Audi has always been a plucky brand. It’s the brand of luxury car you buy if you’re sick of your neighbors buying Mercedes’ and BMWs. Audis are a bit different, and that makes them interesting. But one thing about Audis is that they’ve never been known for being driver’s cars. Very few Audis tug at the heartstrings like BMW M3s and Mercedes C63 AMGs do. Audi makes some sensational cars, but often times, you can tell that it’s just a complicated machine with electrons whizzing around to give you the results. It’s seldom that Audis feel organic.
Now, please don’t mistake me. Audi does make excellent driving and performing cars. The Audi RS3, S5/RS5 and R8 are some of the finest driving automobiles on the market. However, Audis have just never been known for giving you “the fizz”. And that’s really the only knock against Audi. Almost no other company knows how to make an interior like Audi, the Quattro all-wheel drive system is the best on the market and, despite the ambiguity, Audis are all very good looking automobiles. They’re also fast, fun and efficient. But the only thing many Audis lack is that connection between car and driver.
So, with all of Audi’s latest technology, with its Virtual Cockpits and all of that gubbins, is Audi only making it worse?
I don’t see how adding more and more technology between the car and driver will improve Audi’s ‘driver’s car’ qualities. Recent Audis have been heavily scrutinized for lacking any sort of steering feel, but you can all but kiss a future of good Audi steering feel good bye when Audi’s autonomous tech starts to become more prevalent.
Admittedly, Audi isn’t the only company who is lacking in the “feel” department as of late. BMW, Mercedes and even Porsche are being heavily scrutinized for giving up steering feel and road feel for electric power-steering and fancy tech. I guess it’s just the sign of the times. Which is sad, because when Audi puts its mind to it, it is capable of producing fine driver’s cars. The B6 Audi S4 is still one of the more fun and exciting sports sedans of all time. And don’t even get me started on the Audi Quattro, or I’ll be here all day.
It just seems as if Audi is trying to hard these past few years to give people more and more technology, more gizmos and gadgets, that its forgetting how to make proper driver’s cars. The new R8 is an exciting thing to drive and so is the RS3 Sportback, so maybe there’s hope. But cars like the Audi TT and upcoming A4 have me worrying for the brand.