

Daimler Benz in 1958 acquired 88 per cent of Auto Union's shares and the remaining shares in 1959.

A four-cylinder, four stroke engine, known as the `medium pressure' engine, was installed in the last DKW model and presented it for the first time in the summer of 1965 as the `new' Audi. Till 1964 the Audi came with a two stroke engine. Volkswagen in 1965 acquired Auto Union and in March 1980 the Audi Quattro caused a sensation at the Geneva Motor Show. It was the first high-performance vehicle with a permanent four-wheel-drive system and had worldwide success in motor sport.

In 1986, the new Audi 80 was launched with a fully galvanised body and a ten year warranty against rust penetration, setting new world standards in this class. In 1988, Audi AG ventured into the premium class with the launch of the Audi V8. This caused a stir in the market and revived the tradition of luxury sedan.

Its combination of a 250 bhp V8 engine, four-wheel drive and galvanised body was a first in the luxury segment at that time. In 1995 Audi started production cars with lightweight aluminium bodies. May 2003 saw the launch of its flagship model the A8 in the Asia Pacific.

Audi now announces the launch of the new A6 in India and is pitted against the E-Class of Benz.

The new model has been anticipated, as it is the first mainstream production car displaying the new design evolution for the Audi brand and is expected to grow sales for Audi globally and in India.

Audi comes as a CBU and the maximum sales expected for the fiscal ending is a cool 150 mark. The latest generation A6 combines supreme driving dynamics with high technology, outstanding comfort and exemplary equipment.

The car is available in a three litre multitronic engine with its `forte' of front wheel drive engineering and a lot of striking features that have particularly shown up with only the German manufacturers like the key less entry of the S class and the single `Knob' control of the 7 series.

The sportier owners will of course miss the usual hand brake lever for that very quick 180 degree `U' turn and settle with just an `on/off' switch. Singularly, it also boasts the most advanced headlight technology that moves with the steering — the light follows the wheel like that of a two-wheeler.

TUTU DHAWAN

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