It’s crazy to think that Audi’s “Vorsprung durch Technik” motto, which translates to “Progress Through Technology” in English, actually dates back fifty years. Especially when you consider that it’s ten years older than the Audi Ur Quattro, the car that actually put Audi on the map, both technologically and performance-wise. In this new video from Audi, design boss Marc Lichte discusses what “Vorsprung durch Technik” means to him, what it means to Audi, and how those meanings translate into his designs.
Lichte’s first encounter with Audi was in 1983, when he was 14 years old, at the IAA auto show in Germany, where he saw the Audi Sport Quattro for the first time. Since then, the Audi brand has done things just a bit differently than everyone else, in an attempt to push the industry forward with technology. Like all brands, Audi saw varying degrees of success, in that regard, but it has always tried to be a bit different.
To Lichte, the mindset at Audi surrounds one word in that motto: Vorspring (progress). As a designer, Lichte tries to use the idea of progress in ever car his team designs. The idea is to take the best technology in the car and make it visible. Whether it’s the Quattro all-wheel drive system, aerodynamics, or lightweight construction, Lichte wants his cars’ designs to emphasis their best technologies.
Over the past fifty years, Audi has made massive breakthroughs, in terms of both technology and design. It was the first brand to make four-wheel drive popular in performance road cars, it dominated endurance racing with a mid-engine diesel-powered supercar, it created timeless, unique designs like the original Audi TT and R8, and it’s proven that electric cars can be emotional and exciting. However, Lichte feels that the next fifty years will be even more radical.
Autonomous driving is going to be the next massive shift in automotive technology, both in terms of how we interact with cars and how they’re designed. Lichte seems excited about the challenge. Here’s to another fifty years of Vorsprung durch Technik.